In the morning Jan traded the can of beer he had brought me the night before for two coffees from Mark. We packed up and set off picking up the trail within a few km.
We rode for less than 30 minutes before finding a little side track with the words ‘Offroad Camping’ we went along and discovered the most unusual campsite yet. Dedicated to offloading fans it was an oasis of glorious machines and relics alike. From the beautifull International V8 step side pickup to the old VW Beetle sat in the grounds. The owner and his wife had made this place astonishingly brilliant. We had coffee and walked around with the owner. They do quad adventure rides on decent Polaris quads, electric ski scooters and snow mobiles. They even have chariot racing behind the quads. In the centre of camp is a 60’s style filling Station, but actually its a lodge. If we had only known the night before. I really had to tear myself away.
Jan and I rode on to Grasheden our departure point. Jan was heading off to Norway and back home. I was headed further up Section 4 to the water crossing. I’ve read about it and we met 3 Germans who had come from that direction. They said they wouldn’t do it alone and that it’s herder headed North. Jan was worried for me but it was time to head off, we had lunch together before saying goodbye.
I was back on the trail alone and getting along quite well, knowing at some point the water crossing would be upon me and suddenly it was. There used to be a bridge but it collapsed a few years ago and the alternative is a short river crossing or a 200km ride around.
Having done some trials riding I knew you have to walk as much as you can first to assess the crossing. Getting to the water was fair easy. The water itself was running fast and there were a few large rocks on this side. After that a fairly defined route across. But then I could see a lot of mud on the other bank. But that’s the other bank, right?
I put one phone in a plastic bag in my pocket, I don’t know what use it would be as there’s no signal out here. The other phone in the waterproof panniers. I strapped my rucksack to the luggage and went through it in my head. Traction control off, ABS off, ride down this bank and line up then get across without putting your feet down if you can.
I started the bike, rode down the bank, go pro’s on. I lined up and picked a route through the first few rocks and set off. Over the first few rocks and then the front wheel lodged. I put both feet down and felt the water flood into my boots. I gunned it but no power! Stupid boy I had not switched off TC and ABS. That’s another 5 seconds in the water waiting for that lot. Then I gunned it and was through and into the mud. Stuck fast.
Gunning it now was of no use. Now it’s brute force to muscle it out. After the first fall, I took all the luggage off. After the second fall all my riding gear came off. I was sweating in the heat even my feet where hot on the water logged boots. Using sticks and rocks under the rear wheel I got it moving, 1 metre, but that’s a start. She’s no lightweight at 250kg and to be on the safe side I had just filled her with fuel at lunch. That’s 23 litres of fuel. Stood next to it and pushing I made progress.
I had al.ost reached dryer ground but now the back was stuck fast and the front was on the wrong side of a big stone, which wasn’t moving. I laid the bike on its right side, packed sticks and rocks under the rear wheel, lifted it up and tried again, nothing. I put it back down on its right side and with all my strength lifted and dragged the front wheel over the rock and back onto the path. It was a massive effort to get it back on its wheels but I managed. It’s now just 5 metres to some mossy dryer land. I sat astride the bike switched on the ignition disabled TC and ABS, pressed the starter and nothing! The engine spun over but no way was it starting. Two times, three times and on the fourth nothing.
I took a break and went back down to the waters edge to collect my kit. Several draining trips back and forth to collect it all and I was roasting again but the bike had cooled a bit. I knew whilst wrestling the bike over the rock, at times the wheels where higher than the fuel tank and bikes have a fuel cut off in case of an accident, but this was no accident and I had to hope the switch would reset itself.
I stood beside her and once more pressed the starter button and she purred into life. A quick shove and some gas and we were on the dryer stuff. Helmet back on and in seconds I was back on the track. A further 20 minutes and the luggage was on but I was a strap missing. I had to go back to the waters ages to recover it, luckily I did as the security lock was also there.
This is such a long episode I will post the rest later. But I was back on the track riding fast with a huge sense of achievement. The words of the Germans ringing in my ears “You mustn’t do this alone, there is no way you will get through heading North” the grin on my face was so big it hurt.
Camping at Sveg With two other TET riders CRF300L and CB500X