For some reason, I woke up early this morning. It must have been around 4a.m. Solo noticed it and told me to go back to sleep since it was still early and not time to get ready for the day’s ride yet. I cannot say that I was reluctant to that, the moss below the tent had just made the ground soft enough to sleep comfortably and I knew I had some ride ahead of me.
When it was time to get ready for my morning cup of tea Solo gently woke me up before trying to light the stove. And then he tried the lighter another time and a third time…no flame, not even enough of a flame to set the denatured ethanol on fire to warm our remaining water.
It also turned out that the idea of just going down to where we had seen the water yesterday was not that easy, unless we could somehow grow wings and fly down it was pretty much impossible.
So here we were, stranded with only a little water left and a few disgusting protein bars…
But still it was a beautiful day, just the right temperature of around 15˚C and a blue sky — as perfect for bike riding as perfect can be.
And we were in this beautiful spot where the morning did not start with breakfast this time but with photography instead…
If the cloudberry had been ripe at this time of the year we might have had some for breakfast instead.
But we needed to get going before getting seriously hungry. Well actually I knew I had to eat something and so I forced myself to have one of our protein bars that I disliked so much, hoping we would soon find a place where we could have some normal breakfast.
We stopped in the first parking lot hoping to use the restrooms for filling up our water bottles only to find the restrooms closed.
It was better for us to get back onto our bikes right away and not dwell on this downturn. Nothing could be worse now than having our spirits broken at this point, when we had still 90 kilometers ahead of us…
Trying to find real food…
Not too much later we found a junction going down to the ferry harbor of Stokkevågen. Having a ferry could that mean at least a little cafe which could serve us some food?
We tried to communicate with some construction site workers, who were working on the street down to that harbor, but unfortunately they did not speak Norwegian or English. So we tried anyway. Making our way through the dusty road, we found a building that clearly belonged to the ferry operating service, but no cafe. They had a warm waiting room though, and thankfully a restroom with clean running water. So our efforts weren’t completely wasted, at least we had the chance to finally refill our water bottles and get a little cleaned up.
There was no point in staying there too long though, this ferry would not go to any place near where we wanted to go. So back we went on our bikes toward the RV17 searching for some place to get some food and enjoying the ride at the same time.
Finally, after about 30 kilometers and 2 hours 45 minutes in our saddles we found the place we were looking for: a little craft shop called Husfliden, which also included a little cafe. Solo asked the owner of the shop if we had missed anything on the last 90 kilometers or if they were seriously the first place after Mo i Rana where one could buy some food. We hadn’t missed a place, they were the first ones.
Crossing the Arctic Circle
Again it was jumping back onto our bikes and continuing the ride until Kilboghavn from where we took the ferry to Jektvik, crossing the Arctic Circle by boat.
We arrived in Kilboghavn at the ferry to find that the barrier had just been closed. Solo asked me how I knew I was on the right lane, that this was the ferry to Jektvik and not the one to Oldervik? I must admit, from seeing the barrier being closed and the ferry getting ready to leave, I was a bit short and just told him I knew. The next one would not leave before two hours later, and we had to make another ferry to reach our destination…
The land crew member must have seen the despair in my face as she immediately called the boat crew via walky-talky to let us get on board. Five minutes later and we would have missed the ferry.
But now that we were safe on board I was able to tell Solo that I had seen a sign to point out that this was the ferry we needed to take.
It was my first time ever being so far north. As opposed to cruise ships on this ferry there was no announcement made that we had crossed the Circle, nor was there some sort of Neptune playing pranks on the passengers. Actually there wasn’t even a road sign when we entered Jektvik telling us that we now had crossed the Arctic Circle.
Now we had some time to relax as the crossing took a little more than an hour. Unfortunately it was cold on the outside deck in our sweated-through cycling clothes so we found ourselves a warmer place inside.
After we had arrived in Jektvik we spent some time at the nearby cafe to let the cars get off the boat and have them take the road before we would get onto it. The RV17 is not a very wide road, so if you have to share it with cars and trailers it won’t be the most enjoyable experience. And we had figured that by letting the cars get out of our way it would become an easier ride for us, too, as we wouldn’t have to worry about cars queuing up behind us and drivers getting nervous. So we rather took a short break and changed some clothes as it now on shore had gotten warmer again.
Making our way to Furøy
Half an hour after arriving in Jektvik we jumped back onto our bikes, with only about 30 kilometers more for us to ride until we would have to take the last ferry of the day to get to our destination. The road climbed up the mountain, and so did we. At this point I was close to calling it a day. I felt so empty of energy, and even though I had done steeper hills on this ride before, this felt as if it was the slowest I had ever done and the one where I needed the most breaks. Considering that we had by now spent 8 days in the saddle, this being the 9th, I wondered if those previous days hadn’t helped me in any way to gain any strength at all.
Eventually we made it, with an average speed of 7.4 kilometers per hour over a distance of 2 kilometers just to get from 9 meters above sea level to 80 meters above sea level. But as always after a climb you are rewarded with a downhill, well if not always at least most of the time. This time, though, we had to get through the 3.2 kilometer long Straumdaltunnelen before enjoying some more beautiful scenery on the other side. By now we had some experience in riding through tunnels, we had covered a few during previous legs of our ride. But still every tunnel makes you stop at least twice, once before the entrance of the tunnel to put your lights back on and check that they are working, and once after leaving the tunnel to put the lights off again. But it was an easy to follow routine by then.
We arrived in Agskarded with some time to spare before our last ferry of the day would get us to our destination, Furøy where we wanted to stay at the campground.
This time the ferry ride took only 20 minutes to take us over the Arhaugfjorden and from the ferry harbor on the other side we would have no more than 2 kilometers to ride on our bikes before arriving at the campground.
After the primitive camping from last night we got a cabin this time, neither of us fancied to pitch the tent again. Again it was a campground without a cafe, like the one we had during our first night which now seemed so long ago even though we haven’t been on the road for more than 10 days, so we had to find a place where we could get some food. And not just some food — this night we both needed something more substantial. But we couldn’t find anything near the campground, so we rode our bikes back to the ferry harbor to see if there was possibly a cafe on our side…of course there was none. We asked a young man from the land crew about a restaurant or cafe nearby and he told us the last one in Hasle, some three kilometers down the road, had just closed a year ago. So there was really none on this side and the cafe at the ferry terminal in Agskarded would be closed before the ferry’s arrival. He advised us to go to the grocery store in Hasle as they would also sell some warm food, and we followed his advice.
Once more we got grilled chicken — like the day when we rode to Noresund — and had it in the parking lot of the grocery store. We also purchased some more food so we could have some breakfast the next morning before leaving the campground toward Bodø.
Pigged out and happy we rode back to the campground and called it a night.