Day 11-1. Ten kilometres past Førde to Florø.
Distance 67.5 km Max 55.0 km/h Time 5.01:43 Average 13.4 km/h
It was to be an early start as for some reason I felt a bit uncomfortable in the wild camping spot. We could have done with some more sleep, but after the disappointment of no campsite in Førde I wanted to get to Fløro early and have time to relax and do normal things such as shopping for food. We packed in quickly and ate a pre-breakfast of chocolate and yoghurt admiring the view across the fjord. It looked like it was going to be another lovely hot summers day. We were aiming for Naustdal, the next village on the map, where we hoped to find a shop and some breakfast.
After packing I dragged my bike up the grassy slope and then came back to help Damae with her bike. Then it was back on the road again, our bodies stiff after the long day before and the short nights sleep. At least the road was quiet, perhaps before or just after the rush hour, and it took us around half an hour to reach Naustdal. Naustal looked just lovely in the sunshine, and here we could have camped wild within a stones throw of a petrol station with a toilet.
There was one downside to our master plan to leave early today. Everything bar the petrol station was shut, a quick sortie round the centre of the village confirmed this. So we'd have to wait to get groceries for our sandwiches. On the plus side I spotted a souped up Moggie Minor and a nice looking Austin Cambridge Estate, pride and joy of the garage owner I guessed. We hit the petrol station to discover that they had bread and rolls and some sliced cheese. We picked up enough for breakfast, and headed off to a picnic bench nearby.
This overlooked the local bathing beach complete with an angel. We sat in the sun, brewed a pot of tea and ate a leisurly breakfast. It was almost idyllic, the only disturbance being the workmen mowing the grass and generally tidying the area up. We started to relax after the short night and disappointment in Førde, and enjoyed our morning Tine yoghurts, and fresh milk just that bit more.
The inevitable could be delayed no longer. Fløro beckoned and after a short stop at the supermarket, we headed on up the A5 heading West. Within a few minutes (just after what looked like a campsite) we spotted the tunnel. This one was definitely closed to cyclists, and appeared to be rather long. The other option was of course to go up and over the hill the tunnel went through. Ho hum. We guessed it would be the main climb of the day and there was no way round it. We'd perused our maps at breakfast and it seemed to be a question of following the river up the valley and then turning left. What could be simpler?
We passed slowly through the lower reaches of the river valley. Here it was lush green farmland with large fields full of verdant grass and crops. The river gleamed in the sun a bright blue under the cloudless sky. We were going to get hot we guessed but right now it was wonderful to be cycling through such countryside in the sun.
Bit by bit the road steepened and the landscape changed. It looked now more like the higher areas of the Yorkshire Dales. The farms made up of smaller fields sometimes improbably steep mixed in with copses. As the road went through a small wood we stopped in the shade to cool off and re-adjust clothing. We'd been following the road taking educated guesses at various junctions, it was not entirely clear from our maps as to which road was which.
Somewhat further up as we started leaving the tree line and saw our first silver birch scrub of the day. Here we had to stop for a few minutes to try to work out which way we had to go. The road had been turning to the left for some time now and we came to a fork in the road. There were no signs of course but it looked like we had to take the left fork. We were a little uncertain about our decision, a feeling that was to be heightened by a 'Road Closed' sign a couple of hundred metres further up the hill. Hmmmmm.
We chose to push on but the uncertainty was taking its toll. The hill was steep and the surroundings dry, with hardly a trickle of water in the few becks that we passed. The sun had been doing its best and today looked like it was going to be way hotter than yesterday. It had been too hot at half past ten and now just gone eleven it was almost unbearable. We were also heading towards the end of a 'U' shaped valley and what breeze that had been, had died down completely. We really didn't want to find out that the road was closed for everyone and have to find another way round this hill.