Ben: We packed up this morning knowing that the day might be a long one. After experiencing first hand all of the hills that surround Oslo and viewing the maze of streets on the map, we braced for the worst.
We left our huge, overcrowded campground with a route that we had meticulously planned the night before after running countless elevation profiles and distance calculations. The plan, however, failed as bikes are not permitted on one of the critical stretches of road and we were left to navigate out of the maze of Oslo on our own.
We wove in and out of highways, quiet neighborhood roads, and past industrial plants as I tried to make sense of the jumble of roads on the GPS. Not only are there hills and tunnels to deal with, but we found that we weren’t able to ride on the ring road (the reason our planned route had failed), not that we wanted to. It was really busy and had no shoulder – I’m not sure we would have attempted it either way. In spite of all of this, we slowly made our way to the suburbs, and after several hours of head scratching attempting to avoid backtracking up steep hills, we finally made it into the countryside.
Bree: Since all roads head uphill in Norway, we continued to climb and climb toward the Swedish border. Dense pines crowded the road on either side, with brilliant blue skies spilling overhead. Occasional villages appeared occasionally; darling red and white houses sprung up from thick rugs of blue-green grains. The colors in this part of the country are brilliant. Signs frequently appeared to caution drivers about the presence of moose on the road. This got Ben pretty excited though we never actually spotted any wildlife.
A bit more than halfway through our ride, we stopped for groceries at the last town before a long desolate stretch of road that would carry us into Sweden. There, we picked up our favorite Norwegian treat: weinerbrod. I’m hopeful that we’ll find more vanilla custard filled pastries in Sweden, but only time will tell.
With our bags fully loaded, we headed uphill yet again, where we soon arrived at the first of a series of lakes sprinkled through the hills. We pondered joining the many swimming locals, but instead decided to continue on, seeking a quieter place where we could camp.
The second lake had almost no beach and was crowded with a permanent looking settlement of motorhomes and trailers, so we headed to the next which was surrounded by cottages. We kept pedaling a while after we intended to call it a day, looking for just the right place to spend the night.
Just as we were about to turn off and head into Sweden, feeling a little uninspired by our attempts at finding a lakeside place of our own, we pulled up to a completely deserted lake with an easy flat place to camp just a short push off the road. We pulled out our tarp and settled in to while away the afternoon, talking, tuning the bikes, snacking through our food supply, and scrubbing ourselves down with lake water. We watched the bright blue day melt into a soft pink evening from our waterfront pitch.