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Family Bike Tour in Sweden and Norway

Karl Brodowsky, cycled 1994, written 1994, translated 1998

Part 3

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We spent two nights in Trysil. This gave us a chance to have a look at the open air museum, where I could translate the guide's Norwegian explanation for the tourists from Germany and Switzerland, at least I tried it. Bernhard started asking me for Norwegian words, but that was more difficult, because I actually know Swedish. Norwegian is just similar enough to understand it as well, at least in Trysil which is so close to the border that the dialects are close to the Swedish dialects on the other side.

In the afternoon we got a little bit of rain again. The children spent this time in the trailer while we went on a small trip on the almost car-less highway N 26 to the north. We even got a chance to have a rainless break before we returned to Trysil. We where even early enough to buy something and to spend all of our Norwegian money, leaving just 1 NKr and enough to pay for the camp ground.

On the camp ground we met a group of people from Switzerland and Liechtenstein. They were so unhappy because of tourists who buy everything at home and take it along in their car. If they camp in the forest they hardly spend any money, which would reduce the interest of Norwegians in tourists and thus make it more difficult for those who are willing to see the country. But this should not apply to bicycle tourists anyway because it is quite unusual to carry along food for five weeks on the bicycle, unless the bicycle is carried on top of a car and used only for short trips.

On the next morning when we intended to leave Trysil we had great weather. On that day we intended to leave the valley. So we went a little bit to the south until we came to highway N 25 which goes eastbound across the mountains to Sweden. For about 6 km we had a slope of almost 10 %. Because of the trailer Karin arrived ten minutes earlier. That was much better than trying to keep the same speed on a steep highway that is not so easy to cycle anyway. By the way the view into the valley was great.

The mountainous area through which we came now was very beautiful, especially having such a nice weather as we did on that day. The first break was made near the highway at some place where we could pick as many blueberries as we liked. It was not so easy to leave this place again. In Trysil we had been told that the village extends all the way to the Swedish border and that there would be some old canal near the border. It is being restored to show how it looked like in the old days, when it was used for rafting wood from some Norwegian river through the canal to some river that would take the wood to Klarälven and thus to well paying plants in Sweden. The canal was 8 or 9 kilometers long and had the size of a big creek.

The blueberry break, the canal and off course the first six kilometers on highway N 25 had taken so long that we had to look for some nice place to stay overnight just after having crossed the border into Sweden, having covered a distance of less than 50 km. We found a nice place which was a somewhat elevated plane of a few 100 square meters size which could be reached easily from the highway. The night was quite interesting. We had a very cold night, at least some degrees below 0 (Celsius). Also some nice animals must have been around our tent during the night, at least we could feel the weight of the steps in the vicinity of our tent. Probably it was a moose. Dangerous animals are no problem, because even bears prefer to eat blueberries and fish instead of humans. The chill was not such a problem because we where four people and thus enough to keep the tent warm.

On the next day we continued on the road that extends the Norwegian highway N 25 into Sweden until we reached the valley of the Västerdalsälven river. In that valley we wanted to follow highway N 297 a few kilometers to the south and then take a small eastbound road to highway N 70 which should have taken us to Mora. Everywhere we had asked in the tourist information if this road is paved and everywhere we got the answer that it would be paved. But it wasn't and thus we could not use it, because dust roads are too uncomfortable for the children in the trailer and even for the bicycles. We had the choice to walk on the dust road, to go north via Särna or to go south via Sälen. This is what we actually did. At least we had a nice view of the opposite bank of the river.

Soon we reached Sälen, which is a place that seems to be popular with horse fans. We did well without any horse power, but the possibility to buy something and the tourist information was appreciated. Shortly after the border there should have been some possibility to buy something in Fulunäs, but it was such a small place consisting only of three houses. The tourist information in Sälen was the first one to know about the pavement of the road that we did not use. But they could also tell us about the road that would branch to the east a few kilometers further to the south. It was really paved, but not in the best state. Riding in the middle of the road, where the white lines are, was the best idea for using it, while no other traffic was visible. But the road was really not at all busy, maybe one vehicle every 10 minutes. Unfortunately one of my spokes was torn when we turned from highway N 297 to the eastbound road for Älvdalen. A local bicyclist told us that the next bicycle store would be in Älvdalen rather than in Sälen, which meant 52 kilometers of cycling with just 35 spokes in my rear wheel.

The region we passed through was very beautiful with many lakes, moors and again hills with a good view. Somewhere in the woods we found a nice place for our tent. The next day we arrived in Älvdalen and found the bicycle shop that they have there. But the guy working there seemed to be so disinterested and he told us that he would not have the right tools. When I told him that he was just holding that tool in his hands he made us an offer to repair my cycle within such a long time that we did not get very happy. But he got very happy when I asked him if it would be possible to continue to Mora and find a shop there. Yes, he told us that it is an excellent highway and that there is an excellent shop.

So we tried to go on another 40 km on southbound highway N 70 to Mora. It proved to be quite hilly and quite curvy, but we made it to Mora and even to the campground, where we pitched up our tent and took out my rear wheel. Using Karins bike I did not have much time to find the bike shop before its closing hour. But somehow I found it by asking another bicyclist who came from Germany as well and who had needed that shop as well. Even though it was a few minutes before closing hour they replaced the spoke immediately and a few minutes later I could leave the shop again with a repaired rear wheel after having paid some reasonably fair price.

In Mora we took two days rest and had excellent pan cakes which could be made using a pan that was found in the kitchen of the camp ground. On the first of these two days we went on a small trip to Orsa where we wanted to find some small canyon. It was really beautiful and we left our bicycles near the highway and walked a few kilometers through the valley. Bernhard did a good job on that and got along himself pretty well, but off course Ulrich had to be carried most of the time. Having walked through the valley and quite a few meters up we found a nice little lake where the water was dammed before going down through the canyon. It was even a nice place for swimming. When we walked down again we were overtaken by a mountain biker who apparently was biking on the small trail where we walked and who was parking his car where we had our bicycles. It was getting kind of late so that we were no longer able to pick all the blueberries that could be found near the trail.

On the next day we had originally intended to continue on the southern side of Siljan lake, but somehow this did not seem to provide for the best southbound continuation opportunities. And considering the end of our vacation we did have to think of going to the south again. But since somebody had told us that the southern side of the lake would be really beautiful and that we would have a nice view of the lake. Hence we went on a day trip into that area. According to the tourist information and even according to our experience the road was paved. The first part was really very nice. We found bridges and crossed a small island. The second bridge was very narrow and had traffic lights because of that. But we did not have to worry about it because bicyclists were allowed to go on even on red. The bridge was wide enough for that. After that bridge the road was still nice, but we did not see much of the lake, to be accurate nothing. After having cycled 30 km, which was pretty much the maximum between breaks, we decided to go on until we would find a location to go swimming in the Siljan lake. This proved to be possible after having gone 45 km, once we reached Siljansnäs where we wanted to go anyway. The children had spent the time watching and sleeping without any problems. We met another family with two children who were cycling in the opposite direction on a tandem with a trailer and quite a lot of luggage.

The break was used to do some shopping and some swimming and some eating. We could have done all this in Mora on the camp ground as well, but it was much more fun after such a long trip. The mountain from which one would have had a nice view of the area and the real attraction of Siljansnäs has to wait for the next time we come to that area. On the way back we did not take the detour across the island but rather saved about 5 km by following the road near the shore of the lake to highway N 45/N 64 and returning to Mora on that highway, which left us enough time for some nice warm dinner. In Mora this was especially nice because we could sit outside near the kitchen and meet other guests of the camp ground. We did not meet as many cyclists as in Trollhättan or Trysil, but there were many people who traveled by train.

[continue with part 4]

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