Went into town and had studded tyres fitted for two reasons.
The first, despite what the tyre specialist in Düsseldorf advised me, the ones I have, supposedly the best for our conditions and according to them fine up here, are useless. Brand new when I left. They are the standard M&S tyres and there is no mud here and plenty snow the roads are quite simply one solid sheet of ice. Enough said and when I’m back in Düsseldorf I shall pay the specialist and give him some first hand knowledge. One really should desist from giving advice when one does not have a sodding clue oneself! At least that way when he gets the next Burke coming in asking for the best they have for Nordic conditions he might do better.
The first image below is the second reason and probably explains why I came to the obvious conclusion that I had perhaps better tyre up correctly.
Since talking to the locals they all say that this is not a too infrequent occurrence. What happened was that I had moved to the right to give the oncoming road clearing tractor some room and I felt a small jolt at the passenger side rear and the van slipped slightly away. What happened then was dream like. The ground at the top edge of the berms the roads are built on are apparently notorious for giving way (local knowledge seems you do not want to be letting the tourists in on this), anyway, not quickly it continued to slide slowly away and steering correction did not make the slightest of difference and in these conditions braking is not the best idea. Nett result is that the backend steadily dragged the van off the road and once it reached the bottom it just laid down on its side. Which is where amidst tons of button holes I found myself dangling in the seat belt.
By the time I had extricated myself the tractor driver opened my door grinned in and simply said hello.
It is also a good thing that I drive pretty slowly here because of the conditions, was slowing even more as I was approaching a corner when the tractor came into sight, which slowed me down even more.
Rest was easy, sort of, breakdown came and I was back on the road within an hour and a half. Drove to the breakdown guys offices, checked the van for mechanicals, paid the bill and drove very slowly back to camp as mentioned in the post for the 26.01.13.
I was unscratched and the van’s only damage is that the sliding door panel is now concave instead of convex form and I can get this “popped” back out when I am home.
Driving on studs is a totally different feeling and I feel a lot more relaxed and confident. So do not start giving me reams of comments about not being here.
After the tyres were fitted I to a drive about of about 100 k’s just too get the feel, and as I just wrote it is a good one.
During this drive I snapped these the last two pics below and the landscape makes up for some of the other downside items.
Fine day and I took advantage of this to drive some more and build on my confidence factor with the studs and went up to, and across onto the south end of Andøya. The scenery looks totally different, obviously, in these conditions. Magnificent, magnificent. Or we all know what our friends the Yanks say at times like this.
Snowed in again overnight. One of the locals has told me that for the past two weeks a whale has been cruising in a Fjord about 30 k’s over the bridge going back south. Can only assume it is an Orca as he says it is the masses of herring about that has brought it in.
Maybe I get lucky today and Murphy keeps out of my way. Have been getting the impression that he might be stalking me.
Mind you talking images I think that apart from landscapes I shall return home poor on that side and an awful lot richer on the experience side of tings.