- January 22nd, 2012
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If you couldn’t make it to my talk this past Saturday, here’s the talk on Riding Iceland:
Archive for the ‘Iceland 2011’ Category
If you couldn’t make it to my talk this past Saturday, here’s the talk on Riding Iceland:
Don’t miss my upcoming presentation at Country Rode Motowerks in Fairport! I’m going to cover everything someone would want to know in order to travel Iceland, especially by Motorcycle!
Country Rode Motowerks
New York State’s Oldest BMW Motorcycle Retailer
– Since 1998 –
|Troy Rank and his fiance, Kerra took a very unusual motorcycle trip last June. They flew to Iceland where they rented an F650GS to tour around. If you followed their Blog, you’ll already know a bit about this adventure.Troy has offered to come to CRM and tell you more about this exciting trip and show photos of picturesque Iceland. This will be very interesting as this is not a place most of us would consider for a motorcycle tour. Troy may be familiar to some of you as he sometimes helps out CRM on the sales floor. Don’t miss this fun event.|
It’s about time I do some writing. I really planned to keep up on blog entries every day, but it’s really difficult to keep up! Working backwards from today (in the same way that that photographs do) We woke up fairly early this morning after staying out pretty late last night. It is the summer solstace and at 1am, it was a beautiful sunset, which lasted for over an hour. After we woke up we showered and topped off the bike with gas to return to the biking vikings 🙁 The big journey is officially over. It was however a great experience. It was really fun to talk with the guys there and they even let me go for a ride on the new triumph sprint, which was an absolute ball. The torque was mind blowing. We walked to downtown Reykjavik afterwards and wandered around for a while. We got some famous icelandic hot dogs, which were good, but pretty much just hot dogs. We had some fantastic Indian food for dinner. Everything here is crazy expensive. A dinner for two, will run you on average around 7.000ISK which is about $60, and that’s average. It was however absolutely worth it for some delicious curry based succulence.
We met a guy from Rochester (well hes kind of from everywhere now), here who is traveling the world. Check out Wade’s Blog here: http://www.vagabondjourney.com/ It’s a really fantastically produced site.
Yesterday: 6.21.11- 6.22.11
We woke up in a fantastic little campsite in a town that we never planned to end up in. We started down some dirt roads on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. We were getting pretty comfortable offroad at this point, with maybe 400 miles out of our ~1400 mile trip being offroad.
We were cruising around at 80Kph or so when all of the sudden it seemed I had landed us in some very deep gravel! The bike lurched left, then right, then left, then right, wobble wobble. I Tried to power out of it at first, but when that didn’t work I realized that the gravel was not that deep at all and that I must have a flat, and I pulled in the clutch and dug my feet into the ground. The technique, though perhaps frowned upon by the offroading elite 🙂 , helped keep us upright, and we didn’t end up sliding down the gravel on our faces… A van passed quickly after and made sure we were alright (which I wasn’t honestly sure of at that point).
The tire was completely off of the rear rim. I brought my tire plug kit along with me, as well as a portable pump, which will do exactly no good at all in this circumstance. The tire is a tube tire, and considering where we were, it was going to be pretty tricky to get a tube. I manhandled the bike off of the dirt road, and dug out the emergency phone. It was dead, of course. The button on the phone I borrowed to turn it on was entirely too easy to push when putting it away… Luckly, it charges via USB, so I dug out the laptop from the top-case and plugged it in, and waited for it to charge as both the phone and laptop collected dirt from the road as it blew off covering everything.
I called Eythor at the Biking Viking, where I rented the bike. He came to the rescue and called a tow-truck. After an hour or two, the tow truck arrived and a very kind gentleman helped me load the GS on to a flatbed trailer. Of course it was not setup for a motorcycle in any way so it was a long bit of head scratching before we agreed on how to firmly secure the bike. I was still pretty worried about it but it did make it all the way in to town. It was probably a good 45 minutes of riding in the towtruck before we arrived to the town. The engine on the towtruck started stumbling a few miles out of town and we had to limp it all the way in to town at 20mph or so. I apparently had some pretty good luck.
Since there wasn’t a tube anywhere to be found, the best solution I could come up with was to install an automotive style valve-stem, which they surely had laying around, and re-seat the tire. what I didn’t know at the time was that the tire was designed to be a tube tire only. We managed to get it to seat with a fair amount of bead sealer, and it didn’t give us any trobule after that, but I was pretty lucky considering that circumstances. The bike doesn’t have a center stand either, which meant that we had to use a 4 ton jack intended for larger trucks, and I had to hold the bike, teetering precariously on the skid plate. I was honestly concerned with how much all of this was going to cost. It could very easily leave us broke. But after the gentleman at the garage gave a quick call to the Biking Viking folks, I was on my way, no questions asked. I was ecstatic.
While I worked well after 6pm with the fantastic folks at the garage, Kerra went into town and found a public campsite and got some food. They have a fantastic setup and it was one of the nicest places we had to camp. We really enjoyed it, so in the end, it wasn’t the worst outcome.
The next day we woke up and headed back into Reyjkavik. We were a bit concerned with the tire (With good reason since the tires were now tubeless tube tires) and so we headed cautiously the last 150ks to Reykjavik. There really is no part of Iceland that isn’t fantastic. There is a tunnel we crossed through (which we actually had went through partially earlier in the trip when we headed the wrong direction) which was about 6Kms long. Kind of unnerving with a tire that you don’t trust, but we made through to Reykjavik.
We unloaded all of the gear at the campsite and decided to head downtown one last time on the bike. Since it was the summer solstice I really wanted to stay out late and really experience what it was like, since throughout the trip we had been tired and going to sleep fairly early, and it has also been fairly cloudy throughout the trip especially at nightime. We parked the bike and walked down to the town square, where we found a swarm of motorcycles and skateboarders inhabiting. We decided to re-park the bike so we looked lagitt:) It’s a good thing that we did because we met a bunch of really awesome people, including Neil, one of the owners of Biking Viking. He casually walked over and said hey, that’s one of our bikes. Neil and I were instant friends through our mutual motorbike addiction. He had ridden there from his motorcycle training class that he conducts, on his MZ bike. I’ve never seen an MZ in my life, and I may never agian…:) very cool rare german bike. Neil told me stories about his BMW HP2 enduro, and also meeting Simon Peavey whom he helped when writing the Adventure Riding Techniques, a book I actually own but havent read much of yet. It’s next on the list after I finish Jupiter’s travels 😀
So yesterday we picked up the bike! Only after a long 1.5 mile walk, while dragging all of our gear throug Reykjavik. It was great fun trying to get a 2000 euro charge on a credit card from Iceland… Anyway Eythor, from Biking Viking was a huge help. We installed the heated vest plug and got on our way.
We headed north instead of south by accident and only noticed when we ended up down an unexpected 4 mile tunnel. We turned around after turning on my phone for GPS, and realizing where the arrow showed up on the map. We did about 100 clicks for a 30k ride.
I’m loving the F650GS twin. It’s so smooth and forgiving. It’s setup exactly the way I would setup the bike, so it didn’t take very long to feel at home riding it.
We pulled into Hveragerthi around noon, and saw a couple of hobos we recognized. (OK we planned to meet up with Kerra’s Sister Allison and her boyfriend Evan) And we setup camp. Allison and Evan have been backpacking around Iceland for a couple of weeks and they turned us on to their favorite grocery store: Bonus. There were a bunch of frozen lambs heads in the frozen foods section (right next to the pizza), Not gunna lie, kind of gross.
Allison lead us on a pretty intense hike to some hot springs. Lots of steam and sulfer belching from the mountain. Only a day in and we managed to end up at some of the most fantastic places. we swam in the hot springs and headed back. Actually, I got to swim twice, after I slipped on a rock into a deep portion of the stream. I’m pretty sure both my video camera and phone went in with me, but they both still work somehow. It was about an 8 mile hike. Some serious physical activity, and we made up for it by having spaghetti with peppers and corn at the campsite. We later played our version of the card game “SPOONS” which was redubbed “CRIMPS” because we used some 30A anderson power pole crimp terminals I found in my rain gear, instead of spoons.
We woke up this morning and went to the local bakery to get some fresh doughnuts and coffee. The only way to start the day! We packed up and headed out to Geysir. I’m still getting fully used to the GS, and there was some stretches of unpaved roads that were pretty slick. It’s tricky to get up on the footpegs the way you need to when riding off-road, when you have a passenger. Anyway Geysir is a very built-up tourist attraction of sorts, in stark contrast to the somewhat unspoiled springs we were at yesterday, but either way it was pretty fantastic. It really is unreal. It seems man-made, and yet it’s the farthest thing from it. I tried some smoked lamb-meat there. It was meh…very smokey.
We headed up the road to Golfoss, again a somewhat tourist-prone area, however it is a gorgeous waterfall, niagara falls may be bigger yeah, but this is cooler. Oh, and I finally decided to give Kerra the ring she’s been looking for…:) We headed off down some more intense off road riding through herds of sheep, down route 30. After I figured out the rubics cube of a gas-station we headed east on route 1.
We started into the glacial mountains, and the weather turned from gorgeous, to gray, to rediculously windy and rainy and cold.We were getting blown around in a serious way and when we stopped for gas we spotted some cabins across the road. It was (and still is as I write this) blowing very hard, maybe 40-50 mph with some rain and maybe 40 degrees F. We weren’t exactly in the mood to tent camp, but we were prepared to, since heading the 70k to the next town in this weather didn’t seem like a good idea. We asked about a cabin, which we thought were shed-style basic, small cabins. The price was 8000kr which is about $70 but since it’s so cold and windy I thought it was worth it to go for a real roof tonight. And as it turns out we got alot more than we bagained for. The cabin is a full loft, with a full bathroom, kitchen, electricity and HEAT! We could sleep like 40 backpackers in here :). It is right on the ocean in an absolutely quinessential icelandic location (check out the pictures 🙂 It is quite surreal, very Lord-Of-The-Rings 😉 I can see some tents blowing out of the front window, and even though they are well-staked down, they are basically blowing over completely…
It’s 11pm now, and it’s completely overcast outside, but also completely light out still. It’s very odd because not only are we not used to the long days, but since the sky has been mostly gray, it really looks the same pretty much all day long. It’s hard to tell what time of day it is. You can’t really see if the sun is setting or rising, it’s always just kind-of late afternoon. Hopefully it clears up a little bit, but the gray casts some really beautiful scenery here, and we have had a few brakes from the clouds, but not many.
We’ll try to really cover some ground tomorrow, but will be sure to take it nice and slow for gas mileage, considering the $7.85 / gallon gasoline (ouch).
More pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.557768475557.2059321.21603136
After a long flight and several delays, we still managed to make it to Reykjavik on time. We had to giveup trying to stream the season finale of house over 3G in JFk. It was tragic. How’s that for Adventure? When we arrive in Reykjavik, we had the easiest customs experience known to man. How long are you staying? Stamp. Go. No waiting, no grumpy faces, no interrogation, just a stamp and on your way. Wish I could look forward to that on the way home… no chance.
Anyway, The bus ride in to town already has given us a glimpse into the awesome beauty of Iceland. The volcanic rock is seen everywhere, even in the city center where you can see it in the tarmac and stone driveways.
We arrived at our campsite at around noon. The campsite, is in the middle of the city itself. Pretty much the coolest campsite ever. Complete with a bathing facility which is built into a hill for geothermal heating.
We walked about a mile to Biking Viking where we met up with Eythor, who showed us the F650GS we will be riding. We discussed installing the heated vest plug and he was super-cool about everything and very willing to help us out. It’s around 50 deg F here right now, which surprisingly doesn’t really feel that cold after the warm weather in Rochester. However, Eythor says that it’s suppose to cool down a bit.
We stopped and had some ‘dogs for dinner, which we heard are pretty good, which they were. We spoke with the woman there who was really cool and interested in our bike adventure. Much the same way that we’ve barely been to New York City, she said that though she’s lived here her whole life, she hasn’t had the opportunity to travel around the ring road. Isn’t our life awesome?
We plan to get up bright and early tomorrow and drag all of our junk a mile over to biking viking, and load up the bike to begin the bike trip! Honestly, at this point I would be happy renting a bicycle and camping in the city for a few days, just to enjoy, but we aught to have some time next week to do that after we turn the bike in.
So probably around a year ago we got the idea to motorbike around Iceland. Why? It’s one of the most farthest ends of the earth, from my perspective. It’s also unspoiled natural beauty, that only exists a few places on earth. And most importantly… Some of the best riding in the world 😀
We’re catching a plane to Iceland tomorrow, and we have everything packed. It’s a weird feeling packing your bike gear to take on a plane. I would have loved to ride there, but I hear there’s a hell of a river-crossing in the way….
We packed two giant duffle bags with our gear, and strapped sleeping bags to the side. We’re a bit worried the airline will charge us over-size bag fees which would be 600 bones… ugh.
I’ve packed cliff bars inside my boots to save room and I think we’re set 🙂 Ill be posting lots of a photos and maybe some video whenever we get internet access. Stay tuned.