This year....7 countries.
Some Nordic, Baltic and Scandinavian.
Finland is not part of Scandinavia as I've found.
But not before a long, scorching hot and smoky ride north from San Francisco to Vancouver where I can ship the Tiger air freight on Air Canada, because they won't ship from San Francisco.
I shared the ride with JC who showed up promptly at noon on Friday and was an absolute delight to ride with for three days. He was riding the second bike that was supposed to go on the ride with me.
The whole ride he yammered on and on about his amazing wife who I'm convinced is super human now. Can't wait to meet her. He's so in love. It's adorable.
Stopped in Eureka for ribs at a favorite place before going on to visit a friend.
Ken has one hell of a machine shop so I knew he'd enjoy helping me get the new airhorn installed just in time for the trip...and boy have I used it! Had to machine a special bracket to get it out enough to turn the handlebars.
Somewhere along the coast, we went across this great art deco bridge.
Kinda dark but that's JC, his son in law and partner and me, about to eat great southern fried chicken. It would be the last time in a month that I get to eat fried chicken.
I did find some on the menu in Roros Norway but that wasn't really fried chicken.
More on that later.
Also stopped in Portland to visit Brooke and the kids.
The last time I did this was in 2013 and he was much, much smaller...
and just as interested in the motorcycle.
I'm also getting her daughter all set up to be a rider.
We went to a 'toast' place but I found this pork belly hash, veggies and with duck eggs.
Yum! (although the photo looks droopy)
He helped us get the bike paperwork all sorted out.
We had to use a 'Dangerous Goods Specialist'.
I'd like to add that to my current title.
Special Agent Nancy Dangerous Goods Specialist.
We dropped off the bikes a day early to be sure they made the flight.
But not until after some border crossing nonsense.
Seems that women aren't allowed to have any self defense items in Canada.
Guess because there is no crime there....nuf said.
Here we are in the hangar.
Seems my bike weighed more than a big BMW.
$1,100 USD later...bike loaded on airplane for Frankfurt.
Darryl was nice enough to offer to drive us to our horrible, strange AirBnB.
Then offered to show us the cute little port area on his dinner break so we took him to a Greek restaurant.
JC is Greek, see his big smile?
We walked around here a bit but it was hot and even Vancouver had fires.
Our ride up was during the big Redding fire.
We passed through Hopland and got an evacuation text and saw a blaze fire up just as we were fueling up. Felt like half of California was on fire.
And it damn near was.
After a generally uncomfortable and weird night at the AirBnB, we headed to the Four Seasons at the airport for a fantastic breakfast.
Mine was a corned beef hash with veggies. It was a great last meal and time together.
The only tragedy on the way North was I lost a horn on my helmet.
JC was nice enough to ride back a bit looking for it...no luck.
So I decided to go into Vancouver to Deadly Couture and found these antlers.
They would just have to do.
Decided to take a shower in a nice lounge at the airport.
Worth every penny.
Arrived in Frankfurt.
Took a bus to the hangar.
Found how they shipped the bike.
Giant metal pallets with tie straps all around.
Pretty sophisticated set up.
I had communicated with another rider named Bob that gave a great detailed description of the whole process he's just gone through doing the same thing except from Montreal.
More on him later.
A couple days before I discovered that my riding partner would not join on the ride, and arriving in 100+F degree weather, faced with having the CO2 cartridge in my airbag vest taken and the overall huge disappointments, I will just skip the first day ride from hell north to my first night where I booked a nice hotel with a freezing cold room and ended up having a fantastic meal at a Greek restaurant just a block away.
Seems the restaurant is quite difficult to get into but it was late and a Tuesday.
While this dish doesn't look appetizing, it was delicious!
Lamb in a rich sauce with veggies.
The next day I entered into Denmark and officially started my ride.
Went to Ribe first.
Medieval town with what I call luxury camping.
Pitched the tent.
Threw my heavy, winter motorcycle gear into a washer
and headed into town to find food and chain lube.
Europeans will spend their vacations in these places.
Showers were clean and plenty of hooks, even a bench to sit on.
The hot showers cost a couple of bucks.
I gladly took an ice cold shower, gratefully.
In fact I took cold showers until Finland where I finally took my first warm shower.
It was that hot.
Plenty of toilets.
So I spun around and around trying to get to the pedestrian old town.
Oh, Oh! There it is.
Finally found it. Crossed a small bridge.
Oldest town in Denmark.
They use short wood beams so with time the houses settled into interesting formations.
Some buildings are actually wavy.
Love riding on those.
Especially in rain.
Where I found a steak dinner.
For a lot of money.
Shops with cute, expensive junk.
When will the 'cute old town' photos end?
Not for a bit.
Usually take a lot of photos with the first stop.
You know, stop and smell the roses.
Err, the expensive steak.
Neat old wood water sluice.
You can really see how crooked the houses are in this photo.
Now this little guy somehow hopped on my bike overnight and rode with me over 60 KM the next day on my way to the Lego House in Billund.
But not before the four watchers of the sea sculpture in Esbjerg.
And a hoard of students...ruining my picture.
First official stop the Lego House.
Now it's hard to describe just how cool this place is...so I'll let photos do it for me.
Yep. Three story tree made entirely out of legos.
The top of the tree.
Yes, giant dinosaurs.
Made out of lego.
See the little one in the egg?
This one had a transformers look to it.
The detail was incredible.
That's on the back of the dinosaur.
These are individuals lego sets that they display to the public.
If you look closely, you can see the salmon jumping up river.
The lighting changed dramatically every 15 mins between day and night.
This dog was peeing yellow lego chips on the pole.
Ok after much fun and play time, on to more serious places.
Burial mounds in Jelling.
And this stone has the first mention of Denmark.
A famous viking's bones were buried under the church and when the bones were found, eventually they decided to return them to the exact same place, post renovation and it's marked with a silver pattern on the floor.
Checked into my AirBnB and found that the Denmark equivalent of the Tour de France was happening that day and went up Denmark's steepest hill and right by the house I stayed in.
The motorcycles before the cyclists.
The crazy cyclists.
And more of them.
And here is the steepest hill sign.
My host made dinner.
Wild boar sauce.
Oh and I stole and ate their eggs the next morning.
Here is the house.
Not much to look at but a great first night's stay.
And my bed.
With a cool breeze.
And yep, there's Grindle.
Got the horns installed on the helmet.
They are kinda cute.
OK on to the first cute town.
Took off early morning for the southern coast of Denmark and cute town after cute town.
That's my shadow with my antlers.
Really beautiful cobblestone squares and designs.
Rode by this awesome church and stopped to take photos.
Love the stair sharp roofs.
The graveyards are manicured pebble plots instead of the traditional grass you'd expect.
View of the valley below.
Here is a photo of one of those really long houses in my title.
The Danish houses are long and have many windows.
The roofs are also sometimes thatched or made with straw.
See the grass and moss on the roof?
Also the way they do it here.
It's the 4th week of my ride and I have green moss growing on my boot too.
So Google Maps always sends you the optimal route.
Which usually means the main road at high speed.
Rather than cute little back roads where the only thing you need to worry about is animals.
So whenever it offered an alternate route that took 'X' number of minutes longer....I opted for that.
And found this.
After a dirt road.
This is Egeskov Slot.
Or Egeskov Castle.
The coolest part....the family still lives in this castle.
The hunter room.
Seems the Mr. Egeskov comes into this room at night.
The staff remove all the brochures and anything around the tourist center each night.
And the family wake and come out of their coffins from the basement.
Whoops. That's another famous castle in Romania.
Been there too.
So the significance of this is the antlers.
Then the room right next to it is baroque and gorgeous.
His and Hers?
This is the book of the current royal Egeskov couple's marriage.
It's a huge, heavy book.
Seems the wedding had hundreds of guests and lasted over many days.
Even all the meals were written down.
The first Egeskov wore this armor.
This is a bed specially designed to retain the heat.
Mind you, I'm in Denmark, pretty far north and it's still in the high 90's.
Neat iron fireplace.
Ok, more death. Sorry.
This is significant because each animal is displayed with the arrow that killed it.
Seems that to this day, the family still hunt with bow and arrow.
Including the women.
Many of the tips are poisoned.
The 'don't touch' sign is in many languages.
Of Nancy sweating.
Of Nancy tired of being hot.
Of Nancy....oh nevermind.
So according to the badly translated English description, this iron fireplace is one of only five in existence and three of them are in this castle.
The stairway has dozens of these.
All the family tree offshoots.
Lots of beautiful tree lined roads.
When you follow a map and not technology.
On to another pretty castle.
Was originally a monastery.
Where apparently, some chap fell in love with a nun...things went downhill from there.
Turns out that a wealthy noble bought it and turned it into a home.
And has the largest private oil painting collection in Europe...or maybe it's the world.
I can't remember.
It was hot.
I read later that I'm not allowed to take photos.
Lot's of them.
I just love these velvet draped beds.
This armoire had a bird carved into the top corner.
When I was leaving...saw the warning sign of no photos.
That everything was being filmed.
No one followed me.
That's right. Took another photo after the no photo sign.
Now on to Mons.
This is Kong Asgers Hoj tomb.
Burial mound in the middle of a field.
Blessedly cool and dark inside.
Super creepy to look up and see a massive stone over your head.
That's been there. For a while. Just sitting with all the weight.
Found a campsite and pulled over to ask if they had space.
Sure. Always space for tents.
Met this lovely girl.
Let me be more specific.
Space in the shade?
Went to bed early.
Exhausted due to incredible heat.
I can't drink enough water.
Seems that not only is there unusual heat in the US.
Europe is finding the temperatures are insane too.
Should have brought hydration salts.
Woke up early and headed to this lovely place.
View of lake from back of castle.
It was 6 am and no one was around so I had my breakfast on this bench and enjoyed the view.
View of the back.
This large house/barn/whatever was awesome.
I rode in on perfectly raked pebbles.
Well marbles, felt like it at least.
Put my tire track around the tree, then left.
The building just went all the way around.
Now the famous limestone cliffs.
A beautiful little walkway.
Again, so early, no one is there.
Not even the ticket booth seller.
Or the parking ticket seller.
He, he, he.
Love that zoom lens I have.
I don't have to walk to see things.
And finally figured out the timer.
Denmark is full of cute little towns.
Elmelunde has the oldest stone church in Denmark with 14th century frescoes.
But not this neat tower that I parked under on the way back.
A pigeon pooped on my top case in the few minutes it took to get this photo.
There was a large viking ship find in one of the three major canals of Denmark.
They painstakingly built a seawall and siphoned out the water then dug all up the pieces to six boats.
Studied them and now, in workshops next to the actual museum, make exact replicas using hand made tools and take people out on them.
Bring a life vest.
Here is a great diagram of how they used certain parts of the tree for the ships.
These are the copies.
They even sailed one to Iceland.
Here are the originals.
Put back together as well as can be.
It was a rather impressive display in a building on the water.
Next stop, well mini stop.
Fredensborg slot where the royal family lives.
Too far to walk.
In this heat.
On my way.
On to Hamlet's castle and the ferry to Sweden....so my Denmark post nears it's end.
Mind you, as I write this I am in my last week of the ride and in Norway.
Experiencing tremendous rain and cold.
Found this food truck warehouse.
Wished I had not eaten my gruesome expensive lunch before.
Even a food truck that had chicken wings.
This funny sign before the Hamlet castle.
I have to pay how much to go inside the castle walls?
Walked around it and even saw it better from the ferry.
On foot, in the heat and sun.
View from the ferry...had I known.
On to Sweden.