That Murmansk plan ain’t gonna work

I read an advice given to someone who was planning a trip similar to mine. It was pretty clear that my plan wasn’t going to work. But it would be very easy to fix.

The problem with the planned route is that the there aren’t too much to see from Murmansk to Malmö – at least from a roadside scenery point of view, and compared with Norway. Of course, there are a lot of interesting sights along the way, but with a trip like this, it really is mostly about riding. So I can’t go and visit every museum, and every historic town center on the way. And that is not what I want anyway.

The the fix is simple: do it counter-clockwise. That way, the “boring” part is on the start of the trip where I all psyched up and everything is honky-dory. And when you have had your for week-dose of motorcycle riding, you’re doing on some of the most scenic roads in the world.

Obvious as it is, I had to reverse the trip. So I did.

The result is a 23 day (-ish) trip, 6877 kilometers.

DayDescriptionDistance
August 17th, day 1First day is going to be riding to Stockholm to catch the ferry to Turku, Finland. It will be an uneventful ride on the highway. South Sweden has really a lot to offer in terms of cool backroads, but not for this ride.
I will need to be there in time to catch the 20.00 ferry to Turku. The ferry arrives the next morning at 7.35 (yes, that is suspiciously precise).
621
August 18th, day 2After arriving at 7.35 in the morning, fully rested after sleeping in my cabin, having had breakfast on the ferry, it is north east toward the border crossing that I plan to take. But it is a very long ride, so I won't make it in one day. I will be riding through, but I do want to set aside time to absorb the Finish scenery. I will most likely stop somewhere around Kuopio.458
August 19th, day 3The last day in the European Union for quite some time. I am crossing the border to Russia at the Vartius/Lyttä border crossing after 271 km. So I'm thinking that would be in the afternoon. This will be Monday afternoon, so I am hoping it won't be too busy. But you never know how long time it will take, with queues and processing.
After the border - probably late afternoon - I am planning to ride to the town of Kostomuksha where I will spend the night. I am planning on booking this hotel in advance. The hotel will register my visa with the police, which is required by law. I am actually exempt from that as I will be spending less than 7 business days in Russia anyway. But having it done, doesn't hurt. I am not planning too many kilometers as I need to have time for the border crossing. I guess it can take anything from 20 minutes to a couple of hours.
305
August 20th, day 4This will be super exciting as this will be the first full day of riding in Russia. And also because the roads I will be riding are gravel roads for the most part. I will be riding north with the village Kalevala as destination.
Althogh the roads are gravel, quite a lot of them have been photographed by the Google street view car, and I see that they are in a pretty good shape. It is farly flat, so no hairpins, and I assume that they are quite fast to ride.
But I do want to absorb as much as possible and also, the fast that it appear to be the last town for quite some distance, it makes sense to stop for the day. That way I can refuel, physically and mentally. In addition, I will not be in a hurry to leave Kostomuksha, giving me time to stock up on supplies. I would like to get a Russian sim card for my phone so I'm not completely off the grid.
I'm planning om making a reservation on Hotel Velt, Kalevala, just next to lake Ozero Sredneye Kuyto.
150
August 21st, day 5After what I'm sure will be a great night's sleep, it is onward to Murmansk. But with those distances, I won't make it this day. First, 170 kilometers of good gravel before hitting the M18 highway. But first, a visit to a World War II Soviet Warrior's cemerary and memorial. I believe that World War II is called "Great Patriotic War" in Russia.
This will also be the day where I cross the Arctic Circle. Fun fact, the Arctic Circle moves 15 meters per year due to fluctuation of the Earth's axial tilt (tidal forces).
The day will come to an end at the city of Kandalaksha.
320
August 22nd, day 6Finally arriving at Murmansk, where I will check in to a hotel. I am planning to stay for 2 days. If the M18 is quick, I may not stop in Kandalaksha, but for now, that is the plan.
I will arrive realtively early, probably early afternoon, so I will wash my clothes, get my photos, and video organized a bit.
Then I hope to meet with Artem. I am hoping to get some good food, hear about the life in Russia, and Murmansk. I know Artem has been around in Russia, so he knows of the differences between areas. I think counties are called Oblast in Russian.
247
August 23rd, day 7Sightseeing. Including the Lenin Ice Breaker, the Alyosha monument, getting a feeling of the Murmansk beat. I am hoping to meet with Artem again, if his schedule allow, getting good food and more vodka.0
August 24th, day 8Checking out of the hotel, and riding west towards the border to Norway. On the way, I want to see the Lavna Waterfalls, and if possible, the Kola Deep Borehole. Although the project stopped in 1989, it is to this day still the deepest artificial point on Earth, with a true vertical depth of 12,262 meters (more than 12 kilometers straight down). This is a third way through the Earth's crust.
Today, it is just a ruin, and the borehole is covered with a metal seal, so there's is not really a lot to see. And even less to fall in to (although I probably couldn't fit with its 23 cm diameter anyway).
After that, I'd like to see the town of Nikel. It is apparently quite polluted from the nearby Norilsk Nickel plant. But I'm not gonna stay long.
Fun fact: English rockband White Lies, filmed their video for "Farewell to the Fairground" here back in 2009.
After just another 40 kilometers, I will reach the Norway border at Storskog. Just 15 kilometers from the border, I will stop at Kirkenes where I will stay for the night.
265
August 25th, day 9Destination Nordkapp. But it is a long ride. There is a ferry, Hurtigruten, that sail from Kirkenes to Honningsvåg. It is a 17 hours trip, departing on the 25th at 12:30, and arriving at Honningsvåg the next morning af 5:30. It is very convenient, but it is not the cheapest transport, and at 1700 NOK without a cabin, it is to the point where it is ridiculous. Although it could be great to the fjords from the seaside, I will probably ride.
And I will ride all the way to the town of Porsanger, hoping I can find some place to stay the night.
351
August 26th, day 10Porsanger to Nordkapp is a short trip. A little shy of 200 kilometers, so I will be there before lunch. What I hear from people, is that they actually don't stay long. If is more about having been there. There isn't much to see. Maybe getting some lunch at the restaurant and buying some souvenirs.
And of course, I assume the sun is shining from an almost cloudless sky with only the fluffy cumulus clouds to add dramatic effects to the photos. I the weather is bad - which I believe it often is - and might be for large parts of the Norwegian west coast - I'm probably just going get some lunch, mandatory pictures and then on my way.
I am thinking to find some place to sleep in Honningsvåg. Or maybe even further south, is possible.
191
August 27th, day 11At this point, it is onward to the next highlight, Lofoten. I won't make it in one day, so I am planning on riding to a camp site called Fosselv. On the route, there's a couple of sights that I want to see, including the Alta Museum, and maybe have a cup of coffee at Gildetun.391
August 28th, day 12Continuing south west to Lofoten islands. I will enjoy the spectacular scenery on the way, and absorb all the sights, smells, (maybe rain) along the E6. Just east of Nordkjosbotn, I am thinking to ride off the E6 on to the 87 to hopefully ride a smaller road in the hope that there is less traffic. It will just be for a small while as the 87 joins the E6 about 100 kilometers, or so. At that point I will continue on 86 on a more coastal route. The day will come to an end somewhere at the base of the Lofoten islands.379
August 29th, day 13I am really looking forward to riding this route. I will enjoy the wonders of the scenic mountains and fjords while I cruise to Moskenes. I will be taking the ferry from Moskenes to Bodø either in the evening of the 30th (it departs at 20.30) if I have enough time. But I don't want to rush through the route, so I may stay the night at Moskenes (or around), and take the 7.00 ferry. The 20.30 ferry arrives at 23.45 at which point it can be inconvenient to find a place to sleep. The 7.00 ferry arrives at 10.15, so it seems like a better option.327
August 30th, day 14Leaving Moskenes with the 7.00 ferry to Bodø, arriving at 10.15, I will be taking a day "off". With riding every day since Murmansk, it is time to take a day to stock up on supplies, get laundry done, and do some sight seeing in the area.

0
August 31st, day 15This day will take me through the first part of the Helgelandskysten scenic route. It is a long route with lots of ferries. This day will take me on 6 small ferries. I don't know their schedule, crossing time, and wait time, so I have no idea how long it will take. The distance may be too optimistic. On tthis day, I will be crossing the Arctic Circle again, going south. It will actually be while on a ferry. It will be 10 days since I crossed it in Russia, this day.351
September 1st, day 16The ride this day is not very long. So there is time for more scenery absorbing, or as a buffer for the ride the day before it has turned out to be too optimistic. It is the bottom part of the Helgelandskysten scenic route. There are 3 ferry crossings.180
September 2nd, day 17Continuing south from the Helgelandskysten scenic route. The stop of the day is Trondheim. No too long distance this day, and allow for a relatively early check in at some place in Trondheim. 311
September 3rd, day 18This day will take me almost to the Atlantic road, which is famous for its twisting bridges.
It is said, however, that it has been blown out of proportions, as the scenic photos that you see, are taken from angles you cannot get to, unless you fly or have a drone. I have a drone, so I will take my chances.
Eiither I will be riding the Atlantic road this day in the evening (if the sun set is nice) - in which case I will continue; or, I will ride the road the following day, in which case I will spend the night in Kristiansund.
197
September 4th, day 19This will be the day of riding the Atlantic road (assuming I didn't do it the previous day), and the Trollstigen route. Both should be quite scenic. Although there is one ferry crossing, it is a relatively short day with hopefully lots of time for absorbing the scenery (i.e. taking pictures and video).236
September 5th, day 20I am continuing further south this day. It will be a bit longer than other days, but I may have covered some of it from the previous day. With one ferry crossing and a little more than 400 kilometers, the end of the day will be at the beginning of the Ryfylke scenic route. That route is for the following day to enjoy.430
September 6th, day 21Riding the Ryfylke scenic route. Continuing on a ferry to Stavanger.
179
September 7th, day 22From Stavanger west to the ferry that will take me down the Lysefjord to Lysebotn. This is a nice ferry ride, and the road after the ferry is supposed to be super awesome.
Lyseboth scenic route will be the last planned scenic route on the trip as the next couple of days will be about riding home.
364
September 8th, day 23Just a little west of Oslo, I am expecting to ride all the way home this day.624
Total kilometers6877

 

 

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