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Thread: Iceland 2019. Andy's rehabilitation tour.

  1. #49
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    I read every Iceland report every year and they just blow my mind, what an amazing country and incredible scenery. I done a solo Spanish Pyrenees TET trip a few weeks back when the temperature hit the mid 40s but I really want to do one of these 'cooler ' trips with a small group at some point...5 seems like a good number.

    I have to ask Mark something, do you have a total recall memory ( altitude, distance, place names, how long you stopped etc ) or do you just keep a very detailed diary ?? Bloody impressive detail

    Mike.

  2. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by mspenz View Post

    I have to ask Mark something, do you have a total recall memory ( altitude, distance, place names, how long you stopped etc ) or do you just keep a very detailed diary ?? Bloody impressive detail

    Mike.
    Thanks for the kind words Mike. I do have scribbled notes, more photos than are shown here, go pro footage, and maps to remind me. I do have a strange memory, I can remember every turn and bump of a special stage, but not what I was supposed to do when I get home. Great memory for faces, but shit with names.
    As Tim has alluded to, I also recall really, really bad jokes.
    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  3. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by earthmover View Post
    Thanks for the kind words Mike. I do have scribbled notes, more photos than are shown here, go pro footage, and maps to remind me. I do have a strange memory, I can remember every turn and bump of a special stage, but not what I was supposed to do when I get home. Great memory for faces, but shit with names.
    As Tim has alluded to, I also recall really, really bad jokes.
    Mark

    Excellent

  4. #52
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    Day 13. Monday
    Up early, and tried to pack my gear away without it getting too wet. As I hadn’t been able to see much of the campsite last night I rode back a little way to take some photos. There had been a couple of camper vans in the prime spot when we arrived, that had just left. This is almost completely hemmed in by walls of solidified lava with a flat grassy base. One of the few times we were beaten to the best pitch.






    Heading Westwards on gravel for fifteen minutes, then onto tarmac. The road has been extended across the neck of Kolgrafarfjordur on a low earthworks with a bridge near the end, cutting out a few miles. This stretch is our first taste of the wind today, as it gusts across the open water. A few minutes later a tank bag cover whips past me doing its very best kite impersonation. Both Geoff and I u-turn to catch it, eventually pinning it down before returning it to Steve

    At Grundarfjordur we pull in to the excellent visitors centre and café for coffee. Nearby is a small harbour which brings tourists in to visit the most photogenic mountain in Iceland, Kirkjufell. Sadly for them, and us, low cloud is hiding its magnificence today.
    Caffeine levels restored we make ready to leave. The bikes do attract a good deal of attention, and today is no exception. An American couple ask us about our trip, and how we fare on the roads. They wish us good luck and ask if we would like to swap for their hire car. An older Austrian lady is admiring the bikes, and tells us how much her son at home would like to see them. We gather round for a picture, and Tim and I suggest she sits on his bike for a photo, to see what her son thinks of that. This makes her giggle like a schoolgirl, and she walks round each bike deciding which one she prefers. Geoff’s looks the biggest, and Andy’s the smallest . Funny how they can tell these things.
    Yet again, there are waved away by a crowd as we set off further westward!


    Skirting the base of Kirkjufell, still shrouded in clouds despite the strong wind, we pass Kirkjufellsfoss. “Foss” means falls in Icelandic, and there is a coach parked at the side of the road and various hire cars jockeying for a parking space. Glad to be past them we cross a spit of land onto the North facing coast, only to get the brunt of the wind. Sitting on one side of my saddle, leaning into the wind, works for the prevailing but not the gusts. Not the most enjoyable 30 minutes riding sees us at Olafsvik, where we stop to refuel. The first petrol station we come to has an electrical issue and the pumps won’t work, but thankfully the next one is only down the road. Pressing on along the coast for another 20 minutes or so we turn South into the Snaefellsjokull National Park, home of the mountain and glacier of the same name. Apparently this is where Jules Verne started his “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, through a passage in the side of the volcano. Tim says “Welcome to Mordor.”





    Misty mountain hop?

    The wind abates slightly as we head inland and West, but as the cloud is at around 200m we won’t be seeing very much. The track peaks at 700m, where you should be able to see for miles around. Not today though. As we climb the wind returns with a vengeance, bringing with it horizontal rain. There is a point on my go pro footage where I am laughing maniacally in my helmet. This is not because I have remembered a joke, this is laughing in the face of appalling riding conditions. This is battling the elements, and by simply being there, I am winning. We pass a couple of hikers, who give us a round of applause. I would have applauded them, had I not had bars in my hands that needed to be kept straight. After 15 minutes of this, which felt a lot longer, Tim stopped at a junction which was doing an impersonation of a river.



    Photo credit Timolgra.

    Here we turned more Southerly, and we climbed over the highest point past banks of grubby snow. As we started to descend, the wind dropped but the cloud closed in, giving visibility of a few metres. I was glad someone else was leading, and simultaneously felt sorry for them. Half an hour later we rode out of the cloud and down to Arnarstapi, a huge sense of achievement for all of us. Sounds silly typing it now.
    There is a touristy feel to the place, fast food vans and coaches, so just like the tourists we are we dive into fish and chips, with free coffee!





    To counter the high adrenaline levels we go for a walk to the nearby cliffs to watch the sea battering the lava formations, past the statue of Bardur. This the mythical half man, half troll who was supposedly the first settler of the area. Looked like Gimli the dwarf to me, another “Lord of the Rings” reference.
    Tim warned us that it was a tarmac slog for 120 km to our campsite for the night at Borgarnes. First East, then South, with very little traffic to bother us. The bikes probably didn’t enjoy sitting at constant throttle for long periods, but none of them showed any ill effects. My seat had the longest period with my arse on it for the whole trip, and proved it was worth the money!



    A pretty little campsite on the shores of a tidal lagoon is our destination. Steve makes the mistake of pitching just off the hardstanding, while Tim claims the high ground on a grassy knoll. Andy and I make a quick run to the nearby supermarket to stock up for what is to be our last night under canvas.
    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  5. #53
    Perhaps the guilt of more bike problems the previous evening in the rain prompted Steve/Bakerman to cook breakfast for us... ......but I doubt it.
    Apart from being a caring and generous soul he also knows the way to a man's heart and that's through his belly. I don't know how he does it, but he has a knack of turning a bacon and eggs roll into a feast



    With full bellies we battle our way along the north coast of the Snaefellsnes Peninsular in strong crosswind stopping for coffee in Grundarfjordur.

    We take my preferred trail over the end of the peninsular which 'should'... no....'could' reveal some stunning views.
    We turn inland and begin climbing, it's going to be grim!

    It is.........(Mark will get the pun here, because it's so bad)



    We stop briefly at a junction where the visibility has improved to around 30m and suggest we all stay within close sight of each other. There's no one else up here and a problem up here could soon escalate.



    Although I've ridden this trail several times, it would be easy to become disorientated! I keep the speed right down peering into the gloom looking to keep on the track, for bends or even a 4x4 coming the other way with only the engine note letting me know if we were climbing or descending.

    It takes an eternity for us to descend through the cloud and when we did the weather was fairly clear, dry and no wind!

    There's a popular campsite nearby at Anastarpi where the last time I camped I knew we might get a coffee but now it's been developed for tourism so only a few minutes later we entered a whole new world.

    ....and could you believe it!?



    The coastline is stunning here but since my first visit it's become much busier with walkways and barriers to help prevent suicidal Chinese tourists taking selfies as they plummet into the sea



    Had the weather been kinder we perhaps would have taken more trails but it wasn't to be so pressed to the lovely camp just outside Bourganes.



    KEA

  6. #54
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    Beautiful!

  7. #55
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    Day 14. Tuesday
    Icelanders like to party. Well the ones on the campsite certainly did! I woke a couple of times but at least managed to nod off again. Steve was less lucky, being only a couple of metres away from them.



    There had been light rain in the night so all our gear was packed away damp. Needless to say, we crept away from the campsite without creating any noise.
    Taking the ring road South out of Borgarnes on a causeway across a stretch of open water we then turned off East. Tarmac for 15 minutes or so until Tim found us some gravel again. The track climbed gradually up to 425m giving us some great riding. In some places the surface was in need of grading, which of course made it more fun for us. After an hour or so of this, during which time we crossed from the Western to the Southern region, we rejoined the tarmac. After 20 minutes of following a sinuous single lane road we came out at the rear of the Pingvellir National Park visitor centre, where we piled in for coffee. Pingvellir is one of Iceland’s top tourist destinations, one of the few places on Earth where you can actually walk where two tectonic plates meet. It was also the site of the Worlds first Parliament, in 930 AD. As we were leaving this chap tuned up on his pushbike. Looks like hard work!



    Leaving the visitor centre via the main road we cross over the plate gap ourselves, not noticing any particular continental change. We then turn off to skirt the Western sure of the lake, Pingvallavatn. Turning off again we pass near to a Geothermal energy plant, and follow its pipeline on a brilliantly twisty tarmac road that climbs 200 m in a short space of time. Oh for Supermoto wheels and tyres! In complete contrast it then falls away again on an arrow straight road, directly West towards Rekjavik. We have a slight diversion, as Tim leads us onto some fast gravel tracks, past a picturesque lake where some arse has dumped their pizza box on the floor. I went to water the bushes and one of our lot had picked it up. From here it was a short ride into the suburbs of Rekjavik and the KTM dealership where Tim wanted to check up on a couple of things. We all had a good look at the new 790 parked outside, and a chat about it with the shop manager.



    All too soon though, it was time to head for the warehouse to drop the bikes off. Jamie’s stricken Husaberg was parked in a corner, along with the cases and bags we had left there a fortnight ago. Andy and I had both got a luggage allowance for the way home, so opted to take all our riding gear with us instead of leaving it on the bikes. We also stuffed our tents in the cases so they wouldn’t be left damp for weeks. I had a bit of a lump in my throat as I thanked Tim, as we had achieved everything we had set out to do in pretty comprehensive fashion. We pushed the bikes into their container line astern and left them to the tender mercies of the shipping crew. Except Tim’s of course, as he was due to meet trip two. While we are having a sandwich at the nearby cafe, a minibus pulls up. Steve asked him if he was free to take us to our hotel, which he was, and so we were whisked into the city centre.
    After checking in, the receptionist mentioned that it was “happy hour” in the bar from 5.00. Guess what time we are all meeting up.
    First order of business was a shower and a shave. I hadn’t bothered all trip and my bumfluff was getting annoying. After Steve mentioned hanging his tent up to dry in the room, Andy and I did the same, leaving puddles of water everywhere.
    We convened in the hotel bar at 5.00 for pre dinner drinks, then at a nearby bar at 6.00 for dinner. Tim had walked back from his friends house for our last meal together.
    In honour of mine and Andy’s early flight we said our goodbyes not long after 9.00, and had a dry run to find the bus stop. There had been some confusion as to where it was owing to road closures. Turns out it is only 15 minutes walk from the hotel. We booked a 4.00 am alarm call and enjoyed our first sleeping bag free beds for two weeks!
    Thanks for reading
    Mark
    Just when you've got this rat race licked, here come faster rats!

  8. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by earthmover View Post
    Day 14. Tuesday
    Icelanders like to party. Well the ones on the campsite certainly did! I woke a couple of times but at least managed to nod off again. Steve was less lucky, being only a couple of metres away from them.



    There had been light rain in the night so all our gear was packed away damp. Needless to say, we crept away from the campsite without creating any noise.
    Taking the ring road South out of Borgarnes on a causeway across a stretch of open water we then turned off East. Tarmac for 15 minutes or so until Tim found us some gravel again. The track climbed gradually up to 425m giving us some great riding. In some places the surface was in need of grading, which of course made it more fun for us. After an hour or so of this, during which time we crossed from the Western to the Southern region, we rejoined the tarmac. After 20 minutes of following a sinuous single lane road we came out at the rear of the Pingvellir National Park visitor centre, where we piled in for coffee. Pingvellir is one of Iceland’s top tourist destinations, one of the few places on Earth where you can actually walk where two tectonic plates meet. It was also the site of the Worlds first Parliament, in 930 AD. As we were leaving this chap tuned up on his pushbike. Looks like hard work!



    Leaving the visitor centre via the main road we cross over the plate gap ourselves, not noticing any particular continental change. We then turn off to skirt the Western sure of the lake, Pingvallavatn. Turning off again we pass near to a Geothermal energy plant, and follow its pipeline on a brilliantly twisty tarmac road that climbs 200 m in a short space of time. Oh for Supermoto wheels and tyres! In complete contrast it then falls away again on an arrow straight road, directly West towards Rekjavik. We have a slight diversion, as Tim leads us onto some fast gravel tracks, past a picturesque lake where some arse has dumped their pizza box on the floor. I went to water the bushes and one of our lot had picked it up. From here it was a short ride into the suburbs of Rekjavik and the KTM dealership where Tim wanted to check up on a couple of things. We all had a good look at the new 790 parked outside, and a chat about it with the shop manager.



    All too soon though, it was time to head for the warehouse to drop the bikes off. Jamie’s stricken Husaberg was parked in a corner, along with the cases and bags we had left there a fortnight ago. Andy and I had both got a luggage allowance for the way home, so opted to take all our riding gear with us instead of leaving it on the bikes. We also stuffed our tents in the cases so they wouldn’t be left damp for weeks. I had a bit of a lump in my throat as I thanked Tim, as we had achieved everything we had set out to do in pretty comprehensive fashion. We pushed the bikes into their container line astern and left them to the tender mercies of the shipping crew. Except Tim’s of course, as he was due to meet trip two. While we are having a sandwich at the nearby cafe, a minibus pulls up. Steve asked him if he was free to take us to our hotel, which he was, and so we were whisked into the city centre.
    After checking in, the receptionist mentioned that it was “happy hour” in the bar from 5.00. Guess what time we are all meeting up.
    First order of business was a shower and a shave. I hadn’t bothered all trip and my bumfluff was getting annoying. After Steve mentioned hanging his tent up to dry in the room, Andy and I did the same, leaving puddles of water everywhere.
    We convened in the hotel bar at 5.00 for pre dinner drinks, then at a nearby bar at 6.00 for dinner. Tim had walked back from his friends house for our last meal together.
    In honour of mine and Andy’s early flight we said our goodbyes not long after 9.00, and had a dry run to find the bus stop. There had been some confusion as to where it was owing to road closures. Turns out it is only 15 minutes walk from the hotel. We booked a 4.00 am alarm call and enjoyed our first sleeping bag free beds for two weeks!
    Thanks for reading
    Mark

  9. #57
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    Well done for an excellent trip report.

    Looks like it was a great trip & perfect for Andy to get his mojo back.

  10. #58
    Well done Mark

    Day 14 ...... a fraction more.

    Still in bed I make coffee, open the tent and contemplate our last day together

    The weather hadn't improved enough for getting back into the real wilds before heading into Reykjavik, besides we don't need any dramas on this last day.

    But of course there's always time for a few more trails



    Mark's already pretty much outlined our last day so we arrive back, the lads change into their civvies and I'm sure were soon to feel lost without their bikes.

    It had been a wonderful trip with a laugh a minute.....whether that was polite laughter at Mark's awful jokes, Bakerman tripping over his waterproof trousers and so much more, Geoff's dry sense of humour and Andy...well he just laughs and smiles all the time.
    I guess the only downside had been Jamie's bike failing before we'd really even got into the West Fjords.

    So after almost 2000 miles of everything I could reasonably throw at a great bunch of friends who were up for everything I think the smiles say it all.

    KEA

  11. #59
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    I thoroughly enjoyed reading that, a well told trip report with great photos,thanks

  12. #60
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    Thanks Mark (and Tim) for taking the time to write that, a lot of effort goes into posting up a trip report so appreciated

    As well as just fun to read it's been especially useful (as have previous Iceland write ups) as Amanda and I are off in a few weeks and covering off similar areas (in a 4x4) so thanks again ~ Tim, I can feel another call incoming soon........

    Andres
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Martel View Post
    One of the five imbeciles of the vainglorious big swinging dick types of the Harley section

  13. #61
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    Well gents, that was a fantastic report, i’ve Read it through in one go. Some great pictures, bringing back some real memories. Thank you !!!!

  14. #62
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    Enjoyed that, thanks all.

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    Iceland 2019. Andy's rehabilitation tour.

    Well, I was lucky enough to be in the second group and I’ve waited with interest to see if anyone in our group had a good enough recollection to share our trip report ( direction of travel, altitude, weather and road surface, etc) but I’m going to assume that no one does, it’s all a blur and Tim is the only one that can name places, in fact on reflection, most of us would perhaps deny having been there.

    To the uninitiated, Iceland names its villages by collecting the tiles from people loosing at games of scrabble puts them in one big bag, spills them on the floor and asks someone with a head cold to pronounce it, oh and them invents a troll with same name to add legitimacy. I won’t attempt to name where the following took place as I don’t have a cold.

    I convinced myself being in the second group was because we were the advanced group.

    We were so advanced that a number of our group choose to show off and not ride their bikes in the convention way, instead they choose to balance luggage on the rear fender instead of a rack, camp using a marquee that Baden Powell would have envied, ride with an exhaust that summoned the horseman of the apocalypse and perform frequent impressions of someone falling off. Not for us the namby pamby sitting upright in the conventional riding position.

    I would like to share one night though. We were at a camp site that had tents, caravans and lodges. The camp site was away from the lodges and caravans but the site did have hot showers and the restaurant served beer. I was wondering which kidney to sell to buy more beer when toddy left because he’s a big girls blouse and seriously needs a lot of beauty sleep.

    Liam and I were discussing weighty worldly matters when the bar staff said they didn’t have any peanuts or crisps so we helped ourselves to bowls of Cheerios laid out for breakfast and hatched a plan. All we needed was a sheep and some Irish music...

    The plan was to put the sheep in toddy’s tent and then provide appropriate music. We struggled to catch the sheep but Liam did play his pipes outside Toddy’s tent to serenade him and wish him a comfortable nights sleep.

    Having woken most of the camp site but not Toddy. we decide that one of our fellow campers might be able to help. Her name is Dawn and she’s touring Iceland with her daughter, we met her the previous day when she said she was a bit worried about the biker that arrived and surrounded her tent.

    Its a simple plan, the idea is that she gets in his tent lies down next to him then wakes him up and say it’s his turn to take the kids to school and he needs to wake up. She’s a unreasonably a little nervous, but agrees to wake him up and tell him he’s snoring too much and keeping people awake..

    Wish I could find a way to share the video ..

  16. #64
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    Doesn't work without a video with sound.
    Anyone riding slower than you is an idiot, and anyone riding faster than you is a maniac

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