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Old 02-25-2014, 02:56 AM   #1
Thomas B. OP
desert racer
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Switzerland and around the globe
Oddometer: 243
Swimming with the bike, a tour on Iceland

Hi everyone,

since I am still waiting for my shoulder to heal completely (the doctor said no working only moving at the moment, so not getting to the bikes yet) I still have time and thought I might give you another RR. This time it's on Iceland.

I had wanted to go to Iceland some years ago already, but then it was very expensive. It still isn´t cheap, but after the crisis they had a couple of years ago it became more affordable. So the decision was made to go to the land of fire and ice.
Since I had more vacation in that year than Sandra did we decided not to go with our KTMs (what would have given us the chance to do more rough stuff) but to take my old BMW. Going 2up on one KTM was not an option. We did that once for a short trip, but with the luggage it is too uncomfortable. The BMW is well capable of good offroading is comfy for 2up but is heavier than the single cylinder. So we would have to skip the really hard bits. Our plan was that I would travel to Iceland with the bike and Sandra would fly in and join me there. Back home the same thing. That would save her about a week of vacation. So on a rainy day in the middle of July I set off going north. Since I didn´t want to be stuck on the highway for hours I boarded a “car train” in the south of Germany. That´s a cool way to make some miles. You put your car or bike on the train ( in my case in Loerrach) in the evening, drink a couple of beers for a good sleep, find your bunk bed in the train, and in the morning you are in the north of Germany (in Hamburg).
Trying to get off the train was a little embarrassing. I started the engine and it fired up but died again after a second. When I tried to start it again I heard a well-known “clack, clack, clack”. I knew that the battery was old and a little weak but since we would be riding every day I was hoping I could push the point where I would have to buy a new one to next year. Not the best idea I ever had. So now I was pushing the bike off the train with a red head and wondering how I should get the bike started. One of the guys from the train told me they had a battery to jump start vehicles in such cases and that I should wait until he had all the cars unloaded. While I was waiting I thought let’s just push the button once more and what a surprise: the BMW came to life. Just keep the bike running so the battery gets charged, was my only thought in the beginning. But then soon I had this picture in my head of standing in the middle of nowhere on Iceland and the bike not starting. I needed a new battery. While trying to find my way out of Hamburg I got lucky. A Polo-shop (that´s a shop for bike stuff - for those who don´t know) on the other side of the road caught my eye. I hit the brakes, made a U-turn, and crossed my fingers that they had the battery I needed. Luck stepped back when the guy behind the counter said that he didn´t have the right size. But it jumped right back forward when he told me that there was a “Hein Gericke” – shop (about the same as Polo) just a couple of steps down the road. And they had the battery I needed. Even in three different qualities. So I strapped the new battery on the rear seat and got on the highway north. I had to reach Hirtshals which is a small town on the northern tip of Denmark and the port the ferry to Iceland would leave the next day. After pitching my tent on a campsite in Hirtshals it took me about two hours to change the battery. It´s a real pain, but that´s what happens when a lot of things are changed on a bike. Not everything stays easy accessible.
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Old 02-25-2014, 03:47 AM   #2
Thomas B. OP
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Location: Switzerland and around the globe
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The next morning I got up early packed everything and went to the harbor to wait for the ferry and the boarding. There were a couple of bikes there already and more came.

Securing the bikes inside the ferry.

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Old 02-25-2014, 06:26 AM   #3
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Looking forward to the ride report... my son is visiting Iceland this summer and we will enjoy your pictures together.


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Old 02-26-2014, 03:00 AM   #4
Thomas B. OP
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The ferry takes two days to reach Iceland and that’s a very boring thing. But I was prepared and had quit a number of films on my laptop to pass the time.
After arriving I drove to Egilstadir and set up my tent on the campground. Sandra was to arrive the next morning so I had another couple of hours to wait. Luckily there was a couple on bikes there as well and we hung around together chatting.
The next morning I picked up Sandra and we were on the road. Since it is always good to watch the weather on Iceland we had a look at a weather report and since it was wet in the south and dry in the north we knew which way to take off.

Here is th whole tour we did on the island.

On the way to Raufarhöfn.

lots of water going down Dettifoss.

Fish and chips in Husavik.

hot activity id found all over Iceland.

hot bubbleing mud.

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Old 03-02-2014, 10:25 PM   #5
Thomas B. OP
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Here's a lake near Myvaten with a cool color.

On our way around the north waiting for better weather we did some site-seeing.

Some old houses. (named Glaumbaer and all made of turf)

And we had a small snack in their cafe.

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Old 03-04-2014, 11:22 AM   #6
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Brighton, UK
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Hi Thomas B,

Firstly may I say great write-up and photos - thanks for sharing!

I'm planning to go to Iceland this year in September on my Armstrong MT500 and have a couple of questions (for now, although I cannot rule out asking more at a later date!).

What time of the year was this?
How was the weather in general?
What are your tank bags? They look army to me. I reckon some like that would sit perfectly on my bike.

Cool airhead by the way - I've always wanted one. Maybe after this trip...

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Old 03-05-2014, 03:45 AM   #7
Thomas B. OP
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Hi namtip,

glad you liked it so far.
We were there around mid Juli to mid August.
With the weather we were very lucky. We were on the island for three weeks. We slept in the tent the whole time. We packed a wet tent twice.
Once in pouring rain, once in a light drizzle.
We had rain gear on once (the whole day).
We had really sunny days, days with sun and clouds and days with thick clouds and some drops but nothing to worry about.
All in all for Iceland pretty good weather.

The tank bags are not army but home made. Worked very well over the years but after around 25 years of travel (Africa, India, Middle East,...) they are falling apart. I'll probably replace them with the Kriegas I am using on my KTM at the moment.

Hope that helps.
Cheers Thomas
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:31 AM   #8
Thomas B. OP
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Lets go on.
I got a little mixed up. The Glaumbaer houses came later, but what the heck.
We stayed a day in Myvaten (the mosqutio lake that had no mossies, luckily) and headed aout for a day trip. Saw the Kalfastrandarstripar_Höfdi, some formations in the lake and the rounded the lake.

We then continued west on the north side of the island still waiting for better weather.
We pasted the waterfall Godafoss.

Then between Saudarkrokur and Blönduos the clouds tore up a little.

That was when we turned to the highlands direction south.
It was a well graded gravel road with some corrugation and the going was fast. It was getting late when we passed a hut with beds for rent or camping outside the house. We set up our tent and went for the hot pot behind the house.
The hot pots are a nice thing on Iceland. They used to be natural pools with hot geothermal water where the Icelanders would meet in the evening to socialise. Today many hotels and campsites have set up hot pots and it is very pleasant to soak for an hour after a cool day on the bike to warm up and relax.
This hut had a hot pot in the middle of the highlands. Very nice. And since there was nobody else there we had it all to ourselves.

Camping with horses. Incredible how load their munching seems during the night outside your tent.

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Old 03-05-2014, 04:40 AM   #9
get in or go in
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wow!...great photos. PLEASE keep it coming.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:44 AM   #10
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holy cow that's a large rear duffel bag! .. nice pic's ..
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:09 AM   #11
Thomas B. OP
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The next morning was grey as we went on. We stopped at another geothermal site on the way and wandered around a little.

See the people sitting in the natural hot pot.

Amazing colors.

We had a little rain going further south but when we arrived at the Gullfoss waterfall the weather turn really good. What a pleasure.

On our way there was a geisir that blew up every couple of minutes. So we waited and then...

In the evening we just made it to a campsite set up our tent and started a waching machine with some dirty cloths when it started to rain again. Since they didn't have a kitchen with sitting area like alot of other campsites (What is very nice) we went out to eat. One of the few times in this vacation.
After packing the next mornig I was just about to get on the bike when I spotted a broken spoke-nipple.

After an hour I had that changed and we were on our way.
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:26 AM   #12
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Awesome trip!
Can't wait to see more!!
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:17 PM   #13
Jettn Jim
This is Liv'n!!!
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Thank you will be following along.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:09 PM   #14
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Thanks for this latest report.
Nice pictures.
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:56 AM   #15
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Impréssionant, bravo
dreams are made to happen

The Odessa File
Four days off on the roads of Switzerland
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