Iceland Star Grab

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by whereisgibson, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    Leaving Akureyri for a second time, with a forecast for good weather an opportunity to collect more stars in the south.


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    The F821 claimed my first drop on the trip, into this stream! Very embarrassing as it was so small, but a large rock bounced the bike up and tipped it. No picture as the tankbag with the DSLR went straight under and I immediately went about rescuing it before it was too late. My left pannier also got submerged.
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    The F821 is a very pretty but challenging track for motorbikes, due to the stream often running down the riding track, and hiding large rocks. Take your time.
    Now to join the F26.
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    The front shouldn't be that flat. Michelin's ultra heavy duty inner tubes too!
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    The spare tube wasn't as 'ultra', so to reduce the chance of another flat I tried running it at 25psi. It was terrible. Back down to 20 and less speed.

    The F26 has a number of river crossings but the dry weather meant that these were trivial. Towards the bottom of the F26 the road has been graded, which looks great but actually is very washboarded and full of marble size rocks. The bike slides around on these, which can be challenge if the exposed landscape features a strong side wind - you end up riding diagonally.
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    Heading to star 8, the winds were getting very high. That lake shouldn't have any waves.
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    When I went to get out my sleeping bag and pillow I found the reason why the back of the bike had been handling a bit strangely. It was carrying about 10 litres of water from my drop, but so has my sleeping bag and stove!
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    I used the bike as a clothes horse and dried out the bag whilst I went to experience star 8 - Landmannalaugar hot springs! So hot it was uncomfortable in places, but what a lovely way to end the day's aches from riding and changing a tire.
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    #21
    johnnybgood8 likes this.
  2. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    A 'relaxed' start at 11am, as I needed to find a new inner tube to carry as a spare. Heading out of the hot springs toward Selfoss.
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    No 21" tubes in Selfoss...
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    So off to the capital Reykjavik and a very friendly KTM dealer who had one.
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    I headed back towards where I left that morning to continue the star hunt the next day. I spent the night in a youth hostel, which the HI hostel official app said was south of the river - it was north! It added an hour and 100km to my ride, as you can see from the loop. The lady who runs it was very kind to my late arrival and sorted out accommodation despite them being 'full'.
    #22
  3. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    Thanks :)

    I don't think the closures will make much difference; the campsites are already busy with tourists, but remember you can wild-camp here.

    The trails aren't that busy. Maybe one other vehicle every half hour on the F roads, hardly anyone at all on trails, and whilst I've met riders at campsites I've not seen any moving. So still pretty empty.

    Enjoy your trip!
    #23
  4. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    #24
  5. potski

    potski Wiley Wanderer

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    In the mountains

    Thanks a lot Martin for the "insider" info.

    Shame about your spill, tyre and kit getting soaked, but guess that's how it goes. Had a look at your Youtube vids, and notice some one made off with your whisky and pannier mount went awol; no excuse, but as I remember alcohol was pretty pricey. Trust you got your pannier fixed/strapped up ok.

    Looking forward to more updates. Enjoy Iceland; it's a sureal place that's for sure.

    Cheers

    Potski :freaky
    #25
  6. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    It's all part of the adventure. Yes bad karma on the whiskey, but hey I'm 1kg lighter on the rear shock now :) Pannier is holding on with one clip, which I'm checking every time I stop... it should be OK.
    #26
  7. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    Back on the star hunt, I left the hostel and headed for Haifoss.
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    My plan was to follow a direct trail between the two stars marked on my map:
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    I asked at the KTM shop about this trail, and was told that the two river crossings were difficult, especially on a bigger bike. I also asked a ranger who said the same. As it turned out, it was incredibly hard, but mostly because of the really rough rocky track, and not just the crossings.
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    The first crossing was long, and quite deep unless a specific path was followed. With very slippery big rocks inviting the bike to go for a swim, I decided to not be a hero and walk it.
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    Crossing number 2 was shorter but faster moving. With any sensible crossing the problem isn't the river, it's the rocks underneath.
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    Eventually I arrived near Gulfoss, but on the side not easily accessible to tourists, probably because of the rocky mile hike.
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    Then on to the F338 and F337 to get to my hostel for the night.
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    And then in the middle of the very deep sand I met the Swiss couple from the ferry!
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    We all headed along the rest of the trail to Laugervatn, where we enjoyed a few beers, some spa action, and an amazing hostel.
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    #27
  8. Mr Head

    Mr Head Adventure Hippie Supporter

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    Very nice report.
    I'll have to watch the YouTube video on the big screen once I get home.
    I may find a beer to set the proper mood.

    Top stuff.:clap
    #28
  9. Dave92029

    Dave92029 Been here awhile

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    I was unaware of the beauty of Iceland. The short videos are excellent.

    Thank you!
    #29
  10. dtysdalx2

    dtysdalx2 PITA but useful

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    :clap

    Wow, what a trip! Thanks for sharing!
    #30
  11. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    Leaving Laugervatn on the F35, the road is a regular gravel track that progresses north, without much in the way of scenery above what Iceland's landscape normally presents.

    Along the way I ran into a tour group, whose leader suggested a slight detour to the Kerlingarfjoll volcanic springs up in the mountains.
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    Afterwards I passed a remote airstrip and couldn't resist riding along it.
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    After a few hundred kilometres of rocky gravel, you crest a hill and it suddenly becomes green marking your arrival back into the habited parts of Iceland.
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    Star 11 - The hot baths at Reykir!
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    That evening the water damage to the MSR presented itself, with the plunger that pressurises the fuel bottle failing. The O-ring was getting stuck inside the piston and being pulled apart.
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    To fix this I lubricated the barrel and O-ring with engine oil, and made two washers out of the thin metal of the heat shield to prevent the O-ring from leaving the piston. Then I stripped and serviced the stove, cleaning the jet and pulling the fuel line out, clearing the pipe, and reassembling. Service resumed, and more importantly a hot dinner for me!
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    #31
  12. Choerenz

    Choerenz Adventurer

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    very inspiring report! I was in Iceland last summer by car with the family. I will come back and ride it on a motorcycle.

    Subscribed!
    #32
  13. woods wizard

    woods wizard Trail Hound

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    Welcome to No.Va...expect delays
    Just a thought ..you may want to try Bridgestone Ultra Heavy Duty tubes. They are probably twice as thick as any others & practically indestructible. I have never seen one go flat ..EVER. That said they can be a bear to install. Keep up the great work.
    #33
  14. half_price_beemer

    half_price_beemer Wings-it Adventurer

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    This is a great report; I especially like all the video narrations... If only they had a ferry from the America's
    #34
  15. DavisWelding

    DavisWelding Banned

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    I've had 3 flats with a Bridgestone UHD. BUT, every time was due to a nail or piece of random steel that I had picked up some how. The bad part, for me, is that with the UHD I didn't carry a spare tube. Patching a UHD is touch because no matter what I did with the patch/tube it never lasted very long. I was always able to make it out and find a tube but it has cost me more than one tire!:lol3

    Yes, you are right tho, they are tough as hell, just not tough as nails! Michelin UHD's are great too
    #35
  16. gmanski

    gmanski =)

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    Great report, really enjoyed reading/watching it.
    #36
  17. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    I'll order the Bridgestone ones when I get back, thanks for the tip woods wizard. It was a Michelin UHD I pinched at 20psi, they are 4mm, and yes I didn't think it was worth patching because of that. We couldn't source another UHD in Reykjavik, so I took the original KTM item - not checked it out to see how thick it is, but it's better than no spare! Now at the time I'd say I was riding pretty hard, around 100kph, going for jumps and not trying to miss rocks but rather letting the 640's exquisite suspension soak it up. As a preview, I suspect I'll be recommending enthusiastic riders to come with mousses if they plan to fully enjoy the interior, especially if their front wheels can handle the abuse. I know for sure my 990 front wheel would be toast if ridden the same (exactly the same as the 640's + 50kg too much) as it's easily dentable on the road and guaranteed to with light offroad.
    #37
  18. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Been here awhile

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    The day started very windy and wet. As I don't want to pack my tent away when wet, nor do I want to ride in the wind and rain, a perfect opportunity for a lie in presented itself as I waited out the weather. Around noon things calmed down, and I was on the road to star 12 'Hvitserkur':
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    Without a map symbol I wasn't sure what to expect...


    Star 12 - either it's seals or this rock!
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    My home for the night was this rather remote hostel at Broddanes:
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    #38
  19. Hevy Kevy

    Hevy Kevy ADDRider

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    Elora Ontario
    Looks to me like the TCAT in Canada should be on your bucket list. Thanks for the RR!
    #39
  20. RumRunner

    RumRunner Sit there, turn that

    Joined:
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    Years ago I found a ride report on another forum and ever since I have been drawn to the amazing island of Iceland. It's on my bucket list, hopefully one day...

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    DW
    #40