This is the day for adventure and discoveries. I wake up to a morning mist. It fades and I have a day with expetional roads and a clear blue sky ahead. The first destination is Blaasjö, then to “A place where no one would believe that anyone could live”. This is day two of my West Country Tour 2020.
I wake up early. After a quick look out of the tent, I see that I can stay in the sleeping bag for at least one hour more. The fog is filling the valley and I hope it will disappear. By eight o’clock I have the oatmeal ready and after a delicious breakfast I am ready to pack. By nine o’clock I am off. I haven’t seen the sun yet and it is very humid. But the road is dry. The weather is the same on the other side of the almost 5 km long Svotunnelen. At Hjelmeland the gate closes behind me as I ride aboard the ferry. My intention was to refuel here, but when the ferry is ready it is too tempting to board straight away. – I asume I will get petrol in Nesvik.
That was a mistake, there were no petrol station I Nesvik. I start the trip inland along the Jøsenfjord and the optimism regarding the weather rises considerably as the miles go by. I take a break in the bend above Eidavika. Mostly for the view, but I also must take off a jacket – by now the sun is shining and everything looks brilliant. I must decide when it comes to gasoline. A quick look at the map show that I have almost 130 km without a petrol station in front of me. Most likely I will manage. However, it is not worth taking the risk. There is always a bit of stress when orange lamp starts flikkering.
My plan was to continue along the fjord to Jösenfjord and from there over the mountain. But instead, I continue on road 13 in search for a gas station. And lucky me. The road over to Erfjord and along the fjord is fantastic and offers entertaining riding. Already at Joker in Erfjord it is possible to get petrol. I buy something for lunch as well, before I happily head back in the direction of Jösenfjord.
Like yesterday, I have the road mostly to myself today as well. Jösenfjorden is a nice companion, and fjord shows itself from its best side. I stop at the picnic area down by the sea and enjoy the pastries, called Kraakebolle (in english “Crow bun”), I bought at Joker in Erfjord. Anbjörn at Joker Erfjord explains the history behind the name: “We use the name because in earlier times a person from our village was often called a” Crow “, when he / she was visiting or partying in one of the neighboring villages. Preferably with a slightly condescending attitude. In Erfjord village there are always a lot of crows (birds). Other neighboring settlements had similar names, such as Skiftun-Calf, Jelsa-Calf and Fogna-Fox. This will be a bit local, this is the connection to the name of the pastry😊.» The wheat pastry with vanilla filling and cinnamon and sugar sprinkles tastes delicious and the name does not spoil it, and it makes a wonderful lunch.
By now the temperature has passed 23 degrees and I enjoy the view to the Jössundfjord at I enjoy my lunch. They even have flowers on the stone tables. After the rest and some photos, I start on the climb up the Ulla valley. On the north side the valley the road rises steeply. I stop and take a short break at the bauta of Georg Fjellberg and I am already 500 meters above the fjord.
The road is narrow and bumpy, and the speed is moderate as I ride up to Mosvatnet. At the end of the lake, I turn right. By the crossing there are signs to Sandsa, Stranddalen and Gullingen, and next to them a sign for my destination – Blåsjövegen. After just under 1,5 kilometers, I come to a roadblock. I pay 60 kroner and continue up the mountain. It is not the most exciting road in terms of riding, but eventually nature shows itself from its best side. I am at 700 above sea level before I head down to the lake Sandsavatnet which is between at 560 and 605 meters hight depending on the water level. To the right I have mountains Sirinutane with 954 meters high peaks. The road rises steadily and when Moavatnet suddenly appears in front of me I am at approx. 800 meters altitude.
I take a break and climb the mountain north of the road to get an even better view. What a wonderful place. It is about 100 meters down to Moavatnet and at the eastern end of the lake the river Ulla enters the lake. This is the same river that I followed up from Jösenfjord. The ride from here is just amazing. The road now descends to the river and follows the river through the narrow valley to the east. There is a very special atmosphere here and the river that meanders and throws itself around the boulders. A couple of sheep are standing shouting on a mountain ledge, crying out for help. They are not trapped; they can turn around and walk down and find another grass field if they want. Silly animals. Now the valley opens and the landscape changes again before I start on a new climb up along the river. Now the river changes name from Ulla to Oddaa.
As I ride along the river the dam at Oddatjörndammen rise as a gigantic wall in front of me. The road continues almost straight ahead, but if you are going to the Blaasjö you have to turn sharply to the right into the tunnel. It is dark when I get a little into the tunnel. And the 90-degree turn in the middle of the tunnel comes a little abruptly. I have problem with the change of direction, and I have to foot for safety. There is no light coming from any of the openings here and the road is wet and bumpy as well. Just after the turn, I catch a glimpse of the light at the other end of the tunnel. The next tunnel is easier and suddenly I am on the high mountains and looking out over Oddatjörna which is one of the lakes that make the Blaasjö.
By damming the rivers Ulla, Førreaa and Brattelielva and building no less than 14 dams, this make a lake which is Norway’s largest water reservoir and our 12th largest lake. Oddatjörnsdammen which I had head on when riding along the river Oddaa is Norway’s highest rockfill dam. Up from the parking at Oddatjörna, the road rises and divides. I keep to the right and pass a large snowdrift and suddenly the road opens up and becomes a two-lane road with white borders and yellow center line – someon have had som fun here. The yellow stripe disappears soon. I ride down into the valley Förreskaret under the dam Förreskardammen before I ride up to the lake Förrevatnet and then over another dam before I get to the parking lot at Förrevassdammen.
When I look east it is not difficult to understand why the water reservoir is called Blaasjö (Blue lake). With the low mountains, it is almost as if water and sky merge. Some ice is still floating in the crystal-clear water. Out on the dam, there is a deafening roar from the water that cascades out and west down Förrejuvet as the river Førre. The dam vibrates for the force of the water masses.
The ride back to the main road is just as fantastic as it was heading to Blaasjö. This is among the best of what Norway has to offer, and I have the place all to myself. Sometimes life is just wonderful..
Back at the main road (road 632) I continue to the right and down to road 13. Here I turn right again over the river Suldalslaagen and on what must be one of the most inviting roads in the country. By Steine, I turn left and follow the signs to Suldalseid and Litunet. Now I enter the narrowest road of today. There is not even room for a motorcycle to meet a car and of course I meet a German in a motorhome. I keep right and stop. I make sure I have my left foot on the ground. On the right side of my bike there is not room for a foot, and it is almost a meter down to solid ground so if I tip to the right I will serious problems getting back on the road! I did not meet any other cars, and the road gradually became more open and with some occasional passing spots. I have a pleasant and quiet ride over the mountain. As I get a glimpse of Hylsfjorden, I am at the intersection of Li and Valskar. Now the road becomes narrower again and meanders on the hillside to the east, high above the fjord. It is mostly dense forest and not much view. At Litunet the view opens and from the old farm there is a fabulous view.
The farm is located approx. 285 meters above the fjord and would fit perfectly to the Norwegian TV-series “Where no one would believe that anyone could live”. The farm isolated with no road until 1972, and the last settlers left in 2010. On the wall at the main entrance, you can read more about the history of Litunet. I travel easily and freely compared to how it was here in the 18th and 19th centuries. I relax in the evening sun and enjoy the view of the fjord and the grassy hill below the houses. I am alone here now and accompanied only by the sound of a small waterfall running between the buildings and a couple of swallows flying between the houses.
I take a rest in the afternoon sun overlooking the fjord before returning the way I came back road 13 and year 2020. My stomach starts to murmur, and I aim for Sand. Sand turned out to be just as desolate as I feared, and I end up with a burger at a petrol station. But the picnic area was nice then and the burger was good as well.
Now I am going north to Hardanger. I can follow road 13, but it is too easy. I ride south to Lovrafjorden, where I take road 46 west. There will be some tunnels, but despite this I have a wonderful ride. I have not ridden these roads before and enjoy the view and the road. The standard of the road varies quite a lot, and I am especially impressed that it is possible to vary the width of road this much. The road can change from wide and open, to be extremely narrow as I come around a bend. I am not the only on being surprised by this, the skidmarks are long and black. As a motorcyclist I have an advantage here, I still must be prepared in case I meet a bus, a lorry or a motorhome.
The Sandsfjord bridge is impressive, as much as 65 meters of sailing height means that the entrance to Sauda is also open to large ships. At the highest point, I ride 73 meters above the fjord and have a great view, before I again ride into a tunnel. There will be more of them before I come to Ropeid and take off west for more fantastic riding. This is an eldorado and beautiful motorcycle roads like this is seldom to be found.
At Skarsmo I am on road 13 again and pass a full parking lot at the waterfall Laatefoss. I could have stopped at the campsite in Hilldal, but I would like a place where there is some sun in the morning. Then I’m in Odda and ride to Odda Camping. There are tents everywhere, even in the roundabout in front of the campsite. And the reason – the weather is great for a trip to the famous Trolltunga!
By now I am starting to get a little stressed. Far in front of me above the Sörfjord, the mountains Veten and Oksen are safe landmarks. They have already got a pink tinge. The view is beautiful, and I am not too stressed to enjoy the trip along the fjord. At Lofthus I take a detour to try to find a vacant campsite, but there is no place for my small tent.
I ride the upper road out of Lofthus, it is narrow, but more charming than the main road down by the fjord. The traffic has started to drop off by now. At Kinsarvik Camping I try again, but it is fully booked too. I do not feel like riding any further now. At Hardangerpark I am lucky and get a place for my tent – they have stacked the caravans and motorhomes so there is a green spot left that they will not be able to use. It is not cheap, and they don’t agree to any reduction, I must pay caravan fee. The clock has already passed half past eight – I settled for the green spot. After a nice shower and some supper, I rolled out the sleeping bag. I have had a fantastic day – exceptional riding and those views – a perfect day!