Monday, December 24, 2012


T'was the Night before

Long nights and even longer days. 
Life in northern Scandinavia, right above the Arctic Circle. 
But yet I find myself quite content here in this extremely cold, dark but hauntingly beautiful enviornment, I really am enjoying it more than I thought I would.
I was going to ride down to Rovaniemi Finland last Thursday to go and pay a visit to Santa and see if I could get him to give a special Christmas message and wish to all the children that I have given sidecar rides to in the RideAwayCancer Sidecar.
I was all set to go. Wednesday evening as I was checking my email there was a message from Peter De Jong from the Sports Complex Bul Alta asking me would I be interested in participating in their Parade on Saturday to help raise money for a house in Tromsø Norway that is used by children with cancer. 
Peter saw a piece on TV4 that aired earlier in the week about me and RideAwayCancer and decided on the spur of the moment to write to me.
Well, how could I refuse. 

So I didn't get to see Santa this year. Hopefully I'm still around and in good health by next December as Rovaniemi is on my list of "Things To Do next Christmas". I like it up here in Northern Scandinavia in Winter and just haven't had as much time to explore and photograph as much as I would have liked to.

It helps that my 2 Wheel Drive sidecar outfit that LBS Sidecars built performs the way I had hoped it would. 
It was built with a specific purpose in mind and that was Winter travel, extreme Winter travel and so far it's been great. The Mobec 2 WD, aside from their poor welding on the output shaft, has been really indispensable on the ice and snow I've been driving on ever since I rode north of Ostersund in Sweden and was definitely worth the extra money. I don't think I would be this far north without it.

When I got snowed in in Steamboat, Colorado in January of 2011 I realized that unless I had a sidecar outfit my future travel plans would be completely weather dependent, at the mercy of whatever Mother nature decided to throw at me, and I'm just not that type of traveler. If I wanted to travel in winter and not get stuck, 3 wheels was what I needed and preferably with a 2 WD  system. And here I am today, up in Alta in Norway, 70° north. Top of the World.
I like to go where I want to go and when I want to go, regardless of the weather conditions. If it's raining I put on my rain gear. If it's cold I put on thermal gear. And if it's ice and snow, now I just put my sidecar out into 2 Wheel Drive and keep on trucking.
It's taken me almost the whole 3 years to figure out what sort of motorcyclist, and now sidecarist, I am.

The whole Winter travel scene was to me unexplored territory. I always knew I liked Winter and didn't mind traveling in it, but since I had never really had much experience of serious winter in the U.S. and what I would need to successfully travel in it, I had no idea of what to expect. Sure, I hit a snowstorm here and there in Colorado and even once in New Mexico, but it wasn't for more than a day or two and certainly not for a whole winter above the Arctic Circle. And now that me Mum is living in Boulder CO I'll be able to visit her in the Winter now with the sidecar which I wasn't able to when it was a 2 wheel motorcycle.
LBS Sidecars did a great job in building me an outfit that performs as it was designed and built for, for extreme winter travel. All the issues I’ve had so far have been problems that had nothing to do with LBS and their build, the rear shock was a Ohlins problem, the final drive output shaft was due to a bad welding job by Mobec, and the wiring was just old wiring that needed to be replaced after 3 years in the rain. But the decision to spend the extra money and extra time to install the Mobec 2 Wheel Drive system in the outfit was well worth it. I don’t think I would be this far north were it not for the 2 WD.

There's something about Winter that I've always loved. Well, Winter in a climate like this that is with plenty of snow.
I think it's my favorite season. No, scratch that. It IS my favorite season.The snow, the cold, the clean fresh air. I mean, how good does a hot cup of coffee or a hot chocolate taste on a cold and snowy winters day?. Hot chocolate just doesn't taste the same lying on a beach in Mexico.

And of course you meet the nicest people in Scandinavia on a sidecar.

But you have to watch out, otherwise they'll try to steal your bike while your back is turned or while you're taking their picture.

Inger Johansson, Stromsund, Sweden. Dec 2012.

Inger is a baker in Stromsund Sweden, and I stopped by there to have a chat and pick up a couple of her home baked carrot cakes she makes.
Delicious, thank you Inger.

The view of Alta Fjord from Bjorn Eric's.

Meanwhile here in Alta, Norway and most of Europe Christmas is celebrated on December 24th and not the 25th like in the U.S., so I have been invited to Bjorn Eric's home for Christmas dinner. 

I would like to wish everyone a
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year and extend a big thank you to all who have helped get me to this point with your continued support, generous donations and words of encouragement. 
Had I still been in Stockholm I know that there would have been a seat at the table for me at the Lundgren home ( he said hopefully) with my friend Emelie and her Mom and Dad, so my best to the Lundgrens for Christmas.

It's now only 240 km to Nordkapp for me, but not an easy 240 km either in December as the weather can turn real bad very quickly.
I'm fortunate to have met one of the members of Bunkers MC who has a house in Nordvågen, Norway and has arranged for me to stay there should I need to. That's a great peace of mind as I head up there as the road to Nordkapp can be closed regularly due to severe weather. Nothing get's through so at least I know that I have a place to seek shelter other than my Hilleberg tent should the weather get bad.

Nordvågen, Norway. 71° N.

Merry Christmas from the Top of The World,




Stephen said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Murph.

Charlie6 said...

Merry Christmas and a Great New Year for your travels Murph! I like Winter best too.


Emelie Lundgren said...

OF COURSE you would have been welcome, you are always welcome at the Lundgrens! In fact I'll save you a seat next to me for next christmas depending on your travels... Merry Christmas and all the best to you from all of us.

Yvonne Lundgren said...

We would have love to have you over for Christmas, Murph. Hope you'll make it to Nordkapp alright. Take care and drive safe! Peter says hi!

Yvonne Lundgren

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas !!! Joyeux Noel from France Murph !!!
Take Care


Pawli said...

Merry Christmas to you too! Hope we seen in Tyrol next year

Anonymous said...

Thank you and a Merry Christmas to you to:-)

I hope you make it to Nordkapp alright. And may you see to infinity from there, because the view don´t get any better from anywhere and may the northern light ease your mind at night. It is fantastic to see!

I will wish for a very happy New Year for you and every one you meet on this epic journey:-)

Warm thoughts from me
Ken Danielsen from DK

Snowbum said...

Merry Christmas, Murph!
Snow here at Tahoe, temps not getting below maybe minus 3C at night. Greatly enjoying reading about your trip in the Norway area, where I spend some happy weeks back in 2006.
Bob Fleischer

Scott said...

A belated Merry Christmas to you Murph, and well wishes for a fulling and happy 2013. Scott

Anonymous said...

Hi Rob, Michael and I were chatting about you the other night and we're glad to know that you're loving life on the top of the world. I hope 2013 is everything you hope it to be. Love, N

IRISH Murph said...

Thanks Em, hi to the folks for me.


IRISH Murph said...

Stephen, cheers mate,


IRISH Murph said...

Thanks Dom,


IRISH Murph said...

Merci JC,


IRISH Murph said...

Maybe Pawli, maybe :-)


IRISH Murph said...

Ken, thanks. I made it all right, but you have to wait for next week to get the scoop and photos...


IRISH Murph said...

Thanks Bob, next time bring your outfit, it's more fun.....


IRISH Murph said...

Scott my friend, many thanks and the same for you too,


IRISH Murph said...

Hey cuz.....

Yep, couldn't be better, at least for now. I just got to Nordkapp yesterday, photos and article are upcoming in the next week or two.

I'm so used to and liking the cold now, the thought of going to Ireland in May-June seem to hot for me......

Be well, regards, to Michael,


IRISH Murph said...

Hi Yvonne, yes, made it t Nordkapp, but thats for the next post.