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Iceland: A Stormy Motorcycle Adventure
by Sherrie McCarthy
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Even without the scary tourist information man’s speech of the impending doom that awaits all those who dare venture into the badlands of Iceland’s interior, the place had already been hyped to us by guidebooks as an isolated, only for the hardcore and the brave, zone. Although not entirely untrue, (I am in fact very glad our trip was canceled last year, as I think the roads of the interior would have had me hauling off my helmet, slamming it into Patrick’s face, and then sitting down and crying at the futility of it all), neither is it quite Thunderdome’s “2 man enter, 1 man leaves.” And isolated it is not! Although it is very true that Icelanders tend to leave the place alone, Germans in particular are drawn to it, as are the French.
Seriously, on the one hand you are told to be prepared to die alone should you venture in there, on the other hand just TRY to pee without someone seeing you. The place is a desert, but as soon as you pee, someone is driving around the one bend you managed to find. (Or cruising through a river, jumping out and rubbing his hands together, and exclaiming in a thick German accent “It always AMAZES ME where these mopeds of yours end up. You know you took a wrong turn somewhere to be on THIS road, correct?”) Wargle.
Even when we took the “are you mentally unbalanced” path by accident on the way to Kverkfoll, I was still unable to pee! And then there was the incident of the nail….
So, we are on the way to Askja, redoing the road we have now done not less than 4 times before (see Journizer when I update that next to get that full story), and at this point, since all our stuff is at a camp ground (this one to be exact http://www.fjalladyrd.is/, HIGHLY recommended!) the road is a breeze! And then I notice Patrick is not behind me. Long story short, he has a giant nail in his tire, and he then decides to take my bike to go pick up the tire repair kit (stupidly left back at camp) but also to use the pump at the gas station, rather than making each other crazy trying to blow it up with our little foot pump.
Not good for driving:
and when pulled out:
And so, I was left alone (my seat was used up by Wilma’s tire) and I was left to curse myself that I broke my golden rule of travel, ALWAYS have a book. Even when you think there is no way you will need that book because you will be at a volcano and swimming in its crater, you take a book!
Alas I had not, and I lay there cursing myself, and wishing I could nap at least. But as this is the interior I get 15 mins of silence before a convey of Land Rovers blast past, followed by 20 mins when a bus blasts past, and mix it up as you will, but I was never alone longer than 25 minutes. So I gave up, as the bike looked like this:
and that coupled with me sprawled face down next to it,well, tended to create panic in our fearless interior explorers, as their first reaction tended to be I was in fact dead, rather than trying to catch up on the sleep we gave up on to get up early to make it to Askja.
But perhaps the worse fate was the fact that once I had finally given up on sleeping, no one stopped EXCEPT when I had tracked 15 mins away and squatted in the dust to pee (at least then I was merely a tiny undignified speck rather than an up close and personal one), THEN they wanted to know what was going on.
Thank you for your concern. In the future please keep it for when I have my clothes fully on and I am not in the most compromising position of the female squatting to pee.
Me, “peeing behind some rocks”, the rest of Iceland has seen me, why not you too!: