Here is part 1, I will endeavour to complete part 2 shortly. Hope you make the end and welcome any feedback to improve part 2?s reading.
Thursday 13th September Largs ? Wetherby Services: 231 Miles http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=largs+to+wetherby+services&saddr=largs&daddr=wetherby+services&hl=en&client=firefox-a&t=m&geocode=FbdWUwMdMru1_ylNxPgOU7iJSDFmSL6KUtRgQA%3BFWotNwMdjhnr_yEpCZpycfuM0Cl1SRBoFU95SDEpCZpycfuM0A&z=7
Left Largs at approximately 6:30pm, this was my first trip with the bike fully laden with panniers and rucksack on my shoulders. Unfortunately this section of the trip was all about getting the miles done before leaving the following afternoon on the ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg. Needless to say the weather was not on my side, with winds gusting 60+ mph and horrendous rain, good test of how waterproof I was. The M74 south to England was uneventful, nothing of interest done or seen. The A66 provided a little more fun with heavy rain and visibility down to about 50 meters so slow and steady over the hills, giving up at Wetherby Services for the night. Never has a Day?s Inn looked so enticing. Around 4 hours riding and I didn?t do the distance I was expecting.
Friday 14th September Wetherby Service ? Harwich International Port: 225 Mileshttp://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=wetherby+services&daddr=52.263445,0.612576+to:harwich+international+port&hl=en&sll=52.175616,0.55481&sspn=0.508667,1.234589&geocode=FWotNwMdjhnr_yEpCZpycfuM0Cl1SRBoFU95SDEpCZpycfuM0A%3BFRV6HQMd4FgJACl3KjY8JU_YRzGLXs6QbID_RA%3BFX2nGAMdLigTACGyA1CgLlsk4ilLfy8YqHbZRzGyA1CgLlsk4g&mra=dpe&mrsp=1&sz=10&via=1&t=m&z=7
Well again today was all about getting to the port so again the most direct route was taken. A1 south followed by the A14. Managed to get there an hour or so ahead of time, so I was able to do a little shopping and pick up some food for the ferry. Fill the bike up and pick up a couple of spare bulbs for the trip and head to the port.
Overnight ferry crossing Harwich ? Esbjerg
First time on the ferry with the bike and was not so sure about tying her down but a little bit of help from some fellow bikers made me feel at ease. The ships own straps sufficed so I didn?t need to carry my own. Lesson learned for next time, although remember to take everything you need off the bike! I bought a cheap camera for the trip and thought I would charge it overnight, but numpty here left it in the panniers! The sailing was quiet, seas were calm and was a nice rest.
Note: You need to purchase a cabin on this ferry, the bike and myself cost ~?40 and the cabin was ~?140 for a twin room which is the smallest they have so going with someone will help keep your costs down.
Saturday 15th September Esbjerg ? Fur 214Km http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=esbjerg&daddr=55.9499126,8.1521528+to:56.2770562,8.1718806+to:Fur,+Denmark&hl=en&ll=56.246402,9.459229&spn=1.843582,4.938354&sll=56.270811,8.547363&sspn=0.921166,2.469177&geocode=FfKATgMdjRSBACnpDOMZpiBLRjHR6UpOq0fo3Q%3BFVi6VQMdWGR8ACnd33EATV9KRjESDojl6nKOBA%3BFUC4WgMdaLF8ACmb0raVa0BKRjFn7pvXB2Vdpw%3BFTcaYwMdn56JACk98EgCAnFJRjGK5ojlZ_cALg&oq=fur,+den&mra=dpe&mrsp=2&sz=9&via=1,2&t=m&z=8
Arrived around midday in Esbjerg and took the camera out, luckily a little battery life in to get me a few photos during the day. Heading northwest out onto the 181 up the west coast towards Hvide Sande. I continued north before coming inland, skirting around Holstebro and north again past Skive up to the ferry port to Fur. 10 minute ferry sailing and I was on Fur. Island with about 800 inhabitants and not much going on. One of the quietest places I have been.
The roads were pretty quiet the whole way with the exception of an odd tractor. The views across the Rink?bing fjord were incredible although you do need to climb up a couple of sand dunes to get some views. It?s funny as it?s almost all farm land and very few houses (and they all have flags and flag poles) around but there?s always someone walking or jogging down the road. The lack of road signs was one thing to get used to, when you enter a village or town and you see the name plate, if it has houses on it that is also the start of the speed limit although no one tells you that and there?s no speed limit signs.
Sunday 16th September Fur ? S?by: 146Kmhttp://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=fur+denmark,+to+saeby&saddr=fur+denmark,&daddr=saeby&hl=en&ll=57.042224,9.890442&spn=0.902508,2.469177&t=m&z=9&geocode=FTcaYwMdn56JACk98EgCAnFJRjGK5ojlZ_cALg%3BFbbMagMdlHigACln4UmjhiNPRjHwd1EdzK8ACg
My host told me if I wanted to ride around the fjord it would take another 2 hours or I could get another local ferry across Lim fjord which only took 15 minutes to cross. Being able to sit back relax and enjoy the views and save some time, hell yeah I took the easy option and jumped on the ferry. There ferry service is incredible, relatively cheap and always on time. Two ferries later I was across Lim fjord and bang, realised my rear tyre was flat. Couple of hundred meters up the road was the nearest garage so popped up there to blow up the tyre and find the puncture. Ha ha the compressor was broken but my Danish wasn?t good enough to understand the sign or anything for that matter. Out with the old hand pump to pump it up. Found my puncture to realise I hadn?t packed a plug kit. I was kicking myself at this point. Sunday morning, in the middle of the countryside. What an ass! This is the only time I was glad of the sat nav. Popped in the next local garage and I was struck by a miracle. It was closed, but in drove one of their mechanics to work on his VW Golf. We plugged the tyre but as he said it?s a Sunday so nothings open to get a spare. With the rear tyre I decided I was going to jump onto the E45 and head north just in case anything was to happen I was at least on a major road for help. The remainder of the trip was on the E45 to S?by, stopping off to take in the views where I could. Rather impressed with the E45, quiet, well maintained and like the rest of the country flat. With all the rest areas and services that appeared along the road there was plenty of time to take the views in.
Monday 17th September S?by ? Frederikshavn: 14Km then ferry to Gothenburghttp://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=saeby&daddr=Frederikshavn,+international+port,+Denmark&hl=en&ll=57.388374,10.612793&spn=0.223518,0.617294&sll=57.396699,10.548592&sspn=0.111733,0.308647&geocode=FbbMagMdlHigACln4UmjhiNPRjHwd1EdzK8ACg%3BFQVobAMdcvagACE8zzvSGFoOJSkrRCE7fzxPRjE8zzvSGFoOJQ&mra=ls&t=m&z=11
Early morning rise and a gentle 10-15K ride to the ferry terminal. Nice gentle northbound as the road follows the coast. On their ferry with no problems nice smooth crossing again and I liked their motorcycle stands. It?s like a metal frame that the rear wheel pops into and is ratcheted on. It?s probably 5 foot across so very stable and you just need to leave the bike on the side stand, very quick and easy to use. Decided I was going to get a new rear for the rest of the trip but after phoning around so many places they all said it was going to take 2-3 days for a tyre to be delivered. Really the 2nd largest city in Sweden and it was going to take so long to get a tyre? Gave up phoning and thought I would ride around some garages when I got there.
Gothenburg Monday 17th September
After 2-3 hours of visiting multitude of garages ranging from specialised tyre suppliers, the local Volvo dealership and the back door garages and no luck on a tyre I gave up. I decided I was going to head into the city centre and find some tourist info. When the tourist info signs point into a multi-storey car park I thought I was losing my mind. After 10 -15 minutes riding around lost I gave up and went to the multi-storey car park as there was no motorcycle parking in sight. There?s me sitting at the barrier, and it doesn?t rise! I am guessing it?s not large enough to be detected so I snuck round the side and parked up. Then found the tourist info in the shopping precinct.
Getting rather frustrated at this point by the sheer lack of success I decided to give up and arranged for my next stop to have a tyre ready. A phone call to a friend in Tidaholm and it was all sorted.
Next stop was some sightseeing. The roads in Gothenburg were excellent apart from the usual road works. Suppose they get everywhere. Watch out for the Zebra pedestrian crossings though. Dam confusing, some of them have pedestrian lights, cycle lights and lights for motor vehicles, some the pedestrians have right of way and some the motor vehicles do.
Sightseeing was a little hit and miss in Gothenburg, more miss than hit as it turns out almost everything touristy is closed on Sundays, so I rode down to Slottsskogen Park. Enjoyed and hour or so walking around there, some good views over the city to be had.
Tuesday 18th Gothenburg ? Tidaholm: 175Km http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&gl=uk&daddr=Tidaholm,+Sweden&saddr=Gothenburg,+Sweden&panel=1&f=d&fb=1&dirflg=d&geocode=KT8HbJZnjk9GMUB8Dil4kAEE;KS9OIdWYV1pGMUzrsnGprqX3&sa=X&ei=jTbjUJzdNtSY1AWQq4GIBg&ved=0CDMQ-A8wAA
Leaving Gothenburg in the morning rain coming down in a constant drizzle, I kept to the E40 and headed east towards J?nk?ping. The spray off the roads was horrendous, worst I have rode in. This was when I realised I should have done this about a month earlier whilst it was drier and warmer. Heated grips, hand guards and multiple layers of clothing helped but I now know why people have heated clothing. Stopped around B?ras for a break and was surprised by the rest area. Beautiful lake, caf? (not open due to it not being in season) and a nice quiet place to have a brew away from the bustle of the main road. Turning off the 40 onto the 185 I could have sworn I was back in the Scottish highlands, well apart from the road still being straight. Lochs and tree lined roads, beautiful scenery around and very few vehicles. Noticed something here, they really don?t have many corners, well certainly not on the main roads.
Tidaholm appeared finally, and at last got the bike in for a new rear tyre. A quaint little town, reminds me of home in Scotland, where everyone knows everyone and a population of 8000 people. Funny that a small town can get their hands on a tyre as quick as Gothenburg.
Thursday 20th Tidaholm ? Stockholm: 358Kmhttp://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=Tidaholm,+Sweden&daddr=58.8241051,14.8868512+to:Stockholm,+Sweden&hl=en&ll=58.876264,16.094971&spn=1.715079,4.938354&sll=58.904646,15.628052&sspn=1.713672,4.938354&geocode=FYnIdwMdMgHVACkvTiHVmFdaRjFM67Jxqa6l9w%3BFamVgQMdwyfjACk36hwcNY1bRjFGmw8nrNMfew%3BFaJJiQMdDqYTASnLC2QZMXZfRjFmd51n0ycNqA&gl=uk&mra=ls&via=1&t=m&z=8
Heading north from Tidaholm towards Karlsborg (not the drink) I decided to stick to the 49 to keep to the edge of loch V?ttern. Finally I managed to find some sweeping roads and give the new rear a test. Reaching Karlsborg I took a quick pit stop and some beautiful photos of the loch. Probably the best ride so far in the holiday and just settling into it. I cut off the 49 onto the 50 to give myself another 10-15Km of twisty roads before joining the E20. Even though it?s classed as a major road it doesn?t always feel like it with so much scenery and rest stops, quite different to Britain?s motorways. Finally saw my first Ikea too, well the only Ikea actually. Approaching Stockholm around rush hour in the evening might not have been my best idea but then the traffic did flow much better than Britain. Perhaps lorries not allowed to overtake in certain stretches on major roads really helps.
Friday 21st Stockholm ? Stensund Folkh?gskola, Trosa: 75Km http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=Stockholm,+Sweden&daddr=59.1170459,17.6407311+to:59.0403414,17.6027606+to:Unknown+road&hl=en&ll=59.125226,18.102722&spn=0.851319,2.469177&sll=59.072684,17.731247&sspn=0.213153,0.617294&geocode=FaJJiQMdDqYTASnLC2QZMXZfRjFmd51n0ycNqA%3BFfUNhgMdGy0NASkjt_LPu2xfRjHb71ABdmEv8g%3BFVXihAMdyJgMASm1fsHi6WpfRjH2OfYSrt8jcg%3BFRa1ggMdY8gMAQ&oq=sten&gl=uk&mra=dpe&mrsp=1&sz=11&via=1,2&t=m&z=9
In the morning I ditched all my luggage and took the bike into the city. First time I have had the chance to filter or use bus/cycle lanes. It was a nice change seeing the cars all stuck in traffic. Plenty of motorcycle parking in the city so was great to park up and do some sightseeing on foot.
Sightseeing over I loaded the bike back up with panniers and luggage. Back onto the E20 before joining the E4 and cutting off early at Pershagen. This allowed me to drop the major road and cruise along the country, getting some lovely corners under my belt, with the sun splitting the sky, views over the archipelago and a big smile on my face. Joined the 218 for a couple of K?s before joining the single track road to Stensund. Lovely road, farm land all around and quite a few hunters hives. Got me thinking all these signs of Moose (Elk to the Swedes) and I have not seen a single one yet. I was warned of wild boar around here to, hence all the hives but the wildest thing seen was just a plain old deer.
Thats roughly half way through the tour so a good place to stop. Will follow up in a few days with part 2.