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Marilyn Monza, Arctic Midnight Sun 2024 | Day 10

Marilyn Monza, Arctic Midnight Sun 2024 | Day 10

Røros. Sunrise at 3.34

Leaving this morning the World Heritage Site of Røros (cloudy, 9°C) and travelling for 460 km, on Day 10 we completed a circular route via the famous ‘Atlantic Ocean Road’ to arrive at our overnight destination of Molde. Looking at the map of the entire route, I noticed that we were on the same latitude as we were on the second day in Sweden, and I am sure that many of us would now like to turn back and retrace our steps from the beginning of this exciting journey, which has once again provided us with pleasant surprises. It is also true that our curiosity to see what else Norway has in store for us drives us to look south towards Oslo.

First the link section and then the regularity 1 ensured our daily dose of gravel, but after 10 days we have become experts in recognising the differences in the road surface according to the diameter of the gravel, its consistency, the degree of dust it generates, the effect on stability when cornering, to the point that instead of a tourist's memoirs we could write a 'graveler's diary'...

Unlike the scenery we had become accustomed to over the past few days, the first regularity started in a wide valley, dotted with farms, and to ensure the correct Self Start, the HERO-ERA Chief Marshal Ian Butcher turned to the local car club, who enthusiastically provided 5 sheep marshals, who diligently grazed by the codeboard from the start of Car 21 until the closing transit of Car 15. The convoluted loops of the Glomma and Orkla rivers provided a wider choice of roads available in the area, and the increase in possible turns had a sudden effect on the opportunities for navigators to make mistakes: a tricky junction, not long before the first timing point, provided an opportunity for some of the less experienced crews to explore the local football field... as a scout, of course! The number of timing points on the reg also caused some inconvenience for the Pyles in car 8, who, mistakenly believing that the second timing point was also the last, got comfortable and relaxed in their Lotus Cortina, John lit a cigar, Daisy touched up her lipstick and, while powdering her nose, ran into the marshal of the third timing point...

It is also worth mentioning that, given the great interest aroused by the passage of our caravan, a local police patrol thought there was nothing better than to carry out their daily checks by stopping the Car 2, 3 and 9 and subjecting them to an alcohol breath test (as I said, just normal routine on the route, no doubt about the sobriety of our competitors). I couldn't tell who was more excited, the policemen, who proudly displayed the photos taken with the classic cars, or our drivers, who proudly displayed the breathalysers as if they were trophies!

Road works on the next link section caused a delay in arriving at TC 10.2 (morning coffee), so an extra 15 minutes was allowed, which everyone was more than happy with, not for competitive reasons, but to have more time to sample the delicious pastries from the bakery (I saw a timecard being held in the mouth just to have both hands available for doughnuts and brioche!)

The second regularity held fewer surprises than the first, but offered an unusual panorama of a wide, sunny valley surrounded by lush hills with hundreds of tumbleweeds (I always thought they looked like marbles for giants to play with), which then turned into a narrow valley floor between two steep slopes of Trollheimen, from which dozens of towering waterfalls gushed out, an unparalleled miracle of nature.

Luckily, the smooth road allowed us to arrive at the lunch venue in Sunndalsøra in time to return to the original schedule, after having eaten the complimentary Hero lunch at the local school, where everyone will have experienced a more or less distant déjà-vu (certainly very recent for 19-year-old Hannes Malmgren in Car 19 and 17-year-old Einar in Car 15) as they sat back at the school desks.

In the early afternoon there was an inevitable change of weather conditions in perfect 'Norwegian summer' style: the day offered sun, rain, sun with rain and rain with sun, rainy sun and sunny rain...

Equally striking was the change in the landscape in the afternoon, with the sea making a powerful incursion inland, the proliferation of fjords, the rugged coastline from which peninsulas, archipelagos and islands emerge: It feels like being back in my childhood, jumping to avoid puddles and balancing on one leg to find the next patch of dry ground. Zigzagging from fjord to fjord, we reached the Aspoya peninsula for reg 3, then a jump to Bergsøya, one to Flatsetøya and so on, from bridge to bridge, until we arrived in Kristiansund, a small town set on four islands, synonymous for me with one of my favourite foods, here called klippfisk (no, I'm not going to tell you what it is), where TC 10. 4 made us catch our breath before experiencing the surreal experience of venturing through the Atlantic Tunnel. It runs under the sea for 5.7 km, with a gradient of 10% and I confess I held my breath as if I were underwater in apnea!

The main time control at the end of the day led us to the famous Atlanterhavsveien, a five-mile section that links an archipelago with 8 amazing bridges, a unique stretch of road which takes you right out to the ocean's edge, and is known to be the world's most beautiful drive: Just as the crossing of the Arctic Circle was the first milestone of the Arctic, the Atlantic Way is certainly the second highlight of the event, in particular the crossing of Storseisundetbrua, a 23 metre high and 260 metre long cantilever bridge with a pronounced curvature at the top that creates an optical illusion as if half of the bridge disappears into the Ocean, so much so that it is called 'The Drunken Bridge'. What a perfect combination for Marco and Claudia Halter's Car 5, the Ford Falcon Coupé nicknamed 'The Drunken Monkey'!

As if we hadn't said enough 'wow' today, there was another 'wow' in the rooms of the Scandic Hotel in Molde, as the view over the Romsdalsfjord made us feel as if we were on one of the cruise ships plying the sea in front of us.

‘Confusi tra mare e cielo, pensieri a pelo d’acqua mi increspano l’anima. In cerca di azzurro, il cuore palpita al ritmo delle onde.’ ‘Confused between sea and sky, watery thoughts ripple through my soul. In search of the blue, the heart beats to the rhythm of the waves’. (Roberta Roccati)


Molde. Sunset at 23.20

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