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Old 09-08-2010, 04:46 PM   #46
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:12 PM   #47
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more wed

Ok so it is still Wednesday. The first couple of days of the trip are particularly vivid to me because the Highlands are offroad motorcycle heaven, there was very little eating to distract ourselves, the gas thing, and being hungry and unable to sleep we covered much ground on the bikes (at least when we had gas).

We're leaving Askja and headed north on F88 to hook up with Hwy 1 and on to the Myvatn Lake area.

Finising the river crossing in the oasis near Herđubreiđ, the flat top volcano mountain that formed under a massive glacier hence the shape.


by Manny

We’re now on F88 and the last couple of hours are boring as we are exiting out of the North side of the Highlands. Straight washboard gravel that goes on and on. My bum knee starts to ache. Unrelenting washboard. I started to get cranky or maybe Manny started to get cranky or maybe everyone got cranky. The washboard wouldn’t end. The notion of a proper lunch back in civilization begins to dissolve. I begin to believe that somehow the washboard gravel is making me hungry. Manny’s fuel light is back on. AAAGGHHH!!!

Icelandic translation:
"If you're looking for gas you are screwed!"



We hit Highway 1, the ring road, and after filling our tires up are back on the pavement which feels weird after three days on everything else. While Manny is filling his tires back to pavement psi levels, I’m reading the dining section for the Myvatn lake area, our destination for gas, food, and spending the night. After an eternity we rollinto the Myvatn area in the late afternoon, floundered around for gas but eventually overcome credit card incompatibilities and a other obstacles and got our tanks filled.
TIP: Buy a N1 prepaid gas card. My credit card worked with the gas pumps about as well as Icelandic fuel worked with my stove.

We backtracked on the East side of the like and stumbled upon the absolutely best restaurant in the whole of Iceland, the Vogafjos Cowshed Café. Get the Icelandic sampler. It is the best meal I’ve ever eaten. Half of the restaurant is well a restaurant. Seperated by glass, the other half is a working dairy barn with real life cows. Everything is fresh from the farm. Lamb, smoked trout, cheese, bread. Crazy good. This spot isn’t to be missed. It is a family run farm and granddad's enormous hunting musket hangs from the wall. I’m no weapons expert but the bore makes a 50 caliber look like a pea shooter. I can’t imagine what big game polar bear / rhinoceros / lion combo creature stalked Icleand that would require such a large caliber rifle so I asked. Foxes. Foxes? Foxes? I could only conclude that this family got into farming because by the time granddad hit his target, there wasn’t enough left of it for anyone to eat.



View out the back:




I had the best meal of my life. We had a few cocktails of the homemade snapps with carroway seeds. We found a nice lawn to camp on. And I had the best night’s sleep of my life.





Self portrait in the morning.




Breakfast back at the Cowshed. Wifi. Email back to the office. Everything is cool. By the way how civilized is it to camp on the grass instead of in the dirt. It is the best.


Then walking back to to our campsite, we see this and our heart skips a beat:



Next:

Where is Bjork?

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Old 09-15-2010, 01:50 PM   #48
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Question Stove Fuel

Hi, awesome report! Looking at doing a similar tour next year but is gonna bring my own bike over. Just a question about the stove fuel. I dont know icelandic apart from its old connection with swedish but Id guess that "Grill Vöki" (if that was the correct spelling) is meant to be used on charcoal to make it easier to lighten and not as a fuel by itsellf. Grill in swedish means barbeque. Does that make sense?
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:23 PM   #49
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Just finished page 1 and loving it. You've got a great sense of humor, and your pics are better than you seem to think.
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:30 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bc_seattle
We backtracked on the East side of the like and stumbled upon the absolutely best restaurant in the whole of Iceland, the Vogafjos Cowshed Café. Get the Icelandic sampler. It is the best meal I’ve ever eaten. Half of the restaurant is well a restaurant. Seperated by glass, the other half is a working dairy barn with real life cows. Everything is fresh from the farm. Lamb, smoked trout, cheese, bread. Crazy good. This spot isn’t to be missed. It is a family run farm and granddad's enormous hunting musket hangs from the wall.
best meal i ever had was in iceland at... get this a,,, buffet..... everything was as discribed by BC.... subscribed....

ohh and go to iceland!!!!
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:00 PM   #51
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Road signs in Iceland




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

























lokađur





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

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

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




Man, this thread is bringing back the memories! Found an old picture of my 4-Runner and a buddies F-150 overlooking a bluff before hiking in. Sorry, I know it ain't bikes, but it does show the terrain a bit.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:00 AM   #52
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nice nice nice
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:38 PM   #53
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Re: huts and springs

BTW, there are dozens of "huts" all over Iceland and you can plan a trip riding from hut to hut. Some are very, very, primitive and, thus, free and "first-come/first-serve". Others have water, bathrooms, etc. and you need to reserve/pay-for them. We didn't stay at any (not knowing about them until after arriving on the island) but we saw several of them during our ride. So, too, with natural hot springs -- except they're free and don't have to be reserved :). We also didn't get to see any of these. We did go to the "Blue Lagoon" which in addition to being blue, a lagoon and cool looking is also a very large tourist trap.


Quote:
Originally Posted by marbee40
http://www.fi.is/en/huts/landmannalaugar/

Man, this thread is bringing back the memories! Found an old picture of my 4-Runner and a buddies F-150 overlooking a bluff before hiking in. Sorry, I know it ain't bikes, but it does show the terrain a bit.

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Old 09-16-2010, 09:14 PM   #54
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Thursday

Ok it is Thursday morning. The bikes got to be back on Monday. Damn the week is going too fast. I want to go back in the Highlands. I want to get the the Eastfjords but no dice, not enough time. We gotta find Bjork. I need some sunscreen for my nose.

We eat breakfast at the Cowshed. Manny is againt ever repeating a restaurant until unless you've run out of new material. I don't know how many restaurants there are in Iceland but it would take more than eight days to try them all. As a testament to the quality food and proprieters, we ate two meals at the Cowshed.

So we ran across the Bjork sign and followed it hoping to find, ah, Bjork. No Bjork but we learned that she was hanging out and jamming in the Eastfjords. What to do… Manny and I had a difference of opinions here, I voted to find Bjork at all costs but the Westfjords with there reputation of great riding, remoteness, Viking witchcraft, and enough puffins to satisfy the most perverse puffin-fetish won out.

From the cloud around my head, I swallowed a few more of the lung dive-bombing bugs and we got on our way. On a previous morning we got underway and there was a ruckus in my helmet. Thinking it simply to be one of the midges/flies/whatever-they-are-called I shook my head and kept my faceshield up to get the wind to kick them out. The ruckus in my helmet escalated to def-con 2 and I had to pull over and take off my helmet. I had two of the biggest nastiest meatiest spiders I'd ever seen in my helmet apparently fighting with each other or trying to bore directly into my skull. Detailed morning equipment inspections were instituted.

We got underway and skipped about 1000 cool sights around Myvatn Lake (Vatnakjokull National Park) or Jokulsargljufur National Park just to the northeast because, chorus please, eight days isn't long enough for a vacation to Iceland.

Godafoss = God Falls. In 1000 the head lawspeaker, Lawspeaker Ţorgeir Ljósvetningagođi chucked his Norse god statues in the falls as a symbolic gesture of Iceland's conversion to Christianity. My theory was that his wife had a hoarding disorder and Ţorgeir was an early proponent of the 100 Things Movement and the god-statues didn't make the cut. I'm an armchair 100 Things dude, you need about 100 things just to have a motorcycle or maybe per motorcycle but if I get down to 100 things like Ţorgeir Ljósvetningagođi I'm pretty sure a KLR 650 might be one of them. Hyperboarder if you are still out there I sold my first KLR and I don't even own one. My friend Brett bought one today, same color as the one I had in Iceland. [Brett if you are out there how about a picture?]





Eyjafjörđur (Island Fjord, the largest fjord in the north) our first glimpse of the Arctic Ocean as we head toward Akuireyri.





A civilized lunch in Akureyri. We saw a couple of cruisers in leathers here.





If you have more time and want to take the Ferry to the Island of Grimsey which is partly in the the Arctic Circle this is the right town.

















(nice looking KLR to wet Brett's appetite)



The crux of the trip? Right now in Ólafsfjörđur on pavement. Not the river crossings. Not the highlands-starvation. Not the upcoming driving around the peninsula on the beach at low tide could get trapped incident. Not the out-of-gas or even the Arachnid wars in my helmet. The most adrenaline inducing moment on the trip was on pavement riding in the tunnel at Ólafsfjörđur. I'm following Manny, we've been riding for a good while and we go into a tunnel. No big deal I'm not even paying that close attention. Sure if I'd been getting more sleep I might have noticed that we we're headed into a one lane tunnel. I hand't even really fully formed the a thought about it but instinctually I think I assumed that there was another tunnel somewhere close by for the traffic going in the other direction. This notion of calm and well being dissipated in about a tenth of millisecond with the sight of oncoming headlights in a one lane tunnel!!! HOLY SHIT had we misread the signs and somewhat got pointed in the wrong direction? In my soft pampered Seattle life I had never experienced a one lane tunnel. One lane bridge? Sure. Headfirst in a four foot deep hole in the beach dig up a geoduck? Roger that. 15' feet of snow in the mountains. Check. A one land tunnel? Nope never even heard of one. So I start honking at Manny and we with my heart beating 300 beats a second pull over in this little section that widens out a bit with what looks like a couple of emergency parking spots. W T F ? ? ? Sure enough a couple of trucks pass us going the wrong way. WHAT DID WE DO WRONG. Only hold on a bit, here comes some traffic coming in the same direction that we did. THEY ARE GOING TO CRASH INTO EACH OTHER. Except they don't. Like a game of driving chicken (anyone see Corvette Summer?) they headed for each other until someone taps the mat and pulls over in the "emergency spaces." WILD and once you get the hang of it kind of fun. Kind of wakes you up after five or six hours on the road.




















Sauđárkrókur and a great hotel (ok first night no camping, time for a shower and as it turns out hot tub). And while I'm really partial to the Cowshed Cafe the Hotel Tindastoll is high on Icelandic-awesomeness. Oldest hotel in Iceland, hottub, subterranean basement bar, and Marlene Dietrich stayed here. Not exactly your typically dualsport motorcycle fare but cool nonetheless and no I don't know if Bjork would have been into Marlene Dietrich or not. And while I don't want to dethrone the Cowshed Cafe the dinner at the Tindastoll is a "top two" in all of Iceland in my very incomplete book.





Out on the town Thursday night


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Old 09-17-2010, 08:57 AM   #55
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Great report and pics dude, Iceland is on my list of places to see for a while now. It has moved up a few notches
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:25 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marbee40



Man, this thread is bringing back the memories! Found an old picture of my 4-Runner and a buddies F-150 overlooking a bluff before hiking in. Sorry, I know it ain't bikes, but it does show the terrain a bit.

Hey there Marbee40, great pic! I think I had this exact same 4Runner. Great terrain shot.


BC
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:45 PM   #57
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RR unpaused

After a bit of a rest, I'm ready to resume the ride report. If you were concerned that I had been subject to extraordinary rendition by the I-CIA due to my previous posts, alas this was not the case. I've simply gotten slammed by life, family, work, etc.

Let's unpause the RR:

Manny and I stayed at the Hotel Tindastoll in Iceland. The hotel was built as a storehouse in Norway in the 1820's and then shipped to Iceland and eventually relocated to Sauđárkrókur where it was running as a hotel in 1884. It is "A" on the map:



At this point, we are in route to the Westfords from our exit in the Highlands via Lake Mývatn (food, gas, rest) and are overnighting in Sauđárkrókur. No I can't pronounce that or for that matter pretty much anything in Iceland. We're limited by time (8 days) and hence skipping large swaths of awesome territory in the North/Central part of the country. Next time.

As usual we rode late into the evening, sunlight not being a problem. I think we had dinner at 10 pm at the hotel basement restaurant (unbelievable) and then drinking at the tan colored building featured in my last picture of post #54. In fact, this is where picture #1 of post #3 took place.

So we left this cool town:



More great scenery (it never ends):












Manny needed a nap (presumably from the drinking the night before… or maybe it was a 10 hr day on the bike) (and looking at this picture for a second time I see that I've left the key in the "on" position.... nice work and lucky I didn't get a dead battery):






So now we're entering the Westfjords and, anxious to get on some dirt again, we take 690 (I think) up and over 1500 foot small mountain. The trail ran next to a cool stream most of the way.



Yes there were sheep. More than you could dream about in a lifetime.



And more amazing views.





There is a network of "huts" (as Weevil pointed out in post #53) in certain places on the coast and in the mountains originally built to shelter stranded travelers. There are famous stories of dead farmers and sheep trying to make it over the pass and getting hit by unseasonable snow... hence the hut system. Some are old and run down (and free), others are really nice and require reservations (like at Askja). We ran into a family that had purchased a book on traveling by hut in Iceland (don't remember the title sorry).



More water views.



Our camp site. You can tell from the light that it is probably around 11pm or midnight and everyone is sleeping. We get some glares as we were talking and making camp.


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Old 08-18-2012, 02:55 PM   #58
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Yikes, Barry, you must have found your notes. I've forgotten most of this stuff already (not the one way tunnel, tho). The pictures bring it all back however. Thx for continuing the thread.
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:21 PM   #59
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Friday

Thanks Weevil for not giving up on me! Onward!

Friday

This is a fun day.

We wake up, have breakfast and hit the road. There is this awesome ride around one of the Westfjords after you go through Ţingeyri (and Ţ is sort of "TH"… you can find a wiki entry under Thingeryri for example). The key to this ride is that it must be undertaken at low tide and features a segment of trail that is underwater at anytime other than low tide. We have limited information on the ride and are unclear if there are multiple tide crossings or just the one. Oh yes, we're a bit behind our schedule to hit the segment in question at low tide.



Not many caution signs in Iceland (even for one lane, two way tunnels) so when you see one you pay attention.




Don't miss the black sheep in this one:




Manny riding.




A very cool beach. Almost as sunny as the Oregon coast.










Here's the low point of the ride the must be correctly timed with the tide:





by Manny


Abandoned farmhouse. Surely haunted.




The door is unlocked. You can check in any time you like…



Apparently the inhabitants just left there stuff or maybe they are coming back.




An awesome view if a bit remote.




The KLR looks nice in the driveway.













Once we get back to civilization, we ran into a German rider, Peter (I believe) who was on a solo, month long ride. Nice Transalp by-the-way. We shared map info on the Highlands, he had a taste and wanted to get back through and was curious to the routing that we had taken.







And after an long, tiring, and amazing day of riding we decide to make a route change to give us one day in Reykjavik at the end of our trip. In the ferry line from Lćkjarheiđi by Flatey to Stykkishólmur (or "Sticky 9" as Manny called it).


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Old 08-18-2012, 05:38 PM   #60
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I would love to go to Iceland. You may know this, but, humor me, because I am a trained geologist.

My advisor at Duke worked in Iceland for a couple of summers, camping in the back country and mapping out the faults on the island. What he was looking for were slices of "ophiolites", which come from the mantle, or the layer below the crust in the earth.

Iceland is the ONLY place in the world where you can see the Mid Ocean Ridge on dry land. I am not sure why, excatly, but the entire island has been formed not by a series of "hotspot" volcanoes, like the Hawiian Islands (the hotspot is in the mantle and the crust moves over it forming a chain), but by an entire ridge of volcanic activity.

What you see are typically basalts (which are dark rocks high in magnesium and iron), and when they are spewed out of the earth in sheets, you get what are called "flood basalts", like you can see in Oregon, throughout the Columbia River Gorge.

The island would be a great place to spend a few summers as a geologist, it IS the crown jewel of the earth sciences world. I would love to go there some day...
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