The long way home, with detours

The long way home, that was our plan. Waking up on Sunday the weather was gorgeous. So we intended to make the most out of the day. 

Right after breakfast we packed up and left Straand hotel in Vrådal. Before getting on, a few things about the/our hotel. It’s pretty good, but in my opinion, overpriced.  The rooms were ok, the food was good, but that does not justify the price. And I even got a discount!

If you come this way, consider a camping site, or rent a cabin. Next time I will look for alternatives.

Long way home, first detour

We began taking the Rv4 towards Kviteseidvatnet, or Lake Kviteseid. The same way we came up. Down by the lake we went right, along the lake on Fjågesundvegen, to Fjågesund.

Riding down towards Kviteseidvatnet , or Lake Kviteseid

Riding down towards Kviteseidvatnet , or Lake Kviteseid

Fjågesundvegen is a typical Norwegian country side small road, with lots of curves, some holes. some tough parts, but all in all not a bad road.  Well except if you come here during winter. We kept a good pace and soon overtook some Germans out on biker’s vacation.

The long way home: along Lake Kviteseid

Along Lake Kviteseid

I’ll openly confess to be a tad on the “speedy” side. But my friend in the rear kept be sensibly grounded. When riding with others one has to adjust. The road led us a long the beautiful lake, bathed in sunlight.

Fjågesund bridge

Fjågesund bridge & Fjågesund, a no-place place, but pretty!

At Fjågesund we crossed a bridge over the lake, and hit on another small road, running on the eastern side of lake Flåvatn. A winding, twisty and fun road, leading us slightly north.

Gravel surprises

At a small placed called Kilen we took off due north on Kilenvegen (Kilen road) and, surprise, we’d found a gravel road! Oh joy! It had been my hope that we would ride some gravel. There are a lot of gravel roads in Telemark county. We stumbled upon one of them.

The long way home: Kilenvegen in Telemark

Kilenvegen in Telemark, gravel all the way

The road led us through woods, up hills, down hills, past some more lakes. A beautiful road with little traffic, mostly used by locals I would assume. Regardless, it had been the first, good gravel experience on the trip. And our beemers felt very much at home.

Through woods in Telemark on gravel roads

Through woods in Telemark on gravel roads

Coming through the woods we crossed county road (Rv, short for Riksveg) 36, which runs between Seljord and Skien. Then continued on the other side. North of Bø in Telemark the GPS suggested there was a dirt & gravel road running across some mountains and woods.

Bø in Telemark: up and into the woods on a tiny gravel and dirt road

Bø in Telemark: up and into the woods on a tiny gravel and dirt road

That road turned out to be a very small, very narrow toll road.  We paid a fee, literally by stuffing cash in an envelope and put in a box. Opened the barrier, and rode off, and up, into the woods. The road quickly got rougher, steeper, with sharper inclines, and lots of loose gravel and dirt.

The long way home: just got longer. We hit a barrier with padlock, and ditches on either side.

The long way home: just got longer. We hit on a barrier with padlock and narrow, muddy ditches on either side.

A few kilometers up and into the woods, dead end. We had hit on another barrier, and this one was locked. With ditches on both sides. The map suggested another barrier awaited us further down. Because of that, nothing else to do than to turn back, and ride down again.

Another detour & home

Back on a pavement small roads we set course towards Notodden, which we had passed through Friday.  Instead of going the same way home, we decided on a different and longer route. As a result, right north of Notodden, we took E134 up to Sauland, and from there right up along Fv651 to Tuddal.

The long way home: Fv651 from Tuddal to Gaustadtoppen, and down towards Rjukan

FV651 from Tuddal to Gaustadtoppen, and down towards Rjukan

It’s a very cool road that takes you up to the mountain Gaustadtoppen. And from there, across and down towards Rjukan. From Gaustadtoppen, the highest point in Telemark, you’ll be able to see approx. one sixth of Norway’s mainland. Well, on a clear day that is. A funicular railway inside the mountain takes you to the top if you don’t feel like trekking up by foot.

Around Gaustadtoppen, pretty area

Around Gaustadtoppen, pretty area

We made a quick stop by the foot of the mountain, then continued down to lake Tinn (Tinnsjøen). It was on this lake Norwegian resistance sunk a ferry loaded with heavy water from Vemork. Because of this and other sabotage actions, the Nazi’s failed to develop a nuclear bomb during WW2.

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Enough history.  Down by lake Tinn we took Fv37, or county road 37, to Kongsberg. And from there the fastest route home.

It had been a great ride, some 1025 kilometers, or 637 miles done in two and a half days.  Below the entire route, click to expand.

July 12th-14th: the entire route from Oslo to Lysebotn & back

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