Planless on Iceland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by pip_muenster, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    The previous evening we'd been drinking some whiskey and exchanged stories and road tips with a group of bicyclists, while the hut was decorated all over with wet socks, shirts, tents and so on. They had brought three specially designed bikes with the widest tires I'd ever seen and an inflatable float lashed to each handlebar.

    Our gas situation and the maps revealed 3 options:

    • a shortcut to the 35, where a gas station was indicated on the map,
    • the F752 to Vidimyri near the begin of road 35,
    • the F821 back to Akureyri.
    The bicyclist had taken the shortcut from the 35 and mentioned a water crossing with at least 1.8m depth (more than a paddle's length) - just exceeding my snorkel's limitations, so we tried the F752. The first water crossing came after a few kilometers. It was glacial water and the boiling water indicated lots of rocks underneath the surface.
    This meant, Maddin wouldn't be able to ride through as he could hit a rock at any time. As he couldn't reach the ground with his feet sitting on the tall Tenere, he would actually have to push the bike through - a guarantee to get wet. Since I still had wet boots from yesterday, we decided to go back to Akureyri. No need to get ill again. :shog

    We only stopped for gas, as we'd seen this town a bit too often.

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    My GPS track for Akureyri ...

    There were some German bikes at the gas station: a couple of old MZ 250's. These were old two-stroke bikes build in the former German Democratic Republic and at that time everything a biker could dream of in eastern Germany. (A couple of weeks later I should meet a guy who was able to tell the year of the bike on the photo just by the look of its foot peg. There were not many other bikes available, so they knew basically everything about these ones.)

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    MZ on Iceland

    The next day we should see the couple on the MZs again under less fortunate circumstances, as one of them was following an ambulance. Other bikers we met told about a crash where a bike had fallen down a steep edge. I don't know them but would love to hear about the hopefully positive outcome of that story. So, if anyone knows these guys, please send me a PM or post it here. Thanks!

    There was also a couple two-up on a heavy loaded Africa Twin. They even had a bag strapped underneath their panniers ...

    [​IMG]
    Another Africa Twin

    Anyway, we left the town quickly and headed west on the ring road. We'd been in touch with Benni and Ernst and they had experienced the worst weather with storms, heavy rain - and no end in sight. The forecast for the west fjords however was bright sunshine!

    The weather on the ring road changed between rain and sun after each crest. We stopped for a burger and looked back at where he'd been coming from:

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    Frequent weather changes in the north

    That house under the rainbow was a camp site, should that tell us something? We turned around and checked in.

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    No Iceland report without horses
    #61
  2. trophymoto

    trophymoto MACDADDY!

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    455
    Location:
    S.C.
    I'm in..
    #62
  3. vennom

    vennom n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2
    Beautiful pictures, and great report. . .Keep it coming!
    #63
  4. Christian RA40XT

    Christian RA40XT Don't Panic!

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    120
    Location:
    Ruhrpott, Germany
    Excellent Report! :clap

    I will ride through Iceland in June/July 2012 for four weeks.
    After seeing your pictures I can hardly wait!

    Grüße
    Christian
    #64
  5. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    Do you know Biki's Iceland blog? (Google translation here) It has lots of photos and information about traveling light. Also interesting: Compare the water levels between Biki's photo from August 2010 and mine of July 2011. It seems there was 4 times more water in 2010 ...

    From her blog:
    [​IMG]

    Please make sure to bring camera and notepad, so you can report back afterwards!



    Oh BTW, nice blog about your Nordkapp tour ... reminds me on mine (see signature). :wave

    [​IMG]
    #65
  6. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    Before we headed further west, we looked at the old turf church near Vidimyri.

    [​IMG]

    Next up on our route was the Blanda power plant. Water is channeled subsurface from one lake to the other, with the generator room some 200m below the ground. According to our guide book it was possible to get in there and have a look.
    When we showed up however, everything was locked up and there was no-one to let us in. Maybe they had seen us coming.

    A bit later we saw an ambulance coming our way, with a lonely MZ 250 following about a minute later. Then we met some bikers on 2 GSs and 2 VStroms: Two Scandinavians, shown around by two Icelanders. They had been around quite a bit, I even saw the same stickers from RTWDoug's adventure camp in Bulgaria on their bikes as on mine. :1drink
    They had heard about a motorcycle accident, but didn't knew any details. (see previous post)

    [​IMG]
    Dodging wildlife

    Although we were now on the 'famous' road 35, we were now heading for the West Fjords, so we took a right turn onto 727. This should allow for our daily dose of dirt roads and proofed to be a great idea. It soon became a single track road, leading through green hills. Instead of ash, gravel and rocks we now had soft soil underneath our wheels. There were even some sheep and horses on the grasslands.

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    Maddin trying to straighten a road sign

    To reach the West Fjords by the end of the day we had to go back on the ring road. Again, the weather was changing between sun and rain every few kilometers. We turned north on the 68 and stopped at the intersection with road 59 around 7pm.
    The wind had picked up significantly and with the sun setting down it was getting chilly. The extra layers of clothes had to come out.
    Then, road 59 brought us to the west coast where we took road 60 north. Our camp for the night was at Laugar, a cozy place with a bit of wind protection.

    [​IMG]
    Camping at Laugar

    #66
  7. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    While we had dinner, news from Ernst and Benni arrived. They had trouble staying on the road, with bikes blown off their stands ...

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    Ernst demonstrating wind conditions (photo: Benni)

    #67
  8. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    As promised, the sun came out the next day. We wanted to reach the most western point of the West Fjord, basically by following the coastal road number 60, later 62.
    It was still very windy and at times I had the impression that Maddin who was riding in front of me had to lean right even in left bends. Even the sheep had stopped playing dodge ball on the roads and were taking a sunbath instead.

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    Sunbath

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    Great roads and views

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    Mandatory photo stop at the oldest steel ship on Iceland

    Latrabjarg is one of the largest bird cliffs and puffin colonies in the world. It is also the westernmost point of Iceland, and as such of Europe (although technically already on the American side of the Mid-Atlantic-Ridge).
    There are thousands of birds nesting on the cliffs, and the photogenic puffins use to occupy the cliffs edge at the top. As a result you can get very close and basically pick one for dinner, if you don't mind the other tourists screaming in horror and disgust ...

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    Damn, that's too close - where's my other lens? (photo: Maddin)

    Oh, by the way, the road 612 connecting Latrabjarg with road 62 is especially great should you suffer from vertigo. The cliff is falling down right into the water and there are some nice blind bends without barriers between you and the sky.

    [​IMG]
    Route 612 to Latrabjarg

    We turned back and followed the coastal road. It was getting late and following the road up and down the fjords seemed endless.

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    Stunning scenery in the West Fjords

    From time to time the road turned inland and did s shortcut across the mountains. This brought us up to the clouds where it was cold and wet. Above about 450m there was snow left on the rocks.

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    Snow and fog in the mountains

    When we reached our camp at the foot of the Dynjandi water fall it was again past midnight. It was time to find some sleep and the water fall was singing our lullaby.
    #68
  9. tommymerle

    tommymerle advwanabee

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    437
    Location:
    frozen north (Lutsen, Minnesota)
    thank you for the great report
    #69
  10. Saso

    Saso Happily sporting the DRD4 gene

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    923
    Location:
    Northern California
    Stunning! Now I'll sit back and close my eyes and imagine riding that Route 612 to Latrabharg.
    #70
  11. ferals5

    ferals5 Team black bikes

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,487
    Location:
    Goulburn, Australia
    thanks for sharing :clap i'm in
    #71
  12. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,534
    Location:
    Jennings, Louisiana
    Thanks so much for the work and time to share this ride with us that will nevere see it any other way. Beautiful country. :clap:clap:clap
    #72
  13. 4NoNo

    4NoNo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    North Liberty, IA
    Great RR thanks for sharing. The photography is stunning. I LQQK forward to more!!
    #73
  14. Padmei

    Padmei enamoured

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,099
    Location:
    Nelson New Zealand
    Incredible photography.
    Thank you from the other end of the world:D
    #74
  15. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    47,924
    Location:
    Gates of Moscow
    :kbasa
    #75
  16. Lunatic

    Lunatic Dan Keyhoety

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    620
    Location:
    DOWN ON THE BORDER , LAS CRUCES, NUEVO MEHICO
    Vundebar report !! :clap:clap:clap
    #76
  17. rgiroux

    rgiroux Invisible Man

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,480
    Location:
    Socal near the great 33
    such an amazingly beautiful place!!! thanks for posting this report! :clap
    #77
  18. goreri

    goreri Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Hi Pip...

    Great RR! Very good pictures. This altogether, make Iceland got higher up on my to-do list. :1drink

    In a way I'm glad that I missed Iceland 2011, as I still on rehabilitation due to injured knee ligaments during April 2011. :cry

    Subscribed. :rofl
    #78
  19. Kitedans

    Kitedans In love with my AT !!

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Catalonia - Spain
    :clap:clap Great report and pictures !!!
    #79
  20. cristiano78

    cristiano78 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Brussels - BELGIUM (but I'm Italian!!!)
    :lol3
    #80