Monday, December 28, 2009


I went to the key shop at the mall today to get some little spikes for my running shoes. The top picture is $45 worth of tiny metal screws. I would like to know what the markup on that is. Of course they did include the fancy little tool on the left for screwing them in with a power drill. Maybe the tool is worth $42 and the other $3 was for the screws. Add that to the $200 I paid for the shoes here in the first place and these are turning into one expensive pair of Mizuno's.

I did my first XC ski outing of the year on Sunday. I stopped by Torstein's house and we went up to Skistua outside of Trondheim. There is just barely enough snow to ski on, so I'm glad I have cheap skis. It looked like they had groomed the trail at least once, but there were quite a few spots where the dirt was sort of sneaking through into the snow, and the downhills were basically a big sheet of ice as soon as everyone had snowplowed all the loose stuff off to the side. I did well for the first time out, at least for the first trip to the food cabin. After we got back to the car I realized I had left my little belt pack at the cabin. So Torstein said "well, looks like we're not done skiing yet". So we skied all the way back to the cabin a 2nd time and got my bag back. By the time we got back the 2nd time it was getting dark and I was getting a bit tired. OK, really tired. My little stick arms aren't used to pushing on ski poles for 3 hours yet. My legs felt fine though so after I got back home I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill. Then I was actually really really tired....

It's snowing a bit more today, I hope there will be enough soon to try my new skating skis but I don't want to ski on rocks and sticks with brand new skis so I won't take them up there until I'm sure the trails are clean.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ah December

I took this boring picture today when I left the gym. At noon. 12:06 to be precise. You can see that old Sol is struggling a bit these days in Norge.
Thank god tomorrow is the winter solstice. Hurray for longer days!
Leif's brother Axel is in town with his girlfriend Elisa , so yesterday we had a few drinks at Leif's apartment. We wanted to go fly the Cessna today but were forced to postpone it due to the winds. The runway at Værnes runs east/west but we had strong south winds today which would have been going straight across the runway. Makes for a somewhat difficult time in a small aircraft so we decided to wait for a better chance.

I have been training hard for the Polar nights 10k race in Tromsø in January. I entered the 10k because a half-marathon is too far for me even in the summer. Not to mention it will be cold, dark and there will certainly be snow and ice on the road. I just have to keep from injuring myself for 2 more weeks on the treadmill and I'll be ready to roll.

I nearly got squashed earlier today by a police car. I'm not sure what it is about the police and me in Trondheim, but I think it's only a matter of time before we rumble.
I just wanted to take a quick drive up to Skistua where the XC ski trails are to see how much snow was up there. So on my way through town I see some flashing lights behind me, and a cop car goes careening past pulling some kind of giant aluminum trailer. I have no idea what the trailer is for but he nearly clobbered me with it trying to get through the traffic. So then I continue my way across town and up into the hills. There is some snow up there but not enough really to ski on yet. When I was almost to the top of the road, there is a small parking lot where you can access the trails. I slowed down a bit when I got close to it because often there are cars going in and out of it. So sure enough, when I'm right by the entrance I see my buddy the police car with the trailer, getting ready to pull out of the lot. Great. He doesn't have his blue lights on, nor does he have a turn signal to show me which way he's turning out. So I slowly go past the entrance, and surprise! He comes ROARING out of the lot onto the icy road with all blue lights blazing right behind me. So I pull over, trying not to get my front wheel into the ditch in the process. I look up into the rear view mirror and here comes the cop car and the trailer going sideways in the road directly behind me. I closed my eyes, waiting for the crunch, while thinking "somehow, I'm going to get blamed for this"...
By some miracle the idiot managed to miss me by 2 feet and keep himself out of the ditch. He got his stupid trailer back behind the car and blasted off up the hill. Thanks for the heart attack there Barney Fife.
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

The border

Today was my first visit to Sweden in 29 years. That will make you feel old. I went to Sweden (Stockholm) to visit a friend in 1980, before I was a senior in High School. So actually today barely counts, as I only went about 5 miles over the border. Norway is quite narrow in the region where Trondheim is located, I don't think it took even 2 hours to drive to Storlien from Trondheim. There isn't much there except a small village and some ski runs which weren't open yet. There actually is a strip of bare ground in the woods where the border goes through, which is sort of funny. I ended up going to a Coop store in Storlien, which is probably 90% full of Norwegians driving across the border to buy cheaper groceries. They were quite cheap too compared to Trondheim prices. You gain about 20% from the exchange rate right now so even if the price is the same in kroner it's really 20% cheaper than in Norway. I bought a bottle of glögg (spiced wine) for about 25 Swedish kroner, which is basically what you would pay for a 1/2 liter of Coke in some stores here. I saw a Norwegian bus driver outside the store honking his horn to get the shopping grannies to finish up inside so they could get back to Trondheim. The sun came out for 10 minutes on the way back home, but it's so weak now you don't even have to use sun glasses anymore. You can just stare at it like an old light bulb. Hei hei sun! where ya been?

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Sunday, November 29, 2009



I passed my Norwegian drivers license exam last week, so now I am an officially licensed Norwegian driver. I was previously a somewhat officially licensed US driver, but I had one year to trade in my U.S. license for the Norwegian one. They trust the U.S. enough that I didn't have to take any of the driving lessons or the written exam. Even so it still cost me about $400 to get the license. My friends from India will have to start from scratch to get a license here and that will cost them something around $2500 - $3000. Ouch. I had to rent a special car that had brake pedals on both sides so the examiner can make a panic stop if you're about to run somebody over. The car was actually a pretty nice BMW although it was completely gutless with a 1.6l 4-cylinder. I had to take the test in the dark which wasn't so great but by pure luck I had just driven on the exact road that he tested me on only a few days earlier, so I knew where the turns and roundabouts were at. The examiner was a 25 year old Norwegian guy, and he was pretty easy on me. I didn't do anything stupid and after we finished driving for 40 minutes or so he said "well it's nice to take the exam with someone who actually knows how to drive.." I didn't tell him that I've had a license since before he was born, that made me feel too old :)
I felt kind of bad when I left and I could see the old Oregon license laying on the clerk's desk. She probably chucked it out after I left, maybe I should have gone dumpster diving that night to get it back.

The days here are getting really short now - I was at the gym this morning and the sun didn't peek over the hills east of the ciy until 10:40am. At least there are only 3 more weeks until the winter solstice!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sgt. Joe Saturday

I'm no longer surprised now when the doorbell rings at 10:30 pm. I figure it will be the police again. Sure enough, last night a man and a woman from the immigration police knocked on my door. It took me a minute to get the guy to stop talking in Norwegian before I could figure out what he wanted. The last time they were looking for a person that lived directly below me, today they were looking for a Russian woman that used to live next door to me. I haven't seen her since July probably so there wasn't a lot I could tell them. They showed me her passport and I said "yep, that looks like her, but I haven't seen her for 4 months". They seemed a bit confused in general, the same as the last time they were there. Anyway they finally left after they realized I wasn't going to be much help. Not sure what happened to the Russian woman but she can't have gone too far without a passport.
This morning I decided to walk down to the gym from my apartment. I timed it so I would get there just when it opened, but when I got a block away I saw some people coming out of the parking lot instead of going in. I figured that wasn't a good sign. When I got up there a girl who works there told me that someone had broken in the night before and stolen a bunch of things from the office and front desk. She said she couldn't open it but she was just waiting for the police to show up. I decided to leave before they got there as I didn't really need to meet anymore "politi" this week :)

This afternoon Leif and Han's and I went to watch some musicians play at a small bookstore in the old part of downtown. It's a very cool store, tons of really old books in Norwegian and English. It's in a very old wooden building with low ceilings that must be more than 100 years old. They had the "concert" on the 2nd floor, accessible only by something that would a cross between stairs and a ladder I guess. We ended up with about 30 people crammed into a little room, not including the 5 people in the band. The band played an hour of Celtic music that was really nice. I'm sure we were violating every fire law in the universe, including: no lighting, no emergency exit, and too many people (including the guitar player's 86 year old mom). Since there were almost no lights they lit all sorts of candles and stuck them next to stacks of dusty old books. The bass player in particular I was sure was going to light himself on fire by backing into a candle part way through the show. I had a 1/2 cup of coffee ready to fling on him just in case. The music was great, the only bad part was that the owner's wife came up before the show and said they were selling the building and moving the store, so not sure when or where I'll get to check out the stacks of old books again.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

No Fly Zone

Leif and I tried our best to go for a flight from Værnes airport yesterday, but there was a layer of low clouds and fog that just would not go away. We waited for a couple of hours in the flying club "clubhouse" (trailer), but there was never enough visibility for a VFR flight so finally we gave up and decided to go for a drive up to the Skarnsund Bridge. The bridge is about an hour's drive north of Værnes so we had just enough time left to get up there before sunset. The drive along the E6 there is quite nice, and unlike Trondheim there aren't any tunnels and toll booths to stop for. There are some other things you might want to stop for though. Like moose. When we got about 5 miles from the bridge I was looking at something in the car when I heard Leif make a noise, like "oww-hmmfff". Not sure what that means in English, but apparently in French it means, hey look at that shaggy horse running through that yard where there is no fence and oh now it's turning around and running straight towards the car and it's huge and it has horns oh s*&t it's a moose!
I had about 1 second to try and figure out if it was better to try and stop in the road and watch the thing try to jump over us while the car behind me smashed into us, or to keep going and try to miss it. I kept going and swerved into the other lane while mr. moose went sprinting by right behind the rear of the car. I was bracing myself for a giant "thump" but somehow it missed me or I missed it, not really sure. Anyway that was a little too exciting actually. I think from now on I would rather see them from a distance.
After that we managed to make it to the bridge at sunset - I got some nice photos but Leif had a dead battery in his camera so he might have to go back again :)
Skarnsund is an awesome bridge, it was finished in 1991 and there was a toll both on it until 2007 but now it's free. They were nice enough to put a separate bike/pedestrian lane on it as well so you can walk out in the middle and get some nice views there from 150 feet above the fjord.
The fog had mostly gone on the way back except for a few spots, but no sign of any more moose.
Today was a beautiful day for November, it was 8C (46F) and the sun was out most of the middle of the day. I actually went for a run with just normal running shorts and a long sleeve shirt on, but I had to laugh at some of the Norwegians strolling around who seemed unconvinced of the nice weather. Most of them were wearing giant winter jackets and hats and gloves, one lady had a full snowmobile suit on. She probably thought I was crazy too I guess. One thing I can always say about the Norwegians and the weather, they are fully prepared for anything!

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hit the bench kid

Another rough and tumble week in Trondheim. I somehow lost my mind and decided that it might be fun to join the Nordic soccer team for their winter indoor soccer practice. This "practice" vaguely resembles soccer in that it involves kicking the crap out of a soccer ball and running around like maniacs in a tiny gymnasium for an hour and a half. Being somewhat fragile and of an age where brushing my teeth can cause an injury, I knew my chances of surving even one practice were slim at best. I did however think that I might last more than 3 minutes before I had to stop due to excessive bleeding. There were some wooden benches lying on their sides pushed against one side of the gym. I was vaguely aware of them when we started playing, but I really got to know one when I ran backwards into it, tripped and turned over just enough to do a perfect faceplant right onto the edge of the bench. My chin took enough of the blow to keep my front teeth from being knocked out, but I think the amount of blood caused some concern amongst the remaining healthy players. Lasse went and found some paper towels, and after a few minutes I was able to get back out there and play. We only had 6 people to play 3 on 3, so I knew if I didn't keep going that the other guys wouldn't be able to play an even game.
I actually did pretty well after that, considering my age and the loss of blood and all. I scored a bunch of goals and actually had fun. I looked like I had spent a few days in police custody the next day though. I have a nice row of bruises from my chin down to my knee on every body part that landed on the bench. I'll try again next week and hopefully I won't be as clumsy this time.
The next day was my birthday (47), so Joel and Leif and Cletus and the crew from work took me out to a bar down and Solsiden for pizza and beers. We had a lot of fun, except for Hans, who had to wait about 40 minutes for his pizza bread to show up. We told him it was because they could detect his Swedish accent, but that could just be a coincidence. I wandered home way past my bed-time, but I still made it to work almost on time on Friday. Friday night was another pay-day beer night courtesy of Nordic, so I went down the micro-brewery and drank even more beer for the 2nd night in a row. I hate to give up any opportunity for free beer here, especially if it is someplace that doesn't serve Dahls...Today I am just trying relax and recover from the birthdays and beers and bruises.
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back to Spain

I was back in Málaga Spain again last week for work. This was my 2nd trip to visit the same company there so I have the routine down. I had the same flight schedule, the same flight attendants, stayed in the same hotel on the same floor. I can recommend the Barcelo Hotel to anyone who visits Málaga. It's a beautiful hotel build a couple of years ago right on top of the central train station. The bottom picture here is the inside of the train station taken from the 2nd floor of the hotel. The middle picture is part of the lobby of the hotel, which is decorated in a very modern design. (check out the metal slide that goes from the 2nd floor down to the lobby :)
Málaga is only about a 2 hour drive from Gibraltar so if I go back again I would like to make a little side trip to see Gibraltar. I've read the whole series of Patrick O'Brian "Master & Commander" novels, and Gibraltar plays an important role in many of the sea stories so I'd just like to see it sometime.
The engineers at AT4 wireless take great care of me when I'm there. AT4 has the most female engineers I have ever seen in one place in my life. It was somewhat distracting but somehow I managed to focus long enough to get my work done :) They even found a vegetarian restaurant in walking distance of the engineering building that we went to for lunch both days. I didn't get to walk around the city as much this time as I had a bit more work to catch up on than last time. I did go for a nice run along the beach boulevard in the evening the 2nd day I was there. There is a very wide sidewalk that goes for several miles along the beach which is great for running and walking and cycling.
On the last evening I was there I stopped at a place that had outdoor seating and a menu that said "pizza" on it. Seems simple enough. When the waitress came I ordered a beer and then I asked if there were any pizza's with "no carne". "No" she said at first, then she pointed to a "4 queso" pizza on the menu. I said "Oh - OK I'll take one of those." A few minutes later she comes back. "We don't have that one". I was a bit confused, thinking that a restaurant that advertises pizza doesn't need to HAVE the pizza - you MAKE the pizza.
So I couldn't figure out how they could make a pizza with meat on it, but they couldn't make one without the meat. Then my pea-brain decided that they must be selling pre-made or frozen pizzas of some sort, so after another minute of gesturing and pointing I gave up and left without the beer or the pizza....I'm starting to figure out that in places that have a lot of tourists like Málaga, you have to go off the main streets to find the places that will actually try to serve you decent food. The busy places in the tourist areas will just basically throw anything out there figuring that you won't be back anyway. And usually they're right!
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vacation 2009 - part one

I am way behind on the blog, so let's catch up a bit.
These are a a few photos from the end of August, when my friends Denise and Rosie made their way up to Norway after sampling the fine life in northern Italy for a few days. Through a somewhat convoluted travel plan (mostly my fault :) they flew in to Frankfurt Germany in the middle of the week, missed the first train to Milan, slept on a bench for half the night and then finally managed to get on the correct train to Italy. They spent a few sunny days in Milan and Lake Como in Italy before making their way north to the beautiful fall weather of Trondheim.
We managed to fit into my 400 sq. ft. apartment reasonably well. I was quite impressed at the amount of makeup,clothing, shoes and wine bottles that the girls managed to squeeze into their suitcases. Little did I know they were only getting started....
My friend Joel was nice enough to prepare a BBQ at his apartment for us one of the evenings. I forgot the veggie burgers of course but we had enough food anyway that I didn't go hungry. The two pictures at the top are from the deck outside Joel's apartment.
Denise and Rosie were both preparing for some fall races, so I introduced them to the 28K loop around Jonsvatnet reservoir. I thought it was pretty cool when I was able to ride my mt. bike around it for the first time this summer. Now I guess it wasn't such a big deal since Denise ran all the way around it almost as fast as I rode the bike :) - the little stinker! It's very hilly so I tried to warn them but I don't think they really believed me until after they both had gone all the way around. Denise did it 3 times and Rosie went all the way round on the last day here. The weather was great for running almost every day, there was a bit of rain in the afternoons while they were here but nothing too bad.
We also managed to make it to a couple of the good brew pubs here and they got to do some jewelry shopping downtown as well.

Now the weather in Kristiansund and
Ålesund, that was a bit worse :)
That will be part 2...

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Starting a life of crime

I sent out a notice at work about a week ago, looking for an extra bicycle that I could use while my friends Rosie and Denise are visiting. So my friend Frank from work said "oh there is an extra bike in the garage of the company apt. that you can borrow. It needs a bit of cleaning up, it has flat tires but they just need new valves in the tubes." (Nordic has a company apartment that is downtown that visitors or new-hires or salespeople use at various times. Frank lives in Kristiansund so he stays there when he is in Trondheim working) . So he sends me a picture of it ( exhibit A on the top ). I said ok that looks fine, so last Tuesday when he was in town he gave me the key, and after work I went over there to pick up the bike out of the garage. I have stayed in the apartment before but I was never actually in the garage. So I went to the space that he had shown me on a little drawing, but I didn't see any bike. But when I turned around, there sat a dusty looking red ladies bike with a black basket and 2 flat tires. "Oh there it is, thought the criminal genius". I figured Frank must have just forgotten which side of the garage the bike was on. So I checked it over a bit, yep, 2 flats, says "classic" on it, black basket, red paint. Looks like the one.... I started pushing it toward the door, which was somewhat difficult since the front tire was flat and the back one didn't seem to move. So I thought maybe the back coaster brake must be stuck or something, worry about that later. When I was almost out the door an older Norwegian gentleman came up behind me and said something about the wheel not turning. I said in English, "yea it's stuck, I'll have to fix that later..." Then he was nice enough to hold the door open for me while I shoved the thing into the lobby and then out the main entrance. I had to remove the front wheel to get the thing into the Audi, but fortunately ( or maybe unfortunately as it turns out) I brought a wrench with me and I was able to stuff the thing into the back of the Audi and drove it home. I didn't have time to do anything with it until yesterday, so it just sat in the corner next to my car. Yesterday I dutifully went to Clas Ohlson and bought new tire valves, I fixed the front tire up, then I went to look at the back wheel and I realized it wouldn't turn because there was a frame mounted lock that stuck through the spokes in the back. "hmm" I thought, "that's funny Frank didn't say anything about a lock on the bike. He must have forgotten about it." So this morning I went in to work for a few hours, I sent Frank a message asking about the lock. Then I decided for some reason to have another look at the photo he sent me. I started getting a vague feeling that something wasn't right. So when I got home I went back down and looked at the bike again. Sure enough, I took the wrong bike :)
So now I have to figure out how to get the freakin thing back in the garage without being beaten up by some Norwegian granny who's looking for the A-hole that stole her bike. I figure maybe if I go in around midnight wearing a black ninja outfit I can get in and out in 2 minutes without being noticed. As you can see by the photo on the bottom, I was close at least ... how many red ladies bikes with 2 flat tires can there be in the world !
Well hopefully my next blog post won't be from the jail or the hospital....
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Dinner in my apartment usually goes something like this:

[waiter] "Dinner for 1 sir?"
[miles] "Do you see anyone else?"
[waiter] "very good sir."
[miles] "Hey can I sit on that balcony out there?"
[waiter] "Do you have reservation?"
[miles] No.
[waiter] "You can sit anywhere inside."
[miles] "There's only 1 table."
[waiter] "Excellent choice sir.
Let me tell you about tonight's specials...
Tonight we have fresh garden burgers, imported from Sweden, lightly seared in olive oil, topped with a slice of Jarlsberg cheese and placed on a toasted whole wheat bun. This is accompanied by our special crinkle cut spicy bbq french fries, served with ketchup.
[miles] "Heinz 57?"
[waiter] "Yes sir, Heinz 57."
[miles] "In a squeeze bottle?"
[waiter] "yes"
[miles] "OK, bring me one special, including all the little tiny fries that get burned in the oven - and hold the mayo."
[waiter] "very good sir, and to drink?"
[miles] "Sprite Zero"
[waiter] "excellent choice"
[miles] under his breath - "of course it's excellent that's why I chose it you idiot!"
[waiter] "pardon?"
[miles] "nothing"
[waiter] "and for dessert?"
[miles] "chocolate chip cookies?"
[waiter] "I'll check the zip-lock baggie in the snack cupboard."
[miles] "sweet"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

trip to Malaga

I left the friendly confines of Norway last week for only the 2nd time since I moved here. I went to Málaga Spain to visit one of the test equipment companies that we work with. It was a bit hotter in Málaga than I'm used to in Trondheim but I survived OK. I just had to do what the local people did which is to wait until 7 or 8pm before going out to walk around. I went out in the afternoon the first day I got there, and I must have looked lost and hot and German, because some German guy took pity on me and started pointing the way to downtown and talking about beer (in German). So I said 'oh I'm American" and he said "OH American!" then he proceeded to switch to Spanish and continue pointing towards downtown.. That didn't help much but at least I was pretty sure which direction the downtown was.
Málaga is a city of about 600,000 people on the south coast of Spain. The center of the city is very beautiful. There were tons of German and French and Spanish tourists down there, as well as a few Americans. I also got some advice from one of the girls at the company I was visiting regarding a vegetarian restaurant to try in downtown. I managed to find the restaurant but it was only 7pm when I got there so it didn't seem to be open. So I kept walking and found the path that leads up the Alcazaba, which is the remains of a walled fortress dating back to the 11th century. It was brutally hot walking up there but the view was incredible so I kept going to the top. The picture here was from about 3/4 of the way up the path, looking towards the harbor and downtown. When I finally made it back to the restaurant it was about 8:15 but it still wasn't open yet, so I had to give up and go to a kabob shop to get something to eat. The veggie place will have to wait until next time.
There is a nice set of photos from Málaga here:
That was my first trip to Spain and I thought it was quite nice there. It helps if you know at least a little Spanish though (or maybe some German ).
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thanks Nike

I knew something was not quite right all day on Friday. It was hard to put my finger on the vague feeling that something was wrong but I could sense it all day. It wasn't until I got home from work and took off my shoes that the source of my problems became readily apparent.
Yes, I had been wearing two right-footed socks all day. Which explains my walking in circles and general clumsiness. It also means that now I have two clean left socks and two dirty right ones. In the old days before 2007 I don't think that people thought much about which foot their socks went on. But now, thanks to Nike printing it in a nice red letter on each sock, we can no longer avoid our sock footedness.
They are nice socks though, I guess I just have to remember to turn the light on before I get dressed in the morning.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tour De Norge

Leave it to three engineers to A: forget to bring a paper map - B:bring a GPS that doesn't show roads, and C: bring a ferry schedule but don't look at it until it's too late :)

We managed to deal with the lack of a real map, but missing the ferry was a bit of a problem.

Joel and Leif and I had planned a loop ride near Rissa, on the other side of the fjord from Trondheim. I measured the loop part on the on-line map to be about 70km, which didn't sound too bad. (The furthest we had ridden up to this point was 80km in one day). Of course I was sort of forgetting about about riding to the ferry in the first place (10km out of Trondheim) and then getting to the loop that we were going to be on from the dock at the other side. I guessed that it might 10 or 15ks to the start of the loop, but it turned out to be more like 30. Oops. Now we were up to 40km and we hadn't even started on the loop yet.

We started around the loop and managed to find our way at each intersection with some half-assed tourist brochure and the gps. There were a fair number of hills on the first part but nothing too horrible since we were still somewhat fresh. As the day went on, we had to make a decision at some point about whether to ride a bit further back to the Vanvikan ferry, which costs $12 or so but takes you right into Trondheim, or go back to the car ferry that we came over on, knowing that we would still have 10k to ride after that. We all agreed to go for the Vanvikan ferry, since then we knew when we got to the dock at Vanvikan the ride would basically be over. We also knew that we had to go over one last very challenging hill to get back to Vanvikan, and by this point we were already well over 120km of riding (70+ miles). Anyway we struggled our way up that last hill with everything we had, then took the 5 minute downhill joyride into Vanvikan. Joel said "I'll go in and check the schedule". But when he came out he had a very strange look on his face. We had missed the last ferry back by 45 minutes. Ouch.

Now we had 2 choices, find someplace to sleep until morning or try to get back to the car ferry, which meant at least another 20km of riding, including going part of the way back up the steep hill we just flew down. Spirits were a bit low at that moment :)
We managed to find out that the next car ferry was due over in about 40 minutes, so we decided to try for it. When we got back up the hill we could see it coming across, so for the next 20 minutes or so we were pedaling with fury to make sure we got there before the boat. We made it with a few minutes to spare and got some fresh drinks and snacks on the boat. Then we had to finish up the 10km back to Trondheim. We pulled our aching knees and numb butts into Trondheim finally around 7:30pm, and we stopped for beers at the Kafe Filter. 2 beers later I finished up the last few miles to my apartment. When I rolled the bike into the storage unit it read exactly 167k. Which is about 103 miles by my math.

An epic ride which will go down in the history of Joel, Leif and Miles stories, and will only get better each time we tell it :)

A few pictures from the day:
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Friday, July 17, 2009

What's my vector Victor?

Leif, Joel and I took to the air last night in a Cessna 172 that belongs to the Vaernes flying club. Leif joined the club and now has been signed off to rent the club aircraft. We took the plane west from the airport, south of Trondheim and then towards the island of Hitra. We had some sketchy weather with low clouds but the air was reasonably smooth everywhere except over the hilly areas near Trondheim. We flew for about a hour and a half.
Leif flew the take-offs and landings and I flew for about 25 minutes over the fjord. The scenery here is really beautiful and it is amazing how much area you can see in a short flight in a plane. We'll try it again hopefully with a bit higher cloud ceiling next time.

I took a few crappy pictures with my camera but I think Joel got some better ones from the back seat.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seagull update

Just an update on the little seagulls that were nesting across the street, I saw 2 of the 3 chicks down on the ground a few days ago, but I never saw the 3rd one. Not sure what happened to it. Cat might have gotten it but they were getting pretty big for cats to attack and the mom and dad gulls were quite aggressive when they saw a cat in the street or near the building. Anyway it could be the 3rd one was over there and I just didn't see it. Fly on, little birdies, see you next spring. I won't miss your squawking in the meantime...........

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is it Safe?

I was feeling a bit tired at this point in the bike ride........but not quite that tired. This is a very small cemetary on a hillside near Breilia, which is on the other side of the fjord from Trondheim. Joel and I did a 50 mile loop around some roads there last weekend. I'm building up for a 90 mile ride in mid-August, so I still have some work to do but I think I'm getting there.

Yesterday I FINALLY got my aching tooth the root canal it so richly deserved. I had a nice Russian dentist named Alexey (I assume he was Russian anyway). Alexey drilled that thing out for and hour and a half, oh what fun. At least he used copious amounts of anesthetic. I tried to eat some cookies a few hours later but my whole face was numb. I wasn't able to actually eat some dinner until my tongue started working again around 9pm. Now I have to go back once more in August so he can finish up the work.

At lunch time today I went and turned in my precious Oregon driver's license. I couldn't get any numbers to come out of the little "take a number" box for a couple of minutes, until I finally hit the right button and out came '666'. Great. I checked the top of my head to see if there were any little horny nubbins growing out. Seemed OK. I took my carefully prepared paperwork to miss Ingrid Helga Crabbypants, who proceeded to sigh and tell me all the things I didn't fill out right. There must be an international code of behaviour for DMV workers, because they all act the same. Maybe I should have spun my head around and threw that 666 down in front of her. How do you like me now Crabbypants! See you in hell!
OK actually she wasn't that bad. But I just like writing crabbypants. Joel had to do the same license thing a month ago and they told him he had to go to some sort of driving school before he could get the Norwegian license. So that's what I was expecting too, except when Cpants was finished going in the back to "make copies" (and drink coffee no doubt) she came back out and said "vi'll send you a text message ven you can come back in". I said "uhh, then I go to traffic school?" She said "nei, yust come back here". So maybe that traffic school business is only for people from backwards driving countries like Australia. Ha!

drive on,

P.S. hi to my lastfm buddies ( that means you Lisa )

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Fly the coop already!

This is one of the little seagull babies that lives on the roof across the street from my apartment (look closely). I think they are about a month old now, based on the sqawk-o-meter which went through the roof around the first week of June. There are 3 hatchlings up there, and the mom and dad keep a close watch on them all day. Every time I walk out of the apartment to walk to work I get dive bombed by mom or dad, sqawking like a maniac. I used to see some other chicks in the field by the apartments but I think they all got eaten by house cats, I don't see them anymore :( I can't believe those 3 have managed to stay on that roof for a month. It's quite steep and when the wind starts blowing I'm not sure how the little dudes are holding on up there.
I will be glad when they all take off though, the morning sqawking session is quite something. It usually starts around 2am, God only knows what they are squealing about at that time of night, but it sounds like two tribes of monkeys in a battle to the death. One pair starts it and then there are at least 10 pairs of gulls in the neighborhood and pretty soon they're all going full bore. I would like to have the window open in the bedroom at night, but listening the seagull marching band doesn't do much for getting a full night's sleep.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Go ahead and laugh..........

So I was in the ICA store across the street yesterday, buying my staple food items: bread, yogurt, Coke Zero, Kvikk Lunsj etc. When I went to pick up my usual loaf of crappy Norwegian bread, I noticed that it had green mold on it. So I picked up the one next to it, that one had green mold on it as well. Hmmm, taking a closer look all of the loaves looked a bit like they had been dropped out of the back of a moving truck. It was about this time that I realized that for the last 6 months I have been buying all of my bread from the rack of week old stale loaves they were just trying to get rid of........
The actual fresh bread is in the rack 10 feet away.
It never dawned on me before why they had 2 bread racks.
All this time I just assumed Norwegians made the worst bread in the world.
My apologies to all the Norwegian bakeries.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer party

This picture has nothing to do with the post. I just liked it :)

Yesterday we had a big summer party at work. We had a nice buffet dinner complete with "vegetar" options, and then we watched a very funny short film last year that some of the engineers put together for the company 25th anniversary last year. After that we had a band made up of some current and former Nordic employees play for a while. The band was actually quite good, the singer was the wife of one of the engineers and she could belt it out.
Joel, Bjorn Inge, and the rest of the organizing crew made sure that we had PLENTY of beer and other drinks to last for the evening. We did our best to consume all the beer but I think there might have been a few left at the end. Most of us switched from beer to something else after the band stopped. Irene made a couple of nice Irish coffees for me, which probably would explain why I was still standing at 3:30 when the stragglers finally decided to call it a night. I had to walk home in the rain, but since it was already light outside and I was fully intoxicated it didn't seem to matter that much. I got into a large tussle with the zipper on my jacket after I got home. I had it zipped up to the collar and the zipper would not come down when I got in the door, I briefly considered going to bed with a wet jacket on, but after one final heroic effort I got the damn zipper down far enough to yank the jacket over my head. Victory was mine!
It was quite a fun evening overall, I got to hear several inebriated and abbreviated versions of Norwegian history, which you will only get after a Norwegian engineer has had at least 4 beers. Hopefully everyone made it home safe and sound.

I did finally have my first crash on the new mountain bike last week. I started down a very steep short hill full of rocks and roots, only realizing when I was half-way down that there was a very large nasty rock right in the middle of the trail at the bottom which I couldn't avoid. It threw me up in the air hard enough that both feet came off the pedals, and when I came back down on the seat my feet missed the pedals, so shortly after that the bike and I parted company. I did a nice somersault in the dirt and the bike went off the side of the trail. No harm to either me or the bike, so I just came home a bit dirtier than normal....ride on!
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Flower day

I decided to join the herd and fill up a flower box yesterday. Most of the neighbors had one already so I didn't want to be the oddball flower hater guy. Cletus has my drill so I can't mount it yet but I'm sure it will be the envy of Kyavegan street. Who invented salty licorace? Man that stuff sucks but I bought a half pound of it so now I feel like I should eat at least some of it before I chuck the rest into the dumpster.
It often looks like summer outside now, except when you actually go outside and realize that it's only 45 degrees. The daylight lasts a really really really long time though now. It does feel odd to be walking around at midnight or even later and it's still light outside. The sun does go down eventually but it's so close to the horizon that it never quite gets dark out. The whole country seems to have turned bright green in the last month, it's quite beautiful to see the fields growing, all the trees filled out and flowers growing everywhere. Definitely more fun to walk to work now.
When I came home from work at lunch to do an errand today, an older lady who lives on this floor was coming out of the elevator when I came out of my door - "Sporty?" she said. I thought frantically for a second, trying to figure out what the hell she could be talking about. "Sporty?" she said it again this time pointing at her head. Then I got it. I was wearing my bike helmet. I think she thought I was just screwing off from work going out for a bike ride. "oh ja ja" I said laughing. Didn't have the heart to tell her I was just going back to work :)
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let's sum up the last 2 weeks:

flights: 8
airports: 6
miles flown: 14800
rental cars: 3
miles driven: 550
states: 4
parties: 1
funerals: 1 (mom)
weddings: 0
track meets: 2
hugs: 100+
ibuprofen tablets smuggled into Norway: 200
jet lag: massive

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Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

I promised a picture with no snow, so here ya go...finally!

Today was May Day, so we had the day off of work and luckily it was a beautiful day here. The sun was out all day and there was no wind so it was a great day for bike riding and walking outside. I set a new record for my longest continuous downhill today on the bike - 3.6 kilometers without pedaling. I think I can squeeze another 1k out of the same route but I need a road bike probably. The knobby tires on the mt. bike didn't give me enough speed on the first part of the hill.
After that I took the car on a nice drive down to past Klæbo, to Selbusjøen lake. That is one big-ass lake.
In the evening I rode my bike through the Kristiansten fort and then down through Solsiden and along the harbor. I saw a group of Norwegian teenagers throwing an American football in the park by the fort. They threw it end over end which I got a kick out of. I resisted the urge to stop and show them how to throw it properly. I think this was the most people I've seen outdoors since I got here. Solsiden was nearly standing room only in the outdoor restaurants and cafes. I think the lesson is when the sun comes out in Trondheim, get your butt outside....
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