Sunday 10.8.2014 194km Total:3273km
Before leaving Reykjavik behind us altogether we make our first stop of the day at Arbaer Open Air Museum.
Some of Reykjavik's oldest buildings are located here, most of them relocated from the city centre and furnished according to the era in which they were inhabited.
I must admit I mostly wanted to go because of the only building that were originally located here, the turf houses, or hobbit-houses as I call them.
There's something about a little hut covered with grass that brings a smile to my face, I think they could charm the shoes off a horse.
Next stop was one of Bears finds, he had read about a waterfall which you could walk behind and this of course warranted a visit, so to Seljalandsfoss we went.
A really cool experience and far enough from Reykjavik to not be completely swamped by tourists.
Next stop is just a quick one at the Eyjafjallajökull visitor centre. Not really worth it though if you don't want to either pay a ridiculous amount of Kronur just to watch a video or hike 5kms to the volcano itself so we just snap a couple of shots and ride on.
We ride on to Skogafoss waterfall.
There is an abundance of waterfalls scattered all over the island so you feel you might not really give them the attention they deserve after a while but they all have their certain perks and charms (this one you could walk along the beach almost to the foot of) so there's always something to make you glad you didn't skip it.
Strange fact: the Ford model T is called gamli ford in Icelandic which means just old ford, I mean it can't always have been old?
Next is our final stop for the day which is an old US Navy C47 transport plane wreck which crash-landed on the beach at Solheimsandur, I naively thought I had made a real find when I researched this but with three quarters of a million tourists a year I guess there are'nt really any "unknown" places left to be explored.
It was also a lot closer to the ring road than I thought which of course helps when Mr & Mrs Moron venture completely offroad in their rented Hyundai i30, my god the suffering and damages these poor rentals must go through in a lifetime.
There really only are two types of rentals on Iceland, it's either the golf-style minis or the full on snorkel-fitted Dakar racers. There's absolutely nothing in between and there are a lot of them, it's obvious by the approving looks you get from the locals that always go straight to the back to look at your plates that you gain a few plus-points from the dedication of hauling your own vehicle with you.
But that's a bit of a side-track, the plane wreck was situated at a completely black beach which added plenty to the dramatic effect and even though we were'nt the only ones we got a few cool shots.
That's all we had planned for today and from Solheimsandur it's just a short ride to the hotel in Vik which is lucky because the weathergods had once again decided it was time for us to take a shower.
The Katla hotel was a bit of a strange find, the facilities where great and the service was good but I never really understood why the staff all spoke French with each other and the restaurant menu was a bit lacking. The two choices available was either a sandwich or the buffet (at €38) so we took the sting to our respective wallets and got the buffet which actually was very good.
After dinner we got an early night since the next day we were going to ride about 500kms back to Seydisfjördur. We had booked a guesthouse there for the last three nights since that was the only reasonably priced accommodation to be found on this part of the Island.
Monday 11.8.2014 477km Total:3750km
It is perhaps for the best that we only have a few touristy stops planned for today since we have a pretty long ride ahead of us but we weren't finished with the Island quite yet.
First stop was Svartifoss (Black falls) Waterfall.
We park at the foot of a 1.5km hiking trail that lead up to the fall, it had been a pretty cold ride so we head out on our trek without shedding any gear except helmet and gloves.
What a huge mistake that was.
The sweat beads start flowing just a hundred meters into the climb and halfway I'm gasping for air and seeing stars.
Bear decides to dump his gear in the woods until the descent but I'm just to paranoid so I just shed what I can carry and stumble on.
We were pretty beat when we reached the top so we just snapped some photos and made our way back to the bikes.
I definitely can't blame the falls for our lack of enthusiasm, had we been better prepared I'm sure we would have enjoyed it a lot more than we did.
We make our way down, get back on the bikes and ride on to Jökulsarlon glacial lake a lake where the glacier ice breaking off the Vatnajökul glacier collects before washing out to sea.
The bluish tinted ice floating in the calm lake with the mountain backdrop truly was breathtakingly beautiful and it's almost like as a living thing with the crackling of the ice as it breaks apart into smaller and smaller bits.
We stood there a long time just taking in the spectacular scenery.
The wonders of nature are all around you on this island and youre never far from something postcard-worthy but for me this was probably the highlight of the trip.
That concluded the sights we had planned for today so now we just have to press on towards Seydisfjordor, what worries us a bit though is that as we get closer to the eastcoast the wind is picking up at an alarming rate.
As I've previously written there are digital signs on the side of the road that shows ground temperature and wind speed, I didn't remember any figures but Bear says that he at one point saw a sign stating windspeed at 24m/s.
Even though the numbers did'nt mean anything to us at the time the fact that the numbers that are usually orange now had turned bright red should have made us think twice about what we were doing.
I now know that those kinds of windspeeds are classified as strong gale, bordering towards storm wind.
The fact that we are riding the ring road with next to no traffic should also have told us something, the wind is now at the point that it feels like it's trying to rip you apart and it's tugging at the helmet like a drunk desperately trying to get the cork of a champagne bottle.
We manage to find a wedge in the mountain where we could find at least a bit of refuge from the crazy wind and while we are parked an American on a rented BMW comes up a long side and we start trading a few stories, of course the inevitable topic of conversation was the wind.
He claimed to have seen a 1200GS literally being blown of the road erlier.
I politely never said so but I thought this to be a wild exaggeration at the time but with what I've experienced since I hold it to be the gods given truth.
Because what we ride in to after we've said our goodbyes and get back on the bikes is by far the stupidest and most dangerous riding I've ever done on a motorcycle. A couple of laps on the Nürburgring with speedfreaks in Porches whizzing by at lightspeed was like naptime in kindergarten compared to this madness.
You could really feel the wind tugging at the front wheel, doing its best to lift it off the road and the side gusts actually moved the bike half a meter towards the cliff. I had to shift down a gear so I could compensate immediately with the throttle every time that happened because a couple of those in a row would put you in the drink.
There were no places to get away from the wind so stopping was not an option, the forward momentum was the only thing keeping the bikes upright at this point so we soldier on for what was one of the longest hours of my life until we get to Berufjordur.
There the road forks and we turn left onto road 939 to cut across the fjell to Egilsstadir.
It was a choice between plague and cholera really since continuing along the cost on the ring road in the current wind was completely suicidal. But upon seeing the sign Malbik Endar (Asphalt road ends) I did think to myself that if the winds doesnt die down soon and we get onto loose gravel it's going to hurt, the only consolation was that if and when the wind put us off the road at least it would be onto solid ground and not into the ocean.
The wind does die down some and the gravel road is pretty compact so we do manage to get across the fjell without incident.
Riding into Egilsstadir the wind felt just like a stiff breeze but that's probably just relative to what we had just experienced, I'm pretty sure it still would have generated some kind of national weather warning back home.
We gas up the bikes and celebrate the gift of life at Subway in Egilsstadir before riding the rest of the way to Seydisfjordur.
Arriving at the Nord Marina Guesthouse we first think we taken a wrong turn since we seem to have come to a fish processing plant but alas the old storage units now seem to have been converted into a "hotel". What a huge bummer this was, we're greeted by a lady who is obviously not fluent in the English language and who seem genuinely surprised when I ask for a key to our room.
As soon as we got to our room I realized why because the door is a flimsy cardboard filled piece of shit that wouldn't even survive a dedicated huff and puff and the key is of the universal kind that I don't even need to try to know will open every door in the building.
The room is completely bare apart from the two beds. There is nothing in the room except for a naked light bulb in the ceiling and leaned against the wall was another mattress that looked like it had been pissed on more than once.
At €84 a night this is pretty much daytime robbery but as always the booking was non-refundable.
But with an outside temperature of +5°C and the wind and rain howling, if I would have been crawling inside a tent for the night I would have been crying myself to sleep so it's never so bad it couldn't be worse.
I do hope they don't have geothermal heating because I steamcooked myself in the shower so long that meter would have been spinning like the rotors of a helicopter.
Tuesday 12.8.2014 0km
We are pretty beat today because of yesterdays bout with the wind and with the weather only calmed down from homicidal to open hostility none of us were in the mood for riding.
We also have a practical problem that need solving, we're out of clean clothes so we need to do some laundry.
This is the conversation I had with the lady that runs the place:
Excuse me but I wonder if you could wash some clothes for us, we would obviously pay for this.
If you dont have the time maybe we could pay for the use your washing machine?
So you wont let us use it or you dont have a washing machine?
Do you know anywhere around here were we could get clothes washed.
With the prices they're charging no doubt they could afford outsourcing the laundry but seeing this is an eastern fjord on Iceland it does seem logistically improbable with the only logical conclusion that she either understands nothing of what I say and responds to everything not understood with the less than friendly answer no or she might quite simply be an unfriendly, unmotivated bitch. It definitely felt more like the latter.
With no plug in the sink and the shower
not quite hygienically suitable in its current condition (cleaning might be outsourced too?) the hunt is on for a bucket or some other vessel suitable for the task at hand.
We find one in the local store and decide to get our dinner at the finest hotel in town, ok so it might also have been the only hotel in town but it was still good eatin'.
Doing the laundry was one thing, hanging it quite another.
When we were done we had made a web of enough lines to make even the most productive of spiders envious.