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Old 08-25-2010, 10:19 AM   #31
Loftur.th
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Wow great RR!!

I'm Icelandic, but live in Denmark, and seeing those beautiful pics makes me really miss my country . They make me want to go NOW!! If I can save enough money, my plan spend next summer crisscrossing the Highlands? Anyone wanna to join me?

But enough of me....

bc_seattle you really made me laugh when you were revealing the secrets of the I-CIA. I love those moments when you are reading something and you just start laughing so much that people around you start doubting you sanity.

Now... please carry on posting pictures

Loftur
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:43 PM   #32
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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.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:07 AM   #33
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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
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:40 AM   #34
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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?
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:24 PM   #35
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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!


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Old 08-28-2010, 08:12 PM   #36
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Great Report!!

Love the photos!
I visited once as a child, cant wait to go back on a bike!
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:30 PM   #37
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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....
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:26 PM   #38
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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 .
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:27 PM   #39
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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 .
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:37 PM   #40
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more pics

Ok on top of everything I laid down my bike yesterday... as in my bicycle when I got caught in the first hard rain in seattle. Crazy slippery road, went down going through a small roundabout with a heavily cambered road. Cracked the helmet, road rash, and tweaked my shoulder but thankfully no broken bones. Couldn't ride my 1150 to work which is the real tragedy. Back to Iceland.

In Iceland, backpacking means different things. We saw dudes backpacking serious distances, 100 mile streches. We also saw an easier sort of backpacking. Manny and I made it to Askja and finally had a warm meal and could talk with people other than Manny or me. While were were looking at the map, obsessing over the next gas stop as we would for the entire rest of the trip (maybe the rest of our lives) two Icelandic "backpackers" came over and looked at the map too. I was impressed... backpacking! Seriously, in converse sneakers? Askja is way off the beaten path, walking in from any direction would be a significant achievement. I was thinking "wow that's some serious viking shit they don't even look tired." Then as Manny and I mounted up and departed we learned that they were doing a different form of backpacking. Backpacking as in sitting on your packs at the side of the road and waiting for a ride, don't even need to stick your thumb out. We saw this on several occasions around the country.



Manny as we park for the hike into the crater caldura at Askja that features two different lakes, Öskjuvatn (the big cold blue one) and Víti (the warm white one). The wiki says not to swim in them, that gases can form and you can pass out and drown. Something like this happened to two German scientists a while back. My Lonely Planet guide said by all means swim in the lakes Icelandic style which is nude. Good thing because I didn't pack a proper bathing suit.





Herðubreið in the background. This cup-cake volcano is called a tuya. These are apparently rare and form when a volcano erupts under a massive glacier. There is an oasis at Herðubreið which is a place where Icelandic outlaws use to live. How cool is this: in the Icelandic old days, if one of my books is to be believed, if someone was convicted of being an outlaw, they were deemed to be outsite of society. If you had a beef with them you could simply kill them and no questions would be asked. A sort of death penalty but much cheaper to administer... almost like the "user-created-content" equivelant for capital punishment.






Me.





The lakes.





Viti. I went swimming. Naked. According to my Lonely Planet guide is how things are done in Iceland. Manny took pictures and is waiting until the week before some future election to release them all over the internet. My butt is in fact whiter than the lake. We did have so much sunshine that later in the trip I actually tried to by sunscreen as I got a mildy sunburn face. As an indication of how rare a week of sunny sky's may be in Iceland the store clerk told us that not only do they not carry anything called sunscreen but she had never heard of such a thing. Seriously.









by Manny





by Manny



Leaving Askja.





More rivers.





A wide crossing but the current wasn't too strong.



by Manny

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Old 08-31-2010, 12:30 AM   #41
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wow, luvin this report!

i am going there for thanksgiving week. no riding though.

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Old 08-31-2010, 05:49 AM   #42
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This will be a long reply. Sorry in advance .

Here's my ride report from a ride this month, couple bike pics in there if you're curious what they can look like farkled out: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...php?p=13878979

I'm a bit about the border crossings if I were to head south, so Iceland makes sense. It's also a place that most people don't go, which makes it much more appealing to me. It could rain the whole time and I'd have a blast.

Here's a pro/con list that I posted on another forum for the 08-09 KLR's:

Pros:
-Cheap - My 08 with 5300 miles and $2k in extras was $3700 from a dealer. New 09's are like $4400, older models (07 and earlier) are like 2k. Hard to argue with this when comparing it with a GS regardless of size. In the same price range as an XR650 as well.
-Reliable - They go for a while. I've seen one with over 200k miles. Minimal maintenance requirements and cheap parts, there have only been minor changes (mostly body) for over 20 years now.
-Tons of cheap and easy mods - You can bore it to 685cc for under $500 and everything is way cheaper than BMW or KTM. I armored mine up and opened up the carb a bit and spent maybe $500 on the bike itself.
-Better on the highway than most dirt oriented dual sports. Not amazing, but planted and easy to ride.
-Still capable off road regardless of size and weight. Again, planted and easy enough to ride.
-Big tank, 250-300 mile range.
-The underdog of the dual sports.

Cons:
-The 08's eat oil. I've seen it take down an engine due to the owner not paying attention. Annoying, but can be fixed by a 685 kit or just keeping an eye on things.
-Crappy at full highway speeds (70+), buzzy and very prone to being blown around by wind and semis as it is tall.
-Too tall for some, lots lower it. Ill sized side stand, needs mods to work properly with any load on the bike.
-Heavy, especially the new ones. 100lbs or so heavier than an XR or a KTM.
-Only decent mileage, 45 fully loaded, 50ish empty.
-Bad suspension from the factory, the forks dive and the rear bottoms if you're American sized. $500 or so for full upgrades.
-They still haven't fixed the doohickey or the cooling system. Plan on $300 worth of upgrades/repairs out of the box.
-The stigma. Many BMW riders will stick their noses up at you, but honestly who cares?


The big issue with the 08-09 is the oil consumption. It seems that the percentage that do it is increasing daily. Very annoying, but also manageable. That being said, it makes the 08's cheaper to buy used .

I'm in the same boat, I definitely prefer a full quiver of whatever the tool may be, but I'm starting to find the downfalls (I have 4 snowboards and a ridiculous amount of outerwear to fit almost any condition). I'm convinced I'll keep the KLR when I get a BMW, though there is a chance that I'll trade it for something like an XR650L to widen the gap between the two bikes a bit.

Thanks for the tip on the Landcruiser, I'll definitely be getting in touch with him. I see this as a summer 2012 trip (next summer is AK hopefully) so I've got planning time. If you're serious about getting down here, PM me, it's a fantastic area with tons to do and some of the best beer in the country. Looking forward to reading more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bc_seattle
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.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:42 PM   #43
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Thumb RE: Iceland

BC,
GREAT report and your humor shines through. Drop what you are doing and write a damn book so you can make a few bones whilst making us laugh!

I spent three years stationed at the Navy (NATO) air base in Keflavik. The bride and I both agree it was our favorite place during our military career's. I spent every non-working moment outside the gate, traveling the countryside! A group of us started a 4x4 club (Arctic Quest 4-Wheelers) and quickly found locals who would guide us to all the cool places. In regards to your comments about eight days not being enough....THREE YEARS was not enough!

A few of my friends from the club took a 5 day trip around Iceland. They didn't have enough time to see diddly but came back with stories to last a lifetime. Our local friends helped us modify our trucks and shortly before I left, I finally accomplished one of my goals....driving on a glacier! It was magnificent, floating across a huge expanse of ice at 45mph with 3-5psi in my 35" tires!

When I attempt to explain the terrain, I tell folks it's like a "Cold Hawaii"....or at least that's how I see it. The people were always helpful and took the time to be great ambassadors even though we had a military base right in their midst (now closed). Anytime anyone mentions "places I'd like to see" I always throw Iceland into the mix and they are amazed I was even there.....so am I.

The picture of the hotdog brought back fond memories of a little dog stand outside the gate. Lamb-dogs was the only thing they served (with fries) and we have yet to find anything at home as good.

All, PUT ICELAND ON YOUR BUCKET LIST!

bc....Thanks for sharing and keep the posts rolling in!

SUBSCRIBED!
Jim in AK
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:40 PM   #44
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Jim isn't lying

Hey Jim in AK! A fellow 1150GS owner no less!

Thanks for the encouragement! What an adventure you had in Iceland! Crazy... 3 - 5psi on the glacier. And I thought I run my mountain bike tires low at 18psi. I've been kind of noodling on two things for my next Iceland visit: 1) riding on the glacier with low psi and spiked tires on a motorcycle -- stupid I'm sure. Anyone from Wisconsin reading that can lend any advice? Jim's stories are only egging me on. 2) old F-910. Anyone done this route if so I'd like to talk.

Jim -- I'm going to get up your way sometime.

More posts and pictures soon to come: more gas stress, the best meal in all of Iceland, bugs and more bugs and co2 attracted lung diving bugs, our first taste of Icelandic firewater, sleep and showers and Bjork just not at the same time.

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Old 09-08-2010, 04:06 PM   #45
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I think I found something to read tomorrow while working a security detail for 6 hours. THIS RR
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