08-22-2010, 08:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Day 2: Tuesday
Day 2. Tuesday.
First of all thank you all for your generous comments.
CBR-Eleventy-Ten – for sure do a solo trip to Iceland. Let me know how I can help. I’m happy to offer any advice I can give but you may want to read on before actually taking it. Many questions… the first is when and are you bringing a bike or renting.
Tripod – yes there will be food reports and especially lack-of-food reports.
Squonker – do it! You will not regret it, I’m sure of it.
Thorne – yes you read correctly, hang on a bit.
Couple of things I’d like to touch on.
Kawasaki KLR 650. Holy smokes I realize I’m about to step into a religious doo-doo pile (google KLR 650 vs. F800GS if you must) but let me say I loved this bike. I really should say “bing it” in deference to my friend Paul at Microsoft that is shaking off a broken heel. My ride is an 1150GS so maybe the KLR just seems super nimble by comparison but it was a great companion even when tortured or drowned and always seemed to want to tackle more. It went 80 miles an hour and my helmet with an offroad beak was no problem. Aerodynamics way better than my 1150GS but that isn’t saying much if anything at all. I can’t say to what extent the KLR was stock. Eyþór mentioned that his shop does a fair amount to “tighten things up” I have no idea how extensive his mods are. I do know if I go to Iceland again I’m back on the KLR and maybe there is one in my garage in the future who knows.
Exped DownMat sleeping pad with built in hand pump. After decades of sleeping on a variety of foam pads I finally made the leap. This thing is the best! And it keeps you warm since it has down fill in it. My favorite piece of gear as I began to despise my impotent stove.
So how is it that a couple of supposedly smart dudes end up in the Highlands without a working stove and a food shortage (and maybe a pending fuel shortage)? Very good question and one that I should just address up front. You see I need to take you back in time a bit. In college I went on this canoe trip down the Colorado River which for part of its meandering runs between California and Arizona. Usually this is pretty tame and I had heard stories of canoes rafted with kegs of beer, gentle floating, girls etc. I had prepared carefully for the trip, my first in a canoe. I had a rented sleeping bag, bought a cooler with refreshments and food for the weekend, a folding chair, some extra clothes etc. I was less prepared for the 30mph+ winds that picked up and created 3 – 4 foot whitecaps in a river that has long stretches of high banks on both side... meaning you have no option other than pressing on. I learned many things that day. I learned that difficutly rating of canoeing with a mate in 3 - 4 foot whitecaps on a river with no side exits can be multiplied by a factor of 4 or 5x if your mate is on a deprived mushroom bender. Or the importance of bringing rope and tying everything very securely to the inside of the canoe. I learned I couldn’t afford to replace the lost rented sleeping bag that floated away or sunk with all of our other possessions and one of our paddles. I learned about hypothermia, yes especially I learned about this. So after the river trip, and after a few other epic backcountry experiences that involved being lost, cold, hungry, thirsty or hurt I became a bit of a planner and started to play the role of trip-den-mother. Do you have a couple of extra layer of clothing? Is that jacket actually waterproof or pretend waterproof? Do we have an industrial strength first aid kit? Does everyone know how to use it? Do we have extra food? Over the years I realize that I became a bit of a planning-bummer for these adventures and somewhere in the last decade I decided to stop playing the role of trip-den-mother. Sure I’ve learned a bunch and I try to quietly make sure that my posse has some sort of meager safety margin the biggest probably being who you go with. Here’s where I’m trying to get to: if you want to go fast-and-light with a half-baked plan and use your wits to figure it out along the way I’m game. I could do lots of second guessing here but it doesn't matter. All I know is when Manny (or was it me?) wanted to hightail it out of Reykjavik I was more than game and figured we’d wing it along the way. Back in Seattle, I had thrown in a couple of those two person freeze dried meals. I often do this as a back-up with the plan being never to use them and to instead buy and eat actual real food. I also threw in some oatmeal for breakfast. I mean it isn’t like we’re going to starve to death in eight days. Are we?
Our camp spot in the morning. And no it is not 5am despite Eyþór’s warnings to cross the rivers early as in 5am early. I think it is about 8am when I woke up. I will say I had a great night sleep (new pad) and no breakfast sort of sped things up. More on the stove troubles later.
Our camp spot in the morning. As far as we can see in any direction there is no evidence of humans other than the dirt road.
Cool fact about camping in Iceland: with only a couple of limitations you can pretty much camp anywhere.
The ride and terrain was unbelievable. The Highlands is basically a high desert volcanic environment with several adjacent massive glaciers. The meltwater creates a number of rivers going in every direction. Riding includes dirt, rock, lava fields, you name it. Easy terrain and technical terrain. Wild wild stuff. Flowers in the Highlands:
One of the glaciers in the distance.
My KLR and Manny
River crossings. While in the past there apparently were few bridges in Iceland, the country is now very flexible in respect to river crossings. You can choose a route that has no river crossings and all bridges. You can choose a route that has many river crossings and no bridges. We choose the later but we're very certain of our decision, we're a couple of river-crossing-rookies. This is an easy one:
The Icelandic Search and Rescue. I wish I could report that this would be our only picture with these guys but alas this isn’t the case. I should say to anyone looking for blood or broken bones they will be disappointed, this trip had neither. However, we will hear from our Search and Rescue friends again before this RR is over.
got to run… more to come be patient with me, the next couple of days are busy for me. Next: three big river crossings.