ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-21-2010, 08:18 PM   #1
bc_seattle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
bc_seattle's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle
Oddometer: 118
Iceland

My first ride report.


My buddy Manny turned 50. He wanted to do a series of adventures for his 50th. Ours was riding motorcyles accross Iceland for eight days.

One of my favorite trips ever. Phenomenal country to ride motorcycles, honestly crazy good terrain. I could easily spend a couple of months (or maybe a lifetime) and not get bored.


Things I learned:

Iceland is about the size of the main island of Japan.
Japan's population is 127,420,000.
Iceland’s population is 320,000.
127 million Japanese could leave Japan and the population would still exceed Iceland by 25%.
July weather in Iceland is similar to March weather in Seattle.
Hotdogs are very popular in Iceland.
If you insist on sampling the most traditional food in Iceland, you might get a half a sheep's head and other items you probably won't be familiar with.
Common American stove fuel (white camp gas) isn't common in Iceland. Icelandic "Grill fuel" is barely flammable and doesn't burn in American stoves.
Icelandic air flies direct from Seattle to Reykjavik.


Day 1 getting to Iceland, getting the bikes.


About the language. Thank you is one of the easiest phrases to say. The language is near impossible for an American. I gave up trying to pronounce place names. Manny told me that the airline-industry-disruptive-volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, is referred to as E15. It starts with the letter “E” and has 15 more letters. We used this. Stykkishólmur became Stykki (sticky) - 7. If anyone wanted to know where we'd been or where we where going I had to bust out the map and use my finger.




Me. Hair shorn to helmet length. The day before I rode the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride on a tandem with my daughter… but that is another story. I don’t recommend starting a motorcycle trip with a severely sore saddle. Or having to rush your packing… Manny’s texted me “pack light”…



Icleand has long sunsets in the summer. About half the 7 ½ hour flight seemed to be a sunset.


Arriving.



The bus ride from the airport, Keflavík, takes about 45 minutes. Why? This is where our military built it in WWII, the base was used to shuttle GIs to England.



Manny.



Picking up our bikes from Eyþór (or Eythor, prounounced “A-thor”) at Biking Viking. These guys came highly recommended from an inmate that had visited Iceland and was also vouched for by an Icelandic inmate. Eyþór is the man. On his advice and since we were traveling to the Highlands, he advised us to switch our reservation from the BMWF650GS to more dirt oriented bikes. I can’t say enough good things about the Biking Viking operation. I got a Kawasaki KLR 650 with soft bags and Manny got a Yamaha 660R with Pelican hard bags. Both were in perfect working condition but I was befuddled by the water in the KLR’s headlight and speedometer. I had failed to learn the Icelandic phrase for "has this motorcycle previously fallen during an attempted river crossing in the Highlands?"


more later...

bc_seattle screwed with this post 08-22-2010 at 01:31 PM
bc_seattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2010, 08:24 PM   #2
boxermoose
Now fully goosed
 
boxermoose's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Gulf Coast TX
Oddometer: 2,801


I love Iceland reports

I'll get there one day - I've got kin there I've never met
__________________
Sometimes you get the ABAT....and sometimes the ABAT gets you
boxermoose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 11:34 AM   #3
bc_seattle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
bc_seattle's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle
Oddometer: 118
Day 1

Boxermoose – its you and me brother… you and me. Stay with me here, don't leave me. This RR is dedicated to you and your kin which hopefully I was nice and respectful to if I ran into during our outlaw adventure.
Here’s how I figure the math… 300,000 people on Iceland… I talked to maybe 300 in eight days. So that is a 1-in-100 chance that met one of your kin multiplied by how many you got over there. If you have 6 kin then 6-in-100 = 6%; 20 kin ups my chances to 1-in-5. Not betting odds, but not crazy to think I might have met some of your clan.
Here’s the thing: If you like riding a motorcycle in the dirt and you got kin in Iceland and you can afford some warm clothes then you really are kind of blowing it by not getting up there while you can still stomach the local fire-drink, Brennivín. But hey just my $0.02… and don’t get me wrong… I’m not trying to scare off my only subscriber.

I should also apologize upfront… my pictures suck. Too many pretty sights… not enough of the getting-down-and-dirty. As I said, my first RR and when the sh_t-was-flying I wasn’t thinking about the camera, haven't earned my war-photographer stripes yet. I’ll work on it for next time…

Some empty Brennivín shots.


Things to know about Icelandic drinking: They generally don’t drink during the week; for the most part this is a hardworking industrious crew. Some/many/all (?) can get really really piss drunk on Saturday. I mean really piss drunk. And the funny thing is, depending on where you are, no one even gets going until really late. Actually I think there is heavy drinking earlier in the evening it is just that folks done generally go out until late. Here’s where having some local family will help enormously to decode things.

Some landscape shots below our way into the Highlands. Our first day, Monday consisted of me arriving at 6:15am, eating breakfast with Manny, and us having hotpants to get on the road before we were properly provisioned.

For those playing along at home, we took 435 east to 360 north to 36 northeast to 361 east turned into 365 east to 37 north turning into 55 north to 30 south to 326 east fueled up at the wrong place then 32 east to F26 east and finally some gravel road. All on Monday.











can you see the water in the bottom of the speedometer and temp gauge?










We did our crossed our first river at around 10 or 11pm, camped on the other side and felt like conquering heroes until the facts presented themselves clearly. We were in fact dumbasses without a working stove that had screwed-the-pooch in our discussions of food-provisions and who brought what.

We went to bed with cold wet feet and empty bellies worrying about three big river crossings Eyþór had warned us about. He said we’d be likely fine so long we crossed them early… like 5am early. Any guesses on what time we actually woke up? Reminder: I rode a crazy long bike ride with my daughter then got on a plane to europe then rode for 14 hours or so on a motorcycle. It isn't looking good for a 5am crossing of the big rivers, not even close. Epic first day and epic day two coming up...

Pictures of our 1st river crossing Monday evening. Nice work Manny... not bad for fiddy.


















More to come: hunger in the Highlands, where's the gas-station?, soiled-underwear-river-crossing-attempts, Icelandic Search and Rescue, female Icelandic backcountry hitchhikers, sand and more sand... miles and miles of sand, naked swimming in milky white lake next to a blue lake... and Boxermoose, I'm open to requests. Just let me know what you want to hear and I'll play it.


bc_seattle screwed with this post 08-28-2010 at 07:22 AM
bc_seattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 11:39 AM   #4
Cooltours
Rider of passion
 
Cooltours's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Zuerich, Switzerland
Oddometer: 1,467
This report rocks and many of the pics too!!!!
Cooltours is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 12:25 PM   #5
CBR-ELEVENTY-TEN
Tastes Like Chicken!
 
CBR-ELEVENTY-TEN's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Down...lower....lower..... Yeeaaagggghhhhhhhh!!!
Oddometer: 621
This interests me very much indeed.

A trip I'm planning to do solo asap.

Subscribed.

Please continue.
CBR-ELEVENTY-TEN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 01:31 PM   #6
Tripod
waldeinsamkeit
 
Tripod's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: NE by N
Oddometer: 1,107
Subscribed

More story/pics!!!

And I thought the best dish to go with Brennivin was Hakarl? We going to get a food report too?

No kin, but gonna go someday.

Lead on.
__________________
"We're all just dancers on the devils dance floor" - Flogging Molly

"If I wanted someone to clean me up I'de find myself a maid"-Dawes
Tripod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 01:43 PM   #7
Josh69
Uhhh
 
Josh69's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Euroland
Oddometer: 587
Great report - and I think I'll take a trip to Iceland to try out some hotdogs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bc_seattle
My first ride report.



Things I learned:

Hotdogs are very popular in Iceland.
__________________
========================
Saigon to Hanoi
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=348262

Easter Mekong Tour
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=329194

Streets of Vietnam
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=335816

Current bike: 2008 Honda CBF-600
Josh69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2010, 10:07 AM   #8
bc_seattle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
bc_seattle's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle
Oddometer: 118
Embracing the Sand

Thank you all for your continued great comments. I was hope for some more flames to stoke my guilt on the out-of-gas thing but you guys are far too nice. Loftur.th -- glad I could provide some laughs and yes for a summer crisscrossing the Highland's I'm IN but I need a couple of years to get the kids off to college. For those thinking about a trip to the Highlands and wondering if devoting a week or two to the highlands is too much, note what Loftur.th, an Icelandic native, said -- "a summer in the highlands." Yes a summer would be a good amount of time to explore the Highlands.

Josh69 -- a hotdog picture with a little bit of KLR and even my Iceland Lonely Planet guide that thankfully Manny didn't eat. I kind of like the photo composition but have a confession: it was luck. And Josh69 by all means go to Iceland.


Wednesday

I’ve had a request for more sand talk which in a way is like dirty talk. In fact the request was from none other than Manny… Hey there Manny!

Ok I was going to try to just pass over the whole sand thing with some pictures and a quote from a Guns-and-Roses song as a subtle disclaimer to anyone attempting F-910 that they should be ready for sand and actually lots of it.

Before we get to sand, more facts:

1. Eight days is far too short for a proper motorcycle tour of Iceland. I would recommend this as the absolute minimum. There are numerous areas in Iceland worth exploring, heck the whole island is worth exploring. The two areas we had narrowed down given our lame time constraints were the Highlands and the Westfjords both of which could easily take a week or a month or a year to explore. It was doable but tight doing two areas in eight days.

2. There is much music in Iceland. Yes everyone knows about Björk and hopefully some of you have created a Björk radio station on Pandora and are in fact listening to this while reading this RR. If you haven't this would be a fine place to break and in fact set up your Pandora station. There is much music in Iceland in addition to Björk but that is another trip and a different report. If you only take eight days to visit Iceland and try to visit two different areas as we did, you will have to hurry around and miss some key treasures the country has to offer. For example, even though we were very close by when transitioning from the Highlands to the Westfjords, we missed Skagaströnd because we didn’t have enough time and had to scoot around a bit to quickly. Skagaströnd is a very old Icelandic trading outpost but also Iceland’s Country-and-Western music headquarters thanks to Hallbjorn Hjartarson who apparently developed his bad habit while hanging out with the Yanks in the 60’s at the American base. So if like Hallbjorn Hjartarson you prefer Willie Nelson to Björk (and I’m not saying one way or the other) then I think, because of Hallbjorn, that you could create a Willie Nelson station on Pandora and listen to that for this RR and still in a way be paying homage to Iceland.

3. Manny and I had discussed learning how to play the djembe drum to assist in one of our trip objectives which was to meet Björk. You see there are many cool things about Björk and no I don’t mean that she likes to hook up with people on both side of the gender divide. Well ok sure that’s kind of cool but that was NOT why Manny and I wanted to meet her. So we figured that Björk is way too cool to hang out with a couple of lame American tourists with cameras hanging from their necks that can’t even make a proper meal in the backcountry so we would probably need a different approach. See if we weren’t tourists but in fact fellow musicians then we might have a real chance or maybe could even work our way to playing some background beats for one of her upcoming albums. The idea was to learn the djembe, heck not just learn it but to actually get good at the djembe good enough people would ask if we grew up in Africa. If they asked this then for sure we could hook up with some Icelandic drum circles being the wierd white dudes people mistake from being from Africa or sort-of-white dude in Manny's case and work it from there. Here’s the thing: eight days is not enough time to do all the cool stuff there is to do in Iceland including finding and infiltrating into Björk –friendly Icelandic drum circles. Heck all the drum circles have probably already been infiltrated or shut down by the I-CIA, I know we could not find any sort of drum circles in the Highlands.

4. If you plan to travel on F910, it might be a good idea to spend your limited preparation time practicing riding your motorcycle in sand instead of learning the djembe or even talking about learning the djembe or goofing around with Pandora and trying to find Björk / Willie Neslon mash-up songs on iTunes.

Sand. I hadn’t planned on showing this picture but to oblige Manny’s request for more sand-talk:



A couple of things about the above picture:
- Amazing glacier in the distance which was the source for many river crossings. The United States has many cool things but we don’t have Glaciers in the desert, not even close. I’m sure now that I’ve written this with such confidence someone is going to post some awesome pictures of an American desert glacier from Colorado or Montana or somewhre else showing some famous American desert glaciers that I'm ignorant of and make me look bad and dumb in front of my new friends as if running out of gas wasn't bad enough. Well let's get on with it, post your photos.
- Yellow route markers. Navigation in Iceland is very straight forward. Sure a GPS would be nice but a good map and a compass work very well and someone in Iceland have done a nice job with signs and markers and whatnot which are all over the place. I’m sure this wasn’t always the case, probably a result of too many lost tourists or maybe something that came from the British occupation…
- Blue sky. I wonder why the high-viz yellow signposts… makes me curious, maybe the sky isn’t always so clear?
- If you look closely in the bottom right corner you will notice some not-exactly-straight-motorcycle-tire-tracks and if you look really closely you will see what appear to be boot-marks in the sand from one of us making a last ditch save to keep our machine from falling over which in this instance appears to have worked.
- Old motorcycle tracks to the left, outside of the tire ruts.

We both fell in the sand. I think we had four falls between us. The KLR is much easier than my R1150GS to pick up when laid on the ground. Later we’d meet some cool dudes from Sweden who did F910 on three very nice R1200GS who said they fell more times than they could count in the sand, something like 50 times. They looked to be in very good shape which may have been, in part, due to picking up a R1200GS 50 times.

Embracing the sand. Here’s what seemed to work best for me:
Keep tire presure low.
Butt back as far as I could, weight on back wheel.
Get out of the tire tracks and into virgin sand.
Relax. Get super super relaxed. Tension will only make things harder and well being about to crash all the time in the sand tends to make one, I should say it make me anyway, sort of tense. The sand is a motorcycle turns out to be a good place to master relaxation.
Light grip on bars. Super super super light, barely gripping it at all.
All turning with legs/weight shift.
Turning the bar evena little tiny bit in a turn = crash.
Don’t get freaked out by the bike drifting around a bit or way more than a bit.
25ish mph seemed to be the sweetspot for me.
I don’t know to what extent this is good sand-form or not but the crashes diminished and I actually really enjoying myself in the sand.

As you start to get closer to Askja the black sand transitions to fields of small volcanic rocks.


Manny


The camp at Askja. After the solitude of F910 and the Highlands this felt like a major metropolis. Most folks come to Askja from the other direction and only a few proceed on F910.



The camp of our search-and-rescue friends:



Icelandic back-packers, the first human interaction we'd had other than SAR coming out of the highlands. We were both reading the map sign.


I'm sorry Tripod, I had meant to cover the hitch-hiker thing in greater detail but with all the talk of hotdogs, and Björk, and sand it didn't really leave any time today to cover the hitch-hikers properly. Got to run...

bc_seattle screwed with this post 09-19-2010 at 12:17 PM
bc_seattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2010, 11:40 AM   #9
GingerFire
Ginger Fire
 
Joined: May 2010
Location: Arizona
Oddometer: 1
Talking Most Excellent

I must ask though with the cold meal of freeze dried chili... was it not the best meal you have ever had after working and waiting for it?
GingerFire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2010, 07:24 PM   #10
bc_seattle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
bc_seattle's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle
Oddometer: 118
yes sir

Quote:
Originally Posted by GingerFire
I must ask though with the cold meal of freeze dried chili... was it not the best meal you have ever had after working and waiting for it?
Yes without doubt it was. I even enjoyed the crunchy corn that never fully rehydrated. I can tell you speak from experience!


bc
bc_seattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2010, 08:12 PM   #11
NewHampWoodsRider
Tag Captor
 
NewHampWoodsRider's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Way Down North, New Hampshire
Oddometer: 445
Great Report!!

Love the photos!
I visited once as a child, cant wait to go back on a bike!
NewHampWoodsRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2010, 05:30 PM   #12
Tripod
waldeinsamkeit
 
Tripod's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: NE by N
Oddometer: 1,107
Quote:
Originally Posted by bc_seattle

Icelandic hitch-hikers.


I'm sorry Tripod, I had meant to cover the hitch-hiker thing in greater detail but with all the talk of hotdogs, and Björk, and sand it didn't really leave any time today to cover the hitch-hikers properly. Got to run...
That's o/k guys, I can smell the patchouli from here....
__________________
"We're all just dancers on the devils dance floor" - Flogging Molly

"If I wanted someone to clean me up I'de find myself a maid"-Dawes
Tripod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2010, 08:26 PM   #13
hyperboarder
Potato Farmer
 
hyperboarder's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Meridian, ID
Oddometer: 1,000
I've been putting together a list of the definite, probable, and pipe dream rides today, and Iceland just made the probable list. I have that exact same KLR (plus a few grand in farkles) and I'm really glad you liked it. From the looks of it, it's almost all stock (at least visibly), I'm guessing different tires and a skid plate and maybe some suspension stuff. No big armor and stock handguards mean it's probably mostly stock. Maybe the doo and a thermobob, but no high speeds means they're not really that necessary. If you're serious about getting one, PM me and I'll give you the pro/con list. If nothing else, they're dirty cheap.

Anyway, really interested in the ride, I foresee it in the future for me and a buddy. Did you do any research on renting a 4 wheel beast (he's not a motorcyclist)? My proposal: ride your GS to Fort Collins, CO (I'm GS shopping for the bigger rides, though the KLR will stay with me for a while I'm leaning 1150) and hang out and chat with me for a few days. We've got a spare bed and as I said, I've got the KLR that you can ride if you let me try yours out. We've also got one of the highest restaurant/capita ratios in the country (amazing food), plus you can roll in/out through 70 or 14 and have a whole lot of fun. Let me know .
hyperboarder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2010, 11:27 PM   #14
bc_seattle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
bc_seattle's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle
Oddometer: 118
going to Fort Collins

Hyperboarder... glad to hear Iceland made the probable list. I don't want to oversell... it is perhaps better to keep expecations low. Plan on rain, fog, and ash the whole time. I suspect you'll have the time of your life in Iceland.

I am interested but probably not a buyer this year. Would love to hear the pro/con list. I have a philosophical struggle I'm working out. My first job in high school was working at a pool store. After lots of lugging liquid chlorine and delivering patio furnature I finally got to go out and clean pools and help with filter/motor repairs. Dick, the owner, instilled in me the following: use the right tool for the right job. Don't have the right tool when working on something tricky that matters? Go get the right tool. Do it right and do it once and that's how it is done if you work for Dick.

This can be tricky when it comes to hobbies. Bikes: embarrased to say. Skiis: three pair. Surfboards: two and I'm a greenhorn. Each thing with a specific purpose that it is perfect for. But it can work against you... one of the best powder days last year was a suprise and I was on the wrong skiis but hey what can you do so still hiked up the King at Crystal with my buddies cranking down the sweetstuff wishing I was on my Seth Pistols (did you say Colorado?). I'm trying to simplify and declutter which isn't easy when I can get fired up about most anything. I'm trying to shift from the "right tool for the job" era to the one-[insert thing]-quiver era. What's the right motorcycle? KLR? 1150? F800GS? vstrom? The hell if I can figure it out. It depends which way you lean. I'm super fired up about the dirt but also commute in the rain all year round and also end up on the slab for too much of my riding. What to do? I do like the 1150 but it is a big beast for where I really want to go.

Contact Eythor at Biking Viking, his buddy rents 4WD landcruisers I believe with very large tires. I'm pitching my crew on a family vacation to Iceland in one of these. We'll see where it goes...

Visit Fort Collins, BS about Iceland, CO vs. WA skiing, KLR vs. 1150, motorcycles, life, hit some trials, overeat? I'M IN!!! Be a bit flexible with me on timing... this is my year-of-overcomittment.

Thanks for reading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperboarder
I've been putting together a list of the definite, probable, and pipe dream rides today, and Iceland just made the probable list. I have that exact same KLR (plus a few grand in farkles) and I'm really glad you liked it. From the looks of it, it's almost all stock (at least visibly), I'm guessing different tires and a skid plate and maybe some suspension stuff. No big armor and stock handguards mean it's probably mostly stock. Maybe the doo and a thermobob, but no high speeds means they're not really that necessary. If you're serious about getting one, PM me and I'll give you the pro/con list. If nothing else, they're dirty cheap.

Anyway, really interested in the ride, I foresee it in the future for me and a buddy. Did you do any research on renting a 4 wheel beast (he's not a motorcyclist)? My proposal: ride your GS to Fort Collins, CO (I'm GS shopping for the bigger rides, though the KLR will stay with me for a while I'm leaning 1150) and hang out and chat with me for a few days. We've got a spare bed and as I said, I've got the KLR that you can ride if you let me try yours out. We've also got one of the highest restaurant/capita ratios in the country (amazing food), plus you can roll in/out through 70 or 14 and have a whole lot of fun. Let me know .
bc_seattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2010, 10:00 PM   #15
marbee40
Some Fear is Good
 
marbee40's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: 45 minutes-North-of-Los Anchorage
Oddometer: 1,034
Road signs in Iceland




27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000>

























lokaður





Does NOT mean "Welcome Americans!" We later found out it meant "road closed" or something similar. Whoops! Out looking for the road-less-traveled we often found this sign and thought "SWEET! That road looks perfect!"

One of our favorite place to visit was Landmannalauger. Natural hot springs in the middle of NO WHERE! They aren't real deep but after a few shots of Applecorn, you'll forget all about the monkey-butt from the hot rocks. Ohhhh, the memories. Did I mention most of the visiting European ladies don't bring a suit?

http://www.fi.is/en/huts/landmannalaugar/




Man, this thread is bringing back the memories! Found an old picture of my 4-Runner and a buddies F-150 overlooking a bluff before hiking in. Sorry, I know it ain't bikes, but it does show the terrain a bit.
Attached Images
 
__________________
R1150GS
01 WR426F
marbee40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014