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Old 12-30-2011, 11:24 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by pip_muenster View Post
I remember stopping there at the huge beach, but didn't notice the beautiful color of the water.
There were some people camping at the western end - what a nice place, if the water would be a bit warmer ...
Oh well, Next time....
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:03 PM   #107
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Thanks for linking to my site, Pip. Do I know you?
Not yet, but if you keep riding we may meet some day.
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:21 PM   #108
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Day 20

There were not many road options if we wanted to avoid asphalt. Basically, there was number 550, leading us south towards Thingvellir. As that is kind of a must-see, we were ok with it.

All over Iceland (and Scandinavia, too) you will see piles of stones indicating the way, similar to the Inuksuk in north America. They may also have religious meaning, keeping bad luck from the traveler who added a stone or making sure that he will come back some day.
On road F821 to Laugarfell we had seen a complete army of these stonemen, as everybody had build his own small version. Here, people had only build one pile, but within a radius of at least 50m, there wasn't a single stone larger than a fist left.



We followed the road further south, and although it wasn't technical at all, Benni didn't had the energy to get off his bike when we stopped for the next break. (Maybe climbing that volcano the previous day wasn't such a good idea after all?)



A little later the road let us into the Thingvellir valley.



At the bottom a number of small bridges crossed several of the cracks shown below. This is the area where you can most clearly see the American and European sides of Iceland drifting apart.



We followed the tourist buses to a parking lot and left the bikes. A path brought us to the historical place of the Icelandic parliament since 930 a.d. - the oldest parliament in the world. It is fascinating to recognize the silhouette of the stones (photo below) in ancient illustrations.



As we now were in the 'Golden Circle', i.e. in the most touristic area of Iceland, we decided to see the other sights, too. First, we went to the Gullfoss, the 'golden water fall'. It earns its name from the golden color of the water spray, when lit by the sun. However, when we came there was little sun, and when it came through the clouds, it was too low to reach down the valley to the water. So there was not much need for photos. Here's a wikipedia photo instead.
The third part of the Golden Circle (geometry 101: you need three points to define a circle) were the geysers at Haukadalur. There is a tourist center, where you can buy souvenirs and especial expensive specialties ... including canned Icelandic air.





The Strokkur geyser seconds before eruption


... and about 2 seconds later


Stokkur from a distance, for size comparison

It was getting late again, so we started looking for a camp site. The first one we saw was neat and basic, but pretty full and within a valley, so we wouldn't get much sun in the morning. We ended up on a camp ground in the middle of Selfoss. While camp sites within town limits are usually dirty, crowded and expensive, they had a festival going on, which might be able to made up for it. Their fire was visible before we even crossed the city limits.

So we set up tents as fast as possible and wandered into town, hoping for a night of blues, beef, beer & ...

When we got there, the fire had almost burned down. They played Icelandic folk music which is not my personal favorite, and definitely no blues. There was nobody selling burger or other beef. Everybody was wearing thick Icelandic pullovers. So we had to make up for it with beer.



Once we lined up at the beer queue we heard something going on outside. They had a firework going on!



All in all not the worst of our days.
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:02 AM   #109
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Sehr geile Bilder!

Iceland is on my to ride list too!

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Old 12-31-2011, 09:18 AM   #110
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Day 21

We had to decide what to do with our last days on Iceland. There was Reykjavik in the west with the black beaches near Grindavik which had been used as film locations for the 2006 movie Flag Of Our Fathers. Here we could also meet inmate McFuryMcNugget who had invited us to show us some tracks in the area.
In the east, there were Landmannalaugar, the Laki craters, the ice lagoon near the Vatnajoekull - far more than we would be able to fit into a couple days. From what we had seen on photos, Landmannalaugar belongs to the most scenic areas on Iceland, but is quite challenging as there are numerous rivers to cross. We decided to leave that for the next Iceland trip, so we could spend a couple of days without fearing to miss the ferry.

But as we were already missing the highlands, we chose a route around Katla and the Eyjafjallajoekull for today, before visiting the Reykjanes peninsula on the next day. Benni proposed to do it counterclockwise as this would be more impressing with regards to the light, though as he had seen it already, he wanted to head east again and check out Reykjavik.

This brought us to the Mulakvisl river near Vik which had washed away the ring road in a glacier flood after an eruption near Katla on July 9. The gap on the ring road had been a major issue for the tourist industry, as most rental cars weren't able to use the detour through the highlands. So they got creative and organized some heavy trucks as 'ferries' for the rental cars, while rebuilding the bridge with old parts from other bridges. By July 15 they had the new bridge in place. Here's an impression of what it looked like:


(photo taken from this thread)

When we got there, the new bridge was in place, but we could still see parts of the old bridge which had been washed down the river.



Shortly after, we turned left onto the 209, and then followed the F232 into the highlands.







When we stopped to take a picture of a waterfall, we saw a guy in a distance jumping up, running towards his jeep and racing towards us. He greeted us excitedly and asked for an interview. They were doing a survey to find out what consequences a new water power project in the area (to power aluminum mines, maybe?) with dams and power lines would have on the tourism in the area. He had to camp here at the waterfall for a week and conduct at least 20 interviews. When we got there late in the afternoon, we were the first people he had seen all day long ...


So what would you prefer, waterfall or power plant?

The landscape got better and better, combining black sand, gray ash, red lava, green and brown fauna with white glaciers and blue sky.







We wanted to take a shortcut to the F210, but couldn't find it. By the time I noticed the mistake on my GPS, it was already shorter to follow the main road. This brought us to a flat area crossed by numerous small and shallow water streams. It was fun to splash across and tempting to go at high speeds, if there wasn't the story of one of our friends who did just that a week earlier.
There had been more water and as it had been raining, all the streams looked alike. There weren't, one of them had been deep enough to get water in his air intake ... as he'd found out when shooting out of the ditch on the other side, only to hear his engine dying a second later.

Thinking about the missed shortcut I kept my eyes on the GPS and stopped when it indicated the intersection. Looking around for the other track I saw a wooden pile. And really, there were a few more piles leading towards the horizon, connected by a single pair of wheel marks here and there.


Would be fun to follow this track in fog ... I know that I could see the next pile when taking this photo. But where is it?

A much better landmark was this isolated, cone-shaped bright-green hill. It's the Maelifell, and illustrated on many Icelandic postcards.



Some more impressions from route F210 ...







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Old 12-31-2011, 10:00 AM   #111
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Holly WOW !!!

Holly WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!


Happy New Year !
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:30 AM   #112
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Day 21 cont'd

A bit further on, I stopped to check out a metal structure a bit off the road. Its metal plate gave an information phone number and said:
Envisat-satellite project ID 142
European Space Agency ESA
Radar reflector point M2D


Right here, the road crossed a lava field. This was fun to ride, reminding on a suspension test track.



We came to a crossing where we had to decide on either continuing west or take the F261 back south to the ring road. It was already getting late, so we decided to go south. While we were discussing this, a big Icelandic jeep came down the F210. He encouraged us to go south, as he just had to cross a deep river, the car was still wet.
So we went north, just to have a look at what he was talking about. The river crossing seemed in fact deep and with lots of rocks and stones in it. It looked more like a white water rafting section than a ford. They had even build a small bridge for hikers, something we had never seen before on Iceland. (No idea, why I don't have a single photo of this ... this one is posted on Google Earth.)

There was another crossing not far away on the F261, but this time the water was calm.



While we stopped to wade across and check it, a family in a jeep turned up. They went first and stopped on the other side to play Waldorf and Statler. Maddin went first, and as always, he made it look easy. I followed much more careful.


Maddin enjoying another water crossing (video screen capture)

Actually, this was a very fun water crossing, and if not for the late hour and the sun about to set down, I would have gone back to ride it a few more times.

We got closer to the mountains and even got a clear look on the Myrdalsjoekull glacier (the one with Katla).





As soon as we climbed up the mountains the sun vanished behind clouds and it became chilly. Then the oil pressure warning light on my BMW lit up.



I stopped to check. It seemed like it would go off when the revs dropped below about 3-4000rpm. The manual had nothing better to offer than advising to stop immediately and transport the bike to a BMW workshop.

We came to a fenced field with horses, fed by a group of blonde girls and an older man. I asked for the next farm, where I might find someone to trailer me back to the main road. We were out of cell phone reception - and it was too late to call someone anyway.



A few kilometers further
it became impossible to keep the revs up, as the road got more technical going up and down the mountains. We decided to bring out the tow rope, but the next ascend was already too steep for the little Tenere to tow the beamer.

So I wrote down the GPS coordinates and abandoned the bike about here: 63 45N, 19 26E.

Riding two-up was no fun for Maddin, me or the Tenere. The upgraded suspension could deal with it, but going down a dirt road on serpentines without any weight on the front wheel - i.e. little control on our direction - was frightening for Maddin. Not for me though, as I had no idea what was going on. There was just no space for me between him and this luggage ...



We met two Spanish guys on Super Teneres. They seemed exhausted and wanted to find a hostel as soon as possible. As there was no hostel where we came from they probably had to spend the night with the group of blonde girls - unless they brought a tent ...



Maddin showed off his confidence on water crossings, when we took the next one two-up without even stopping, him explaining later that the ripples on the water indicated its shallow depth and the lack of any rocks.

He was more cautious at the next one and asked me to check it as he couldn't see to the ground. I waded into the water, carefully putting one foot before the other, not seeing the ground either. When I got to the deepest point, I turned around and jumped up and down to indicate the depth to Maddin: It was barely covering the soles of my boots.


By now it was pitch black and it became a little odyssey to find help. Finally we came to some houses, one of them with a hostel sign. There was a young French couple who let us in and we went to sleep within minutes.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:24 PM   #113
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In one post, you mention a 'group of blonde girls' twice and therer's only a picture of some horses. Makes me wonder ...
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:31 PM   #114
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In one post, you mention a 'group of blonde girls' twice and therer's only a picture of some horses. Makes me wonder ...
No, I mentioned a group of young blonde girls. Emphasis on 'young'.
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:03 PM   #115
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Hello Boys.

I have been reading the story.

Must have been a blast for you. Looks like you did get many good days up here.
Im sorry we did not meet i would have like to show you around the Reykjavik area & Reykjanes.

Just to tease you did miss this dinner

Anyway great PR and Photos.

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McFury sending and spreeding out gas fumes inn Islandic Highlands.
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:47 PM   #116
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Thanks for sharing

Great thread. Iceland is one of my favorite places. I lived there back in the late 80s. It's interesting to hear some talk about drinking beer in Iceland. I missed being able to have a beer when I first moved there. While I lived there though, beer was finally legalized. When I left, I dreamed of returning to take a pony trek across the island. Of course that was before I got a motorcycle and started dual sporting. . I definitely will return someday. Thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:18 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by pip_muenster View Post
No, I mentioned a group of young blonde girls. Emphasis on 'young'.
Got it. Just joking. Carry on please, great report.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:10 PM   #118
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Wow

Incredible scenery and excellent off road riding. Made me immediately look to see how difficult it would be for me to get there from Atlanta. Unfortunately, it looks difficult and expensive for me to make this happen in the short term, but believe me, you guys have given me the bug. What a beautiful trip.

Keep it moving, can't wait for more.
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:49 AM   #119
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Nice report!

I was intrigued from this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pip_muenster View Post

A right turn from the F910 would also allow to circumnavigate the Askia and go towards Myvatn in the north. This road was known to be sparsely marked and leading through lots of soft sand.
Since i was looking for a more direct way to reach the Myvatn than the F88, i noticed on the map a track starting west of Askja that arrives near Aldeyjarfoss. It's the same "shortcut" you are speaking of?
If you got pictures or even informations about it (lenght, number of river crossings etc...) you can make me happy!
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:42 AM   #120
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Thank you for the report. Now i will dream.
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