Day 8-1. Voss to Dragsvik.
Distance D 74.05 km Max 66.0 km/h Time 5.24:54 Average 13.7 km/h
Distance S 74.69 km Max 63.0 km/h Time 4.58:51 Average 15.0 km/h
Today would consist of a long, long climb followed by a fast and furious descent. The important question that would be answered today was which way up to Vikafjellet is the easiest. But the first question to be answered was, just how good were the showers at Saue campsite? Well, sadly today they were not so good. The first one was dirty and swallowed my five kroner piece and gave me no hot water in return. The second shower was even filthier, but gave me a three minute shower alternating lukewarm with a it too hot. I hurridly washed the important bits and had the luxury of enjoying the remaining twenty seconds of lukewarm water in peace. Ho hum, not quite the start to the day we were hoping for.
But there is always a plus side. At eight when I got up the lake and valley both looked lovely in the misty morning and the campsite looked at its best. Besides that though, I wasn't entirely sure what the appeal was for a stay longer than a night. Maybe seasons rates were rather more competitive: for one night it was really on the expensive side. Maybe city dwellers wanted the comforting sounds of traffic to accompany their summer break, or a campsite that was easy to find and get to. After all towing a ten metre long caravan round Norway takes a considerable degree of skill. Valle which had facilities of a similar quality redeemded itself by being very cheap and at least reasonably clean. Furthermore the location at Valle was fabulous whilst Saue was merely normally beautiful.
After breakfast we took our leave of Saue campsite and re-joined the main road. It was just gone a quarter past ten, a bit late but not bad considering how late we had arrived at Saue the night before. As expected we started climbing gently up the 13 heading towards the split in the road at Vinjo that would take us up via Nesheim to Vik. The first part was up the valley and relatively easy, mixing long uphill drags with occasional descents. I'd forgotten that after leaving the local cycle paths round Voss the rest of the route was on the main road. This was generally not bad, the road was significantly less busy than the E134 we'd been cycling on a couple of days earlier.
The last time we had cycled this section was at the end of a day trying to get down to Voss as quickly as possible. Now we were able to enjoy the views (Tvinndefossen) the other way up, and there were plenty of nice ones. Damae pointed out the campsite that she would have liked to have reached the day before. It was only a half hour further from Saue and I'd totally forgotten it. As earlier in the trip had we known it was just another half hour we might well have made the extra effort. However the climb up Granvin in the afternoon sun, albeit minor when compared to what lay ahead of us today, had sapped our energies.
The first of the real climbing started some time after the Tvinnde falls I think near Rødno. Here we stopped just to look at the information board in a lay-by and have a quick Damae wobble snack. Nearby was a river thundering downhill but we decided to go and look at it another day. I managed to park my front wheel unwittingly on some broken glass. Carefully lifting my wheel off the ground I checked the tyre tread for damage: fortunately there was no damage to be seen. So far we'd not had any punctures which was good going, considering the state of some of the sections of the tracks we'd been on.
After the quick snack Damae did some re-arranging of clothing before we set of again up the 13. At Gavle where the valley opened and farmland appeared on both sides of the road, the road itself made a big curve to the right. We chose to stop again here across the road next to a shaded bus stop. We could see that the gradient was steepening so we put on our knee braces. We guessed, correctly as it turned out, that some more serious climbing was about to start.
Then a little further up at Vinjo we turned towards Nesheim at a small roundabout. Here the valley narrowed as we entered Myrkdal. I remembered this from the previous year, but it had been dark and cool during the descent. Today as we were going up it earlier in the day, so it was mostly in the sun. Not much further up we encountered a new tunnel under construction which appeared to by-pass the existing road. The area round the other end of the tunnel was incredibly hot and dusty and just one car passing created plumes of rock dust, so I stopped very briefly to take photos. We guessed that the new tunnel was probably in response to the development going on up the valley. New Fjellbyer are sprouting up in several places offering suburban mountain huts with cute grass roofs and easy payment plans.