F-ing in Iceland and Faroe Islands, 2013.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Bli55, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Bli55

    Bli55 -

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    596
    Location:
    Russia, N56 E49.
    Without further ado, here is what's to come from my story of testing out a freshly prepared BMW X-Challenge. :deal

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    #1
    NahdarVebb, pratered and ADV67 like this.
  2. nameless

    nameless 100% recyclable

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Portugal, Europe
    Great photos, can't wait :) i'm hoping to go there next year :)
    #2
  3. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    9,366
    Location:
    Killeen, TX.
    So many great images, thanks!
    #3
  4. Moxy

    Moxy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    19
    :lurk
    #4
  5. no

    no dreaming adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    116,598
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    I'm terribly curious about the Faroe Isles, in particular.


    :lurk
    #5
  6. rockydog

    rockydog just a guy

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,222
    Location:
    okieland
    Thanks much for sharing your great pics, giving that island lotsa flavours to enjoy. If you get a chance please share some info on the front windscreen/headlamp setup, looks good.
    #6
  7. nameless

    nameless 100% recyclable

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Portugal, Europe
    One other question, isn't there a way to get to Iceland catching a ferry in northern Scotland? I only seem to find ferry's from Denmark, but that seems a bit odd :). Does anyone know?

    thanks
    #7
  8. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Simply outstanding! :clap
    #8
  9. OierXT

    OierXT Freedom-searcher...

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    The Basque Country
    Awesome.

    Fuck, I'm so envious now.

    What a great RR this' gonna be...
    #9
  10. TheNorthernMonkey

    TheNorthernMonkey Clueless n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    468
    Location:
    Newcastle, England
    Awesome pictures. It's moved right up my list of must visit places
    #10
  11. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,007
    Location:
    Clearwater, FL USA
    what an incredible thread.
    Fantastic imagery/amazing photography
    thanks for taking us along on this journey some place SPECTACULAR
    #11
  12. Hevy Kevy

    Hevy Kevy ADDRider

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Elora Ontario
    :clap:clap
    #12
  13. LandRover

    LandRover Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    Land of the 6-Foot Rat ....
    All of the pics are fantastic, but this one holds me spell-bound ... beautiful place, thanks for sharing ...

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    #13
  14. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,009
    Location:
    Granbury Texas
    Going there next year. Great images. Wife has been there and says it is a hard place to describe but amazing place to explore.
    #14
  15. Bli55

    Bli55 -

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    596
    Location:
    Russia, N56 E49.
    Hard to describe, exactly! :D

    The Smyril line ferry only goes to Iceland from Hirsthals, Denmark via Torshavn, capital of the Faroe islands... It used to stop also somewhere in Scotland (or Shetlands?), but recession etc...etc... :evil

    As for the headlight/windscreen setup, it is an FX-R bixenon projector with a pair of VisionX Solstice 10 watt LED running lights, all protected behind a gas-cooker bent piece of 2 (?) mm polycarbonate.
    I'm thinking if to write about the build process in a separate thread once this RR is completed...

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    Either way, let's get a couple of days of asphalt liason and floating on the sea over and done with!

    Day 1 (14/06/13).

    Of course, the bike was not finished when I had to leave Oxford, UK, to catch the ferry in 4 days and 1400 km away. In particular, I had no luggage rack, it was waiting for me at Erik's workshop just 20km before Amsterdam.
    The first 600km then, I had to rest the bags across the seat and hope not to burn anything against the super hot standart exhaust with cat.... :puke1

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    Erik and Diane were extremely welcoming and invited to stay the first night with them, an offer simply impossible to resist!

    Day 2.
    Next morning (or afternoon, realistically :rofl), some work was done. Some luggage was lightened and left at the workshop (yep, too much crap right from the start!). And you would have thought that the lesson was learned after this on a Honda CB400:
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    (note, my friend is sitting ON a full bag, as well as being surrounded by more...)

    Here are Erik, the legendary engineer himself, and his saturday helper, David. Spot the Storm!
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    Birthplace of the X-Tank.
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    I forgot this nice man's name, but will always remember how he helped with fixing a faulty USB port, which charges everything flawlessly to this day.
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    Done!! :D
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    Netherlands...as a lot of other European coutryside, seems too idyllic for my taste. :D
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    Around 5-6 pm, we said goodbyes and I moved on, covering another 300km before sleeping somewhere I can't even remember... :deal

    Day 3.

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    As you can see, motorways were boring enough for me to start playing with a new second-hand camera. It is supposed to be shockproof, but this just couldn't end well!! :evil
    Instead, I tried to get onto smaller roads when viable:
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    Even tried a few tracks in northen Denmark, before arriving to Hirsthals just before sunset time.
    Naturally, one had to test a bike on the beach!
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    Again, this almost ended badly after losing the front and catching a big tankslapper...More crap will be said about tyres later. :puke1

    Day 4.

    Relax, shop for forgotten bits, add a lock to the bashplate toolbox, search for a motocross shop to buy spare tubes - failed. Walked past it twice, found by accident in the evening whilst dining on local fish, a little past closing time. :D
    Jumping ahead - no tubes were needed, no punctures experienced!!! Probably next time... :rofl

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    Again, we were rewarded with a fantastic sunset! Remember, this is several days before summer solstice (21-22 june) and a little further north than i'm normally used too. Now, think what it would be like ON the 21st MUCH higher up north?

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    Yeah, I could NOT wait to board the ferry tomorrow morning...
    #15
    NahdarVebb likes this.
  16. Bli55

    Bli55 -

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    596
    Location:
    Russia, N56 E49.
    Day 5 & 6.

    OK, ferry time!

    Lots of cool expedition vehicles (I dare not to say cars about these.)
    Strangely, I have met literally only 2 or 3 of them in the kind of place where I though they were supposed to be driven to. :D

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    Bikers... (mainly German and Danish, must be a distance and statistics thing.)
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    Long queues...
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    Family-friendly war machines!
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    Overloaded bikers...
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    Big respect for the workers, who pack the ship deck SO efficintly, you simply cannot walk to or get into or anything from any door of any vehicle. No such problem for us, luckily! Just a lot of gear that's hot and crap to walk in... :evil

    Finally, all aboard, rooms filling up and some movement was spotted. :wink:
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    Home for 2 days and 2 nights. :deal
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    I was lucky to get in first and claim a spot of choice with total disregard that it might be pre-chosen by man or machine at the ticket booth... I mean, 9 people crammed into a room with no real door or any sort of personal space (minus the white friend, naturally!) - this is definitely an experience to remember!
    Still though, it has nothing on this place:

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    #16
    NahdarVebb and pratered like this.
  17. kyns

    kyns Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,675
    Location:
    .
    Nice. :clap

    Keep it coming.
    #17
  18. freestate

    freestate Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    Stockholm, Capitol of Scandinavia
    We need more!
    #18
  19. Bli55

    Bli55 -

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    596
    Location:
    Russia, N56 E49.
    Next evening, we floated inbetween some stunning islands, perched under a sky torn apart by a storm on one side and sunshine on the other. Naturally, there were lots of photo opportunities AND opportunists! :norton

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    Detliv, german biker on a Triumph Tiger:
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    Until we got out into the open sea, water was calm and I thought there's no need for anti-sickness tablets. "It's all in the head" - I tried to reprogram my brain. And so went to sleep.
    Funny story, but I wake up in ice cold sweat, after a dream of fighting a HUGE storm, with waves washing as high as the ship itself, rocking madly on all axis, cars rolling, bikes toppling, insane g-forces would turn myself inside out... :D
    So i wake up in the middle of the night, in a dark room filled with sleeping travellers and humming of the ventilation, engines - interrupted only by the tiniest shocks from the waves being broken by our ship, and the gentlest rocking back and forth.
    "Screw this" - and my hand is reaching for that black medicines bag....

    Day 7.

    I will not bore you with an old "land of fire and ice" cliche, so often seen luring oneself into the guidebooks, promising an insane mix of the afore mentioned forces of nature, but instead say it only once - Iceland was cold, it was wet, almost always windy, and my average daytime temperature hovered around +8C..
    From the very first sight, however, I guessed that imediately... :evil
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    Not much time for pics, though, as the mayhem of disembarking begins!
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    Which also gives us a chance to admire each others bikes:
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    Lots of heavy, heavily loaded machines. Again, must be a statistics thing, since my bike was the lightest of all on "forward" sailing.

    Finally, back on land, quick drive through Seydisfjordur leads straight into a pass, weaving past waterfalls alive from rain and meltwater, up into the clouds, where +5 degrees C and near 100% humidity gives a good workout for the immune system. :evil

    Back down, at the 1st intersection everybody turns left to follow main road - I go right onto 94 and, finally, have a first taste of gravel!! :clap
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    This immediately reveals a few problems - tankbag prevents from leaning far forward and at average speed it is already difficult to resist the wind pressure. Also the bars turned out not to be far forward and up high enough... none of this was apparent when riding with no luggage. :cry

    Anyway, this is something I had to fight against and deal with the entire trip - except extra hard off-roading where speeds had to be LOW.

    Over the next pass, I lose some adhesion.. :rofl
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    But the views on the way down sort it all out!
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    1st day in, little bit of gentle offroading, and bits already have to be removed. I gave the panels to some nice guys at the cafe to recycle, who also served me a plate of fresh local lamb chops for a good price (for their wallets, that is!).
    Iceland is turning out to be very expensive and this is the 3rd piece of news to hit me like a brick today.
    #19
  20. Bli55

    Bli55 -

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    596
    Location:
    Russia, N56 E49.
    !
    Seems to me it's getting long winded - will condense the pics and story mercilessly to follow.
    Before that, a small digression into the road system of Iceland and, partly (only partly!) about the thread name. Yes, I was messing around lots, driving into places I should not have, spooking horses, sheep and millions of birds, eating local "delicasies", always trying to ride my bike as close to something and avoid walking, often causing a disturbance at a tourist attraction... :evil
    Primarily, however, F- stands for fjäll, or mountain, roads - ranging from barely visible tracks in black sand (still marked, however, with yellow plastic posts with reflective sticker!!! very European, even these "tough" and "hardcore" roads for "specially prepared 4x4 only!" :rofl:D ); to decent graded gravel - all open for a few months in the summer, once the snowmelt is over.

    1st day in, I figured it's time to try such a road.
    After lunch, I headed inland and up along F946.

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    However, it was still mid-June and snow was blocking my way quite early on. When possible, powered through or around.

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    I never rode in snow before, so this happened almost immediately after:

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    Panicked for a few seconds, then started digging with hands. Felt a little remote to relax yet.
    Back down, I floored it along a loose gravely track, enjoying the dust cloud in the mirror, whilst mervelling at some remote farms... :norton
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    That one even had an ancient Russian car. How? and WHY?

    Headed back over the same pass, which now had zero visibility.
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    I went "by instruments" (по приборам, for our Russian speakers here)

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    More passes was like that. This one, even worse, so I don't have a picture in what looked like a gorge carved through snow to clear some passing. We (I was leading an American guy in a rented car, again, by GPS) crawled between what looked like endlessly high ice walls, I had my visor up, glasses up, and had to endure razor sharp ice and water droplets on my face to see AT ALL! :puke1

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    The view should have been amazing, according to Lonely planet, and it was confirmed the next day, when I met another biker with his photos. More on that later!
    For me, I pushed on to Vopnafjordur. Spirits were low - I caught a big wooble whilst trying something out on a deep gravel track mixed with loose sand, and came off the road at 80-90 kmh...HOW the bike coped and I stayed on it - is still a mystery. But it was out of control and we ended up a good few meters away from the track.
    In a hotel, had a taste of Skyr, a nationwide favourite and delicious greek youghurt-like snack, had some GPS stats to look at and ALL the gear to dry and clean.

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    To finish off, I could feel the rocking of the boat in my perfectly stationery bed tonight. :puke1
    #20