Breakfast on Thursday morning and then off to the ferry. A shedload of motorbikes getting onto the ferry, some with battle damage and some with very bald rear tyres, I am glad I wasn’t on some of those coming back. Then onto the ferry and into my awesome (not) accommodation and then spent the evenings listening to the very good singer/musician, although he gets worse as the evening goes on.
We had all day on the ferry Friday and then dock about midday on Saturday. Then it’s the long slog home through Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France which I am not looking forward. I had so much rest and relaxation on the ferry though as we docked at 1pm and I did the 970 mile slog home in one go, arriving home at 4am on Sunday morning. Paul very kindly offered me a space in his hotel on the way back down, and also at his house in Kent if need be, however I have to be in Manchester for work on Monday so want to get home before nightfall on Sunday so I just rode the miles out.
This was our GPS tracked route for the Iceland tour, the different colours representing the different days.
Finally, I’ve just found some of my video clips and mashed them up. Iceland is just like the moon.
So we packed up and I cooked some breakfast (We were getting quite good at this) and headed up the local garage/cafe for fuel and coffee. There we met some Icelandic Harley riders who were touring around. They told us about a road called F917 so we decided to do that loop. What a choice! Dirt, gravel, sand and epic mountain climbs up to the north coast and fantastic views.
We couldn’t’ have chosen a better road if we had tried. Probably the prettiest little seaside town was Vopnafjordur where we stopped for lunch. Another hamburger for me (So much for eating healthy!) and then back through the F85 to the ring road and then back to Egilsstadir where Paul treated me to a hotel room as we didn’t want to be packing up wet tents and camping stuff early in the morning before heading off to catch the ferry.
I hardly slept that night and was up at 4am and bored. So I cooked some breakfast and waited for Paul to emerge from his tent. He makes me laugh as until he’s had coffee in the morning I have never met anyone more dead to the world, secretly I was quite thankful as I quite like my coffee too. I was also getting a little bored of the ring road. Sure the scenery was beautiful, but I wanted dirt or at least some decent twisties. I knew it was going to be a ‘blergh’ day when I dropped the bike as I pulled out of the campsite. I needed fuel and the petrol station was literally across the road so I hadn’t bothered to put my gloves on and just rested them on the handlebars, they had fallen down into the front and stopped the handlebars from turning right. Oops. I just toppled over doing about 1mph, check that nobody saw me (Only Paul I think), no damage done.
Anyhow I found the first bit boring, but after a while we took the F939 which was another epic offroad course.
Then up to Egilsstadir where we relaxed for a bit, had a drink and met a nice Forestry man who gave us some tips on a nice campsite. We took his advice and did it via the F910, now that is a road! Completely bleak landscape with hardly any other vehicles and fantastic! We went to see the Halslon dam (I think that’s the name) which I thought was pretty impressive and then headed back to the campsite.
The ride back was slow and steady as we’d both underestimated our fuel range. We both had spare fuel on our bikes but it seemed to be a faff to stop and put it in. Anyhow we got to the campsite which was the best we had found (sans showers unfortunately) and had a great night. I had pitched my tent about 10 yards from a beautiful lake which according to legend has a huge worm like creature living in it. Thankfully the worm didn’t come out and gobble me up in the night!The next morning was quite funny because the tent that was pitched close to Paul the previous evening was now about 100 feet away, they must have moved in the night. Paul is quite the epic snorer.
Seljalandsfoss was another waterfall we saw the following morning. It’s great as you can actually walk behind the waterfall. Sure, you get a little damp but it’s cool.
A bit touristy though with half of Japan appearing to be there. Then onto the small seaside town of Vik and a walk down a stone pier trying to find some Puffins but they were no where to be found. A stunning black sand beach though, perhaps a little cold to go for a dip in however.
Then off to the glacier lake and looked at the gorgeous mini icebergs, or ice boulders or whatever you want to call them. The water was crystal clear and blue. I had to of course fill up my camelbak with a bit of thousand year old ice which kept me refreshed for the rest of the day and then off to for the night in the town of Hofn.
There is only one camp site at Hofn and if Ryanair did camp sites then this would be one of theirs. Everything was an optional extra which you had to pay for. Showers (Kind of normal) were 500kr for 2 mins, you were not allowed to plug your phone into an outlet unless you paid, Internet was pay per use (The only place in Iceland!). A nice place though even if the owner was a knob. We met up with some German bikers there, one of who is the spitting image of Al Bundy from the TV series “Married with Children” and also of one of my ex work colleagues.
We sat and spoke to spoke to them at dinner and they had some epic stories of trips they had done. I fancy doing some of those trips, especially ont they did where they shipped the bikes (2 x 18 year old BMW 100GS’s) to Ulanbatar in Mongolia and then rode back. Epic! Off to sleep.
That Sunday we woke up and next to the camp site was a Visitor Centre which opened at 9am. We were through the door at 9h05 hoping for a coffee, however unfortunately the cafe didn’t open until later but the nice man let us in and made us coffee and fed us cake. Life was good! The visitor centre was really interesting and gave us some ideas for the day too. It seems almost all the camp sites and tourist places close on 1st Sep so we were the last stragglers of the tourist season which made it quite nice as places were pretty quiet.
Iceland is full of waterfalls. We found 2 more on our 2nd offroad day, Hjalparfoss and the 2nd highest falls in Iceland, Heijfoss. Can you spot me doing a YMCA impression?
The offroad riding again was amazing, 2 or 3 water crossings which were easy enough on the bikes and just lots of lava fields.
It was like the moon!
Some beautiful blue water too.
Don’t mind me, I just have to mow the roof of my house!
We almost had the campsite to ourselves that evening.
I was loving the gravel roads and getting the bike sideways occasionally (Not always intentional) Towards the end of the route and day I met up with a chap the ferry who was cruising in his old Land Cruiser through the highlands and off walking. I don’t’ really see the fascination with walking, I get bored too easy I guess, oh and being lazy doesn’t help.
Saturday was one of the days I was really looking forward to. A day of offroad riding down the F35.
It was brilliant, the scenery through the highlands was awesome. We passed a cyclist who then stopped at the same little cafe that we did. A Dutch chap cycling around Iceland for a few weeks. A nutter! He told us about some guys getting stuck in sand and having to push the bicycles for up to 12km! I decided I wasn’t going near any sand after that. I was getting quite used to riding on the corrugated gravel roads and figured out that all your weight on the back and up to about 45mph or more and it wasn’t too bad at all. Also getting used to the bike squirming around beneath you takes a while.
We also went to Geysir and saw one of them, it was amazing with this going off about every 6 minutes!
We did about 100 miles off-road throughout the day and found another great camp site.
Woke up on Friday morning to rain. There’s nothing like packing up your camping kit in the cold and rain. Combined with not a particularly good nights sleep and I wasn’t feeling very excited. However after a bit of breakfast and coffee things were drying up and my mood was uplifted even more when I found out about Bjork!
The road around the lake was great. There doesn’t seem to ever be any traffic anywhere and the little that there is seems to be split between rental Yaris’s or monster 4×4’s. After stopping at pretty waterfalls (We’d see a lot of these) We passed through Akureyri and stopped for lunch another great litle pretty town.
Then onto Varmahlid where we found another nice campsite which was recommended to us by the local tourist information centre. We met some Canadians there, one of who snored as much as Paul! So I had snoring in stereo, needless to say that my earplugs were firmly in, not that they helped mind you.
My panniers leak during the rain, maybe I should call them “Buckets” instead!
Eventually we docked into Seydisfjordur on Thursday morning. The scenery just coming in was fantastic, we had come through the Faeroe Islands a day earlier too which had equally as stunning scenery. Disembarking the ferry was relatively hassle free and we were through customs in about 15 mins and on the ring road (Route 1) heading anti clockwise. The countryside was fantastic and it was relatively warm at about 11 degrees. We followed the ring road for a while until we came to the F864. This was our first gravel of the trip and it was the awful corrugated stuff which shook you and your bike apart. Thankfully about a mile up the road was a cafe and we stopped for coffee and cake which was a good call. Then back on the gravel heading north towards Dettifoss, the waterfall which flows the most amount of water in Europe. It was pretty impressive.
Then back down the F864, rattling away and then on the ring towards Myvatn, a very picturesque lake and some weird bizarre geothermal mud pits that were bubbling away and absolutely stinking! It smelt like rotten eggs/sulphur but it was something else which I can’t quite remember.
Then 2 mins to our first camp site for the trip. Some camp food for dinner and another early night. It was dropping quite cool now and down into single figures so the sooner into the sleeping bag the better. What a great view over Myvatn
Off we go to Iceland. I met a nice chap called Paul on one of the motorbike forums and we both wanted to go to Iceland, so for a bit of morale support and company we had booked the same dates.
The first couple of days were to be spent simply making my way to the ferry which was departing from Hirtshals in Denmark on Tuesday morning. So leaving home at about 6am on Sunday morning, across the channel and onto Hamburg for the first night’s accommodation and meeting with Paul and some dinner at a bizarre restaurant. Food = Great, Other Patrons = Odd!
Monday was then spent on a steady and uneventful ride up to the very pretty town of Aalborg in Denmark. We saw a fair few bikes on the road and apparently there had been some Harley Davidson meeting on the past weekend. I’ll wave at any rider, but Harley riders seem to think they’re high and mighty and blank me. So a little game I devised to pass the time was that when I saw one of them riding, I would perform the most OTT wave ever. Standing up, both hands off the handlebars etc, this way they couldn’t pretend they hadn’t seen me. I got a few more waves in return but I still think they act like dicks. Anyhow we had some dinner again that evening and an early night as we had to be up early and to the ferry.
Tuesday morning we boarded the ferry after topping up with fuel. Strapped the bikes down and spent 2 and a half days bored out of my mind! Met a few nice chaps on the the ferry. We were the only UK registered vehicles on the ferry and the only ones we would see on the entire trip. Plenty of Italian and German registered bikes and even a Polish one belonging to a guy with the most awesome pony tail ever. I had one of my only two “incidents” the entire trip while on the ferry. You have to strap your bike down and it’s the first time I’d done it before. So following everyone else’s lead, I put my bike up on the centre stand rather than the side stand. This was great, however I forgot that when you put the bike on the centre stand it moves about a foot further backwards. Oh well, I didn’t need the numberplate anyhow as I snapped it in half as my bike hit the wall behind it, leaving it only attached by the thin protective film – Doh!
Then a few boring days spent on the ferry sleep, eat, repeat.