NYC ADV'er rides ICELAND!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Skidplate865, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Skidplate865

    Skidplate865 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I'm not rich, in fact, I'm currently unemployed. I had the chance to visit Iceland because of my girlfriend. She has to go on these week-long business trips to Iceland lately and asked if I would like to go - I said yes to the last one (August 8th to the 14th). I should have said yes the first time, Iceland is awesome!

    The best riding conditions, incredible scenery, and a very small population. I don't mean to say that Icelander's are short, far from it. I mean that there are 300,000 people in the whole country - 180,000 of which living in one city (Reykjavick). That's the capital, where we were staying, so all my rides are day trips that start from Reykjavick.

    I rented a 2008 Kawasaki KLR 650 from www.ridingiceland.is. The owner/mechanic/sales manager couldn't have been nicer.

    I left Saturday night and arrived Sunday morning (it's only a 6 hour flight, but there is a time difference.) We jet-lagged around the hotel for the first day and I picked up the bike first thing Monday morning. I went straight out and started exploring the SW coastline.

    Here's me & the bike:
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    First guy I asked for directions from - an American:
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    This part of the country is mostly just lava fields, a few horses and sheep, and the ocean:
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    The road seemed to turn from blacktop to gravel to lava rock trails:
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    I saw some geo-thermic actvity, so I headed towards the smoke:
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    Along the way, I ran into the continental divide. In the parking lot of this major tourist attraction, I saw the biggest crowds of people I would see that morning:
    almost 6 people at once!
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    from the european side:
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    from the american side:
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    Back out hunting the smoke coming out of the ground:
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    I didn't know at the time, but it turns out that the "smoke" was coming from another main tourist attraction - the Blue Lagoon:
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    I grabbed some lunch and watched the tourists swimming in the hot water before getting back out on the road.

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    The road dissapeared and it was good dirt and gravel roads for the rest of the day:

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    you get the idea...I won't bore you with the hundreds of pics from the rest of the first day. I'll just post the last few and end here. I'll post the second day tomorrow (there's a whole week of riding!)

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    #1
  2. Domsday

    Domsday Adventurer

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    some nice pictures there, Iceland has a very different & interesting landscape. Thanks for sharing!
    #2
  3. rodgertheshrubber

    rodgertheshrubber Adventurer

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    i love iceland. spent a year there while in the air force. beautiful scenery. visit some of the waterfalls. they are incredible. one called three sisters (i think) stands out in my mind.
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Nice!! Iceland is ADV central!! :thumb

    :lurk
    #4
  5. frijole

    frijole Clickin'

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    Nashville
    Iceland on my short list!:thumb
    #5
  6. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Jax Off again.

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    From Alabama to Newfoundland it's all Appalachian
    +1
    :lurk
    #6
  7. Pfaelzer

    Pfaelzer Rides with Ann

    Joined:
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    Hong Kong
    I am sure you will have a lot more pictures to post. ICELAND is fantastic. We just returned from our ICELAND (north and north/eastern area) trip last month. We will be back for sure! Can't wait to follow your riding days there...

    Thanks and greetings!

    :lurk
    #7
  8. Skidplate865

    Skidplate865 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    For my second day trip, I figured I would go north to see some mountains and fjords. I headed due north on highway 1, through a really long tunnel under a fjord (in retrospect I should have driven around the water - not under it) and up into the mountains.

    I took pics of the tunnel on the way back - this is the scenery once you come out of the north side:
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    A little further up the road I started to see some more mountain ranges (still no traffic, and it was 8:30 am - 9:00am on a Tuesday!)

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    When this mountain range came in to view (notice the geo-thermic steam coming out of the mountains) I started to come across some interesting stuff:
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    This thing that I took for a sun-dial at first was on top of a large chunk of lava with a crude staircase leading up to it:
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    This is what the top looked like. I figure it is some kind of 360 degree map - with locations and distances marked from this central point:

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    I swung around and took pics of each direction:

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    A short distance down the road I noticed that the people who had stopped for the map-thing had stopped again by a big trench/river. I figured they must know what they're doing so I pulled over. The were in a car so the just parked at the top - I rode down into the trench:

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    The second day is going to be waaaay too long of a post so, I'll just post one pic from each stop and move on...

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    This is where I stopped to have my lunch - notice the islands out in the ocean:

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    the only natives I spotted that afternoon:

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    I left the coast and started heading back to Rajkavick along an actual paved road! I traveled the rest of the afternoon through these black mountains:

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    I found a gas station, but was told (after I almost killed the machiene for not accepting my card) that I would need to buy a 'gas card'. I figured I would go to the next station - big mistake.

    I went on reserve at 212 miles and I didn't know how deep the reserve was (my first KLR) so after 30 miles or so I pulled over at a farm and begged for benzine:

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    The farmer assured me that his tanks were dry but he let me siphon a few liters from his ATV (I paid and was grateful, if somewhat nauseus). Nice people, very friendly and funny.

    Back out on the dirt road:

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    notice the red ground. I couldn't figure out what that was:

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    from the middle of a fjord:

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    Here's the tunnel. The inside was unfinished stone - no tile, no smooth concrete:

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    #8
  9. luciosiq

    luciosiq Been here awhile

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    Santos - Brazil
    Great pics.
    Very nice place to ride.
    Thanks a lot
    #9
  10. Skidplate865

    Skidplate865 Been here awhile

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    On the third day I headed south to see a glacier. I was told that I would have a river crossing and that the roads were pretty rough.

    As the entrance to these mountains was the southern tip of the country, I took the fastest,most direct route. Add to that, I held th KLR to it's top speed for the entire ride down there. You can understand that there are no pics from the ride down. It will be covered on day four, so nothing lost.

    The first few pics of the entrance to the mountains show a waterfall and the valley floor that I had to cross. I didn't have to cross it so fast, but the distances were pretty vast!

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    This was a strange clump of volcanic rock in the middle of this HUGE field:

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    As I approached the mountains I could see the glacier along with many waterfalls making thier way out of the hills:

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    Here's the river I had to cross (the second river I had to cross that morning)

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    Getting closer to the glacier

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    It was an endless web of trails and mountain passes. I could have ridden for a week and not taken the same road twice. I stuck to my original glacier mission - I picked the biggest one I saw and headed straight (sort of straight) for it. I ran into some locals blocking my way:

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    Yes, those were Icelandic women driving those horses through the mountains! I just smiled, turned off the motor and took some pics like the tourist I was...

    Back on the glacier hunt:

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    getting warmer:

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    up here, the sheep live in caves:

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    This sheep dog kept trying to 'herd' me, I eventually lost him...

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    I made my way out of those mountains and back down to the shore. There was a beach I spotted at the end of the first day that looked like Hawaii. I wanted to check it out and I needed a break after that tough ride, so:

    I followed the landmark back to the beach:

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    That sand was black and deep!

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    I sat in those dunes and had some water. I was a little soggy from the river crossings and a little tired from the trails to the glacier so I sat there and listened to the absolute quiet. I made my way back to the hotel, cleaned up and realized that it was 4:00pm and it stays light here 'till at least 10:30 at night. I could squeeze in another ride! I picked a lake due east of Reykjavick and headed out.

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    up, up into the breach once more!

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    This wasn't the lake, just a small mountain pond:

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    As I started coming out of the mountains, I saw the lake. Also, the sign said that this was the site of the first parliment:

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    Down by the lake, I decided to skirt along the eastern shore and make my way back to Reykajavick along another road. That road was closed for 'moto racing', but I figured it was too late in the day for racing and if this road was that exciting, I'd be damned if I'd miss riding it!

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    That's geo-thermic steam coming out of the ground:

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    The road did turn into a wild, steep, narrow, racetrack with no sholder that climbed some of the steepest grades I had encountered that day. I didn't take any pics because it was getting pretty dark and I was afraid any second a bike or race car was going to tear around a corner and make creme brulee out of me. So, I headed home!
    #10
  11. Ramage

    Ramage needs improvement

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    Wow, Skidplate your pix are great! What interesting and different scenery.
    Thanks for writing this up. :thumb
    #11
  12. Skidplate865

    Skidplate865 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    The forth day was my last day with the bike - It was Thursday August 13th and we would be flying back the next day (Fri 8/14). I figured that I had better see their 'Golden Circle' which is basically a national park. If you ask me, the entire country is one beautiful national park - but nobody asked so... In their Golden Circle is Gulfoss - a slice of Niagara falls, just more scenic, and Geysir (like Old Faithful, just bigger and more frequent). It was a good thing I rode out to that lake the night before, it was really a scouting trip since the Golden Circle is along the same route - just further into the center of the island.

    I woke up early and took a little cruise around the city - I figured it would be my last for a while. I stopped by a little stream and took this pic:

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    After a hearty breakfast, my girlfriend went to work and I went out on my last ride in Iceland. As I passed through the first little suburban town on my route, I noticed that a horse was walking down the sidewalk all by his lonesome. Was this rush hour in Iceland?

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    The horse actually stopped when he saw me, seemed to get offended that I was taking his picture, turned and walked back in the direction he had just come from.

    Not too long after my close encounter with Mr. Ed, I entered the national park. I stood in one spot and took pics in every direction - I just couldn't believe how pretty and empty this place was:

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    After one of the coolest off road rides of my life, I arrived at the Geysir:

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    The stink was aweful (sulfur/rotten eggs) but this was 100% better than seeing Old Faithful - I just went in June of this year. I rode from NY to Yellowstone http://www.triumphrat.net/ride-trip-reports/113828-nyc-to-yellowstone-on-scrambler.html and I can tell you first hand, this one is bigger, happens every 6 to 10 min (yellowstone once every 90 min - with artificial assistance) and you can practically stand in this one as it errupts (if you wish). You have to wait in the granstand 100 feet back with the growing crowds at Old Faithful. (for those who don't know me, I'm a really patriotic guy and it kills me to say any country has anything better than the U.S.A.)

    There she goes:

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    I was packing up and getting ready to head out when I heard "hey...you on the bike!" I turned and said "no way!" It was the English guy that I had come across on my first day of riding down on the SW shoreline. I was impressed back then that he was out there on a bicycle. When I stopped for some gatoraide at the bottom of a series of hills, he rode up and joined me for a quick chat. He was on a bicycle with panniers and was camping/cycling the island. I was nervous about the steep dirt roads on a motorcycle and he was doing them on a bicycle!

    At the Geysir, we broke bread and had another chat - and I was off to see the falls just a few minutes away.

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    I headed back and stopped in the little park to get some info on local museums (me & my girl wanted to visit one before we left) and I ran into a few riders:

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    As I passed the lake, I stopped and took some pics - this was truely a beautiful and peaceful place:

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    I think this is where the rich Icelanders live:

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    It was right about this time that I decided to really go offroad (with street tires) and I don't have to tell you (or show you) how this ended.

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    Let's just stop here and say that I weighed all my options and decided it would be prudent to go back to the road. That's not what happened, but let's pretend.

    I saw some smoke in the distance and figured that it was probably another geo-thermic site and I could follow the pipe to a town. I was guessing right:

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    The pipe led me right to the shop!

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    Just kidding, I got lost 100 times trying to find the shop (hungry + tired = stupid)

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    That's pretty much it on the ride report - I have a little video for anyone interested. It was from my Glacier hunting trip. Just my way of signing off:

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    #12
  13. RideAbout

    RideAbout Mentally Retired

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    Yer' Photobucket account is kicking me square in the sweetbreads. I'm trying to view your ride reports here and at TriRat.net but the photo's don't appear... damn.
    #13
  14. selkins

    selkins No hay banda!

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    Bleh. Photobucket suxxors. Use Smugmug :norton
    #14
  15. dutch2004

    dutch2004 Dreaming the dream...zzz

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    That Green Mountain over there.
    Dude, go smugmug. The photobucket over limit icon is standing in the way of my iceland dreams. Which, by the way, you are living and I am not. Something's askew in that. :cry
    #15
  16. Desk Jockey

    Desk Jockey Adventurer

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    Feb 13, 2009
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    California
    upgrade to pro! i want to see these pics!
    #16
  17. Skidplate865

    Skidplate865 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
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    146
    Sorry guys. The other ride reports that I've done, plus this one, drove my bandwith use past Photobucket's limit. What can I say, I write photo-heavy ride reports.

    It's fixed now, view on!
    #17
  18. Bummer

    Bummer Been here awhile

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    On The edge of Denmark
    Hi Skidplate..

    Lots of really good shots you got there..

    Nice to see, never really did that part of Iceland..

    Thanx for the ride.. Did you get into some of that hot water?

    :freaky
    #18
  19. FINNDIAN

    FINNDIAN Mine goes to 11

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    Wawa, ont, Canada
    very different terrain, thanks for sharing
    #19
  20. alpine-way

    alpine-way n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi Skidplate,

    Spectacular photos of the landscapes - Iceland another great place for an adventure ride. The blue lagoon looked cool...was the water very warm?. Those glacier fed waterfalls were neat too. How did the KLR do on the trip?
    Saw you visited Dave's thread, Triumph Over Labrador - that was a fun trip.

    Thanks,
    Bruce
    #20