My 2021 TET Summer Adventure

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TET Summer Adventures have become somewhat of a tradition of mine. This year’s trip was the lengthiest both in days and kilometers. After my 4020 km ride, it is time to summarize  and share my experiences and a lot of photos, and hopefully inspire others to do the same or similar adventures on their bikes.

Who doesn’t wanna go on an adventure?

But first, the title of this post is somewhat misleading. TET (Sweden) was only a minor part of this year’s adventure. However, I did get the chance to ride a massive amount of exquisite gravel roads both in Norway and Sweden, so my TET lust has yet again been fulfilled and reaffirmed.

Continue reading, and enjoy the ride and make sure you check out all the photos from my trip on the Photos page!

Summer Adventures mean a lot of great pictures to sort out and share with you all.

Delay, delay, and then departure!

Due to COVID-19 and the travel restrictions between Norway and Sweden, the long awaited re-union with my brother living in Sweden and our first trip together since the early 90s where postponed a few time from originally being scheduled for May, then June and eventually July. As soon as the borders opened, I was on my way.

Departure day; I am finally on my way!

Four stages

The trip was basically four stages:

  1. The first stage was a solo ride from my home to my brother.
  2. The second stage was us riding together, both on sections of TET Sweden and the magnificent Wilderness Road (Vildmarksvägen).
  3. The third stage was again a solo ride after we split up and my brother went back home and I continued through Sweden towards Norway and Molde where I was planning a week of vacation with the rest of my family.
  4. The forth and last stage was my return back home from Molde to Sandnes. 
Stage one highlight: Passing the Folgefonna glacier.
Stage two highlight: Catching up with my brother Tommy and his family and doing a long-awaited adventure together.
Stage three highlight: Scouting Norway’s amazing roads and nature to find a suitable camping spot for the night.
Stage four highlight: Being so lucky as to catch the morning fog at such a scenic location on my way home.

I’ll happily share the route and GPX-file if you’d be interested, but here’s a quick run-down of each stage, including number of accommodations/nights.

  1. Stage (1 night): Sandnes, Stavanger, Tau, Bjørheimsbygd, Årdal, Hjelmeland-Nesvik (ferry), Jøsenfjorden, Gullingen, Suldalsosen, Røldal, Odda, Kinsarvik, Erfjord, Haugastøl, Geilo, Ål, Gol, VALDRESVEGEN, Golsfjellet, Leira, Steinsetbygdi, Lillehammer, Hamar, Elverum, Nybergsund, Støa, (SVE) Ersbo, Mansta, Orsa, Furudal, Ovanåker, Bollnäs, Orbaden
  2. Stage (2 nights): Orbaden, Järvsö, Ljusdal, Kårböle, Älvros, Härjedalen, (TET >) Älvros, Ytterhogdal, Overturingen, Bensjö (< TET), Stavre, Pilgrimstad, Östersund, Häggenås, Hammerdal, Hallviken, Strömsund, (VILDMARKSVEGEN>) Strand, Lidsjöberg, Gäddede, Jormvattnet, Klimpfjäll, Saxnäs, Malgomaj, Laxbäcken, Vilhelmina, Meselefors, Dorotea, Hoting, Lovberga, Strömsund
  3. Stage 3 (2 nights): Strömsund, Läxsjö, Valsjöbyn (Lierne border closed), Valsjöbyn, Rötviken, Häggsjövik, Lillholmsjö, Landön, Tulleråsen, Offerdal, Alsen, Mörsil, Svensta, Åre, Enafors, Storlien, (NOR >) Meråker, Hegna, Ranheim, Melhus, Vassbygda, Kolbrandstad, Svorkmo, Storås, Rindalsskogen, Rindal, Romundstad, Jerpstad, Nerskogen, Skuggelia, Olbu, Gravem, Sunndal, AURSJØVEGEN, Eresfjord, Eidsvåg, Tjelle, Hjelseth, Molde
  4. Stage 4 (0 nights): Molde, Bolsøya, Sølsnes-Åfarnes (ferry), Isfjorden, Åndalsnes, Rauma, Rønningen (Trollveggen), Soggemoen, Trollstien, Valldal, Linge-Eidsdal (ferry), Møllsbygda, Geiranger, Lægervatna, Skjeringdalen, Øvstefoss, GAMLE STRYNEFJELLSVEGEN, Grotli, Skjåk, Lom, SOGNEFJELLSVEGEN, Turtagrø, TINDEVEGEN, Øvre Årdal, Årdalstangen, Naddvik, Lærdalsøyri, ERDALSVEGEN, Aurlandsfjellet, BJØRGAVEGEN, Aurland, Flåm, Stalheim, Vinje, Voss, Bjørgum, Granvin, Hardangerbrua, Ringøy, Kinsarvik, Lofthus, Odda, Skare, Seljestad, Røldal, Botnen, Gauttun, Suldalsosen, Suldal, Vik, Nesvik-Hjelmeland (ferry), Årdal, Bjørheimsbygda, Tau, Stavanger, Sandnes

Planning

To me planning is an important and exiting part of any adventure. I spend numerous hours planning my route first and foremost, based on places I want to visit or simply roads I want to ride. Google Earth, Google Map and recommendations from fellow riders are my go-to sources at this stage. As I bring a tent I camp where ever I want, and thus, I don’t need to plan for accommodation. To me that is quite essential as I typically ride during the tourist season, and accommodation might be hard to find and you’d be required to book accommodation a long time in advance. That would simply ruin my type of riding; I plan on having as few “fixed appointments” in my calendar as I can possibly do. After all, it is vacation time!

Planning the route and stages in Basecamp.

In terms of planning the route itself I am quite traditional. I use Basecamp to plot my route, import TET tracks and such, and I use it to export my routes and tracks to my devices.

Double up on navigation with the GARMIN GPSmap 64 st – and sometimes even with the iPhone as a third navigation device.

I have the original BMW Navigator V mounted in the bike cradle and I also use an additional GARMIN GPSmap 64st handheld to supplement it. I find it very useful to use them while riding at different zoom/detail levels; one giving the overview and the other giving the details. Also, they have helped me in cases where one device (or the imported route/track to be excise), has failed to give correct data.

Packing

My girlfriend would argue that I suck at packing, however, I think I do OK. I tend to bring too much stuff and too many gadgets, but hey, it’s gotta be documented, eh?

Packing for TET, or any motorcycle adventure for that matter, is tricky. You want to ride in comfort, while not loading your bike too heavy. This is particularly important on TET where some sections can be tricky for the larger adventure bikes. I usually pack, un-pack and re-pack my bike a few times, being increasingly stricter with myself about what to bring. What did I really need? What could I do without? What could I buy along the way? What could I bring and throw away during by trip?

The GSA is heavy with both side panniers, top box, waterproof bag and a tank bag. Looks awesome though.

I ride with both side panniers and the top box, plus a waterproof bag and a tank bag. I typically back as follows:

  • Left pannier: Clothes and camping equipment, i.e. what I would only unpack when I settle in for the night.
  • Right pannier: Food and cooking equipment.
  • Top box: Drone and photo equipment, rain protection, spare gloves and a warm jacket.
  • Waterproof bag: Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and a tarpaulin in case of torrential rain.
  • Tank bag. Charging station for phone, cameras, GoPro and power bank, maps and snacks.

This works for me, and makes sense to me. I can easily find what I am looking for, whether it is in full daylight or in pitch black.

Riding

During the transportation stage from around Lillehammer and all the way almost until I reached Bollnäs in Sweden I had pouring rain. I wear proper rain protection however when it pours like this you will eventually become wet. Apart from this single day, I hardly had any rain during my trip.

Dry boots are better than wet ones. The sun was shining in Sweden and it was a breeze to dry them after the wet transportation stage from Lillehammer in Norway to Bollnäs in Sweden.

Riding in rain is more stressful than riding on dry roads. True when it comes to tarmac, indeed true when it comes to gravel. I love to stand up when riding on gravel and in technical sections, and on that note, I admire the TwinPegs that make standing up on your bike so much more comfortable. Check out my previous review of the TwinPegs.

Communication is essential when riding in groups, and both my brother and I use Cardo Packtalk devices. It really adds to the riding experience when you can communicate freely over large distances from within your helmet.

As you will see from my entire route it is by no means a technical ride. You could probably do it even without an adventure bike. Mostly tarmac, of course, and gravel roads in Sweden are up to the same standards as many tarmac roads in Norway, to be frank. They are great roads and only a few sections of the TET consisted of loose sand and rocks that was a tiny challenge. You could easily skip them if you want to take some minor detours instead.

Are you comfortable riding on gravel? A bit of practice will boost your confidence and make the entire trip more enjoyable.

If you have the chance to improve your offroad riding skills before embarking on these adventures, you will be rewarded through improved confidence and perhaps the opportunity to follow along a narrow dirt road that will take you to places you would normally pass right by.

Experiences

Due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions abroad, Norwegians have been taking their vacation in their own country lately. So fewer foreign tourists, but more Norwegian tourists roaming the country. Norwegians with newly acquired camper vans, mobile homes and huge caravans on narrow roads. No problem, but you need to take extra caution. Norway is still a great country to travel in.

Ausjøvegen is a magnificent mountain road that you must ride.

Lessons learnt

I always wish I had more time on these adventures. More time to stop. More time to stay. More time to visit places. More time to sit down.

Places like this, the DNT Aursjø cabin, is an example of a place you might just ride quickly pass by. However, if you make a stop, sit down, relax and enjoy the experience, it will make your adventure even better.

When I travel like this I come across all these magnificent sites, buildings and sceneries, and eventually I find myself driving past them regretting immediately that I did not make the stop. Sometimes I turn and go back, but most times I ride on with a lump in my stomach and a bad conscience.

I stopped at Dalavatnet along Aursjøvegen for a refreshing bath. I did not plan it. It just happened. And it is one of my best memories from the entire trip.

You will never have enough time. There will always be more places to see. Counting kilometers, days, weeks or experiences. It is up to you!

Stop and take it all in.

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