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Old 09-05-2007, 03:06 AM   #16
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Oooooo, ArcticIndian !
Comparing to this, I really don’t know what to write. You left me speechless. I thought I have so much to say about our trip to Iceland two weeks ago, and now I have even more. Uh!
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:37 AM   #17
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Thanks much for sharing.

Ride safe, ride far.

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Old 09-05-2007, 08:58 AM   #18
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..but, off course I bring spare chain adjusters..
Have broken a few before...

The other guys drove the last bit to Landmannalaugar, while I replaced the chain adjuster.
Just before Landmannalaugar there are two water crossings.. but I wasn't sure how deep they were. And since the other guys where waiting for me, I parked my bike next to their car. But I could have ridden over the water crossings after watching a car pass them, they were not too deep.. but then again the water level rises during the day.
I met some German bmw riders I saw on the ferry, they were camping there. They asked where I left the indian.. maybe with a slight undertone that it was not capable of riding all the way out there.. but it was fun to tell them that the bike was parked nearby:)
I almost ran over to bike, just to ride it through the water crossings....

If one doesn't always have the best available tool for the job... well, you can still get a lot done with lots of commitment and ingenuity:)

Nowadays.. most people at my age and below seems to have lost alot of the lust for the demanding adventures, and doesn't always have the commitment and stamina to push themselves to fix practical things. It much easier living in front of the tv and their usual environment and just buy new when the old things fail.

Anyway, we hiked up in the lava-land and the mountains for the whole day.
Every now and then they set up the videocamera to shoot some videoclips.
The band was off course dressed in leather pants etc, so at lot of the tourists were staring:)
It's hard to represent Landmannalaugar in pictures. It's a mix of lava, mountains with lots of colours, water, black rocks, steam rising from behind the rocks etc. If you sit down, the rocks are warm... but one needs to careful, since one run the risk of getting superheated steam up your .. ..well, you understand.

Solstafir and the camera man shot from underwater, with a waterproof camera.

I have later heard some music from the Solstafir rock band, it's probably too dark music for some of you.. but it kind of represents the Icelandic nature. Wild, rough, remote, deadly.. but still very beautiful in it's own way.

Colourful mountains


After a long day, and then a bath in an hot spring ( Heitur Pottur in Icelandic).. we started on the long way back to Reykjavik.
The guys wanted to try making some video of me and my bike, so theydid a lot of filming from the car and by the side of the road. It may have been too much vibrations and dust..but we'll see if the video clips can be used for something. Have seen some of the video shot on the paved sections, and that looked ok.

The Chief bluesmoke looks right at place...right ?

At this stage, the fuel line and filter had been clogged by loose bits of tank sealer.
And yeah.. the clutch was slipping when trying to kick that 84" engine over..
So, the bike needed a push every now and then..just to ride for 1 more minute. Back at the gaspump, I was lucky to find a airfiller for it was very easy cleaning out the debris in the gas lines.
The rest of the trip back to Reykjavik went well, and this time the car had problems following me on the twisty roads:)
The oil consumption.. well, at this point each gas refill was followed by up to filling up with up to a 1/2 litre of oil. The bumpy roads also contributed to the oil consumption, since quite a bit of oil came out of the oil tank vents.

Back in Reykjavik at 2300 it was just a short shower and then off to a party. Reykjavik is known for it's nightlife, and since I'm single and live in a too small town in Norway.. I'm always ready to see if there are anyone out there for me..:)
Well, this was a weekend where lots of people leave Reykjavik for some festivals etc.. so it was more quiet than usual. And, since the drinks and beer is very expensive in Iceland.. people sit at home until 0200 (AM) at night..and then they go out and drink until 0600 in the morning.
Well, at 0200 it was way beyond bedtime for me.. so I have to go to Reykjavik another time...
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:43 AM   #19
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Great report!

I Think that I have driven through the tunnel that you described that was on your route to Bergen. It was 40 years ago so the tunnel may be improved by now. I don't remember the road name or number, but I definitely remember the tunnel! It was many miles long, unlit, one way, just big enough for a car, and more like driving into a mine than a tunnel. The road surface was gravel and the top and sides were rough rock as a mine would be. Water was constantly pouring down on the car so that I had to run the wipers the whole time. For long stretches the road was completely covered in water. There were also a lot of rocks in the roadway that had fallen from the ceiling. At the entrance to the tunnel the snow was so deep that you couldn't see out of the trench that you were driving in. I think it was in May, people in Bergen were said that the road had just opened for the year. It was a drive that I won't forget.

There was a large body of water on that same road that was marked on my map as a ferry crossing. Since I hadn't seen a car in hours I started to wonder how many times a day the ferry ran. I came over the to of a mountain just in time to see the ferry pull away from the dock. By the time I got to the dock the ferry must have been at least a mile away. To my surprise the ferry returned to pick me up. They had seen me driving down the mountain. One of the crew told me It only ran twice a day and the next one would be tomorrow.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:18 PM   #20
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amazing stuff, AI. you are to be commended for your choice or bikes and destinations... i've always wanted to tour iceland, but i wouldn't have the guts to do it on an old indian.

i must seeing as you
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Old 09-06-2007, 01:35 AM   #21
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...the following sunday was spent off the bike..
Went swimming in the atlantic sea, on a nice beach outside Reykjavik.
13 degrees celcius in the water, and some 18 degrees air temperature.
Well.. a bit to cold in the for my taste... but refreshing it was!!

Swimmin' in the atlantic sea.

Since Iceland has a giant supply of water in the ground, and natural water heating due to geothermal activity, there are swimmingpools and hottubs in almost every town and city. Must be nice to relax in a hottub outside in the dark and cold winter..

Had to try the waterproof camera in the water slide...

Pulled the clutch apart, and put on some more pressure on the clutch with an additional clutch plate I had brought along. The clutch had been acting funny before I went on this trip, so I brought a spare clutch plate.

After a dinner with my brother's family inlaw, I rode the chief down to the center of Reykjavik to the place the motorcycle riders meet.
Well, the old chief got a lot of attention there.
It seems that there are some vintage motorcycles in Iceland, but they are rarely seen on the road. The chief bluesmoke is no longer a perfect museum piece, but the guys I talked to there said that this is the way they like to see the old bikes.. well used, and out on long trips. I couldn't agree more:)
I don't think there have been to many motorcycles in Iceland during the years. Well, the Reykjavik police rides Harleys (but have added some faster bikes now).. but it seems like the motorcycle population has grown quickly in the last years due to growing economy.
I felt there it was a slight anarchy among the squids and supermoto riders.. riding way too fast in the city and the supermoto guys used the inner city as a playground. You would be caught and put in jail in Norway for doing that. Because of this, not all the people like the motorcyclists.. and there are often accidents.
But.. most of the guys played it safe. And there were several guys who offered me help with my bike if something happened while in Iceland.

Downtown Reykjavik

This time I found the way back to the house with less trouble.. way to late again though.. not much sleep so far in this trip...:)
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Old 09-06-2007, 04:22 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by arcticIndian
But...then suddenly I had escaped the rain:):)
and stopped by Skogafoss to shoot some pictures, and pour out some water from my boots..

Iceland seems so beautiful and different from the StarbucksShoppingMallTV world!

That waterfall... The small colorful specks in the center, is that people? If so, the scale of the waterfall is much larger than is apparent at the first sight!
Amateur rider, open road
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Old 09-06-2007, 04:38 AM   #23
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Yes.. that's a group of tourists:)

and the small white dot up in the hill on the left side is probably a sheep:)

I tried to go behind the waterfall, but it was too much water there..
There's another waterfall closer to Reykjavik called "Seljalands-fossen", where you can walk a trail behind the waterfall. But my camera ran out of batteries while I was there...:(
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Old 09-06-2007, 06:39 AM   #24
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...well, the next day.. monday.. it was time to do the gravel roads in the Reykjanes area. If I remember correct, this is the among the latest (in the year 1100 ?) piece of the mainland to be created by nature and lava.

Now the clutch didn't slip when the engine was cold, good...:)
Decided to leave as much as possible at the house.. since I was going to have fun on the gravel again. For some reason, I also managed to leave the spare gps batteries and the power cable also.. the bike has a 12 volt output.
Anyway, I rode the main road out to Keflavik where the international airport is located. And took a short look around before heading towards the Blue Lagoon. The blue lagoon is a special hot pool which is saturated with silica mud.. which is good for you skin.
Yeah.. the old indian got a lot of attention when I parked it outside.. the lagoon is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Iceland.

I'm not sure if it helped my looks much... but the skin actually got softer from the silica mud:)

After 45 minutes I was ready to get dirty again.. with my riding gear on, off course..

The lava-land was pretty rough, and there are caves and openings in the ground.

"Chief Bluesmoke says: this is some weird shit.. we're no gonna ride out there.. are we?"
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Old 09-06-2007, 06:56 AM   #25
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The road following the coast is not bad.. but it has several blind curves and some loose rocks. So it is best to take it easy, at least in the curves. Saw a crashed car there, left to be picked up.
A lot of tourists do end up doing unintentional offroad driving actually.. and I saw some typical rental cars that had rolled over.

Just had to post this of my favourite pictures..
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:26 AM   #26
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I hooked up the videocamera to shoot some video of some gravel road riding.. but after a while the camera was so full of the red lavadust that it stopped working.. I had sealed most of the camera, but the tiny particles still entered the camera. And off course the watercrossing was not recorded :(

Anyway.. there's a nice cliff full off birds nearby.. so I went down to take a look. And, I remember a hill there from my parent's pictures from when they visited my brother in Iceland. They got out of the Landrover when he went over that hill. Well.. if he can do it with a landrover... I can do it with an Indian!!
Not such a good idea.. but I got up there...and it wasn't that bad, the bike found the bumpiest route up there.. it was just a matter of holding on to the handlebars:)
I don't have the handclutch and all that suspension travel as you guys with your fancy adventure bikes have...:)

One thing that I noticed when riding in Iceland was all the places people had settled and lived along the coast. There were old houses, old caves which had been converted into houses etc..
Also near the birdcliff there were something resembling old houses..

Then, I had to go back down again..but that was easy following the smooth route.

Should be easy from here..
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:50 AM   #27
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I also tried riding on the beach...but I got stuck in the rocky surface..
The rear tire dig in, even with reduced airpressure in the rear tire..

When I left the Bird cliffs at Krysuvik (?), I was planning to follow a gravel road which were supposed to go past the Klefarvatn lake. This road was used in the Iceland car rally.
But I couldn't actually find what I was looking for, and the gps was out of batteries. They may have paved a part of this road since the map was made.. Well.. I followed a different route, as it looked like I could intersect the road I was trying to find.
Something tells me I'm in the wrong place when I only meet cars with the real big tires. And they give me the look of me being in the wrong place.
But it was not that bad, just a little bit softer and much more dustier.
The red lavadust was covering both me and the chief bluesmoke.. like a wonderful patina..:)

The small "Djupavatn" lake.

I found some trails which probably would lead me over to the other road.
But the trail was just some tire marks up a grassy hill.. so I found it best to stay on the road.. since I wasn't sure where I would end up.
At this point the rear bracket on the right tank had come off... so emergency repairs were needed..
One of the problems riding on these roads were the oil and gas exiting the tank cap the picture below shows.. :)

I didn't find any alternative route out of I just followed the road..
And ended up where I was 1 hour before...

This time I just followed the "main" road and eventually ended up near Hafnarfjordur, not far from Reykjavik. The spare gas tank came to the rescue again. Rode down to Reykjavik in the evening to meet the Icelandic bikers with a wonderful patina on the bike:)

arcticIndian screwed with this post 09-07-2007 at 04:00 AM
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Old 09-07-2007, 05:35 AM   #28
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On tuesday morning I put all my stuff back on the the bike and head for the "golden triangle".. the favourite tourist places.
The ferry was leaving early thursday I needed to speed up..

Well.. then I got stuck in front of a computer for too long.. and when riding up to the Harley dealership in Reykjavik to buy some thicker oil..
I was struggling with an almost empty battery and the clutch pedal was hard to move... and this in heavy traffic..
This made the clutch to overheat...
But the guys at harley let me work on the bike and charge the battery while I had lunch. The chief bluesmoke got his share of attention here also:)

So... 5 hours after my original plan for departure, I left Reykjavik heading for Thingvellir. Thingvellir is known for being the original location for the Icelandic parliament (from year 930), and being located near the crack between the european and the american continents(tectonic plates).

This is the actual crack between the tectonic plates

Near the Thingvalla lake ( I listen to music while riding, metallica is good for gravel roads:) )

Then it was time to ride over to the Geysirs...where one is still rather active.. the Strokkur geysir..

Strokkur blowing water and steam...

From there I rode directly to the Gullfoss waterfall...

And from there I found a route via some gravel roads towards route 1.
Saw another crashed car there.. after a blind curve with loose gravel..

... you may wonder.. how did they travel around back in the days before the combustion engine?
They used the Icelandic horse.. breed from several Nordic and european breeds. They are small, but extremely tough horses.. well suited for the environment and the cold climate..
There are somewhere around 80000 of them around Iceland.. but luckily most of them are behind fences (at least in the south of Iceland)..

Hello horse.. or hestur in Icelandic I think..

moooo.. ?

Oh.. well.. had to shoot some more pics of the ol' chief bluesmoke on my way south towards route 1

344 is also the model number of the 1944 Indian chiefs

I followed the route 1 down to Skaftefell... where I arrived just before midnight.. after a long day as a Turbo Tourist...
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:22 AM   #29
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....and after a chilly night in the tent, I woke up to nice weather and this view:

Then it was time to ride along the south coast back towards Seydisfjordur and the ferry...

But I had enough time to stop at Jøkulsarlon and take the trip with the WWII amphibous vehicle into the lake full of icebergs. Tried tasting some thousand year old ice.. but I wish I had somthing to go with the ice:)
At least some soda, given the fact that I was the designated rider:)
I ran into the BMW rider from Istanbul again.. he had slowly moved along the coast and did some guided tours and no stress.

Ship...eeh.. truck ahoi!


I was running out of gas (again) but found a gaspump, but it was closed.
An Italian couple who were waiting, said that a boy told them the owner would be back in 20 minutes. Well, the italians had waited there for 1 hour... and then 30 minutes later the owner showed up. Well.. it's a remote country..and people have the time to wait out in the rural areas:)

Shot a picture of one of the thousands of sheep in Iceland... some of the breeds differ from the kind we have in Norway.

At this time... I was starting to get really sad that this was the last full day in Iceland.. so much more to see and so many people to meet.

So I started shooting even more pictures..:

This is along route 1.. gravel road with rocks falling down from the hills above..

Fjords near the southeast

Looking back..

Instead of doing the Eastfjords, I went over the Øxl instead.
This is actually straight up and over the mountain. Struggled to see where I was going in the fog.. but on the other side it cleared up...and i was greated with even more gravel roads:)

and backwards...

When I came to Egilstadir I met the italians who helped me when the tailpipe fell of...

I really, really, really, really didn't want to go home.. but I had to..
And really.. the chief bluesmoke had proven that he could take more of the bumps and dust...

...buhuu...leaving iceland..

In a desperate move to ride even more fun roads, I found a trail leading up to the top of a mountain... and this time I rigged the camera to shoot one of the water crossings:)

So.. that was Iceland.. need to go back there..soon.
Spent the night in the tent down in Seydisfjordur..and ran into some bikers from Scotland, Holland, USA and Ireland. Some had done the main road , but some had done the more hardcore trails.
Maybe I just need one of those KTM adventure bikes.. it will be possible to do the rougher rides and water crossings, while still have a bike capable of everyday riding. Well.. I'll see if my ducati will be traded for an adventure bike instead. BUT ... I doubt any bike can replace the ol' chief bluesmoke.. it has much more to it . and I'm not afraid of really using the bike. But not for everyday riding, and there are some definitive shortcomings (like suspension travel, fuel capacity, water depth etc)..

Left Iceland in the morning heading for the Faroe Islands...

but this is enough writing for this week..planning to take the Ducati on a trip over the Suleskar mountain pass to Lysebotn etc ..
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:42 AM   #30
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It looks like Iceland is another country to put on my list. What a great report. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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