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Old 10-28-2013, 11:21 AM   #196
Bob
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I thought your posts under Rockys name with your pic were your posts.
Then noticed over the weekend the *Paula*
I never noticed it before? To busy looking at all the great pics and report :)

Thanks again for everything.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:08 AM   #197
*Paula*
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Originally Posted by Bob View Post
I thought your posts under Rockys name with your pic were your posts.
Then noticed over the weekend the *Paula*
I never noticed it before? To busy looking at all the great pics and report :)

Thanks again for everything.
Rocky does all of the posting, that was probably my first comment on here, ever.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:20 AM   #198
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Vermont

July 25, 2013 - July 29, 2013

We crossed the border into the USA, entering the State of Maine. I've always heard good things of Maine, but I think it got my hopes up because I wasn't as impressed as I was told I would be. It depends how you like to travel though. It was packed with tourists, many people obviously like it there. Once we entered New Hampshire, I thought it was really beautiful. After a full day of riding, we decided that we would try to find a place to hide our tent. We were in a town called North Conway, New Hampshire, and decided to camp in a field behind a McDonald's. North Conway is a very pretty town, I was excited to see more of New Hampshire. We began our morning early with hopes of avoiding rain. Rain seems to be the theme for this wet summer. Before riding through the White Mountain National Forest, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and coffee. It was a shitty way to start our day, Dunkin Donuts has the most horrible watered down coffee we have ever tasted.


Just after approaching White Mountains, Rocky asked me if I felt something weird. We were stopped for road construction but as soon as we started riding again Rocky noticed we had a flat tire. We pulled over into a campsite parking lot and I'm surprised that Rocky didn't snap. He has had to take the tires off so many times in the past few weeks that I bet he would be able to do it with his eyes shut. Once we were finally able to locate the tiny hole in the tube, we tried to patch it. For whatever reason, the patch wasn't sticking. We decided to use the old spare tube we kept for emergencies only, but I'm going to bet that it will soon cause us to do another tire change. We put the bike back together and re-packed our belongings for another attempt at riding. We were frustrated but at least the rain only spat at us the entire time. I would have hated the day if the rain had poured on us. We got back on the bike and enjoyed the view as we exited New Hampshire and entered into Vermont.

We had gone to high school with Rocky's good friend Jaimie and we planned on visiting him deep in the wilderness. Jaimie decided to move to Vermont after he found 23 acres of forest land for sale. He had always imagined living away from society and he made his dreams come true. After he moved into the forest, he began constructing what he calls home. A four story high, geodesic dome that has a trampoline as one of the floors and a large slide that can be used if you don't want to use the stairs. It features an outdoor cooking area with a stove made out of a recycled Keg that uses wood to heat. A natural spring runs through the property, with cold, delicious water. A washing machine is available for doing laundry, but it’s cranked by hand. And, he has an alternator connected to his bicycle, to charge a bank of batteries for electricity.

Jaimie has also constructed a nearby workspace. Built from an old airplane hanger, he calls it the Banana building. For the past few years he has been building spider-like robots. After making a few small prototypes he began to create a giant size spider robot. He documented the entire process on YouTube and was eventually contacted by an interested toy company. Attacknids are now sold in stores and have won a few awards. They are a six-legged robot with armour, weapons and a "battle brain". They have a head that rotates 360 degrees to aim its gun. The interchangeable blasters can fire disks, darts, or balls. They wear armor on each leg that flies off when it’s hit. After three direct hits to a plastic switch on the face, the robot shuts down. It can even wade through water and mud up to 3 inches high. I wish toys like these were invented when I was a child. I owned a sticker book and a few fake Barbies.


When Rocky contacted Jaimie, he asked him if it was possible to bring the motorcycle all the way up to the dome. We should've known that Jaimie believes everything is possible. There are two ways in, he told us, and it is possible to bring in the motorcycle if we took the long route in. Jaimie met us at the entrance but I didn't see a road. It was more like a hiking trail. I immediately got off the motorcycle and unloaded our bags to let Rocky tackle the off road experience. Jaimie helped me carry all of our luggage, except for the panniers. They remained on the bike. And by helping me, I mean he carried most of it. He is a machine. We hiked under the hot sun for almost one kilometer and then hiked through the forest for another kilometer. Jamie and I were pouring sweat while Rocky was practicing his off-roading. As soon as we got to a spot that Rocky could no longer get through, we had to remove the panniers. I wanted to poke him in the eyes when he told me that off-roading was also really hard work. Yes, he definitely worked up a sweat as well but I saw him forcing to hide his smirk, he loved every second. Approximately 300 meters later, the bare bike wasn't even able to continue but we were only a couple hundred meters from Jaimie's dome. All I could think of was how the heck we were going to get back out of there.

As soon as we reached Jaimie's place, I was out of breath and ready to collapse. But, we weren't done yet. Since it would be getting dark soon, Jaimie showed us where there was a good flat place to pitch our tent. We followed him up a 30 meter cliff, I was glad that a rope was placed there to help me pull myself up. I am petrified of heights but with my body working so hard my brain couldn't even function to distract me with fear. After reaching the top of the hill, I was surprised to see people, especially an entire family. We met Martin, Brandy and their two kids. They also had just arrived. They were on their way to Maine for a vacation but wanted to stop in Vermont to meet Jaimie. Martin was a big fan viewing Jaimie on YouTube and he wanted to see the giant robot.

The following morning, I felt good after sleeping like a baby. Rocky and I took a moment to gather our thoughts to figure out the best plan to get the bike out along with all of our things. Since the bike could only use the same trail it entered, Rocky would have to ride it back out the same way. We also decided that the smartest thing to do was carry our luggage out the opposite, shorter trail. As soon as we established the plan, we decided that we would need to bring the panniers up near the dome so that it would be a shorter distance to eventually carry them out in the opposite trail we came in. Luckily, Martin offered to help us because it was much heavier than we thought and the trail was extremely steep at that point. Martin cut down two tree branches and a gurney was built. Him and Rocky carried them half of the way but Brandy and I helped once we saw that they were struggling. We were really grateful for their help. It wasn't a job that most would sign up for, especially on their vacation. Once we were done carrying them closer to Jaimie's house, Rocky rode out of the forest and I hiked out following him. It took us almost two kilometers to reach the road and from there it was a quick distance on the bike to the small town of South Royalton. Once we were done doing our laundry at the local laundromat, we prepared ourselves to do the hike back to Jaimie's. How the heck does he live like this? I was exhausted and I had only been there two days.


I was dreading the next morning. Even though the bike was moved to the closest exit and I had carried out a huge bag on my back the day before, we still had two trips to make out of there. The first trip was for Rocky and I to carry out the panniers, the same panniers that took four people to carry. At least Rocky was encouraging, "It's only a bit more than one kilometer through the forest and past the two ponds!" Each pannier weighs approximately 40 lbs. and I could've never imagined being able to manage. I still can’t believe that I was capable of doing that. It was probably the most physically challenging thing I have ever done. After taking a rest, we decided to go back for part two, we still had to carry out a 75 liter bag with all of our camping gear, a backpack, a tripod and a heavy tank bag filled with all of our electronics. We hiked back to Jaimie's and before taking our last hike out, we finally had the chance to visit with our hosts. Jaimie lives with his partner Deshaina and his adorable little girls Aurora and Bellatrix. We all sat in their outdoor kitchen to enjoy a tasty meal Deshaina had prepared. I just can't imagine how Deshaina is able to live in the middle of a forest with two little girls. I applaud her because I wouldn't have the strength or I'd suffer from cabin fever. The mental and physical strength it would take to live there, would tare me to bits. After saying our farewells and thanking them for the insane but incredible memories, we finally made it back to our motorcycle with all of our gear. I am really grateful for the experience. Seeing Jaimie again after so many years was awesome, and it was really nice to meet Deshaina and their two lovely girls. And of course, I was also excited at the thought of losing a few pounds.

After a long day of hiking, we decided to camp by the White River in the small town of South Royalton, on the outskirts of the wilderness. We didn’t go far at all, yet we seemed so far away from where we last camped, at Jaimie's. Our next journey would begin in the morning on our way to New York City. We rode through many States that day. We left Vermont and re-entered New Hampshire. We rode through Massachusetts and then into Connecticut. It was nice to finally sit down at McDonald's to use their WIFI. After a couple of hours, we were approached by a man. Ken asked us about our motorcycle and travels, he too owned a motorcycle. We spent a very long time talking up a storm until his wife Pam walked inside to introduce herself, and to probably see what was taking her husband so long. Moments later, she asked us to spend a night at there home.

Ken was a Preacher and he lived with his wife and father, Merle, in a large, beautiful home behind their church. Ken and Pam have been married for most of their lives and it was cute to see how deeply in love they still were. They had recently celebrated an anniversary in Alaska and were excited to show us photographs of their trip. Rocky and I were immediately inspired to someday visit Alaska as well. Ken and Pam described their trip by saying everything about it was perfect because they believed that they were in the FOG. Being in the FOG is an acronym for Favor Of God.

After a nice hot shower, the bed we had slept on felt especially comfortable. It had been a really long time since we had slept on something soft. We woke up refreshed are were ready for our next adventure towards the city that never sleeps, New York.




We visited my high school friend, Jaimie, who lived in Vermont. After university, Jaimie bought some land just next to the small town of South Royalton. His home was in the middle of the forest where there is no road access, and the kilometer (or so) hike through the trees took you to the dome he built from scrap parts. He had a fresh water spring, solar panels and a battery bank for power.

Jaimie, an inventor and a bit of a recluse, lived with his girlfriend, Dashaina, and his two children, Aurora and Bellatrix.

Aurora

Jaimie & Aurora, Dashaina & Bellatrix

Bellatrix & I

Paula & Bellatrix

Jaimie turned his hobby of building a giant mechanical robot into somewhat of a career, and has designed award-winning toys that are sold all over the world. Since visiting Jaimie in Vermont, he and his family have since sold "The Dome" and have taken up traveling in a converted cube van across North America. Jaimie and Dashaina mentioned the idea of buying an island somewhere in South America as a possible future plan.

After a few days visiting with Jaimie and his family, Paula spent out last night in the town of South Royalton, where we were able to do our laundry and prepare for the ride to New York City.

While stopped at a McDonald's near Southington, Connecticut, we met Ken and Pam. Ken noticed our motorcycle and struck up a conversation. Ken and Pam are two avid bikers whose ride of choice is a 2008 Honda Goldwing. After conversing for about an hour, Ken and Pam invited us back to their home since we hadn't yet found a place to sleep for the night. They offered a spare bedroom with a comfortable bed and a nice, hot shower. WE spent the night and, the following morning, made our way south towards New York City.
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Rockwell screwed with this post 02-08-2014 at 08:03 AM
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:42 AM   #199
WhicheverAnyWayCan
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Rock, I understand now so my calculation was incorrect and thank god for that. Thanks for being a bit patient and pointing that out.. I should have counted the amount paid in same chart the mileage was added up instead of from the pie chart then it would have been accurate.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:56 AM   #200
Rockwell OP
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Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post
Rock, I understand now so my calculation was incorrect and thank god for that. Thanks for being a bit patient and pointing that out.. I should have counted the amount paid in same chart the mileage was added up instead of from the pie chart then it would have been accurate.
No problem!
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #201
Jamie Z
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What a great report!

I'm curious about your packing. I'm a light traveler, and you seem to have fit a lot on your bike. In every picture, Paula appears to be wearing a new outfit! It looks like at least two different pair of jeans, and you're wearing jeans too.

And you're also carrying camping gear and cooking gear? And an SLR with lenses? I'm impressed.

Not sure how you've done it. As I said, I'm a pretty light traveler, and I'm still trying to figure out where all your stuff is packed on the bike.

Safe travels.

Jamie
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:13 AM   #202
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I've been meaning to do a list of the things we are carrying. We are likely way overloaded, especially for one motorcycle. Unfortunately, there are things we both just "need" to have with us and Paula doesn't know how to ride a motorcycle. Besides, having only one motorcycle minimizes the cost of traveling and repairs.

Some of the stuff we have:
  • 15" Macbook Pro
  • digital SLR with three lenses
  • camera flash
  • tripod
  • Google Nexus 7
  • other assorted electronics
  • sleeping bag
  • MSR tent and gear shed vestibule
  • two folding camping chairs
  • two blow-up sleeping mats
  • double sleeping bag
  • two blow-up pillows
  • MSR stove
  • MSR cookware
  • tools
  • lubricants, oils, and fluids for the bike
  • small blanket
  • a compression sack of clothes each
  • two camping bath towels
  • toiletries, soap, shampoo
  • medical kit
  • three Pac-Safe sacs
  • two pairs of Vibram shoes
  • Paula's running shoes
  • Paula's sandals
  • my walking sandals
  • my camp Croc sandals
  • riding gear for each of us
  • spare parts for the bike
  • bag of food
  • occasionally a bottle of wine
  • etc...

I'll have to do a more accurate list of what we have, but that generally covers it. It's pretty safe to say that we could stand to lose some of our gear. The bike is very heavy with everything that we have.
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:22 AM   #203
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New York City

July 30, 2013 - August 5, 2013

I was excited to go to New York City but we had many things to organize. We knew that parking the motorcycle in such a large city was going to be an annoying issue and we tried to solve that problem immediately. Since we were going to Iceland after NYC, we thought it would be easier if we shipped the bike sooner than later. The first thing we did once we entered the city was go directly to the airport. At Iceland Air Cargo, we were notified that we would have to provide our own crate. We were given phone numbers for a few companies that could build one for us, but they quoted the cost at almost $1000 USD. We thought that was absurd, especially since the cost to ship the bike was $1500 USD. There was no possible way we were affording that, we would simply have to build our own. Haldor, an employee of Iceland Air Cargo, said he would bring us a power drill in the morning and we could build the crate out front of the loading dock.


We rode to Home Depot and, after figuring out what materials we needed and how much it would cost us, we had to come up with a plan to figure out how to bring all the materials to Iceland Air Cargo. I'm surprised that Rocky didn't ask me to sit on the back of the motorcycle and carry all of the wood as he drove. I bet he considered the idea. Since it was too late to do anything else at the moment, we had no choice but to ride into Manhattan and figure things out in the morning. Just as we were about to finally leave Home Depot, the bike wouldn't start. Frustrated, we pushed the motorcycle to a nearby gas station in the case that Home Depot needed to lock its gated property. At the gas station, we unscrewed the skid plate and wiggled some wires. After a few minutes the bike finally started. At this point, we both just wanted the day to be over with. We rode towards Manhattan with low spirits but just as we were crossing the Manhattan Bridge, the sun was beginning to set below the horizon and the city glowed a beautiful bright orange into the purple sky. It was an incredible skyline that immediately demanded our attention.


My friend Theresa lives in Lower East Side Manhattan with her boyfriend Wayne and their little girl, Celia. They invited us to stay with them and reassured us that not only would it be safe to park on her street, but it was also free. We had no choice regardless, we were stuck with the bike until a crate was built. All we could do was hope the bike would be fine parked in the streets of NYC. When we arrived at Theresa's I was immediately greeted with a big hug. I consider Theresa my family. She has been a friend of mine since we were teenagers and has always gone out of her way for me. Once again, she was there with open arms, and a delicious dinner was waiting for us when we walked through the door. I immediately felt at home.

Rocky and I woke up early the next morning with intentions of building a crate. Our plans fell apart the moment Rocky realized that he didn't have his original registration papers for the motorcycle. Without that legal document, the motorcycle would not be shipped. We spent hours making phone calls trying to find out our options. We were told that Rocky would have to send a signed letter through FedEx to give his mom permission to pick up an original registration title to the motorcycle. Once receiving Rocky's letter, his mother would have to present it to the Ministry of Transportation in order to receive a new registration paper. She would then have to send it rush delivery to Iceland Air Cargo. We could only hope that everything would be done in good timing so that the paper work could be processed in time for the motorcycle to clear customs into Iceland. Iceland air Cargo only ships on Saturdays and we already faced the fear that it would arrive a week later than us. We could not afford to take the chance it would arrive even later. After spending most of the afternoon stressed out, Theresa thought it was best if we spent the remaining sunshine at the pool, she was right.




Once again, we woke up very early the next morning to try and build the crate. We would have had to wake up early regardless, parking on the street still came at a price that money couldn't pay. There were so many rules that we are surprised we didn't get towed for not properly following them. Parking was offered on either side of the road, but not at the same time. We would have to move the motorcycle from one side to the other because there was designated street sweeping hours. The hours were different for each side, we had to move the motorcycle every night after 12am/2am and every morning after 7am/8am to the opposite side. It was free to park on either side, except in the morning until evening, but we didn't find out the pay part until days later.



Rocky went inside of Home Depot to buy the materials and have an employee cut the wood into specific sizes. I waited outside with the motorcycle trying to find someone to drive the wood to the airport for us. There were many men standing outside, hoping to be picked up for labor work. Many illegal immigrants, unable to legally get a job in America, stood out front of Home Depot with hopes of making a few dollars for offering help with construction/labor jobs. I found a man with a van who accepted my offer of $30, to take the wood for the crate, to the airport. Everything was running much smoother than previous days but we had a lot of work still left to do. We spent all day building the crate and once we were finally done, we felt relieved to no longer have any responsibility to the motorcycle. After taking the Subway back to Theresa's, it felt great to arrive in time for a delicious meal.

The following day, were finally ready and able to tour the Big Apple! Rocky and I joined Theresa and her baby Celia into the city. For many years, Theresa was a model before becoming a mother. Her good friend and former photographer, Jo Lance, came out to meet with us for the day. He is extremely creative and talented. A character difficult to describe with any words other than absolutely fabulous. We walked around all day and evening absorbing the energy of the huge city and each other. After hours upon hours of many kilometers on our feet, we still weren't done walking but we had to stop for the night.



We woke up feeling a little bit lazy and Theresa recommended that Rocky and I take a walk to her favourite place, a Turkish Bathhouse. We had never been to one before but she convinced us that we'd love it. As soon as we entered the building, we went to a change room where we put on our swimsuits. Once we were back in the main hall, we grabbed a long cloth robe/cloak along with two towels each - one to sit on and the other to wrap around our head. Rocky and I followed Theresa down the steep stairs into a dark cellar. The entire place was crowded. I could barely see faces because I was distracted by so many speedos. All I kept thinking was where the hell am I? But Theresa is notorious for introducing me to interesting situations. We followed her into what I can only describe as a dungeon. It was pitch black and intensely hot.


We entered a small irregular room approximately 15 feet by 10 feet. Long cement blocks were constructed along the walls used for sitting, and a large cement well filled with freezing cold water sat in the center of the room. Just as I felt like I was going to suffocate, Theresa grabbed for a bucket, filled it with water and poured it over each of our heads. We were so hot that steam escaped our bodies. I suddenly understood why everybody was almost nude. I was completely soaked, dripping of sweat and water. The steam in that room was hot enough to slow cook a meal. After a while, we followed Theresa out of the door and she led us to an ice-cold pool. The heat from our bodies immediately escaped as we entered the water that was suitable for a polar bear. We then followed her inside a small room where she pulled a handle and jet streams of warm water shot out at us in every direction. "Ok, are you ready?" I never know what Theresa has in mind when she says things like that. Nonetheless, I trusted her (maybe ;) and I was as ready as I could ever be. I followed her back into the dark steaming dungeon and she hands me over to a tall massive man and tells him "Give it to her really hard!" Being on the road is tough on the body and having a huge Russian man bend, stretch and beat me with a branch was exactly what I needed. It sounds sarcastic but I am being serious. I will gladly visit another bathhouse in my lifetime.



Feeling refreshed the next morning, we were ready once again for the streets of NYC. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and we took a ferry to Long Island so that we could peek at the Statue of Liberty. We also walked around the World Trade Center Memorial and continued walking until we were exhausted. As soon as we returned to Theresa's apartment, dinner was ready for us. Wayne had spent all day slaving over the oven to feed us a delicious meal. We felt spoiled.

An entire week with Theresa was well-needed, it had been a while since we had seen each other. I was happy to have met Wayne and to have had the opportunity to spend some time getting to know Celia. She is such an intelligent little girl. I think she is absolutely precious. It was a perfect way for me to part with Northern America. We packed our bags the next morning and said our goodbyes before getting into the taxi. We were prepared to take our flight to Iceland and extremely excited to finally get there. Iceland has been on the top of our list of destinations to visit. It was a dream about to come true for the both of us!




Paula and I arrived in New York City on the hot and hazy afternoon of July 30th. We arrived at Iceland AirCargo to arrange the shipment of the motorcycle to Iceland only to find out that IcelandAir Cargo didn't provide the crate required for shipment. We called a few companies and were provided a quote of $680 plus a minimum of $180 for delivery ($860!). Not wanting to spend that much on money on a wooden box, we decided to visit a nearby Home Depot, purchase some lumber and build our own. We spent $120 for wood and Paula contracted an foreign man who was looking for work to deliver the wood to the cargo depot, 5km away, for $30. Halldór, the IcelandAir Cargo employee who was organizing the shipment of the motorcycle, brought his cordless drill in for us to use, and Paula and I spent a few days getting supplies and building our crate.

While organizing the shipment of the motorcycle, we stayed with Paula's friend, Theresa. Theresa moved from Hamilton, Ontario to New York over ten years ago for work as a model. She lives with her partner, Wayne, and their one year-old daughter, Celia, in the lower east side of Manhattan. After finally finishing up the details of the shipment, we were able to see a bit of The Big Apple.

Paula, Theresa and I spent the day seeing some of the sights New York City has to offer. We first visited the New York City Public Library.

Inside The New York City Public Library

The New York City Public Library

While visiting The New York City Public Library, we met up with one of Theresa's best friends, Jo Lance.

Theresa's one year-old daughter, Celia, had just become bipedal a few weeks prior to our arrival in New York. By the time we had arrived, she was already using her newfound mobility to tear up the streets of New York.

The five of us walked around the city and made our way to Grand Central Terminal.

Theresa and Paula have been friends since they were teenagers.

A Walk In The Park

Celia & Paula

Jo Lance is an eccentric, one-of-a-kind character who works in the art and photography industry, and has co-hosted the reality TV show, Mexico's Next Top Model.

The obligatory Time Square photo

Jumping Joe Lance

A Walk In New York

Manhattan at night

On our last full day in New York City, Paula and I toured lower Manhattan. At the time, there was a global terror alert and we, being the geniuses we are, stood around and watched as fire crews responded to a building fire just around the corner from the site of the World Trade Center.

Visiting the site of the former World Trade Center, we were reminded of the tragedy of that September day in 2001, and the innocent lives that were lost.

In order to prevent further such tragedies, I find it important to understand why such acts of terror occur. It is important to condemn all acts of terror, especially those perpetrated by our own governments in our names.

The tragedy of the 9/11 attacks were used to justify an illegal war that has resulted in an estimated 120,000 civilian deaths. These deaths are mostly absent from the public discourse. An American, Canadian or British life is no more valuable than an Iraqi, Pakistani or a Palestinian life.

The Buildings of New York City

After visiting the 9/11 Memorial, Paula and I decided to take the ferry to Staten Island.

Sailing From Manhattan

The Manhattan Skyline

Lady Liberty

On The Staten Island Ferry

Arriving In Staten Island

Postcards 9/11 Memorial

Lower Manhattan

We arrived back in lower Manhattan, after a long day of walking around the city, to a delicious meal. Wayne, who is originally from England, served us a traditional meal of Yorkshire Pudding, potatoes and vegetables. Even Theresa, who is the cook in the family, was impressed.

We spent our last night in New York City getting ready for our flight to Iceland that we were to take the following morning. We had a great time visiting Theresa and her family, and we can't thank them enough for sharing their cozy Manhattan apartment with us for the week.
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Old 02-06-2014, 02:48 AM   #204
Rockwell OP
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Arriving In Iceland

August 5, 2013 - August 19, 2013

We arrived at the airport just shortly after 12am. I was surprised by the amount of light still left in the northern sky. Without a motorcycle it felt strange, almost a little lonely. Rocky searched outside the airport for a place to pitch our tent but I had doubts that we'd be ok to camp on airport grounds. It seemed there was no place to hide, the land was flat and there were no trees in sight. Apparently, only 1.4% of Iceland has trees. Just outside of the parking lot exit was a small area of planted bushes. I'm not sure how Rocky managed to find the narrow path of patio stone that led him through the bushes and into an open area just large enough to fit our tent. It seemed kind of random, but I'm guessing that a patio was created with a bush garden around it and nobody ever trimmed the hedges. Regardless, it was a perfect hiding spot for our tent.



Early the next morning, we packed our bags and created a sign that read Keflavik. Rocky nominated me to hold the sign and stick out my thumb. Had I shaven, I may have stuck out my leg, but to my surprise, it only took 10 minutes before a man named Tomas picked us up. The town of Keflavik wasn't too far, it only took us a few minutes to get there. Tomas dropped us off on a main road in front of a Subway Sandwich Restaurant. Can anyone guess what we ate for lunch? At least we would begin searching for a cheaper way to eat, that sub cost almost twice the price we were accustomed to paying.


We knew we would be waiting at least five days for the bike and that kind of sucked. We chose the type of luggage we have because it is easy for the bike to carry, not us. It would be awkward and difficult to travel by foot and carry all of our belongings. Besides, I'm far too lazy for that. We decided to stay in Keflavik and work on trying to catch up on our website. Rocky found an open Internet connection at a library and we pitched our tent in the park across the street so that we would be able to keep an eye on our stuff as we sat inside. We just hoped that nobody would say anything about a tent being pitched in the center of town in a public park.

Our first night went well and we heard no complaints. We kept the tent pitched and walked across the road to the library in the morning. Still tired, I decided to take a walk to go search for coffee. I approached a man and asked him if he knew where I could find good cheap coffee. He laughed and replied, "Nothing is cheap in Iceland" and then continued walking. I approached the second man who walked past me, and again I asked if he knew where I could find good, cheap coffee. He laughed and replied, "My dear, nothing is cheap in Iceland". I became sad and slightly crazy with the thought that coffee in Iceland might be out of our budget. I continued walking up the road until I reached a restaurant. I asked the girl behind the counter how much for each cup of coffee and she replied, "They come free with a combo, just take some." Things might be expensive in Iceland but kindness makes up for it!



After another night in the park, I was shocked that nobody had asked us to leave. After all, we were visibly camping in the center of town. Once again we went to the library to work on our website. To my surprise, I could hear two ladies behind me speaking Portuguese. Maybe it was the familiarity that comforted me in this foreign land, but their words sounded like music to my ears. I immediately introduced myself to Angela and her mother Laura. They are originally from Angola in Africa and have been living in Iceland for many years. Angela was in the process of opening up a coffee shop in the area of the library we were sitting at. That excited me. I asked her if I could purchase two coffees and she made me two Cafe Lattes. When I asked her how much, she told me that she could not legally sell anything yet because she was supposed to receive her business license that day, but was having difficulties. She refused payment and seemed happy to give us complimentary coffee. But, we weren't the only ones to receive special treatment. As she cleaned and organized her shop, many customers asked to purchase coffee and she politely continued to serve it for free. Her kindness was not typical of a business owner but I believe that because of it she will be very successful.

After a few days, Angela hadn't got her license yet but continued to insist on giving us free coffee and food. She said it was because we were her first (none paying) customers and we were going through some troubles waiting for something important as well. She also told us, numerous times, that if we needed anything not to hesitate asking. I'm not sure she knew how kind she had already been. On the Friday of that week, she invited us to join her and her parents, Amandio and Laura, for dinner at her house. We left our belongings with the tent and went to her house. Dinner was delicious and the conversations were great. Amandio taught me a lot of history about the Portuguese people of Africa and the civil war that took place. It was history I was never aware of, interesting to know. I really enjoyed getting to know this family.


It was almost 10 pm when we had returned to our tent and our things had been left untouched. Never-mind, I take that back. As Rocky lay in the tent and gazed at the stars, he wondered why he was able to see the sky. There was a tare on the top of our tent. It was an odd location for the tent to be cut, unless it wasn't cut but torn instead. As I cleaned the area to attempt a patch job, I noticed a bit of dirt. I'm pretty sure that one of the many drunken kids roaming the street on that Friday night may have thrown a rock, which would cause the tent to rip. To make matters worse, we didn't have our patch kit with us, it was in the side bag of the motorcycle. I had no choice but to use what I had, to patch the tare. Electrical tape and bandages was going to have to do the trick. Luckily the rain wasn't much that night and we woke up dry.

The day before, we had been approached by a man who had introduced himself as Gylfi Jón. He is the director of education and works above the library, beside the Mayors office. Oh yeah, by the way, we were camped in front of the Mayors office all week. Hah! Anyway, Gylfi Jón invited us to have lunch with him and we were happy to join. We packed up all of our bags, because we no longer trusted leaving our belongings unattended, and we went to a place that Gylfi Jón called his Hut. Located on the southwestern coast of Iceland, the Hut is on farmland called Hafurbjarnarstadir. Good luck trying to pronounce that.




Gylfi Jón was a very polite character with a smile that suggested he was much funnier than he was reserved. He had a very gentle, calming effect, and he seemed really sincere. As he seasoned a plateful of lamb-chops and prepared some veggies, I got the impression that he was also a good cook. My thoughts were proven correct shortly after. I have never been a fan of lamb but it was absolutely delicious. Actually, those lamb-chops were the tastiest meat I have ever eaten.

After a full tummy, Gylfi Jón invited us to walk down to the shore and visit the lighthouse. The hut was surrounded by farmland occupied by gorgeous Icelandic horses. They appeared different from what I consider typical. Probably because the Icelandic horses remains a breed known for its purity of bloodline. It is the only horse breed present in Iceland because law prevents horses from being imported into the country, and exported animals are not allowed to return. Icelandic horses are short and stalky with beautiful wild manes. They display two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. Tölt, the first additional gait is known for its explosive acceleration and speed. It is a comfortable, ground-covering ride. The breed also performs a pace called askeiđ, flugskeiđ or "flying pace". It is used in pacing races, and is fast and smooth, with some horses able to reach up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). It is not a gait used for long-distance travel. I kept imagining that one of them would let me jump on their back and they would Tölt me around the country.


The ocean was approximately 200 meters from the Hut. We followed the shore, decorated with arctic flowers, until we got to the lighthouse, more than one kilometer away. We immediately fell in love with this place. When we returned to the Hut, Gylfi Jón invited us to stay there until we received our motorcycle. Rocky and I were ecstatic. It was great to have this cute wooden home all to ourselves. It was well equipped with everything we needed to feel comfortable, but the best thing it featured was the shower. Located on the outside of the hut, was a showerhead poking out of the wall. Gylfi Jón warned us that the area was popular for bird watchers with their fancy binoculars. But, I imagine that bird watchers deserve some sort of excitement in their lives as well. Once the fireplace was lit, I was ready to run out in the cold to test the waters. It already felt great to feel hot water splash all over me as the cool wind blew past, but, to experience this as fields of horses grazed and the sun set below the oceans horizon, was extraordinary. I can't describe a more peaceful moment in my life.

Gylfi Jón showed up the following day and invited us to visit a geothermal area located nearby. He brought with him his friend Baldur, and a five-year-old girl named Anna, who is his girlfriend’s daughter. We visited an area that I could best describe as burnt earth. Steam rose up from the cracks and water bubbled with heat. In Iceland, history is told with magical stories. An extremely large percentage of Icelanders believe in trolls, ferries, ghosts and other things alike. Gylfi Jón wasn't one of them but he was a great storyteller as he expressed all of the tales. We walked along high cliffs that met the oceans shore and as we walked through a field, Anna grabbed for my hand and gestured for me to sit with her. She showed me a patch of Cow Berries and began picking them to eat. We sat there for a while staining our lips and fingers. After a great day of site seeing, I was thrilled that we had the opportunity to wander even though we had no motorcycle. It was also nice to make new friends. When we arrived at the Hut, Baldur asked us for our permission to be interviewed. He is a journalist for the newspaper DV and wanted to post an article about us, our travels and our time in Iceland. We awkwardly agreed with blushed cheeks. After interviewing us, he also offered us a vehicle for the following day. It was a very kind gesture and we were obviously excited to be able to explore some of Iceland. Iceland has been on top of our list of places to see in the world. Being there, but immobile, was such a tease.


The next morning, we hitchhiked to the bus station and took a bus into Reykjavik. The whole country of Iceland is only made up of 318,000 people and 200,000 of them live in the capital city of Reykjavik. We met up with Baldur at his job and picked up the car for a road trip. We had been experiencing a lot of rain but that day had been perfect for us. It felt strange to be touring around in a car but there were a few conveniences I really liked. It was much warmer and it was great to be able to sit back comfortably.




Baldur recommended that we visit a popular tourist route in South Iceland called the Golden Circle. The area covers approximately 300 km looping from Reykjavík into central Iceland and back. We first stopped at Ţingvellir National Park. Iceland is situated on the Eurasian and North-American plate boundaries and the Ţingvellir area is part of a fissure zone that runs through the country. Both continents are gradually moving apart from each other by an average of 3 mm each year and the cracks or faults, which traverse the region, can be clearly seen. From there we visited the geothermal active valley of Haukadalur. It is home to the geysers Strokkur and Geysir. Strokkur continues to erupt every 5-10 minutes and although Geysir has been inactive for a long time, its name has continued to be used to describe such a fairly rare phenomenon. Our last stop was to visit the waterfall, Gullfoss, meaning golden falls. It was large, powerful and absolutely gorgeous.

The day was almost over and we were about to drive to Baldur's house to drop off the car. But first, it would make perfect sense for us to offer a couple of hitchhikers a ride since we've hitched a few rides ourselves. Andreas and Melanie were heading in the same direction about half of an hour away. They were from Bavaria in Germany and were traveling through Iceland for a few weeks. Many people hitchhike in Iceland, it is very common. On route to driving them to there next location, we continued to enjoy the scenery of Iceland's fantastic landscapes.




When we arrived in Reykjavik, Baldur invited us into his home for dinner. He lived with his girlfriend Hulda and young son Emil and they spoiled us with a delicious, fresh Cod fish dinner. Yummy!!! Cod is my favorite cooked fish! After constantly meeting so many amazing strangers along our journey, people's kind and friendly nature continues across the world. Baldur and his family treated us as though we were lifelong friends and that is what we will continue to be. We were very fortunate to have met such caring people.

We spent another cozy night at the Hut, and the following day we finally received an email from Iceland Air Cargo. But, the news wasn't good. Our motorcycle was stuck in customs and would not be shipped until at least the following week. Kindly, Gylfi Jón welcomed us to stay at the Hut until the motorcycle arrived. For the next few days, Rocky and I would walk through the fields of horses to get to the lighthouse. Rain or shine, and it was mostly rain, we enjoyed the fresh air and the beauty that surrounded us. We really grew attached to theses beautiful creatures. A group of seven females lived directly beside the Hut. After spending many days with them it became natural to have names for each one. Eh was a black horse with a crimped mane, she got her name from the letters EH bleached onto her coat. I want to take her back to Canada, EH! Blackie, Brownie, Blondie where named after their colours. Blondie was Rocky's favourite, she was a great model for his photo sessions. I was happy that she stole the Paparazzi attention off of me. Little one was the smallest, I'm pretty sure that she was still a pony. Timid was the only one that didn't fully trust us. She could barely be bribed with food. Jerry was named Jerry because we didn't know what to name her. Everyday rewarded us with a sense of fulfillment as we were greeted by our new friends. This place was magical.


Throughout the week, Gylfi Jón would stop by to visit. Each time, he would surprise us with a delicious treat. First he brought us "hangikjöt" (smoked lamb cold-cut) on "flatbrauđ" (thin rye flatbread) a traditional Icelandic treat. A couple of days later, he came by with Sole filets. A couple of days after that, he brought us Salmon. He even took us to meet his mom, Guđrún at her house to drop off our laundry. She was as kind and nurturing as he was. I was beginning to wish that Gylfi Jón would just adopt us and we could live at the Hut forever. He is one of the kindest men I have ever met.

By the end of the week, we finally received news that our motorcycle was ready to be picked up. Rocky and I hitched a ride to the airport and waited politely for our documents to be accepted. We walked over to the docking station and the cargo employees all circled around as the crate was delivered to us. It turns out that they had read the article about us in the DV newspaper, and were excited for us as well. After assembling the bike, we finally had the chance to introduce her to this beautiful land. For the first time after being in Iceland for two weeks, I realized how cold it was. My chin froze numb as we rode back to the hut for our last night there.

Usually, to be stranded somewhere would imply a negative experience. In our case, being stranded was awesome. A part of me was excited that the motorcycle finally arrived. But, I knew that I would deeply miss the little Hut by the sea.





On our flight to Iceland on Monday, we flew over Greenland and got a great view of massive glaciers and icebergs.

Our flight to Iceland arrived just before midnight on Monday. We camped out at the airport that night and the next day we decided to head to the nearby town of Keflaviík. There was no local bus service and we didn't want to spend $20 on a 4km cab ride, so we (I) decided to have Paula hitchhike. I knew that having her (instead of myself) standing there with her thumb out would drastically increase our odds of getting a ride. It took less than 10 minutes for someone to stop.

We had been camping in the town of Keflavík, in the park across the street from the public library, waiting for the motorcycle to arrive from New York. To get out of the rain, we spent the days sitting in the library, using the internet and working on the blog. On our second day there, Paula heard the familiar sound of someone speaking Portuguese, and introduced herself to the woman who was opening a coffee shop in the library. Angela was her name, and she had lived in Iceland for almost 20 years. She was setting up her new business of selling coffee and treats. Like us, Angela was also having trouble with getting her paperwork processed, so she was unable to legally sell anything. For the remainder of the week, she offered us and everyone who came into the library free food and coffee.

On the Friday, four days after arriving in Icleand, Angela invited Pala and I back to her home for a wonderful dinner and a nice, hot shower. There, we met her mother, Laura, and her, father, Amandio.

While hanging out in Keflavík Library that first week, we also met a man named Gylfi Jón. Gylfi Jón was the director of education in the area of Reykjanesbćr. Gylfi Jón approached us at the end of the week while we were sitting in the library, and invited us out to his "hut" the following day for lunch. Gylfi Jón picked us up in front of the library the next day and cooked us a delicious dinner of lamb chops and potatoes. He also offered us a place to stay at his hut, which is a small cottage next to the ocean, complete with electricity, a fridge, a stove, a bbq, hot water, a wood fireplace and the best outdoor shower we have ever seen.

Gylfi Jón & Paula

The Hut By The Sea

Rock carvings done by a local artist

The area in which Gylfi Jón's hut is located, called Hafurbjarnarstadir, is home to many Icelandic horses roaming and grazing in the fields.

Feeding The Horses

Paula At The Beach

The following day Gylfi Jón, his firend, Baldur and his girlfriend's daughter, Anna ,arrived at the hut to take Paula and I to do some sightseeing in an area along the southwestern shore of Iceland.

Gylfi Jón & Paula in Southwestern Iceland

The Geothermal Area In Reykjanesbćr

Shifting Plates

Anna & Paula picked wild berries growing in the area.

While visiting the area, Baldur asked many questions about our travels. Baldur was a journalist for a popular newspaper in Iceland, The DV. After returning to the hut, Baldur conducted a formal, recorded interview, which was rather awkward for Paula and I. Baldur planned to submit a story about us for the following week's paper.

The shower at Gylfi Jón's hut was on the outside of the building. The combination of the hot water, cool breeze and the view of the sunset over the ocean and the Icelandic horses in the fields is why Paula and I have deemed it the greatest shower on Earth.


Grazing Horses

After conducting the interview, Baldur offered Paula and I the use of one of his vehicles. Since we were stranded waiting for the motorcycle, Baldur suggested that we take his car for the day and drive around The Golden Circle to see some of the beautiful nature that Iceland has to offer.

Paula In Iceland

We visited Ţingvellir National Park, which is just outside of the capital city of Reykjavík.

Paula At Ţingvellir National Park

The Mountains of Iceland

We also visited Geysir, an active geothermal area in central Iceland.

Paula At Geysir

The Beauty of Iceland

Paula & I At Gullfoss

After spending a full day of sightseeing, dropped off the car off at Baldur's house. When we arrived, Baldur and his wife, Hulda, cooked us a delicious supper of cod fish with mashed potatoes, traditional Icelandic rye bread, cucumber salad and beer. Baldur and Hulda lived with their 3-year old son, Emil, in a suburb of Reykjavík.

Paula and I met Gylfi Jón's mother, Guđrún, who offered to wash and dry our dirty laundry. We were very grateful to her since we had run out of clean clothes and Iceland doesn't seem to have any laundromats.

With the hopes of receiving the motorcycle this weekend in Iceland, we said goodbye to Gylf Jón, who will be gone on a fishing trip for the next four days. After he left, Paula and I enjoyed the delicious salmon he brought us. We had it raw, with some soy sause, wasabi and pickled ginger.

Along with the horses, there was also a little bunny that called this beautiful place home.

The Horses of Iceland

On our second Saturday in Iceland, Paula and I walked to the grocery store and picked up the paper to find a two-page article about us.

The Article In The DV


After two weeks of waiting, the motorcycle had finally arrived in Iceland. Paula and I hitchhiked to the airport where we finally received and reassembled the bike.

The Greatest Shower On Earth

Though happy to finally have our motorcycle back, we were saddened to have to leave this magical place that we called home for our first two weeks in Iceland.

We spent our last night in the hut and, the following day, packed up out belongings onto the motorcycle and were on our way.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:19 PM   #205
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Excellent update, guys! You two really seem to have a knack for getting to know some wonderful people along your route! While you have been on hiatus there have been a couple of other Iceland threads running, so it will be interesting to see your perspective. Paula, to blunt the paparazzo maybe you should get a camera and take shots of Rocky! Looking forward to the next chapter.
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:47 AM   #206
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She's got a camera, but she never uses it. I tried to teach her last year how to work it. I am a strict teacher, but she's a bit of a stubborn student. She told me that she'd learn it on her own. It's been over a year and she still can only really use the automatic setting. Even then, she rarely gets it out to take photos. I don't love my photo taken anyway. I think we would all agree that I'm not the model of the two.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:06 PM   #207
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You two need to keep this thread running... start posting!

give you a head start, one of your own photos, somewhere in Morocco:



Fantastic! now get to work
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:20 PM   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo.Ramos View Post
You two need to keep this thread running... start posting!

give you a head start, one of your own photos, somewhere in Morocco:



Fantastic! now get to work
+1!!
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:29 PM   #209
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Looks like their campsite on Mars!
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:03 AM   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo.Ramos View Post
You two need to keep this thread running... start posting!
give you a head start, one of your own photos, somewhere in Morocco:
Fantastic! now get to work
Yes, I know. We're way behind. But the way we do the ride reports are a little more detailed. We do have a Facebook newsfeed since people seem to like that format. Besides, we're only 6 months and 18 blog posts behind. :p

Here's our camping spot in the Algarve:

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Rockwell screwed with this post 02-12-2014 at 02:10 AM
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