A different travel report: Northern Norway winter roads, are they a problem with motorhomes?
Driving on Norwegian winter roads can offer all kinds of weather. In some parts of the country there is hardly any snow in the winter, but in northern Norway there is almost a snow guarantee. Is it a problem? Neida, a motorhome gets on the road all year. But where are we going to spend the night?
As a meringue, I gladly admit that I have little experience with northern Norwegian winter roads. When the chance to drive a Hobby Optima ontour from Tromsø to Oslo arrived in mid-February, we jumped at the opportunity without any reflection time. Let it be said right away. We were incredibly lucky with the weather. It was stormy the week before and the week after, and we heard about motorhomes that became weatherproof. It is part of life when the forces of nature ravage. And they often do here in the north. In "our" week we experienced dense snow drives and poor visibility on two occasions, but were still a little disappointed that the weather gods were so kind to us.
Our journey started on a Sunday morning and was completed before it was again weekend. For an East-Icelander accustomed to traffic chaos, it was a rare event to be able to drive almost alone on well-paved roads. Yes, without exception, the roads were good. And when it snowed, it didn't take long for us to pick up a brew truck. So we started in Tromsø. We started with an interview with Kjell Urdal who works with car rental in iCaravan. When he showed us "SafeGrip", which he sends in all rental cars, we immediately bought a couple for ourselves. Our own fully integrated Hymer on stud-free tires sometimes struggles to get started on slippery surfaces in winter. And since we are not so fond of putting on chains, this seemed like a good solution. Maybe we could use it on this trip too, was the idea, but so was the thought.
Excellent winter roads
We had decided to use the E6 all the way. Then we had to start with the E8 from Tromsø and excellent winter roads. Just a few kilometers south of Tromsø, in Ramfjordbotn, we met a brand new cassette emptying station. Emptying takes place indoors and you open the door with one of the cards you have in your wallet, but it costs nothing. The most important thing is that it is open all year. An approximate deal in Bardufoss was not one of this Sunday. We could have chosen to stay in Målselv mountain village just 15-20 minutes away from the E6. There are various accommodation options close to slopes of many kinds. A campsite is also here, but we had to think about the progress as we had limited time to complete the trip.
E6 with waiting time
We could have stopped in Narvik where the motorhome in the city is open all year, but we wanted farther south and over the only ferry route on the E6 - from Skarberget to Bognes before settling down. After Narvik, things got very quiet on the road. There hadn't been much traffic before either, but now we were alone on the road - all alone. The explanation for our loneliness, of course, was that everyone with local insight knows that the ferry only runs every hour and a half on a Sunday night in February. So there we were, in solitary majesty on the dock, waiting for the ferry. We got away with three blocks of waiting time. Eventually a few more arrived, but the ferry did not even get half full. What happened to the driver on the local bus is not good to know, but when we were leaving the ferry in Bognes he took off from the back of the tire and pushed past the motorhome that stood first. Could it have been the German signs, or the motorhome in general he would pass by? Either way, he could have saved the effort. It was finally us who drove past him.
The motorhome "everyone" boasts
Our goal for the evening was the Innhavet motorhome. A motorhome "everyone" boasts. It is nicely located behind the gas station overlooking the water. The seats are terraced, but in February only the seats on the top row were broken. We lay alone, but saw traces in the snow after other recent visits. There is also an open emptying station in winter. Since the motorhome was borrowed and taken over almost completely the same morning (Sunday), the refrigerator was also incredibly empty. Then it is okay that you have "everything" in the intersection of the Innhavet. gas station with fast food, hotel and restaurant with dining. In other words, it was food for us. Fauske became the natural stopover the next morning. The first prize was to fill the fridge. Just below the mall and close to the city center is Fauske's motorhome. Also it is broken all year round and has a fantastic view.
After lunch with a colleague, the trip continued south, but only a mile south of Fauske there was a boom when we came out of a tunnel. The ground we were going down had become too steep and slippery for five trailers going uphill. A couple of them had tried to drive past the first two, but ended up blocking the entire E6. The fifth was in the ditch. So there we stood until they had gotten on chains and crept up the hill. We had checked the Public Roads Administration's traffic reports and knew that the tunnel just before Rognan would be closed for an hour and a half in connection with a commemoration ceremony following a traffic accident. We should now clear that. We do not know what happened, but the E6 remained closed for an hour longer than advertised.
Over the Saltfjellet there are so many parking spaces that in our opinion are well suited for free camping. We did it during the summer, but chose not to do it now. If you have enough electricity and gas, it should still not be a problem to stand here in the winter. But I wanted to make sure that the weather was in good mood. The brewers were in readiness at the top of the mountain, but if they wanted to prioritize brewing for a revamped motorhome, we don't know. On the way down from Saltfjellet we meet a sign, which shows that it is 50 km to Trondheim. We have already driven 60 miles so it became a strong reminder of how elongated our country is.
Winter Open campsites
Our goal for the day was Mosjøen. There we had two appointments. Before leaving home we checked with NHO Reiseliv whether they have an overview of winter open campsites. They have not, but we found Mosjøen camping. There the owner could tell that all the campsites are linked to PlusCamp chain is obliged to stay open in winter. So then we know it for another time. The Mosjøen has a lot to offer. We even looked at the nice settlement in Sjøgata and met a dealer before heading further south. We will come back and try the viaferata and zipline when they are open during summer time. Maybe some of the other deals in the area as well?
Bjørnefjell National Park
On the way further south we pass Børgefjell National Park. If we had been skiing, a visit here might have been relevant. With the heavy snowfall we entered on this stretch, a ski trip would hardly have been tempting that day. Poor visibility and dense snow drive, but again we were almost alone on the road so it was no problem. It was the same on the first snowstorm we met further north. By the way, Børgefjell is a unique area to visit even in the summer with lots of activities. Then you can start from Mosjøen camping or Brekkvasselv camping in Namskogan if you do not find another suitable accommodation.
Private motorhome parking
This day we were going to drive 36 miles with a hospitalized stop at a dealer in Steinkjer. The goal for the evening was the privately owned motorhome on Frosta by the Trondheim Fjord. Øra motorhome parking is run by a married couple who received coffee and cake. Here, too, we were the only visitors. Well back in the motorhome we see that the gas had run out. Then it was just to switch off the system and change the bottle, but it should not be that simple. We didn't get the heat to start again - no matter how many tricks we used. The display was newer than in our previous motorhome which had the same heating system. In hindsight, we received a tip that we may not have correctly acknowledged the error message on the display. Anyway, it was a cold night, but we also got weather changes and rain. 6 degrees outside and 6,5 degrees in the morning we survived. The episode is nevertheless a reminder that you should know your equipment a little better at winter camping.
Successful winter trip
This last day of the trip we had only one stop on Øysand south of Trondheim before heading home. From Trondheim and across Dovre there was an Easter atmosphere and almost entirely roads. At Hjerkinn we stopped for lunch and a work session with the world's most beautiful views before stopping down Gudbrandsdalen. Whether the trip was successful? Absolutely. We like to do this another time, but then we should not work so much and take better time on the trip so that we can digest more of the impressions along the way and take more detours from the E6.
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