woensdag 19 augustus 2015

IS2015 Day 12 & 13: Hofsós & Hólmavik

Yes, the first three destinations in Iceland all start with 'Ho'. Santa all the way baby!

In Hólssel, I had noticed that one pannier was significantly heavier than the other. A re-layout was in order.

And then, it was time to go on. The problem was however that I had already done a 180 km on this tank. Usually I tend to fill it up when it gets above 200, and the nearest fuel stop was 50 kilometers away. Was I to visit Detifoss, then it would be 70 kilometers.

I guess I now learned the lesson why you should always plan ahead with filling up, in Iceland. I chose to forego Detifoss, and wanted to focus on the progress today instead. I mean, it was still blood-thickeningly cold.

At least it kept the water in the tankbag chilled. Every cloud a silver lining and all that!

Time to get back on the horse...

...and gallop westward, towards the Fountain of Youth and Petroleum.

But first though, the Fountain of Sulfur and Aged Farts beckoned on the horizon.

Most people claim it smells like rotten eggs at a place like this, but I wasn't all too sure about whether it would be eggs in this case.

More like somebody reheating a quiche that's been in the bottom of the fridge for a bit too long.

Yes I know that description doesn't really help you.

Today it was basically awesome sight after awesome sight, like I kept on visiting different planets.

But no, I was still on Earth, I was sure of it.

This, for example, was Myvatn.

The stunning views were basically endless at this point

(until someone hit the switch of the fog machine again)

There, that's better.

There was also the return of the Sun, albeit some watered-down, hidden-away version.

At this point I noticed I was converging on the fjord that was the home of Akureyri, which is the second city of Iceland. I saw the road leading up, which probably meant that the sight at the other side was surely worth seeing.

This is what happened next.

IS2015 - Riding West towards Akureyri
Wait for it....!
Posted by The Dekatria Project on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I reckoned that, especially with that cruise ship at anchor in its port, Akureyri would be the perfect place to find myself an Iceland sticker for the panniers.

I asked for some directions at a tourist information desk (of which the receptionist spoke remarkable good English) and set to work.

And wouldn't you know it, I struck gold on the first go. Awesome!

I had decided that after Akureyri I was going to stay off Road 1 for a change, and head up North, following the fjord's coastline.

A decision that showed immediate result.

Just take a look at that!

More importantly, the sun now came out to play as well!

And after risking my ass to take this picture...

...showing myself where I was...

...traversing a tunnel...

...and spotting another Transalp....

I came to a coast of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Just take that view in for a moment. Clear view, hardly any wind, the sun shining... it was downright amazing. 

With the views as they were, I felt it time to record some of the road that came up next. And yes, this following video is 15 minutes long, but you can understand why I left it that long when you watch it.

IS2015 - Road 76 towards Miklavatn
Quite a long video, but you'll understand why I didn't edit it!
Posted by The Dekatria Project on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Not long after this I needed to fill up again, so I turned off into Hofsós.

It was a really quaint little town, which, or so I was told by this man, also had one of the best pools in Iceland, overlooking the fjord Hofsós is in.

That was as good a reason as any to set up camp. I could've gone on, but the weather was nice, and I felt like going for a swim.

My neighbors were quite interested in what I'd come to do in this neck of the woods. Apparently, they were having a family reunion here in Hofsós, with family members coming from as far as Reykjavik.

The swim was also really nice. Ofcourse, I haven't got any pictures of that otherwise people would think I'm a creep...

...so here's a picture of me with some milk instead.

I took a look at the map for the Westfjords, which would be coming up next.

The roads in red are tarmac roads. Immediately you can see the challenge - the tarmac does not make a complete circle. Apparently, entering the Westfjords would herald the definitive arrival of gravel on the trip..

The next morning, the sun was once again out to greet me.

I had been told by the family to stop by their hometown, the nearby city of Sauðárkrókur.

And after rounding the fjord I'd overlooked from the pool the day before, I arrived in that particular city...

...where I came across a painting of une crevette. C'est ça!

I was now hurdling towards Blonduós, a city I had been warned the cops would be keen to ambush me wherever possible.

I chose to circumvent said ambush by eating a sandwich.

That'll teach'em!

Now all I had left to do was go all the way down the fjord you see on the right, as up next I had to go all the way up the road at the other side.

(but not without scoring some further wind protection at the bottom of the fjord, ofcourse)

I'd spotted on the map that until my planned destination of Holmavik, there would be 3 quite long stretches of gravel to conquer. And indeed, it wasn't long until the madness started.

"End of paved road".

My second favorite sign of the trip. Let's show them what we're made of!

IS2015 - Road 68 leading North
Posted by The Dekatria Project on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

After this, it didn't take long for me to find Hólmavik.

But not before an Icelandic biker put me in my place by overtaking me at full chat, on gravel, on a bright yellow GOLDWING.

The gravel was enormous fun though. After a while, I got over my apprehensiveness, knew the Beast could take it, and found myself positively smiling on these rally special stages.

I reckoned that that overtake was rather embarrassing though, but as I did some groceries at the supermarket on the opposite side of the camp site, I met 5 Icelandic bikers who reassured me a little. Four of them had big adventure bikes with them - two 1200 GS's, a Honda Crossrunner and a KTM. 

The fifth guy showed me however that it's an Icelandic thing to take something which isn't particularly built for these roads out into the mud. He came thundering along on a brand new Ducati Scrambler, which had been caked in mud from the tank down.

"This is the only Ducati Scrambler in Iceland" he told me. "and I have also ordered a sump guard, but it hasn't arrived yet, so I am a bit nervous."

Absolute gold.

It had been a long run the past 2 days, but the scenery had totally blown me away.

As did the view of the camp site.

Tomorrow, time to head deeper into the Westfjords, and converge onto Látrabjarg!

IS2015 Random - Day 12 & 13
Now where did I leave my hat...
Posted by The Dekatria Project on Wednesday, August 19, 2015