Nordkapp or bust

The road from The Loften Islands to Nordkapp starts as a fast run- decent views and good tarmac with nothing making you stop for pics.  It then weaves in and out of some fjords with typically impressive scenery.

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Unfortunately, it just doesn’t feel that extreme.  You could be a thousand kilometers south and the views, roads, and stores would be the same.  Come on, I’m in the Arctic circle riding north here!  Throw me a bone!

Nothing doing- the insane prices in Norway seem to be have been used to create an excellent road network that reaches the most remote points in Ferrari loving style.  Ah well, who am I to complain about a bit of extra comfort?

As my butt is focused on enjoying the smooth roads, my eyes start to see the terrain changing.  The massive walls of the fjords shrink, the trees become gnarled and less frequent.  Then you hit it.  Then you know you’ve crossed a line…

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That’s right- Rudolph appears!  While you quickly come to dread seeing these near sighted beasts on the road, the first time you see a herd wandering across the open land you really feel it.  You are north- you are seriously north and your still a few hours shy of 71°1′8″N 25°47′50″E.

While the roads may remain smooth, the weather and scenery become increasingly stark the further north you go.  Hard rain, low clouds, and brutal winds force cold water into your gear.  The now scrubby trees begin to disappear, leaving a wind ravaged landscape for you to ride through.  Every gas station, every hotel become trials of Job as you force yourself not to stop, but keep moving, keep going.

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And then you get there.  You take your pics, are rewarded for your tenacity with the weather clearing…

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And just feel a little deflated.  It’s cool and all, but it’s too easy.  Anyone can get there- the only reason it was hard was because I was on a bike in bad weather.  The rows of tour buses disgorging their walker toting passengers prove it.  I did it and am proud of it, but unlike crossing that imaginary line to the Arctic, it’s not a dramatic moment.

Would I go there again, no.  Would I recommend anyone skip it- not on your life.


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