Day -1 25.05.2003 Sunday

Sunday afternoon my boyfriend and me started the journey towards Oslo and the motorcycle gathering, Connecting@Speed. Bonneville was anxious but I had this lump in my stomach, I was so nervous, whether she's going to live through the week, poor old lady, driven by a GIRL!!! Jaffa, my boyfriend, was cool as normally; Shadow will climb the mountains without fear.

Some rain, some sunshine and some other bikes with us on the ferry to Stockholm. Quick dinner and pleasant dreams.

Day 0 26.05.2003 Monday

Herregud, hvilken dag! Suuria tunteita ja jännittäviä tilanteita.

Morning started well, Bonne was a bit sleepy but woke up and we drove out from the harbor.

The weather was excellent, lots of sunshine and some small cumulus clouds to give shadow once in awhile. The driving was fun, million things going through my mind. For example I was wondering, where are all the bikers in Sweden? Then we got a call from Harri M. and Vesa S. who were coming from Helsinki to Stockholm and they said it started to rain heavily! Conclusion from this: the rain clouds don't have much brain and therefore they are attracted to street bikes (Vesa has Honda CBR 600 and Harri BMW K1200RS). And that's why we didn't see many bikes in Sweden, they are all packed to those trailers (hint to Joakim and Ann Louise!) and trucks we passed by, they were all driving to Norway because it rains there anyway.

Grandma in heaven must have turned her back on me when I startled the herd of cows in the field. Bonne's singing voice is quite peculiar and I wanted to give them something to muu about, I pushed the honk a couple of times and the cows went berserk! And I was laughing like crazy, trying to keep my hand over my mouth to keep the kamikazemosquitos out.

E20 is not my thing. It's like a wind tunnel, you have to take care of your head, otherwise it might be blown to sky-high!

E18 was much better, a bit slower and a bit curvier. And the views were magnificent! Horses, more cows, lot of trees and falls were huge!

Oslo 37 was the signpost, which I had been waiting and was very surprised when Jaffa turned towards Drammen. Well, Bonne and I followed thinking that he should know the place, when he's driving so confident and he refused to take the map of Oslo along because he knows the neighborhood.

We went through 7 tunnels, the longest one being 7,3 km long! It was like being in a Sylvester Stallone movie, riding along dark tunnel, red lights in the ceiling and endless curves. Anyway, after the 7th tunnel, Jaffa decided not to go via Drammen and I figured that we were lost! I proved right the expression that it's too embarrassing for a guy to ask directions, I had to do it and found out the right way from Åros to Oslo. It cost us one extra hour.

When we got sooooo close to Bogstad, Bonne loosed her clutch and I was stuck in the midsection on 6 o'clock traffic jam! Jaffa didn't loose his temper (as I did!) and helped me out of the situation, piiuuuuh, what a sweat! We changed bikes because my strengths weren't enough to hold the gear. After one too tight U-turn (Shadow fell over, ups) we were finally at the Bogstad camping and at the cabin. Harri and Vesa had arrived just some minutes earlier. Again, quick shower, food and sleeeeeeep

Day 1 of the actual rally 27.05.2003 Tuesday

My fingers are swollen! Yesterdays 630 km were too much!

All the participants were ready to go about 10 a.m. from Lysaker towards Oppdal. The weather was excellent, just a couple of clouds in the sky. Through Sandvika everything was fine but then miss Bonne got fed up and broke her engine. The other cylinder just collapsed! Rest of the crew continued the journey and I started to bother the insurance company.

After 2 hours NAF (SOS road service in Norway) finally arrived and took Bonne and me to the closest workshop. There Simon, a Triumph guru, diagnosed the obvious, Bonne wouldn't drive today. Next thing, to the rental shop AND FAST! I rented this beautiful young stud, Yamaha R6, wooouuuuhhhh. My first street bike. And a street bike he really was! The curves just vanished, they didn't exist any more :) well, ok, have to admit, with my skills (non-existent) and the chicken underneath the hard surface, the curves did exist and even tried to attack me. Especially curves to the left just beside a mountain wall.

It took us 7,5 hours to get to the cabin at Löftnes, near Oppdal. We arrived at 02:30, and some of the guys were awake just for us. Very considered, I would say. We were so cold from the mounting the Norwegian alps, 0 degrees at night time... Crazy Finns! Sauna was heavenly, although Jaffa immediately started to complain about the construction flaws on the walls.

Day 2 of the actual rally 28.05.2003 Wednesday

There were no curtains on the window so I was half awake for hours when the alarm clock bursted into noise. Sverre had made breakfast ready. The feeling was eager, let's go, let's go! The bright blue R6 in the picture, I’m putting on the leather scarf.

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And off we drove. The weather was very nice again, surprisingly sunny. And driving Yammu was heavenly, absolutely fabulous! Although the driving position is not very ergonomic, nearly the whole bodyweight is on your wrists and arms. My fingers were screaming for stretching and rest.

Three ferries and one huge bridge. The "duracell rabitts" were too anxious to get early to the gjestegård at Hustadsvika and over half of the group were left behind or should I say, chose to stay behind. The scenery was breathtaking and we stopped for photos couple of times. The gorgeous bridge was a bit dangerous-looking too, it seemed from below that it's not finished and we'll just jump to the next piece of road. "To the destiny and beyond". First steep upwards full speed, then heavy breaking because there was a nice curve...on the bridge! Nobody jumped.

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Ann, Peter and Svein
Ann, Peter and Svein.

Dinner, bacalhao, red wine and lots of laughing. I was quite tired and my left hand (clutch) was sore so I went bed early. Other stayed up till midnight.

Then there was this incident with the front brake. It starts to be boring...

There's more. I woke up at 02:20 because my left hand, the fingers, was swollen to sausages. The pain was indescribable! I stayed up for the rest of the night weeping and thinking I am not a real motorcyclist, this isn't happening, I want my mommy :(

Day 3 of the actual rally 29.05.2003 Thursday, Ascension Day

Raining. At least my feelings were the same, a bit gloomy. Fingers are still hurting, I tried to stretch the wrist, it helped a bit but it didn't erase the numbness.

With my aching fingers, we decided that Jaffa will drive Yammu and I'll take the Shadow. What a relief that was, phiuuuh. We also took a different route, this time a real short cut, from an actual map, heh heh. Instead of 300 km we drove a scenery route that was only 156 km. A part of the road was so narrow that cars coming from the other direction just nearly fitted on the road. It was nice to drive slowly, watch the horses in the meadow and take pictures. We even saw a toilet in new use, as a flowerpot :))

I feel sorry for the rest; they'll be driving 150 km/h with eyes on the road. The name of the rally says Speed but hey, there's more to it than that. Maybe there are two kinds of bikers, the ones which values new experiences, nice views and enjoying the ride and then there are the ones who want to feel the breeze in their faces as hard as possible, swallow curves and laugh at kismet. I belong to the first club; maybe I'm at the wrong rally?

Already two hours have passed and no sign of the rest. How slowly can they drive, eh? Well, there's a ferry every 30 minutes so no rush. We had a nice lunch, proper food, bacon hamburger with fries, enjoying the greasy taste with all the time there is, mmmm.

We started the engines and thought to have a little tour while waiting for others. Actually pretty good timing, the ferry got there and so did the rest of the crew. Straight to the ferry and so we continued.

Nina, Peter and Svein
Niina, Peter and Svein

Pyöriä

Just a 15 km ride to the camping area. We had a Finnish cabin team again. Also the Swedes were in one cabin and the Nor-Den was in one.

Sverre ordered pizzas since there was no food, not a restaurant or anything at the place. Six marvelous pizzas! Even though we had the hamburgers, I was hungry anyway. And so were the others! Before the pizzas the noise was quite high, guys comparing the gained speed points and talking about the nicest (read tightest) curves, did you use brakes or not. Then the food came and suddenly there was a total silence. Well, except for the heavy breathing through the noses, can't breath and chew on the same time if you 're really hungry. Can you imagine, the cottages cost 1500 NOK and the pizzas 1000 NOK!!!

Somebody had a bottle of whiskey on the table and some cigars. You can guess that the night was full of cheery laughs again!

Btw, Anne's Honda flipped over. She was adjusting something next to the fuel pump and Honda just fell over to other side. Nothing broken.

Day 4of the actual rally 30.05.2003 Friday

Mårten left us. He claimed he had a meeting with the architect; they are selling some property and building a house on the other. Yeah, right, he was just afraid of the high speeds Anne and me were doing on the narrow roads! He promised to buy all of us new bikes if everything goes smoothly with the selling on Saturday. W e heard a rumor that they are asking app. 5 billiard Norwegian crones for the land. Ok, maybe he could buy us bikes...

Sverre and Jaffa headed for Ålesund for a shopping trip and the rest of us carried along with the original route. I was a bit afraid, knowing how Sverre drives and Jaffa driving behind him. He's a sensible guy, he wouldn't compete, right?

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We were going to the west-most place in Norway, Vestkapp. The place where the coastline turns and vessels have to nice and easy because of the streams mixing. The roads to the place were also quite thrilling. Some of them wide (to Norwegian standards, that is) and nice to cruise and some of them so narrow that if they were a car coming from the opposite direction, you might want to slow down. Also the last part of the road to Vestkapp was a thrill, the surface wasn’t very even and the back tire of the Shadow is quite broad and it was just sliding on the road. I almost bit my tongue of while trying to keep on the road. And the same thing when we came back, down the same road, jaiks!

Driving along. There was this marvelous tunnel again! 6,5 km, first you do a spiral left, going down at the same time, then straight, there was a sign on the ceiling, 80 m.u.h. (That’s 80 meters below see!!!), then the same kind of a spiral to the right and up. I felt like a cremling after I hit the sunny day outside the tunnel "BRIGHT LIGHT, BRIGHT LIGHT!!!" The nerves behind my eyes were screaming for mercy! I wondered where Ann with her old Saudi-Arabian police bike (!!!) was, she didn’t come out of the tunnel and when she finally did, she explained me that wearing dark sunglasses inside the tunnel is a killer for the speed :)))

Joakim with his GSX1000F (yaaawn, boring…) proved to be one un-impatient person! First he was driving behind Ann and me, then at some point he just couldn’t stand looking at the backs of two girls and started to pass just about everybody! And when he did so, all the others accelerated and the whole punch just vanished from our sight! Yeah, that happened every day…

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At the camping area, we had a de luxe dinner, hot dogs and Finnish HK Blå. The Danes had something stronger, again, and with some beer, all were quiet pooped. I went to bed about 10 p.m., exhausted and what I heard the next day that John had passed out just before Ivan did the same. They slept together. SLEPT, I said! Unfortunately, there’s no picture about that :(

Day 5 of the actual rally 31.05.2003 Saturday

Sverre woke up again before everybody else; it’s illegal to drag people out of their warm sleeping bags before dawn on their holiday!!! Before dawn I said? Yeah, Norway is like Finland, you better learn to sleep in daylight because that’s what it is!

THE MOST MOUTH-WATERING BREAKFAST I EVER HAD!!!!! We drove maybe an hour or so to Svein's parents, where this absolutely wonderful brunch was waiting for us! While hoarding the food to the plates we just had to admire the view from the balcony and wonder why on earth Svein wanted to move!

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Svein's nephew parked his bike on the row :)

Oh, it was almost too sad to leave the place. Thank you, Svein and say the best wishes to your folks when you go there next time! They’re too kind!

On the way, the guys got something to laugh about, again. Just before one of the many tunnels, we made a turn and of course, like a decent driver, I turned the blinker on. The problem occurred when I tried to turn it off. It wouldn’t stop!!! I was driving after some of the guys and there was this Micra behind me, he must have thought that I’m either drunk or otherwise mad, my blinker was turning from left to right and back again, I couldn’t get it off! Where could you turn in a tunnel, eh? Finally, after one or two km, I got it off and Jaffa was neighing behind the car, “Good girl, you made up your mind!” HAHA, I say, it could happen to anyone!

We started the road over the mountain to Voss and stopped over the top for some group pictures. You know, bikes in line and a wide smile on everybody's face. We were all lined up and just waiting for Anne. We heard her coming and saw her passing! She totally missed us! I suppose the approaching tunnel to her was like a light to a moth, she just had get there. Svein drove after her and brought her back. Guess how we laughed!!!

Taking pictures. Harri first said "cheese" but then he got an idea: "say CURVE", that was something what really got the smile as big as possible :))

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There was over 2 meters of snow along the road and I even saw somebody on skies! We're having a summer holiday and others are skiing! How weird can it be?

I was a bit worried where Ann and Ivan were, I thought I was slow but I couldn't see them behind me anymore. I stopped to wait and after some minutes Ivan passed by and said Ann is taking pictures. No wonder! So I decided if Ann and Ivan are taking pictures, I can take it easy, really easy. I drove like 50-60 km/h and admired the view. There was this amazing water fall pouring down from the mountain, all the melting snow just coming down with a blast!

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The guys were already worried where the three of us were when I got to the gas station. An ice cream tasted soooo goood :)

Peter, Ivan and Svein left from the gas station earlier to see their friends at Pale Riders øygarden mc's gathering. We followed thinking to ride to Fossli but when we saw the camping area filled with bikers, we had to join them. And there were the guys too.

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Svein’s dream? He has now this ST4s, and going FAST! What do you need this 999 for..?

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The sun was shining and it started to get hot. There was beer available for 20 NOKs! We had to continue our way, it was too tempting to stay there and have some cool cheap beer...

To the Bringnes ferry from Bruravik. Jaffa and I rounded from Voss center, to get some cash from the bankomat. Others drove slowly and they weren't at the harbor much earlier than us. We crossed a huge tunnel again, 7.5 km. Middle of the way my powers were vanishing. I had to take my left hand's glove off to feel the tank valve, I jiggled it and the powers came back! I don't know, have I been driving too carefully, should I turn the handle more aggressively; or what?

At least 20 bikes queuing to the ferry. One really nice Honda Varadero and an 1100cc Shadow.

I ran out of gas! That's what the Shadow was trying to tell me!

We drove some 10 km and then turned to the Trollvågen, a scenery route to Fossli hotel. It was like a mc safari! Reeeally narrow rode going some places through a mountain arch and turning like a snake. We stopped to watch this wonderful waterfall with a big rainbow glowing in there. I can't tell you how beautiful it was!

And the hotel! Like from the Shining! The waiter was an old guy with a real waiter's vest and a napkin on the arm! 83 years old.

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Our hotel at Fossli. Up there, can’t you see it, come on!

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Spicy mushroom soap, trout and raspberry mousse pie. Wines. liquor, konjak. and cigars. John reminded me to pay attention to details, referring to my blinker situation. I think he tried to be a bit sarcastic…

You must have heard about the prices in Norway? Here’s an example, 2 cl of whiskey costs 130 NOK!

Day 6 of the actual rally 01.06.2003 Sunday

A proper hotel breakfast, good but didn’t measure up to Sven’s mom’s breakfast, that’s for sure!

There’s about 300 km to Oslo and we decided that since the Danes were in a hurry to catch their ferry, they could speed ahead. We would follow with the Swedes and other Finns.

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I can’t stop wondering about the things you see on the way when you’re traveling on a motorcycle! This time there were llamas, not cows, and also light aircrafts just beside the road. And we even saw nudity! At one gas station there were some kids fooling around on a pool. Vesa just asked are there any adult female there, no, ok, why bother?

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Sverre parted from us and headed for Lillehammer to get his rental VFR back. And just before Kongsberg me and Jaffa parted from Ann, Joakim, Harri and Vesa. We were all going to the same place but I don’t know, we were faster this time :)

There was the worst traffic jam ever when we got to the motor high way, 82 km to Oslo! I drove my speed record (on Honda, that is), going 130 km/h on the left lane. My head was going to pop off from my shoulders!!!

Finally at Lysaker.

I wanted to see the "magic trick", how those two bikes fitted into the trailer. A BIG mistake to stay. It was at least 30 degrees, the sun was shining and it took soooooo long to get it done. The guys we giving good advice and Joakim did the opposite. Anne was waving her leg up in the air (didn't get a picture, damm) and pretending to be concerned. That's what I felt anyway. How could it take so long???

Joakim finally decided that the bikes are steady and they can start the trip to home. AT LAST! It was so hot, and I wasn't even doing anything but sitting and watching how the trick is done!

The Finnish team headed toward Oslo center and Karl Johans gate where the bikes are normally lined up. And so it was this time too. Not so many though. Nor not so fine bikes we have seen there earlier. Anyway, ice creams, "there's the King's castle and off we went. Harri and Vesa went straight to E18 toward Karlstad and we turned to 4 , to Kjol, where our friends were waiting us.

First quickly empty the bags and we were on the road again. My bum started to feel like after a surgery. Not that I ever have had a bum surgery but I can imagine it starts to feel weird at some point. About 40 km to Vormsund, deliver the R6 back (a thousand thanks to Lars Qvale from Vormsund, Oslo!) and with the Shadow back to Kjol.

It was already after 8 p.m. we arrived and Samppa and Anne had been to sauna already. So we were given a time schedule, an hour to have the first beer (it tasted like mountain water fall, cold and refreshing), to go through the sauna rituals and be ready for food! No problemo! We were waiting for the grilled pork in no time. The food has never tasted so good! Except the brunch at Svein's parents. Except the hot dogs on Friday. Except the bacalhao on Wednesday. So basically, anything goes :) but it was really delicious, I tell you! Samppa has the way with the spices...

Day +1 (our 9th day) 02.06.2003 Monday

Jeco called, Bonneville is not ok. Predictable. I think she is a former Norwegian and doesn't want to leave Oslo??? Last year it was almost the same, after 130 km toward Trondheim from Oslo, She terminated her contract. And that was a 15 000 NOK repair, 2,5 months. Well, I couldn't have driven anyway; my right arm was in cast for that whole period. That's another story again...

Also I called the insurance company and told them I'm leaving Bonne here for some time, un-repaired. The company really has earned it’s name, IF, their motto should be “If something happens on the way, we pay IF we feel like it”.

We left most of the stuff with Samppa and Anne, they’ll be coming to Finland soon anyway.

Two on Shadow, and still the speed is like 120-130 km/h. I mean after Norwegian border, that is. Jaffa is a hell of a driver, I can assure you!!! I had to close my eyes, pretending to be an ostrich and hiding myself from danger. I'm not complaining, don't even think about it. If I was driving, we'll still be on the road (it's 6:55 p.m. at Stockholm when I'm writing this).

At mid-day I got this king idea: maybe we can switch our boat ticket to get to Finland on the night boat instead of the Tuesday day boat. Immediately a call to Silja and yes, that' possible. Only problem was that departure is at 5 p.m. We had about 400 km from Stockholm and less than 5 hours to go. JAIKS!

We were riding against the clock. 140 km/h somewhat average (!!!) but we seemed to run out of time.

Only 17 km to Stockholm and middle of the Monday afternoon traffic, 20 minutes to go. Jaffa was again laughing to destiny and this time also to the police, and passing the queues between the lanes. Faster, faster, he was constantly checking the time. We're gonna make it, we'll miss it, we're gonna make it. And we missed it. With couple of minutes. The boat was still there but closed already.

This is like an emotional roller coaster, first a huge disappointment. Then thrills and excitement, laughter and down to earth again. But I won't g dwelling on that, the trip has been a regular joy ride, something I can recommend to all who ask!

Ok, back to the story. We managed to change the tickets to Turku trip, departure at 8:15 p.m. Karolina at Silja desk must have been surprised how easily she can please customers, we thanked her several times, bowing to Goddess who made our trip home possible. Well, we had to pay her but that's not relevant. And we didn't get a cabin.

Now we're waiting to gates to open. Jaffa is at a queue with the Shadow and I'm at the terminal, planning to go in first and ask for possibly canceled cabin (normally 2 or 3 will be available).

We got the cabin. For some extra money, of course. Oh boy, this trip has been one hell-o-va money hole!

That’s it, we got home, and that was the end of the story.

I asked the crew to fill in this table, just for curiosity :) I think some of the guys were too shy to tell everything and others just clearly lied :)))

name nationality “vehicle” Max speed Favorite gear The best thing on this trip?
Sverre Norwegian Honda VFR 200 2 Lots of corners
Jaffa Finnish Honda Shadow 600/Yamaha R6 210 4 Curly roads
Joakim Swedish Suzuki GSX1000R 100 3 The nice views
Ann Louise Swedish Honda CM 400 T 120 4 The snowy mountains
Peter Swedish Suzuki GSX600F 195 3 The curves
Ivan Danish Honda VFR 200+ 3 The nice roads and curves
Svein Norwegian Ducati ST4s - 3 The curves…
Vesa Finnish Honda CBR600F ? :-) 3 The curves and excellent participants!
Harri Finnish BMW K1200RS >200 4 How easily bmw manages the curves
Niina Finnish Triumph Bonneville 750 / Yamaha R6 / Honda Shadow 136 (R6) 4 Curves with R6!
Morten Norwegian   180 3 Speeding up the hills and the curved roads westwards from Fannrem over to Kyrksæterøra, and the cold swim in the sea late evening Løe right outside Ulstein
all         The excellent breakfast at Svein’s parents!

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Ninnair

Takaisin