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Family Bike Tour in Sweden and Norway

Karl Brodowsky, cycled 1994, written 1994, translated 1998

Part 4

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After so many days of rest we had to continue our trip again. We took highway N 45/N 64 till the place where they split and from where we continued southbound on highway N 64. By the way this proved to be even much nicer than the road we had taken on the day before. In Mora we did not want to spend any time on shopping. Therefore we had to take the next shop that could be found in a small place 40 km to the south of Mora. Near the shop there was a play ground, a river and even a railroad track, which did not seem to be in the very best state though. Unfortunately we had to pass quite a few road construction areas in the afternoon where they were apparently widening the highway. This was achieved by removing the old pavement, preparing the bed for the new width and then paving it again. Therefore we had to walk with our bicycles maybe two of the kilometers that we made on that day.

When reaching Vansbro which is a small place where several highways and several railroad lines intersect and which probably had a camp ground, we did not really want to stay there. Rather we continued on highway N 64 further to the south heading for Filipstad. The highway had a tendency to go uphill, but we wanted to go all the way up before finding a place to pitch our tent. Just because it was getting dark we decided to find such a place even before having reached the top of the small hill, since it always proved that the place that seemed to be the top of the hill was just not the top once we got there. We found a nice way into the woods where we could eat and collect as many blueberries as we wished after having pitched up the tent.

What we had thought to be finally the top of the hill in the evening proved to be just a minor flattening of the slope when we continued on the next day. The highway went uphill for almost 20 km, but it was in not very steep. Still with the trailer it took me some time. Going downhill was not very fast either on that day, because it became quite windy, so that the typical speed was somewhat 13 km/h. For quite a long way highway N 64 was together with highway N 245, but even though it was narrower than before. Fortunately we had the chance to see a lot more of the rivers, mountains, woods and lakes on both sides of the road than of cars on the road. In the evening we reached a village whose name I have forgotten. But it was quite unusual because all shops where closed. Even though this was a Sunday it was quite normal to find at some shops or at least a gas station selling food open at that time of the day. This time the gas station sold only gas. But a small kiosk selling pizza and kebab was able to sell us some milk. Maybe the camp ground in Filipstad would have had milk as well, but we wanted to be on the safe side.

The camp ground should have been on the right hand side of this stretch of highway N 64 some kilometers before reaching Filipstad, where it is bundled with highway N 63. The brochure on camping in Sweden that we had ordered before the trip even suggested that there should be a nice lake. As usual we just went on and looked for the signs of the camp ground. But we never saw them and finally we realized that we had definitely already passed the side road to the camp ground. Not feeling like cycling all the way back and realizing that it was already too late to go through Filipstad and stay on the other side of the town we had to find a place to stay overnight.

But that was not so easy. On the left hand side of the highway we saw some noisy sand plant and even on the right hand side there was nothing until we finally saw a small unpaved path that had yellow road signs and thus serves as a back road. Walking into that road we found a place where it branched and thus there was a possibility to follow a branch without yellow road signs which provided for a silent night, once we had found a good and safe place to pitch our tent near a bridge across railroad tracks.

In Filipstad we bought some food and asked somebody about the state of some promising shortcut. Being pushed by good wind we left the N 64 and took the N 237 towards Karlskoga. Soon we reached the shortcut where we turned southbound again and tried to find our way somehow between highways N 64 and N 237. It was a nice little road which soon merged with another road connecting to highway N 237 and heading for Kristinehamn. We crossed a small canal which connected some of the lakes in that area and got a chance to go swimming. Bernhard had been asking me all the time what would happen to a car that is driven into the water. Here we found the answer. But the car had been transformed to a boat and had floating elements attached to its bottom. A short rain shower would have made us wet even without swimming, but we were able to hide under a big sheet of plastic that we sometimes used for our tent.

The branch to Karlskoga which was part of our shortcut was not so well paved, but rather a very rough dust road. Continuing to Kristinehamn was not what we really wanted to do and so we had to go back across the bridge where we had swum, having the wind from the wrong direction until we reached highway N 237 with a detour of 15 km instead of a shortcut. In Karlskoga we crossed highway E 18 and left the town again in the south heading for Degerfors, where we found a camp ground. Fortunately our tent proved to be quite wind proof, which was important because the wind hit the camp ground coming from the lake. But the lake made the cold showers of the camp ground redundant.

Highway N 205 which we were using now passed some wonderful small lakes. We found a beautiful place for the first rest. Near Laxå we passed through woods, which was not so unusual in that area. It is mostly woods to be accurate. After having crossed highway E 3 (new: E 20) we passed a small town whose bypass was already paved but not opened to cars, which saved us the town traffic and all the cars. In that area we found a camp ground that was situated on a small isthmus between two lakes. Originally we had intended to stay there instead of Degerfors, had we succeeded in taking the shortcut. But now it was a nice place for a rest. The ducks were special, because they did not show any fear and they even tried and succeeded to steal food that we were eating. Maybe we should have eaten duck instead.

Soon we were reaching an agricultural area north of Vättern lake and soon we had reached Askersund and the bundled highways N 49/N 50, which were splitting, one of them following the eastern side of the lake, the other one following the western side. We took the N 50 on the eastern side where we stopped on the first camp ground that we encountered a few kilometers south of Hammar. We decided to take a days rest. It was actually a nice place for that purpose. We could go swimming and take a walk to the Chinese Park which was situated in a small valley. Near the valley we also found a small mountain with a great view.

[continue with part 5]

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