..or first day of coming back I start the morning with a little bit of bike wrenching wielding my cone spanners around rear hub that came loose recently. I get on a bike and retrace my footsteps to the junction where red road meets small ‘I shall shake you to pieces’ road. I turn. This alternative route north isn’t very popular but while it lacks spectacular features it is home to one of the wildest stories from Icelandic history. Bad road soon turns into gravel highway allowing me steady 25km/h for almost an hour! Makes me think about a day when after 8 hours in the saddle I barely covered 45km. It is, however, most lonely and isolated day on the road with no cars to wave to… apart of one: I meet a biology student in a pickup truck, she drove here all the way from Reykjavik (8 hours one way) to count eggs of wild geese… now that’s what I call a summer job! She seems to be quite good at history as well so I’m enjoying a free lecture about Fjalla Eyvindur.
This thin strip of green grass which back then was permanently cut off by glaciers and two big rivers, fed Fjalla’s family and all the stolen sheep for hardly believable 20 years!
Lava field in the background still shows some traces of primitive shelters for people and animals…
Congratulations – you’ve made through the second and last history lesson!
By the abandoned rangers post I cross a rather weird river. It’s wide and not very deep but its dark and almost still water doesn’t look particularly inviting. Yes it is raining again
Before day comes to an end I’m back to familiar sand & lava desert near Askja. Weather is getting better so I stop for early dinner on the rocks… I dig deep into my front left pannier in search for the last pancetta box and a bag of my backup pasta – it’s all wet. Looks like my water bladder leaked some water into the panniers some days ago and now meat is rotten and pasta looks like one big white ball of dough. I’m trying to cook sth decent out of it but although I’m super hungry it does taste a bit funny. I throw the rest of spoiled meet and pasta to my bin bag and get back on the bike trying to ride out some of the disappointment. I make a mental note to spend more than £4 on a water bladder next time… Later that day I pitch the tent and play long ukulele session, sunset sets everything on fire but I don’t take any pictures…
In the morning I’m doing my food accounts. One noodle soup, small bag of nuts and protein bar. The nearest food store is in Myvatn, 120km or almost two days of pedaling. Water in the glacial river is white with sediment so I’m using my left woolly sock as an improvised filter, I’m only using these socks for sleeping so I’m happy to find an alternative use for them…
It’s funny how sometimes Iceland seems to have bridges without roads leading to them… Scenery reminds me of California seen on my parents slides as a kid.. so I filtered the photo to match colours in my memory:
For a moment I contemplate climbing the mountain in the background but it would be a 50 km detour, 8 hours climb, no food and little motivation left – I leave it for the next time.
My tires are taking punishment with a huge grin. Wish I could say the same about my wrists. Sadly this expedition standard has been discontinued and replaced with more modern lighter tires. I managed to snatch the last pair lying lonely in a forgotten bicycle shop in Austria.
Shy signs of civilization ahead!
Soon enough I get onto a narrow asphalt road. Its dinner time so I eat half of the protein bar and slowly move on.
I get to the main circular road that runs around Island. It’s getting dark, 60km left to Myvatn, lots of traffic. After 10km and a couple of huge mountain passes I set a rough camp behind sheep shed and eat all my remaining nuts for supper…