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With four Children and a Tandem through Norway and Sweden

Karl Brodowsky ? , cycled 2002-07-07 bis 2002-08-09, written 2002

Part 1

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It has become some kind of a family tradition to go on a big bicycle tour every summer. But this time we did add some enhancements to our usual plans. Bernhard had already been cycling on our previous tour, when we toured Gotland in the year 2001. But this was in a way the first time with slightly longer daily distances and in areas that could not be called totally flat. Our popular starting point of earlier years in Gothenburg was replaced by Oslo for this tour. This was worth a try, because it brought us closer to the areas we intended to visit and it gave us the opportunity to see different places as soon as the tour started. The clear disadvantage of Oslo is that it is kind of tough to find a legal and good way out of the city, especially when traveling to the east, as we did. And it adds a slightly longer and more expensive ferry trip from Kiel to Oslo. But on the other hand, after having done the ugly traffic of the Oslo area on the first day, things should get nicer at least from the second day onwards and we could see more of Norway.

2002-07-06 The train trip to Kiel became a little bit easier than in the years before, because the night train from Zurich to Hamburg started transporting bicycles some time ago. By the way, this was used quite heavily and we saw quite a number of bikes in the train, filling almost the whole car. I tried to get new tires for our trailer bike in Kiel, but this seemed to be kind of impossible, at least without waiting for a week or two. We arrived on board the ship to Oslo and we left Kiel already around noon time. On the next day we left the ship around 10:00.

2002-07-07 It really proved to be quite a challenge to find our way out of this car-oriented and not so bicycle-friendly city. All the highways leading in our direction seemed to be motorways that were closed for bicyclists and we had to use winding bicycle paths with many steep climbs and curves, that kept changing the side of the motorway. Finally we found this too stressful and we were able to use the national highway N 159, which was kind of taking us into the right direction without bicycle paths. But the challenge remained, because the road signs were mostly missing or very bad or leading via the motorways. A bicycle map of Oslo which can be obtained from "Syklistenes Landsforening" proved to be of great value for getting at least a slight chance of finding our way. The office is located in Storgata 23 c.

From Lillestrøm to Fetsund near the Glåma river we used the extremely busy national highway N 22. This part of our way, from Oslo to Fetsund, seemed to include quite a slope. But since we intended to follow the river valley from Fetsund onward, we should have encountered a pretty flat highway for a long distance. But it would not be Norway if there were not any surprising steep slopes even where it is presumably flat. Directly after having crossed the bridge across the river we came to a very quiet highway, following the river, but not without climbing a little bit out of the valley once in a while. Even though the river is more than 200 meters wide in this area, there were amazingly many bridges and our highway changed sides at some point of time as well. For the first night in Norway we found a pretty decent site for pitching up our tent in the woods. This locations was slightly more elevated than the highway and the river, keeping wet surprises away.

2002-07-08 After some more crossings of the river we finally arrived at the camp ground of Kongsvinger, which was located nicely near the river, but otherwise probably not the most attractive camp ground in Norway. Anyway we enjoyed a day of rest in Kongsvinger.

2002-07-09 The tires of our trailer and of our trailer-bike were already used up and we had even been able to replace one of them in a small village shop on our way to Kongsvinger. Buying tires proved to be pretty much like this during the whole trip: I went into the shop and asked for a tire and wrote down the measurements. The dealer always told me that he would not have such a tire, but I insisted on seeing his tires and showed him one that looked similar to the size we needed. And bingo, it was the exact size. But it was the last one of this size, so we had to find another shop for another tire. But actually the interesting part of Kongsvinger was the old fortress. It even had some small tunnels to visit.

2002-07-10 To keep things simple in the beginning, we continued parallel to the Glåma north of Kongsvinger. On the western bank we found the presumably less busy national highway N 210, which should lead us about 60 % of our way to Elverum. Actually it continued as state highway even all the way to Elverum. Even though this is very untypical for Norwegian state highways, this one was actually paved. We passed a place named Gotland, a name better known for a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. The guy who ran the camp ground in Kongsvinger had told us that there would be a lot of rain during our second night in Kongsvinger and during the day on which we intended to leave. But there was no rain and it was even sunny, but we could feel the humidity. In the evening, some minutes before we found a camp ground about 30 km south of Elverum, a thunderstorm in combination with a lot of rain occurred. So we tried to hire a cabin for a change, even though our tents are actually very well apted for use even in heavy rain.

2002-07-11 As usual, car drivers sometimes overtook us even when the traffic coming from the opposite direction was already quite close or when there was a curve or a mountain reducing the view. Once it happened that the trailer of an overtaking car hit a car coming from the opposite direction. But the driver with the trailer was kind of in a hurry, so he just disappeared. I gave my cell phone number to the driver of the damaged car, in case he needed any kind of witness, and then we disappeared as well.

In Elverum we found quite a lot of stores for buying food, rubber boots and some other stuff. We even had to fix a flat tire, when we thought we could just go on. So it was almost 18:00, when we finally continued on the main highway following the eastern bank of the Glåma river, which was supposed to be paved all the way to Rena. In Rena we did quite a tour of the town to find the camp ground, but finally we found out that there would have been a shortcut via a second bridge across the river, connecting almost directly between the main highway we came from and the camp ground.

2002-07-12 We stayed in Rena for two nights and Karin and I took turns in going on little tours to the east, where highways climbed through some side valleys into the mountains. These little excursions without luggage are always fun and we had wonderful views when we went back towards Rena again. The kids did not cycle on this day, but I went swimming with them, which was especially nice in Rena, because there was a bay of the Glåma river without currency and with a nice beach.

2002-07-13 Going north from Rena the main highway on the eastern bank was supposed to be a dust road, at least for a certain section, as we could find out from several sources. So we preferred using the national highway N 3 on the western bank, which proved to be quite fine and not too busy. But it did have more cars than the main highway on the other side, so we tried to change sides once we had passed the unpaved section. But this did not seem to be very easy, because right after the bridge we encountered a railroad crossing which closed just in that moment. The train had a stop signal, so it sat just on the railroad crossing, presumably having to wait all the time until another train came. So we just took our time for a meal. The road on the other side of the railroad line seemed to be going back to Rena, while the two dust roads leading in the right direction were obviously dead ends. But it showed that the paved road just d-toured a little bit to the main road, which was located some 100 meters above the river level. At some point of time the freight train disappeared and we had found out how to continue. So we finally took the quiet road, which was even paved all the way to Koppang, but it did indeed have some more hills than the national highway N 3. Most of the time the rail line was between us and the river. We preferred the opposite arrangement, because it usually meant that the highway was flat.

Arriving in Koppang we knew that there would be a nice camp ground some kilometers north of the town. We continued on the national highway N 3. But things turned up differently. We had a break somewhere in the forest for our evening meal and we liked the place so much that we decided to stay there for the night. A few 100 meters away from the national highway we found a place in the forest near the river, where we had a wonderful view of the Glåma with some rapids and some islands.

[continue to Part 2]

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