AZ Adv Rider – great climbing picture. We have climbing here in Seattle too but really, in the sunshine? That’s obscene.
Motorzen – PM me… I’ll help. Beer? In Seattle? I’ll bring maps, pictures, old girlfirends phone numbers whatever. Let’s do it.
DavidXT – money? screw it, put it on the plastic. Or just add it to the big Iceland UK bill… careful on this one thought, might be worth getting some Canadian patches for your rucksack. I can tell you accommodations in the Highlands are very cheap and well as you’ll see Manny and I definatley came in under budget in the food category.
Seriously thanks for reading!
Previously on “Iceland”:
Got to Iceland, rented bikes, long day on the bikes headed into the Highlands.
First river crossing and camped for the night.
Dumbasses don’t have a functioning stove due to Icelandic fuel / American stove handshake problems; food limited to two freeze dried meals and a bunch of oatmeal all of which require a working stove to prepare.
Had been advised by Eyþór’s to do three upcoming big river crossings early… like 5am. Rivers rise during the day during “warm weather” (and I do use the term warm loosely). The weather was “warm” as what you’d expect a nice spell in Seattle to be like in March.
Woke up late for a bunch of lame reasons, left camp around 8:30am.
Got to the first big river crossing on F-26 and talked to Icelandic Search and Rescue. Good luck, conditions are still very reasonable for crossing.
Are having the time of our lives (at least I know I am, can’t speak for Manny).
First big river crossing… notice current moving more quickly than the last crossing. Went smoothly, no problem!
Second crossing (sorry no picture) was a bit deeper and swifter but still not bad. We had a heightened sense of concentration when the Icelandic Search and Rescue truck waded out into the river upstream of us and turned around to watch our attempt. Were they placing bets on which one of us would bite it? Did they recognize the KLR with the water in the headlight? Both of us made it…
After the crossing we consulted with Search and Rescue leader… we were planning on taking F910. Yes the newer, northern route. Old 910 apparently isn’t maintained isn't to be attempted. Search and Rescue warned that there was lots of water crossings on new 910 but only one of concern. We estimated we’d hit it at 11am or so. I asked him what he thought (by the way, one thing that I find very endearing about Icelanders is that you don’t get a bunch of unsolicited advice from folks. If you want to know something you have to ask which is great by me.) He said “should be no problem” and then made a worried look at his watch. I only decoded later that “no problem” is part of almost every reply and that modifiers are what matter. Modifiers such as “should” or non-verbal modifiers such as worried glances at watches. I think in American he meant we were dumbasses to be on 910 doing the tough crossing at 11am or noon. But no one was going to wreck our high… we had just nailed the crux of F-26 with no drama, no injuries, no water in the engine.
Another thing that I love about Iceland is that no one really tosses around “no” or “you shouldn’t do that” or “you used to be able to do that but someone got hurt and sued and now no one can do anything fun.”
Fun riding having a blast… wondering if I should have tried to pimp the Search and Rescue guys for a working stove. Hunger in the background… having too much fun to really notice. Get to the crux (river-wise… we haven’t gotten to the sand part yet) of F-910 between 11am and noon.
The picture below doesn’t really do justice to what happened next. Cleary the river is running faster than our last crossings. Walk it? Nah… what’s the point. We're committed! Burn your boat just like the Vikings and move forward! What are we going to do, turn back and re-cross the F-26 double river crossing in the afternoon? No we’re going to cross although we did let the bikes cool off per Eyþór’s request on the deeper river crossings. Tick tock... give you time to think, makes the experience more intense.
Manny goes for it, I’m taking pictures, wishing I had a fancy camera that could bank out 7+ frames a second instead of the 1 picture per 3 seconds the mine is doing. Then about a second after the picture taken below I realize Manny is in trouble, the river got deeper. And presumably Manny had realized it too. He lost all forward momentum and the river was starting to push his bike over downstream. He had a leg down but the water was rising quickly as it pushes against the bike. I put the camera down and ran into the river. It was moving was faster than I had imagined from shore. Shit! I get to Manny, help push the bike upright. Water was running 100% through the engine and the current was pushing water over the seat. Miraculously, Manny was able to restart the engine (how?? where is it getting air from?? are you kidding me??) and with the engine assist we push pull and lurch across the river. Some revs of the engine, water out the tailpipe and everything seems good.
Everything is good except that my bike is still on the other side. As I walk/swim accross the river again to get back to my bike my imagination runs amuck.
I repack my stuff, realize my soft-bag panniers are anything but waterproof, and hope I’m not too screwed with water runs unfettered through my belongings. I make it 90% of the way, Manny helps at the end, gives me a tug and I’m up and out the other side. Amazingly, I took on no additional water in the headlight compartment.
BTW, my United Pilot friend tells me that when he was a young pilot (back in the days when porn was allowed in the cockpit… hey I never thought about this until I just typed that but duh no wonder it is called the “cockpit”. Anyway, one of the old salty dog pilots probably a viet nam or korea vet had told my buddy “son learn from my mistakes. If it flys floats or “fuc_s, rent it” Let me make a plug for Biking Viking. The above “floats” rule definitely should be in force when a motorcycle is in pannier deep river crossings. Rent it.
I know dumb place for my helmet.
riding is unbeleivalbe... of course when the riding was the best I wasn't taking pictures. Crazy insane lava fields etc...
nothing notable about the last one other than two things. Riding over the lava into the river was very cool and what is Manny saying on the other side? What's that? What do you mean your gas light's on? Are you sure? No no no don't give me any of that gaslight crap. It can't be. Huh. I just knew we got all dis-cumb-screwed-up on where the last gas was before we got into the highlands and we had the range wrong when we converted back-and-forth from miles to kilometers making simple calculations complex. I can't do anything by paper anyway, where's my spreadsheet for crying out loud. Carry extra fuel? Nah! SH_T SH_T SH_T!!! We had seen 1 other car on 910 about 5 hours ago. Cell phone coverage is amazingly good around the islanc but not yet in the highlands. We are S C R E W E D!
The view out Manny's tent where we camped when he finally ran out of fuel.
Inventory. A tent. A bivy sack (behind rock outcropping out of the wind). A Yamaha with zero gas. The KLR with an undetermined amount of gas (love the KLR but no gas guage). A non-functioning stove. Freezedried crap that needs a working stove. Last meal 30 hours ago. Wet stuff from my soft bags in the river. And oh yes the wind starts to pick up and then the rain. Excellent!
We are absolute dumbasses. And of course we are still having the time of our lives. We'll I can only really vouch that I was, I haven't yet ventured to talk to Manny about this chapter yet... still too fresh.
to-be continued... just wait... the tent hasn't blown away yet.