Crossing the Arctic Circle
This morning I wake up before my alarm clock rings. The last couple of days were really exciting and I am really looking forward to what today will bring me. For the first time in my life I will enter the arctic circle. I take a shower and make myself a sandwich. Just before 9am I’m already sitting on my motorcycle and am ready to go. The weather is good, although it is still a bit cloudy. I expect the clouds to disappear within a couple of hours and continue my way on the Fv17.
The views from the Fv17 are – just like the last two days – stunning. Near Leira my GPS tells me that it’s time to take another ferry. I’m not sure why I did not expect that. I check the map and I find an alternative route to the E6 that did not include a ferry: the Fv78.
I try my luck and I leave the Fv17. Road 78 is narrow and twisty; very exciting to drive. After 10 kilometers I see the second road sign that tells me that this road is blocked in 20 kilometers. I ignored the first one because I thought there might be only construction works and I would somehow be able to bypass the road block. This second sign is a permanent sign. I realize that the chance that I will be able to bypass the road block are probably close to zero. I don’t want to waste an extra hour. I turn around and return to the Fv17. Half an hour later I arrive at the ferry docs and I just miss the ferry by a minute. I will have to wait one hour and fifteen minutes.
While waiting for the ferry I speak to some (local) Norwegians to get some recommendations on my route. I planned to drive the Fv17 and then head to the E6 and drive north, instead of completing the whole Fv17 to Bodø. The locals also recommend me to take the E6 because continuing on the Fv17 would mean that I would have to take two extra ferries. Those ferries unfortunately only depart a couple times per day. If I would be unlucky again, I would not be able to make it to Bodø tonight. Tomorrow it will rain the whole day and I prefer to complete my trip to Bodø with sunny weather and will stay an extra night in the hotel to avoid driving in the rain. I listen to the locals and stick to my plan; I will drive to the E6.
The ferry from Levang to Nesna costs 63 NOK and takes 30 minutes. Another 30 minutes later I leave the Fv17 and continue on the Fv12 to Mo i Rana. The landscape becomes a bit more flat and ‘swampy’ (is that even a word?).
At lunch time I arrive in Mo i Rana. I decide to look for a lunch place here since it is getting more and more difficult to find places to get lunch in North Norway (although I could make myself sandwiches, luxury problems, I know) and Mo i Rana is the only larger city/village on my route. I find a large restaurant next to the first round-about called “Fregatten”. They have good burgers and pizza’s. (This place is perfectly suitable for large groups, in case you are traveling with a group)
I enjoy my burger while enjoying the sun on the terrace. There are only 4 other people in the restaurant. I cannot remember that I have seen more than 10 people at the same time for the last couple of days and I am actually getting used to it. I love the quietness. Everything seems so peaceful up here.
An hour later it’s time to leave. My lunch took a bit longer because I have been doing some research for the route of the rest of the day. I will drive the E6 to the Arctic Circle monument first, and then drive the Fv812 instead of the 80. The 812 should be more spectaculair.
Driving the E6 turns out not to be much fun. There are many cars and trucks. I’m lucky to drive a motorcycle and am able to overtake most of them. Clouds appear but I’m almost at the Arctic Circle monument. A few moments later I enter the parking place for the Arctic Circle monument. There are some tourist buses and I prepare myself for the worst. It is time to take some photos!
I made it! I crossed the Arctic Circle! Although I have never put any stickers on my bike, this might be a good occasion to start collecting stickers. I buy a set of – way too expensive – stickers and put them in my bags. I will stick them on the motorcycle later. I continue on the E6. This part of the E6 north of the Arctic Circle monument is great. Obviously all tourists turn around at the monument and don’t drive north. Traffic is only 30% of what it was between Mo i Rana and the monument and the views are 200% better.
Even the gas stations are pretty here. (I somehow decide that it is time for ice cream. Maybe it has something to do with being within the arctic circle, I don’t know, but I just really wanted to eat ice cream.)
Fylkesvei 812 (Fv 812)
At 16:15 I leave the E6 and turn on the Fv812. It is a nice, narrow, twisty road that leads directly to Bodø. I meet three Czech motorcyclists who are driving the same route. They only speak Czech but we somehow are able to have a conversation. They are also heading to Bodø to take the ferry to Lofoten but they are a bit more in a hurry than I am. They want to take the ferry tonight. That would mean that they will probably arrive at Lofoten at midnight, have to find a camping spot, and continue in rain tomorrow. Tomorrow I will stay in the hotel to edit some photos and finish some urgent work for a client. The weather forecast told me that it will rain the whole day and I want to enjoy my trip as much as possible… and rain does not make things better.
Rushing is not my cup of tea. I have plenty of time. I make some extra stops to take some photos and continue my trip to Bodø.
I arrive in Bodø at 18.15 and drive to a warehouse to buy a new micro USB cable. The only micro USB cable I took with me does somehow not work with my BMW Navigator GPS and I really need to plan new routes tomorrow. (I saved multiple variants of routes till Bodø but did not plan further). The guys in the electronic store give me – for unknown reasons – 50% discount on the cable and I continue to my hotel. It starts pouring rain when I check in into the hotel. Perfect timing.
The route I drove today
Thank you for reading!
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