Read more about our Iceland adventures in our ebook
Iceland: A Stormy Motorcycle Adventure
by Sherrie McCarthy
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The road to Kverkfjoll
Picture this: Us, bright eyed, enamored with Iceland, so much so that our first day we never made it out of our first fjord because we could not comprehend that Iceland was not just all we thought it would be, but in fact much much more. (And we were not even in Lonely Planet land yet, just a slight recommended detour for those with too much time on their hands). We were in 7th heaven. We had 4 weeks stretching in front of us, and we wanted to make the most of them.
So we venture into the local Tourist info to get “the local know how” on what roads would be the best option for us, especially for Sherrie as she is not an experienced off roader. (Try, actually, not one at all, she had a 1 day course and declared she hated it). But we thought that this was perhaps not the best info to share, but rather of the sort to keep to ourselves in case they try to discourage us.
Perhaps one of our brighter ideas, as when we told the guide we wished to venture forth to Kverkfjoll, which had a road rumored to be sent from the devil himself, well let us just say we met one of his minions at the tourist info. When we asked about the road he puffed himself up, sneered at us in disdain and declared that “I, MYSELF, have never been there, I for ONE, am not into this Hemingway crap, but that road will eat you up and SPIT you out. I am much more a London or Paris person myself.”
And then he rolled his eyes at us.
My (Sherrie’s) first reaction was to sneer back that I was more of a Tokyo person than London or Paris, but I decided that we should try and keep to the topic, and that it had nothing to do with Cuba or giant fish (which is, sorry, what I always think of when I hear of Hemingway, and neither has to do with glaciers, but maybe roads that are not kept up? Although the roads in Cuba were not that bad, we did it on scooter, so I think our motorcycles could handle it).
He then told us to beware of gas, and to bring gifts for the locals who will be our saviors. Then he chuckled and snarled “no I am joking about the gifts, there ARE no locals.” (He was right about that part at least, but there was a shitload of Germans. But then my personal belief is that you can be in the North Pole and a German is going to pop out of a snow bank).
But this man, who was suppose to be promoting his land (and who should have the EASIEST job in the world, this place is amazingly beautiful, full of wonderful and otherwise friendly people, and offers everything from whales and fjords to landscapes that are more like the moon than earth) was in fact the most bitter and sour person I have met ever. And I have met a lot of angry people. Trust me on that one.
Dude should rethink his chosen vocation. Perhaps he would have been better off selling tickets OUT of Iceland to Icelanders. Either way, the road did not eat us alive, and when we picked up gas about 30 kms away from the beginning of this road, the local guy also laughed at us, but in a much more friendly way, and said with two bikes as long as we were not stupid we would be fine. (Which I agreed with personally!).
Moral of the story: Never let anyone talk you out of anything, even if they claim to be an expert. Dont take stupid risks, do as I did and drive at a walking speed through the sand pits! (If I did 50 or 60 the road would have eaten me alive.) Try it out and you may just find that not only is it doable, but it contributes to some of the best memories you have. And that you in fact find off roading to be among the most fun you have ever had as well!
I wish the camera had not crapped out and refused to take a decent pic, but still a crappy pic is better than no pic!