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Norrköping – Mellerud Return

December 31, 2018

This is the story of our only big tour this year, the ride to the spring meeting with the Swedish Moto Guzzi club in Mellerud on 25th – 27th of May. Altogether we did about 1000 km including the day out and getting off the planned route a few times on the way back (I finally was at Bike Trollhättan 😉 ).

Our route.

The place in Mellerud was booked since February. The motorcycles were sort of ready since January. “Sort of” since you never really can count off Murphy’s law. As usual, there were a bit of last technical issues to solve (yes, it is actually beneficial to have working brakes even though you try to avoid using them) and to get the bike through the MOT on the day before departure. I took Friday off, because I know that Elisa, my v35 Imola from 1983, is not exactly an “autobahn mileage eater”. Hence a full day planned with departure at 9.00 in the morning. OK, it became an Italian start at 9.30 anyway.

Since the forecast said it would be historically hot on that May weekend, I took the Northern route, via Finspång, Pålsboda, Hallsberg and Karlstad. The original plan was to find small roads from Hallsberg to Kristinehamn. However, it didn’t turn out that way since my navigational skills without a GPS are trained at a minimum level, plus that Swedish geography still doesn’t count to my super powers yet (as we also shall see on the way back). So I ended up taking main roads anyway. Maybe I should take up orientation as a sport?

In any case, it was a nice road trip north of the lakes Vättern and Vänern, and then all the way down to Mellerud. The wood industry and the sawmill of Stora Enso in Grums were particularly impressive.

There were also interesting situations regarding how one is treated as a motorcyclist. In Pålsboda at the OK petrol station an impatient driver could not quickly enough take over my place at the pump, barely leaving me enough space to pull off after filling up with petrol. Idiot. Well, I took my time and he just had to wait. To my pleasure at least ;-).
In Karlskoga at the Circle K petrol station I had just managed to park the bike when I got company from three men with enthusiastic and curious eyes checking out my travel companion. Karlskoga is a motor town, you must know. One of the main Swedish tracks for Roadracing, Gelleråsen Raceway, being situated just a few kilometres away.
And then there was one more interested guy. “What kind of bike is that?” “A Moto Guzzi” Asking eyes. “An Italian bike”. “Well. No, I’ve never seen one of these before”. Right then, we managed with an ego boost for Elisa just before lunch. Excellent! 🙂

Biker lunch in Karlskoga.


Next stop: The OK petrol station in Säffle – ice cream and toilet break. Generally friendly looks and happy chats, plus a little compassion because I wore such warm clothes (leather suit). Then an encouraging “Mellerud? It’s only 60 kilometres left.” It were in fact 70 kilometres but it didn’t bother me since I had the road pretty much to myself, apart from a crazily fast Norwegian car who suddenly appeared behind me out of nowhere.

Ice cream in Säffle, and “veteran meeting” between Elisa and a nice old bicycle.

Upon arrival in Mellerud I went refueling first, before continuing to the campsite. In order to find our home for the next days it was just to follow other Guzzi riders who all took the same direction.

Home for the next two days – a rather hot camping hut, but I am not complaining, I remember other rather trips with rather chilly weather and no working heating…

Throughout the weekend, there were many pleasant moments with people that I do not meet that often or have not met at all. For example, Hans Länsisyrjä and his wife who organized the meeting I met in autumn, and Patric and Mona I haven’t seen since we worked together on the motorcycle fair in Gothenburg 2012. Bertil who won Saturday’s competition (“tips promenad” – it’s a Swedish thing) and Gunnar were new faces to me, and also Kalle who moved to Dalsland in 2014 and who spent 45 years at his workplace in my home town of Wilhelmshaven in Northern Germany. The world is very small sometimes!
Also, there were Hans-Åke Magnusson who joined us over the day with a nicely converted Guzzi, and Jont-Olof with his Flying Fortress – a perfect match between bike and man! Stefan from Stockholm and rather new to the club shared a camping hut for two nights with enthusiastic Guzzistis like Chichi and Kjelle and Rune. I must not forget to mention the nice Danish gang and their unbeatable humour. All these and many more lovely Guzzistis I would like to thank for many pleasant and inspiring chats and many laughs.

Kalle, Gunnar, Kjelle and Bertil (from left to right)

The organiser chose a wonderful Saturday stretch for our day out together. First we went North to Baldersnäs, where there was a dangerous place with lots of nice crafts work to shop. Lucky for the wallet that I was by bike! Then we continued South to the Dalsland Channel and the aqueduct at Håverud. The whole route offered many nice twisty roads and it was really like one got a chance to get back into “that feeling” again. After not having been on a bike at all during entire 2017, this became a proper “breaking-in trip”.

Sunday morning it was time to say good bye and to start rolling home. Now I had a travel companion in Mikko who drove over on Friday after work with the new four-wheeled model from “Bavarian Moto (Guzzi) Werke”. We agreed to meet in Skara and the plan was that I should arrive there before Mikko. However, thanks to my unbeatable navigation skills it didn’t exactly work out that way. I had two of the Danish Guzzistis travelling behind me all the way down to Vänersborg and Trollhättan where it was time for choosing directions between “Jönköping” or “Gothenburg”.
It must have been because I like Gothenburg so much that I chose that direction. Plus, the Danish club friends deserved some escort, too, after all, they rode next longest (the longest way had a lovely Dutch chap with his daughter). On the positive side, I took myself right down to the shop Bike in Trollhättan, where I then turned and took the road in the right direction. Well, Elisa’s navigation system works at least. She usually finds bike shops and petrol stations. A bit later, I managed to choose another route again – all of a sudden I was on the way to Lidköping, instead of to Jönköping to get to Skara. My choice of road offered lovely scenery, though, and nice wide roads as there is a large military air base in Lidköping. I discovered a lot of new areas and of course the man arrived before me in Skara.
Now he had to lead for a while, we both thought it would be safest that way if we wanted to come home at a reasonable time… .

The way around lake Vättern was quite a piece of work, though, it reminded me very much of our Denmark experience a couple of years ago. Strong side winds made the front wheel lift from the road on several occasions. Butterflies in the stomach, and not in a good way! Newly paved or patched roads with bleeding asphalt did not contribute to the feeling of safety on that particular stretch either. That experience I already had in some round abouts on the outskirts of Trollhättan. Nope, I want to ride, not glide… . After almost a full day of riding with a nice lunch break in Karlsborg at lake Vättern, crossing the Götakanalen on three occasions, Elisa and I were home again. Completely exhausted but very happy over an absolutely lovely, long road trip. 

May that memory inspire many more trips like that in 2019!

 

Happy me 😉 Thanks to Hans-Åke for the nice picture!

You want more pictures from the trip? Then you should visit my Flickr-album “Moto Guzzi meeting in Mellerud”.

A very Happy New Bike Year to you! ❤

 

 

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