Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day 38--2/3 Mountains, 1/3 Sheep

It didn't end up being a Double Double Snicker Day, but it certainly could have (I just showed a little more restraint than yesterday, I guess).

Right out of the shoot there was a climb. It was, again, to avoid a tunnel.
See the tunnel? See the road?

It really wasn't too bad, especially compared to what came later. After the tunnel go-around, I came out to 44. I was riding along, when I spied another tunnel. This one was going downhill, and I was tempted to just ride it, but I saw the route sign said to go left. At first I thought, go left...where? Then I saw the little gravel road. Really???

It wasn't too long. Then I came back to 44. Continuing along, the route made another turn off the highway. I followed it. It dead-ended. The only thing I saw was a steep rocky trail that went down. There was no sign except one that said to watch for horses. Thinking that couldn't possibly be the route, I returned to the road and went that way. Later on, I saw where the route came out. Yep, the horse trail was the route (still no way I was going to do it)! 

I came down into Flekkefjord, and set a goal for myself to make it through the town without losing the brown signs. It wasn't so hard, as the route stayed on 44 through the town (for such a big dot on the map, there really wasn't much to the town).

After coming down into the town, the route went back up to get out. Up, up, and up some more. Once I was a bit away from the town, the traffic became almost nothing. 

As I was riding, I saw a cyclist ahead with, what looked like, red panniers. I thought, cool, another cyclist! However, when I caught up to him, it was just an old guy throwing a bag of trash into the woods along the side of the road. I gave him the I-saw-what-you-just-did look, and shook my head. Don't think he really cared.

Finally got to go down for awhile. I came into the village of Åna-Sira. The old Norwegian men were holding court in front of the Joker shop (small grocery chain). Everyone who came by stopped and chatted with the old guys. One guy really looked the part with his salty, seafaring cap, and his white beard. I had a snack of chocolate milk and a Norwegian pastry that I've had a few times (the bready one with something yellow down the middle and icing with coconut on the sides--I've seen them in almost every shop and bakery).

It was a good thing I had the chocolate milk, because the next climb was a doozy! Switchbacks, and very steep. I slogged my way to the top. At the top was this sign. I'm not sure if it means the highest part of the North Sea Route or what. I took this photo, and a bunch of people in an RV were clapping and yelling, "Bravo!". 

I rode along for awhile until I came into Jessingfjord. I came around the corner and my jaw dropped. Ahead of me the road snaked up the side of the rock mountain, going through 2 tunnels. I could see there would be no bypass road for these ones. Holy crap!

I took the two photos above after going through the first tunnel (second photo). The top tunnel was long, dark, and all uphill. I turned on my rear flasher and took off my sunglasses. Then, I pedaled like a madwoman. At one point I really couldn't see the road, I was just looking ahead to the faint light at the end. Just after the end of the tunnel, there was a parking area and viewpoint.
Way down below is the first tunnel.

So, this fjord has some WWII history. It's about a German boat called the "Altmark". Here's the info.

I sat down and ate some lunch. Then I continued with the climb. It was maybe another kilometer more.

Soon I was down to a river valley and the area of Hauge. The route did some funky snaking around through a small part, then back out to 44. Then it turned off again. This part was purely gratuitous funky road riding! However, I did see lots of sheep. The weird part is that a lot of them had tails! Maybe I'm just sheep ignorant, but I didn't think sheep had tails!
See the tails?

There were sheep in the rocky fields (I think this part of Norway is really just one big rock!), and sheep on the road too.

I got a good shot of this ram playing "King of the Rock"
Check out them curly-cue horns!

After the narrow little roads (strangely, not at all without traffic--even a motorhome went by me...I pulled over), that even turned to gravel in places, I finally returned to 44. And it was downhill! I knew I was getting close to Egersund and was happy to see the Egersund Kommune sign (like a county).

I came into town and stopped to check the Garmin for the Steinsnes Camping. Oh my God! It took me the most ridiculous way! Finally, after walking up this really steep road, I looked ahead and saw that I could have just stayed on 44! I'm less than pleased with the routing the Garmin has been doing in this part of Norway. It seems to try to completely avoid any roads that might have a car!

Anyway, I made it to the campground. This is the cheapest one yet, at 100Kr. And, the showers are free, and there is wifi (also free!). But, I look around, and I don't know what the attraction is to coming to this area of Norway. I think it's just a stop on the way to Stavanger. We are packed pretty tightly though, with lots of people here. The tent space is pretty small. There are three tents on it.
But look! There's a picnic table.

My Netherlands friend, Cornelius, made it too. He came in about 2 1/2 hours after me (when I left this morning, he was not close to being packed). He said he thought the Jessingfjord section was horrible. He had to walk through the tunnel. I looked more closely at his set-up. Not only is he pulling a BOB trailer, but he has a full compliment of panniers AND a huge bag on the rack top. No wonder he has to walk! 

Miles today: 56 very difficult ones!

I took this photo at a rest stop.
Rock, rock, and more rock!

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