Monday 28.07.2014 427km Total:427km
I originally wrote this as a Ride Report on the ADVrider forum and there I named it "Doing it in style".
The reason for that was a Scottish biker named Paul that we met on the ferry over to Iceland.
He intended to spend the whole trip riding the gnarliest F-roads while camping and had brought most of the food he was going to eat with him.
All this was an impressive high rise building on the pillion seat of his BMW 800GS.
Upon hearing that we intended to spend most of, if not all of the trip sharing rooms in hotels or guesthouses he exclaimed (with that awesome Scottish accent that made the Romans so nervous they built a wall): Ahh, you're doing it in style!
I've never really seen it that way since sharing a room we tend to come out of it pretty cheap but I can see how a warm bed and a hot shower can add some flair compared to going full out Bear Grylls.
I do think my mechanic really doubts my sense of style though, he has now called me twice with updates asking what have you done to this motorcycle?
Well more on that later. This is my story and I'm sticking to it:
Me and my travel companion Bear (name changed to protect the guilty) set off from the truck stop were we had agreed to meet at about ten o clock .
With all the gear we were bringing it felt like we were almost as heavily laden as the big rigs at the truck stop.
We had plenty of time to get to the ferry crossing over to Denmark which inevitably led to us mucking about, drinking coffee (just me, but I do drink enough for the both of us) and just generally taking it to slow.
All in all we caught the check-in for the ferry with 60 seconds to spare.
Once across Kattegatt we went straight for the Hotel in Hirtshals.
I had booked it through the Agoda booking site and had no idea how late the reception was open so off we went.
Now, walking into a hotel reception in bike gear probably a bit worse for wear after a long day in the saddle you sometimes don't really get the treatment you deserve (or maybe I'm just a complete asshole and DO get what I deserve, I'll just leave that open to interpretation).
This was one of those places, Hotel Strandlyst obviously thought themselves far to posh to cater to some bearded bikers.
I don't know if it's because of the 90's biker wars or what the problem is but of all the places I've ridden the overall worst treatment I've gotten in hotels is in Denmark.
The clown in the reception claimed no rooms where available, no booking had been made and the booking site which happens to be one of the biggest in the world was completely unknown to him.
We weren't going anywhere with our "discussion" and had no plan B so I called Agoda and asked them to sort it out.
They on the other hand called booking.com which on behalf of Agoda had made the actual reservation.
Apparently THE largest booking site in the world was known even in the great state of Denmark because in fifteen minutes (at 9.30PM) someone had mysteriously checked out and voila, a room had mysteriously appeared.
I do think we would have heard a thud or seen some sheets tied together and flung out a window had this really happened since there were no rooms in street level and absolutely no one passed us while we sat in the reception the whole time.
As we hauled our luggage to our room I really felt we were off to a bad start but as most times, a warm shower, a cold beer and a hot meal was all it took to cool my blood from boiling point and change my perspective.
In all fairness even though the hotel sucked the restaurant was great. The food was good, the beer was cold and the waitress was cute.
Tuesday-Wednesday 29-30.07.2014 5km Total:432km
After a sturdy breakfast we ride to the port and park along with all the other bikes, there were still two hours before we were to board so there was plenty of time to take in the atmosphere and scope out the "competition".
There really were all kinds of bikes, everything from small sportsbikes on street tyres, a Gold Wing trike with trailer all up to the full on desertracer-kitted bikes that seemed to be there just as warm-up for Dakar 2015.
After checking in and unloading the gear in the cabin we hit the Taxfree and stock up on necessities before loading up a movie, we had been previously warned that there was little to nothing to do onboard so I had brought my traveling-laptop and portable harddrive filled to the brim.
We eventually get our asses over to one of the restaurant onboard and had some food and the first little taste of the Faroese beer (which in general is best I've ever had) before we hit the sack.
Pretty pleasant journey thus far but as I was to find out that's just because we had been following the coast of Norway, at about 4AM I wake up because I feel as if someone just chucked me into a tumble-dryer, obviously we had hit the open sea.
I actually felt that I needed to cling to the bed to stop me from falling out so definitely no more sleep for me.
Luckily we had prepaid breakfast and dinner for the whole trip otherwise we probably wouldn't have eaten much, we were both a lite worse for wear thanks to the seas but we eventually dragged ourselves out of bed and hit the breakfastbuffé.
The restaurant wasn't exactly crowded when we got there so I guess we weren't the only ones who felt the seas, Bear was a bit worse off than me so he just managed to eat a slice of melon before he threw in the towel and went back to the cabin.
I actually thought I was doing pretty good until I did the mistake of looking up just to see someone further down the restaurant do a rocket-vomit with some poor bastard desperately trying to catch the mess with a barf bag mid-air.
Result: Player 0 - Vomit 1 .
I do my best impression of the pink panther and sneak some food for Bear past the restaurant staff when I leave.
Lying down helps a lot when you're feeling seasick so we loaded up another movie on the laptop.
We stay like that until lunchtime, at lunch we meet a Scottish biker named Paul again who we first met on the ferry from Gothenburg.
He introduces us to a Swede called Joakim and a German called Dieter. They were sharing the same cabin on the ferry.
Joakim rode an Africa Twin which always gets me a bit nostalgic, it was the bike I had before I traded it in for the Tiger and I must say I do miss the old beast.
Joakim had kitted his bike with the most brutal engine bars I've ever seen (we call it a moose-fence in Sweden) so like Paul he was obviously not planning to stick to the ring-road either.
We hit the Skybar exchanging numbers in case anything should happen on Iceland and drinking a few beers. A few biking-stories were obviously exchanged as well.
We eventually feel the need for something other than beer so we go to the only restaurant still open only to find that all that is available is sandwiches.
Not great since I have milk-allergy and didn't want to spend the rest of the voyage in the bathroom.
I ask the staff if there really isn't anything else and they say they'll get something from the kitchen (which should have been closed by that time).
The look on the other guys faces (who were chewing on some dry sandwiches) when this goddess of a woman brings me a grilled chicken with oven baked potatoes was absolutely priceless!
That and the fact that the staff on the ferry speaks all languages known to man leaves me with a real good lasting impression of the staff on the M/S Norrona, I swear to god if one of the passengers where to speak Klingon I'm sure there will be someone in the staff that do too.
This is how we spent most of the trip, the movie is The best bar in America btw, great movie!
Chicken! Happy Happy Joy Joy!
Thursday 31.7.2014 359km Total:791km
We get of the ferry and park on a large gravel parking to rearrange our gear and put warmer clothes on, the weather wasn't that bad about 14°C and cloudy but considering we came directly from +25°C heat in Sweden and Denmark it not all that cozy either.
It seems Paul didn't even break pace going off the ferry so he's already long gone, however Joakim and Dieter ask if we want to join them on the way to the biggest city in the east of Iceland, Egilsstadir to get some supplies and lunch. That of course we do.
The minute we ride up on the fjell the temperature drops like a stone to +4° (there are handy signs at the side of the road with temperature and windspeed to tell you exactly how much you are actually freezing) and it rains and stops in five minute intervals.
Just enough time to almost get your mind up about suiting up in raingear.
So we arrive in Egilsstadir (at least I did) pretty cold and soaked, it really felt like the climate was telling us to get back on the ferry and back to where we came.
We park at Netto supermarket in Egilsstadir to do some shopping, warm socks was already at the top of my list!
After that we go across the road to a greasy spoon to get a bite to eat, we get the dish of the day which is deep fried lamb pork chops (with the bone still on them).
It was pretty good once you learned what part of it you wouldn't break your teeth on.
After lunch Dieter and Joakim head of for some inland exploring and I start convincing Bear that the tent he bought for this trip probably would come to better use on a finer day (it was still raining at the time).
After a lot of convincing I get the laptop and start searching for somewhere to stay, there aren't a lot of options so we go for Grimstunga Guesthouse on the road to Dettifoss waterfall.
At about €110 a night it wasn't exactly cheap but the thought of a warm shower and a proper bed would definitely get me through the rest of the day.
First we set off to the northwest point of Iceland called Dyrfjöll, it has been said that it was the inspiration for Tolkien when he wrote about Mordor in the lord of the rings so it was pretty high on our to-do list.
On the way, right in the middle of absolutely nowhere we find a green shed-like building which serves as a kind of self-catering solar-powered kiosk. Pretty cool idea.
The landscape is stunningly beautiful, the roads are almost empty but my lord it.is.cold.
I mean it not like I've was completely oblivious to the fact that we where going to a cold place, the Ice in the name kind of gives that away but still, this is supposed to be high summer here.
It's not just a little chilly either, it's absolutely freezing. I'm talking ex wife's heart kind of cold.
I'm so glad I bit the bullet and ordered a Keiss heated jacket liner, and can only come to the conclusion that the guy who stated in a review that you'll never need the highest setting has obviously never been to Iceland.
Once arrived at Dyrfjöll the GPS tells me that its really still 8kms of walking to do before we're actually there.
Not really what we were up to so pretty much a fiasco but the great riding and sublime view it definately didn't feel like a fiasco, it was still a great ride.
We stop to get some coffee on the way to Dittifoss and I already start to worry about gas I opt for getting gas before Dittifoss even though it would be out of our way, the Tiger is a thirsty beast and the pumps on the northern part of Iceland are few and far between.
The Bear starts crunching the numbers and argues that with the cans (which I had considered to be a last resort) we'll have plenty of fuel to spare without going out of our way.
When the Bearminator T101 starts spewing out calculations I get a migraine so I'd rather just trust that he knows what he's doing.
When it comes to numbers he's usually right.
We ride on to Dittifoss, according to the guidebook in pure volume of water it's the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe and I don't doubt it one bit, my god what a sight it was.
The road up to Dittifoss was a washboard of black gravel and on a few places submerged in water where it was a lot more comfortable to go fast and ride over the ridges so we were passing a lot of rentalcars on the way, I couldn't help thinking about the Gold Wing Trike with the trailer.
We ride from Dittifoss to Grimstunga Guesthouse and are greeted by the lady of the manor.
After check-in she asks if we want food, considering the meal was €33 I did expect to be asked maybe what we'd like to eat but that was obviously not the way it worked around these parts. It's food? Yes or no.
We decided yes and we're pleasantly surprised when she at least asked if we'd like to get settled first for a microsecond before she changed her mind and stated it's better for me if you eat now. You eat now. Dinner is in there.
It was pretty hilarious really, she reminded me of Consuela in Family Guy.
I had already said that I'm allergic to milk but when the dessert arrived with a mountain of cream on it I didn't really want to make a fuss so I just ate around the cream and left the rest. (The repercussions of this will be severe.)
After dinner we get a shower and crawl in to bed, even though the rooms were very small I was happy as a clam and truly felt sorry for the German guy who slept in a tent outside in the field that was pretty much submerged.