Day 37-2. Larvik to Helgeroa to Larvik contd.
We spent around a quarter of an hour wandering round the church before we got back on our bikes and hauled ourselves up the short, sharp and steep climb that took us round the back of the church and on towards Helgeroa. We followed the RV 301 all the way to Helgeroa, the NSCR rejoined the main road for a little while before it turned onto a quieter road and headed south again.
We cycled onto Helgeroa, stopping at the Meny on the outskirts of town to get some extras for lunch before enjoying that exhilarating descent into the harbour. The only slight downside was that this was a shared facility and halfway down I encountered some pedestrians and had to slow a little. It wasn't that important as it was great to be back here, the place we'd had a lovely lazy day in 2005 after pushing hard for two days.
We ate lunch in the sun, the odd cloud cooling us every now and again. It was tempting to carry on all the way to Bergen and do the rest of the NSCR again under that lovely blue sky and in the fresh sea air. After nearly an hour we packed up, cycled out of the harbour and started following the signs back to Larvik. In 2005 we'd cut off a couple of loops so today we were going to do it properly. After a slow climb up the hill, we reached a set of wonderfully confusing NSCR signs. From Helgeroa you can go one of two ways West along the NSCR hence two seeming contradictory signs both pointing in different directions to Langesund.
We carried on towards Stavern, until we reached the junction near the Meny supermarket and I took one last look at Helgeroa. Here we followed another NSCR sign down towards Nevlunghavn. We whizzed downhill and missed a sign at the bottom. A couple of circles later we found the gravel track and headed East. The track ran close to the sea for a few hundred metres giving us lovely views over the bay and farmland. We turned left away from the bay, past the large campsite, which was too soon. I realised my mistake before Damae had come too far up the road and turned back towards the bay. Once on the right track we cycled through a little wood before popping back onto the RV 301.
I remembered why we chose not take this section last time. I suspected that these extra loops would have cost time and they did. However, there was a campsite there and it would have made a lovely place to stop for the night, although we will always have a soft spot for the campsite near the centre of Helgeroa. After a couple of kilometres on the RV 301 the signs sent us back down a more minor road towards Naverfjorden and Hummerbakken. Curiously this was also the alternative route for large trucks. We presumed there was a low bridge somewhere along the RV 301. It wasn't that important as we didn't encounter any large lorries on this section.
With renewed vigour we headed through the sunny countryside. After the first trip in 2005, when we suffered from sunburn we had decided to take sunblock with us on each trip. Today we made good use of it. It was great weather for our last cycling day of the summer. Twenty minutes after we turned off the RV 301 we spotted a stall selling fresh maize. They also had a maize roaster and the smell was wonderful. We nearly bought and ate some freshly cooked maize. But although we were not in a particular hurry, it was already past three and we were tantalisingly close to the two thousand, five hundred mark. Instead, we decided to grill our own on a disposable barbeque and Damae disappeared into the field to find two particularly fresh looking cobs.