LUTMAN'S 2017 NORWAY FAMILY/BIRDING TRIP

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.

Day 11. Saturday, May 20, 2017. Lom through Grotli to Stranda, the Fabulous Eagle Road ... Denied.

Good morning, it's 7:50 Saturday morning May 20. We are here in Lom, in the excellent Turistsenter Camp, behind the Esso petrol station. {Actually down the hill from a hotel. Bob registered at the hotel and then we drove down to the cabins and motorhome sites. They are putting in some new concrete pads for new RV sites. A lot of big equipment but they leave at about 4-5 so don't disturb us.}

Sharon's iphone has disappeared. We look everywhere and it is nowhere. Finally Sharon decides to look at the small space between her twin bed mattress and the wall of the motorhome. When she checks there, she is amazed to discover that there is a half-inch gap! Horrors. Why is there any gap there at all? Anything could disappear into that that has one dimension less than a half inch or so. She sticks her cheek against the wall with a flashlight, and holy moly, she sees her iphone, several feet down this crack! What the heck? She says "I can see it, it's on some kind of shelf. I don't think I can reach it with my hand." {Ihad looked everywhere but knew the phone had to be in the motorhome as I hadn't left since we set up. We tried calling it but, of course, it was on silent. We searched "Find My Phone" but it just confirmed it was somewhere close}.That triggers something I just learned by digging into our mostly empty luggage, looking for it, in what we call the underground storage. There are two lockable doors in the back of the motorhome, one on each side, and if you open them both, you can see right through the motorhome. This is the luggage storage area while you are vacationing in the motorhome. It also has a ladder, a table and a couple of chairs, the electrical cord to connect the motorhome to electricity in camping parks, a hose for connecting to clean water faucets, to fill our water tank, and other assorted items. I remember seeing some shelves down there!

I open one of the doors, the one on her side of the motorhome, move the table, and bingo! there it is, on one of the shelves.

{Sharon: What I actually did was put it on my bed (without the attachable phone cover - my emergency battery "mophie", with its "sticky" surface, so now it's the bare iphone and is very slick), it slid over to the edge of the bed by the wall while I was sleeping, and fell down in that space. Hooray, I found my phone again}

We stuff clothing and extra sheets into the spaces on the out side of our beds so nothing else will fall into the gaps. {In the cold areas we stay, it also helps prevent a cold breeze from radiating from the wall.}

Mind the gap.

We are going to pack up, and drive up to the Lom Stave Church, but it's such a gorgeous day, we decide to walk the path up to the berm on this side of the river, walk on the berm up to the bridge, over the bridge, then across the parking lot to the church. We will do some more shopping in the tourist place too.

It is an absolutely gorgeous day, clear and warm. Here's the bridge from two angles. First from the first part of the bridge, looking downstream, then from the end of the bridge, watching Sharon come over.


And here's the look from the bridge, looking upstream, and finally the stave church.


Some church shots.


We get to the church just after a giant bus unloads a passel of Korean tourists. These two are arm in arm all the time, running to be the first at everything. Sharon said hi to them, and they pointed back and forth to each other, excitedly yelling and laughing, "Comfort! Comfort!" I took it that they had mistaken the English translation of twins, but that's just me.


We hit the souvenir shop a pretty good lick, then walk back across the river to our motorhome, rig for travel and take off.

We are headed for Geiranger today. It should be a spectacular drive, first on a National Tourist Route, then on Eagle's Road. We will come to a point where there are two options. The first is, if the tourist road through Vidaeseter is open, we'll do that, then take a tunnel sequence north and the road to Geiranger. The second is, if the tourist road through Vidaeseter is closed, we'll just head north at that point, and go straight to Geiranger, over Eagle's Road. Either way has spectacular views. {This is one of those places I have researched before we left and would like to go on the "Snow Road" (aka Eagle's Road) but we are also bound by the late Spring they are having}

But first, we need to get to that point of decision.

We drive past a farm that has a long low barn with about ten small tractors, all very old with a wide assortment of bright colors. Sharon sees more outside the low barn, so maybe he has about twenty? Great hobby. Sorry, we past so fast, no photos.

Following our normal plan, we drive a while, then stop for breakfast, though a bit later than usual. We find a great picnic spot by the bridge over a river, at a place called Donnfloss. We take our breakfast to a table, and enjoy the setting. Sharon likes this tree growing out of the mossy dirt in a big rock.


We watch a couple across the river. The man jumps the gap while the woman climbs down, then is able to step to a lower spot on the rock, then climb up. Sharon sees and we both hear a Dipper fly up the river. {The river is so high and rough I fear for them but they are young and don't think of such dangers.}



We finish up, and as we are walking back to the motorhome, we notice little round poops. Sharon said it's a moose or deer. I say "Mind the poop." We head out, but I am amazed by these table/bench combos sawn from logs and stained and polished, as we are leaving.. Reminds me of my Lincoln Logs as a kid.

 

About 11:30 we stop at a tiny place called Grotli, which must have a population of about 4! I was expecting much larger. There is a hotel, and I go in to learn the status of what's called the "snow" or "tourist" road through Vidaeseter. I learn that not only is IT closed, but the main road directly to Geiranger -- Eagle's Road -- iis ALSO closed. What? I thought we were picking between two choices, and now neither is available. I inquire how to get to where I want to go, and am told that the only road available goes way out of our way, and that will miss some spectacular scenery.

Hmmm. I talk with Sharon, and we decide not to believe them yet. Maybe the road straight to Geiranger is open, and we could go there, and maybe the road north from THERE is closed. We could spend the night in Geiranger, then double back and do the long road.

But we come to the road directly to Geiranger, and it has about two feet of snow on it. It has not been plowed yet this year. It is CLOSED. So we will bypass, going the long way, through a town called Stryn and on to another out-of-our-way town called Stranda. {How much more closed could it be??}


We take this, and happily, it is a beautiful drive also. Starting with some more SNOW! Woohoo. You can just see the azure water, underneath a thin layer of ice and snow. Wonderful.



And luckily, once again, we make it down out of the snow. Then it's down, down, down, ultimately revealing a gorgeous valley. {Isn't this the quintessential Norway scene? I'm so glad we are here seeing this!}


And now for something completely different. Here's what our dash looks like. A complicated rig can be pulled out of the dash, and it holds an iPhone in place. There are two USB points, and we have our iphones connected to each while we drive, charging the phones. {And we play music off Bob's iphone. He has about 8,000 songs on it of all differnet varieties. We also have the "Joe and Charley" tapes of lectures on the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that are interesting to follow.}

We stop at one place for photos, and a guy pulls up and parks next to us to do the same thing. He says, in great joy, "This will be the best day of the year we've had so far!" Referring to the weather. So our bad luck has turned out ok.


Continuing down, here are a few of the afternoon's sights - a half pipe for roller bladers and skate boarders, then a great mirror shot across a lake.


Sharon loves to take tunnel shots, and here's one from a long tunnel with a place to do a U-turn in the middle. Awesome. {Look at that Tardis, girls. right in the tunnel.}

And finally after a long day...

It's six pm and we are in camp here in Stranda. Tomorrow morning a ferry will take us across at 8:15, or 8:45 if we miss the first one. Then we drive four hours to get to our target village of Bud, but on the way we hope to stop at the scenic Kvernes Stave Church, which I've had on my radar since the beginning. It is supposed to be in a beautiful setting. Then from Bud to Kristiansund, one night there, then begin the seven-or-so-day-trek north to our target village of Gamvik, where Sharon will try to find a relative. I'm juberous, as Dad used to say.. But when Sharon gets something in her sights... {When my Mom and Uncle Terry (her brother) were here in 1999, they found a person with whom they shared a great-great grandparent. Don't know how I'll do.}

See you all around,
Bob and Sharon

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