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Haze rendezvous

Haze rendezvous

DAY 1
At the crack of dawn I jumped out of bed and threw on my uniform. Next came a quick breakfast where I wolfed down a couple of eggs on toast, before I cleaned up my cabin by dumping all my crap inside my closet. I reminded the AB’s to open the hatch to the “basement” (the lower car deck) on Stavangerfjord, so that I could drive my KTM 990 Adventure (the Orange Beast) ashore. I have two weeks off and this weekend is being spent in Germany and Denmark… Mostly Denmark.

The reason we are going to Denmark is that the sailboat Haze is arriving at 12:00 on Saturday after completing their circumnavigation. I first met them in Panama, when we were waiting to go through the Panama Canal. Since then we met them several times as we were crossing the Pacific. The last time we saw them was in Bora Bora. In order to give them a proper welcome home and congratulate them on a complete circumnavigation, we’re going to Copenhagen to stand on the pier when they arrive.

Anyways, I wished the guys on board Stavangerfjord a good shift and raced home to pack. Kjersti had already packed all of her stuff and was basically ready. I hadn’t really unpacked from the trip Christer and I did 3 weeks ago, so it was a quick affair for me to throw a couple of fresh boxers, sock and t-shirts on top and seal my bags. We were a bit pressed for time, because we had to be in Kristiansand by 15:30 in order to get on board SuperSpeed 1 which would take us to Hirtshals in Denmark. I mounted my panniers and strapped the tent down behind me, while Kjersti strapped her bag with all our clothes down behind her on her KTM 690 Duke.

The trip from Stavanger to Kristiansand can best be described as wet. It was raining heavily, but our BMW Streetguard 3 motorcycle suits kept us warm and dry for the whole 3 and a half hour ride. I love riding the road between Stavanger and Kristiansand, because it twists and turns and you hardly ever have any long straight stretches. It’s a perfect road for motorcycles.

We made the boat without incident and wolfed down a couple of juicy burgers before landfall was made in Denmark. We had booked a night at a Bed and Breakfast just outside Aarhus, so we enjoyed the high speed limits in Denmark and flew down there getting there just after nightfall.

The bed and breakfast turned out to be a super cosy house with a brand spanking new “wing” where we had a room. The beds were superb and Kjersti mumbled that the pillows were sensational, before she dozed off. We’re getting up early tomorrow, so it’s time to turn off the lights. Today was an awesome day of riding and our KTM’s were sensational.

DAY 2

The alarm on my Chinese cell-phone cut short a hot night of sleeping. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten accustomed to the ridiculously cold summers in Norway, but sleeping south of Skagerak means coping with sweaty sleeping conditions. I actually love it, because it allows me to close my eyes and remember nights on AI.

Kjersti and I got up, made tea and ate a few banana muffins that she had made for the trip. We had piled all our gear on what was supposed to be the kitchen table, so we sat in the staircase and enjoyed our breakfast.

We said goodbye to our hosts and hit the road. The weather was really nice and though our motorcycle suits rock in wet weather, they get awefully warm if you’re not doing a 120 down the freeway. Luckily we tended to do more than a 120, so temperature wasn’t really an issue until we had to slow down or stop. Kjersti discovered that her beloved KTM 690 Duke is an awesome street and city bike, but not ideally suited for long trips. She would have killed for a bigger windscreen. The screen on my KTM 990 Adventure is a lot bigger than hers, but still a lot smaller than what you find on a BMW R1200GSA, but I still didn’t have to face the wind buffeting onslaught like she did on the entire trip. It’s safe to say that she got a thorough work-out holding on to her bike in speeds up to 160 km/h with the wind pounding her in the chest.

The trip down to Germany took a little over two hours, before we parked our bikes outside the Hein-Gericke store in the Scandinavian Park just outside of Flensburg. I had ordered some stuff there from Karla, a friendly lady that spoke Danish, who turned put to be the proprietor of the store. I bought 2 x ABUS Detecto 8077, a brand new lock with alarm (one for Kjersti and one for me), along with bar-raisers (so that I can ride comfortably while standing), as well as some small tid-bits. I also wanted to buy a tank-bag, but Hein-Gericke’s didn’t fit and they didn’t carry the two brands I’m really interested in: Enduristan and Killer Loop. I’ll have to do more research and pull the plug on one of them later (maybe next trip ๐Ÿ™‚

While in Flensburg we also enjoyed a great schnitzel with mushrooms as our brunch and before we shot off we checked out the liquor section at the grocery store there. I was blown away: They had a great selection of everything from top shelf single malt, to bottom shelf vodka. Seeing that we’re partying with sailors, we opted for some rum … Mount Gay rum … Not because sailors or mountains are gay (quite the contrary), but because it’s the best Caribbean rum. The prices were a quarter of what you’d pay in Norway, so it’s safe to say I was drooling and sorry I didn’t have more space on the “Orange Beast”.

We loaded up and hit the road. After about 30 minutes Kjersti needed a time-out, so we pulled over long enough for her to squeeze in a 10 minute cat-nap. I bought us ice cream, so pretty soon we were able to resume our journey to Copenhagen. The trip itself was nice with a bit of varying weather. A definite highlight was driving over the Storebelt bridge. It’s huge, long, scenic and pricey bridge … a 120 kr for a motorcycle, but well worth it. We had our GoPro cameras running, so hopefully the video turned out well.

When we pulled in to Copenhagen we overshot a bit, but managed to find our way to our bed & breakfast relatively fast, even if we don’t use a GPS. Some people are addicted to their GPS, I use them at work, but take pride in finding my way without them, when I’m not working.

Our bed and breakfast is located in what we in Norway call a Kolonihage, so it’s small, lush and friendly. Our host is a retired teacher and we basically sleep in his living room. The pictures I’ll upload will paint a better picture, but I’d safe to say that it’s awesome and memorable.

We were a bit late to dinner and ended up in a Thai take-away restaurant. It wasn’t particularly classy, but it was the only thing that was open, so my expectations were very low. On the plus side they allowed me to buy beer next door, so that we wouldn’t have to drink soda. This is breaking the law, but shows a keen business sense and a customer friendly approach ๐Ÿ˜‰ I ordered a vindalo and Kjersti a keeme buryani. To our big surprise the food was spicy and delicious, so we got a lot more than we had hoped for. Slightly tipsy, stuffed and happy we wandered back to our house and promptly dove into bed … Once again it was “lights out” as soon as our heads hit the pillows.

DAY 3

We kicked off the day with a fabulous breakfast prepared by our Bed and Breakfast host, Mogen. Mogens Krathus is a perfect place to spend the night. He has a great little house and a beautiful garden. He’s also the loveliest man you’ll meet in Copenhagen. It actually feels like you’re staying over at your grandfather’s.

We were unsure exactly where Haze was pulling in, so we set out early to make sure we didn’t miss it. The only coordinates we had been given was Refshalvรธen and Cafe Halvandet. We hit the place on first try and quickly met a number of other people also there to meet Haze. I was surprised to see how many had shown up. Danish flags and balloons in red and white were handed out and everybody lined up along the dock and waited for Haze.

Ten past twelve they pulled in, escorted by a number of other sailboats. A big cheer went up and the balloons were released into the air. When they were secured alongside, Jesper and Stine came ashore and started handing out hugs. Many people there hadn’t seen them since they left over 3 years ago. I last saw them on Bora Bora, exactly 2 years ago, when we celebrated the twin’s birthday party on AI. It was great to see them again.

The welcome home party kicked off immediately, so I raced back to the b&b to pick up a few beers and the bottle of rum we had bought in Flensburg. As it turned out there wasn’t a big need to bring beers, because they had a few kegs there and were selling pints for 10 kr. This had the making of an epic party… It delivered in full ๐Ÿ™‚ … Everyone was plastered well before sunset, Kjersti and I included. We met a ton of very friendly people. My KTM 990 Adventure attracted a few motorcycle enthusiasts and before soon I was discussing long distance riding with Jonas, a guy who recently did a long motorcycle trip around South America with his girlfriend. This was definitely fuel for the round the World motorcycle trip fire. I sent an SMS to Christer, who is going mad in Stavanger, already making plans for the big trip and he’s now more motivated than ever.

The party went as expected and can by anyone’s measure be called a big success. Details are a bit hazy due to a large consumption of beer and healthy rum’s and Coke. The BBQ was superb, as were some late night pizzas. The music and dancing picked up when the sun set. In general the kegs ensured a happy and drunk bunch ๐Ÿ™‚

Kjersti and I tried to get a cab at 3 am, but when no one answered the call, we grabbed a few blankets and crashed on the floor inside the wharf lunch room. Sleep came fast.

DAY 4

We woke up on the floor in the wharf lunchroom at 10:00 am. Sore from sleeping on the floor, dehydrated and with a first class hang-over, this promised to be a slow day. We waited till I could be classified as sober enough to drive, before we headed back to Mogens Krathus (our bed and breakfast). Before we headed back we said our goodbyes to Stine and Jesper and invited them to come and visit us in Stavanger.

When we got back to the b&b we crashed for a few more hours, enjoyed a brunch at 2 pm, before we headed out to sight-see. Kjersti had never been to Copenhagen, so we walked up and down the old walking street, looked at Tivoli (from the outside), had a look at Nyhavn and even checked out the Little Mermaid. A couple of greasy burgers helped calm the hang-over and a tasty ice cream put smiles back on our faces.

It was a slow day, but a good way to recover from yesterday’s festivities. We decided to go to bed early, so that we could get an early start tomorrow, when we have a really long day of riding ahead of us.

DAY 5
At 8:30 we got up and went to work on a superb breakfast compliments of Mogen. The next hour and a half vanished in “preparations” and at 10:00 we left Mogens Krathus. We stopped by a garage, so that we could borrow tools to tighten the chain on Kjersti’s KTM 690 Duke. Her chain is supposed to be a lot tighter than than on my KTM 990 Adventure. With the chain tensioned, we hit the road.

We had hardly left the Copenhagen city boundaries before the heavens opened up. The most sensational downpour I’ve ever driven through ensued. Tropical downpours had nothing on what I experienced outside Copenhagen. Thankfully it didn’t last very long, because it was a definite safety hazard on the road.

We made good speed and were in Aarhus almost before we knew it. In order to see slightly more than just freeways we turned off it and drove the coastal road the rest of the way. That meant lower speed limits, but infinitely more stuff to see, so definitely worth it.

When we reached Hirtshals we stopped by Customs and got the Tax-Free papers from Germany stamped. This means we’ll save even more on what was already awesome prices ๐Ÿ™‚ We also topped up the fuel tanks, because fuel is cheaper in Denmark than in Norway. When we pulled up to the check-in for SuperSpeed 1 we noticed that we were perhaps a tad late, but it meant that we didn’t have to wait anywhere before we drive onboard, so that was grand ๐Ÿ™‚

The trip back to Norway was quick, but we managed to stuff in a nice dinner and Kjersti squeezed in some shut-eye before we rolled off in Kristiansand into the same crap weather we had experienced earlier in Copenhagen. It was a quarter past midnight, it was pissing down, it was cold, it was dark and we had 233 km to go on narrow and windy Norwegian roads. We did the trip in just over 3 hours, which would have been awesome on any given day, but was nothing short of spectacular given the circumstances. When we got home we pulled off our motorcycle gear and collapsed in bed.