Day 15 (Wednesday 9th) was by far the most difficult part of the #ArcticEVRoadTrip. We faced flooding, power cuts, closed roads, long diversions and several hours added on to our journey.
At this early point in the story it’s really important to say that all of the issues we faced added up to a tiny inconvenience compared to what many communities in southern Norway had to deal with this week.
In the aftermath of the extreme weather event Hans – bringing with it such strong and persistent rain, the likes of which have not been seen for around 20-25 years – a number of towns and villages faced some significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.
So we do have our experience in perspective and it’s in that context that we write about what happened.
Car charge and usage data
Not all chargers were working due to the effects of Hans but we did manage to find one working further uphill in a town where the Tesla Supercharger had no power at all.
Going back to the beginning of the Day 15’s journey, we did try charging at one end of the Lærdal tunnel but it was so slow we gave up. So we’re not particularly counting that one.
Given all the back and forth, 3.6 miles per kWh was probably the best we could have expected.
Story of the day
Waking up was tough as we hadn’t slept very well overnight. The first step of the day other than dragging ourselves out of bed was to get the previous day’s blog published. After this, we had our breakfast of chocolate croissants that we had bought the day before – as we were not near any cafés or similar, we went self-catering. These pastries were extremely nice and a chocolate filling as well as the sprinkles on top.
Then it was onto the road. We tried to charge at the nearest Supercharger but it was definitely not super. It was really slow, even though no-one else was there, and we ended up paying around 30p for one percent in the battery. As well as this, the shop wasn’t open until noon so our driver was unable to get a coffee where we were stopped. The only good thing that came from this stop is we emptied all of the rubbish from our car into the waste facilities there.
We decided to drive into the centre of Flåm to get the coffee instead. We went into one of the many shops and managed to find a cold, salted caramel latte. We also found these things called Vanillas. They were basically mini brioches with a vanilla cream filling in. These made a great morning snack for the team. We’re glad we visited the centre, as there was a unique view of one end of the fjord, with the cruise ship dwarfing it.
After that important job was done, we headed up the mountain road. This was actually the road that the Lærdal Tunnel replaced so it was very winding and not efficient in the slightest. But the views were absolutely incredible. From the heights of the mountains, we saw Flåm Fjord and it was glistening in the sun. We could also see many small waterfalls in the sides of the mountains and they looked so stunning. There were so many photo opportunities, it was hard to count them.
However, taking the mountain roads turned out to be a bad idea. We reached the summit easily enough after about a million sharp bends. We even saw some snow. But we were about a third of the way down the other side and there ended up being an unexpected road closure. So we went all the way back the way we came, with so many cars going up the other way. They were in for a surprise as well, although many may have simply been visiting the summit. The route ended up with us going back through the Lærdal, which wasn’t the worst thing ever, just not the more stunning views we were going for.
When we had done the 24.5km through that tunnel the second time, we got back on the main road straight away. There were two different routes to take to get to Oslo, but the navigation directed us up the quicker route which was another mountain road but anything to get there quickly was good.
On the way to our destination, we pulled over at a petrol station to get some lunch. There was a bakery inside. Our lunch consisted of a salami and cheese panini. This was grilled but the butter didn’t warm up. This made for a really unique but delicious flavour.
A little while later, the road we were supposed to be going on was shut so we managed to find our own diversion to the open part of the road. But then we were met with another problem: the road was flooded. It only seemed like a small amount of water compared to the amount in the fields, in the caravan parks and overflowing out of the river. Things had been destroyed and some of the power had gone out so lights were off in houses. We got redirected so many times because of the amount of road closures. It must have been devastating for people in those communities. Our battery eventually got down to under 20% and so we had to find a charger quickly.
Luckily, we managed to find one just in time, after hitting a dead-end with Tesla Superchargers losing power – they were very close to the river. The annoying thing about the charger was that the app for it wasn’t working. So our driver had to go on to the website which was all in Norwegian, to put in details manually. It was becoming too much of a hassle for us to deal with but we got there.
After charging up to around 84%, we left the station and got on the road. We decided on another mountain route as we knew about all of the road closures near the river. After what felt like hours of driving, we made it to the main road. Where we were met with yet another issue. There was an entire road just full of traffic; there was a single-lane operation in place with around a 25 minute cycle between movements. So it went back and forth between us driving at 15km/h to not moving at all. It was exhausting but we got out at last.
It was still around a two hour drive to Oslo from the other end of the traffic. The scenery was even more beautiful than before as the rain had cleared and we were left in the mountains with lightly coloured fog. Though the collapsed trees did partially ruin the view wherever they showed up. And there was water all over the road from the previously mentioned flood. Other than that, the south of Norway looked gorgeous.
We decided to trust the satnav for the last part of our journey but this was another mistake. When we had reached around half an hour away from anything, there was a road blockage again, meaning the journey to the hotel was at least an hour longer. On the way, we went to a Circle K petrol station to get something to eat. We ended up getting a ham and cheese sandwich and a pot of paprika Pringles to share. It wasn’t the best to be honest but time was too late to be fussy. Again, there were bigger problems in the country!
When we finally got to the hotel, it was around 10:00pm. We checked in and then hauled all of our bags to our room on the top floor. Thankfully, the lift was working – we haven’t had a 100% success rate with this on the trip.