The road is calling and the new tourist attraction at Allmannajuvet is the destination of this weekend’s trip. As it turned out the ride on new and for me unknown roads, became the highlight of the trip with fantastic sceneries and wonderful riding.
It is chilly. The fog hangs low and occasionally I ride into fog so dense that it sticks to the visor. I’m warm, but without the heated handlebar grips I would have had frozen fingers. I’m on my way to Rauland to meet Bror, Knut and Tom. They left last night and have stayed at a hotel in Rauland. Bror asked if I would like to join them for a ride to Allmannajuvet this weekend. I have had several invitations, but never had the opportunity to joint hem. Finally I can join them. I could not ride with them yesterday, so here I am, an early bird on my way to meet them at Rauland.
I am on the main route from Oslo, but before I get to Kongsberg I take some shortcuts and stay on local roads. West of Kongsberg the fog clears and from time to time I can see the blue sky and sometimes the sun set fire to my rear view mirrors as it shines through the low clouds. At the lake Elgsjøen I have to stop, the light and the reflections in the lake are fantastic. The sun is getting higher and chases the fog and the low clouds as the heat builds.
At Nutheim I turn right on to road 503. I have never ridden this road on motorcycle, but I have come in the opposite direction by car. The road is narrow and especially by the bridges you should take care. I have had dry roads so far, but now the road is wet from the rain last night. I get a nice rhythm and enjoy the ride. The chill I had coming down my back is gone as the ride gets more active.
It was ten minutes to seven when I rolled the BMW out of the garage I Oslo. Now it is nine o’clock and I still have some distance to go. I can feel the sun warming now as it reaches down to me between the trees and the rocky hillsides. The light is amazing and the green fields and a slight tone of yellow and orange on the trees give a very special atmosphere.
At Straume by the lake Dyrdalsvatnet I join keep right and join road 801 towards Rauland. At the crossing by Lognvik I take a short brake, it is time for another picture in the beautiful light by the lake Lognvikvatnet. We are well in to September and we still have green fields and just a hint of yellow on the trees.
I am riding by the map today. It takes some time to get used to not having continuous updates on distance and time to my destination, and to be frank with you: I do not have a clue on how far it is to the hotel where I will meet the others. But I have an idea that I do not that far to go now.
11 kilometres later I arrive at Rauland Høyfjellshotel. I find two K 1200 S and one XT 1200Z Ténéré parked outside. I have just had time to take of my helmet and stretch my legs when Bror, Knut and Tom appear ready for the trip west. Allmannajuvet as a destination was Bror’s idea. He has read about the new tourist attraction in the newspaper. There had been an official opening one and a half week ago, and the facility has got its own presentation on National Tourist Routes in Norway.
We fuel at Rauland in order to be as synchronised as possible when it comes to fuel range and ride road 362 west. We ride along the lake Totak. We have an enjoyable ride on a sometimes bumpy and twisty road. By Sandviki we pass an area that is susceptible to landslides and avalanches and with a built up barrier along the road. At the Sandviki farm the main building is protected by a barrier against landslides and avalanches.
At Haukeli we turn right on road E134. It is some time since last I rode this road, and the quality on the road has improved a lot. There are several tunnels on our route, and the first one is the Vaagslid tunnel. We decide to take a detour around the tunnel on the old road. We will not gain time by this. The road is narrow, and we find a perfect place to make a break. With three smokes in the group that is always welcome. And with views like this … it is perfect.
On the road over Hardangervidda it is far to the dramatic mountain views. Here on the other hand the mountains are close and on the modern and effective road west of the Vaagslid tunnel you can enjoy the scenery and still make some kilometres. The next tunnel is the Haukeli tunnel. It is 5682 meters long, and it feels very natural to keep left by the lake Ulevåvatnet and take the old road and avoid the long and boring tunnel.
There is a gentle climb from the lake Ulevåvatnet up to Dyreskar where we are at 1148 m.a.s.l. and the highest point of this trip. This road is much better than the one around the Vaagslid tunnel. It do not get the same attention as the main road when it comes to maintenance, so there are some bumpy parts, and in one section there are some very narrow curves. However, the scenery makes up for this.
In order to keep up with our plan to visit Allmannajuvet and get to Soelvgarden in Rysstad, our destination for the night, in time for dinner we have to speed up. We ride the tunnels for the rest of our trip west, also the one after Horda, which wounds like a spiral in the mountain. After the tunnel, we deviate left on to road 520 towards Saud. This road is narrow, and we take care in the blind curves, as there is a big chance of meeting cars and even caravans. We have a wonderful over the lake Roeldalsvatnet towards Botnen. Far below we can see road 13 following the lake westbound. We are already high above the lake, and continue climbing as we ride the serpentines passed Ekkjevikkleiva. We make a short stop at the viewpoint, before we continue to Ekkjeskaret and the lake Ekkjestartjoerna.
At the top of our climb, we are in a very beautiful and special landscape. If grey with a touch of green and is your choice of colour you have come to the right place. The grey mountain and stones are covered by lichen in light green. We ride along several lakes as we continue west. The lake Svartavatnet is the biggest lake we pass, and is a sad and fascinating sight. The dam in the southern end of lake is under construction and the lake I drained. This is not how we want to see our mountain lakes. When the construction is completed, all will be back to normal again.
We are over the mountain and start our decent. We pass Hellandsbygda where the valley widens. As we ride along the lake Storlivatnet, the valley creeps on to us again and then we are at Allmannajuvet, a narrow canyon where the river and the road share the space. You cannot miss the new facilities at Allmannajuvet. The Swiss architect Peter Zumthors has made some very special buildings that stands out where the former zinc mines were situated. The restaurant and the museum stands on pillars, and all the buildings are in the same style. The restaurant and museum are closed. We are more than a little disappointed and take a short walk before departing to Sauda for a lunch.
A quick look at the watch and we decide we have to take the shortest route possible if we are going to arrive at Soelvgarden before they stop serving dinner. The shortest route means we are going back to Haukeli the same way we came and then turn south on road 9. As we have not ridden this road before, that is no problem. On the return, we will see everything from a new angel. We do not know it yet, but the fantastic views we had on our ride west will be surpassed by what we will experience on our return ride. With the sun on our backs, there is an all-new landscape ahead of us.
Thank you guys, the Allmannajuvet was supposed to be the goal for the trip, as i turned the ride became the goal:-)
We got to Rysstad in time for dinner. The next day we rode passed Gaustatoppen and had a lunch at Rjukan, before returning to Oslo.
Usefull links for this trip:
NB! Google Maps may change a route if it includes a road that is closed (e.g. closed during the winter) at the time you are viewing the route.