ICELAND - DAY 1 - JUNE 3
The flight and first day on the road were kind of anti-climatic compared to the two weeks of work and loss of sleep getting my bicycle and gear packed up for the trip, not to mention all the fiddly details around the house. Every tour that I have been on is different when you consider the variables, like climate, clothing, camping or not, cooking or not, new and old electronics, and a bunch of other details. I have camping gear, no cooking, and the usual weighty bunch of electronics. The final weigh in is north of 80 pounds. Got dinged for an overweight charge at the San Diego Airport, and no wonder.
Arrived in Keflavik just after 6:00 AM local time. Currently the sun sets at 11:40 PM and rises at 3:12 AM, and the days are getting longer. The forecast for most of the summer here is highs in the low to mid 50's and lows in the 40's. Sure enough it was cool and overcast my entire first day. Not looking forward to the rains and high winds which are inevitable, but not today.
The airport is very nice and modern. In front of the terminal are some statues of naked people, albeit very conservative, the significance of which I have no idea. A short walk in front of the terminal is the "Bike Pit". This is a large unheated storage container with a bike rack and tools attached inside. I used a cart and dutifully hauled my bike box out there to unpack and reassemble. Personally, I am against this idea. I would rather stay inside the already messy, but roomy heated baggage claim area and do my business there. And what bicycle tourist needs third party tools to put together or take apart their bike for a flight? Maybe I'm being too judgmental.
It was a dreary, uninspiring flat ride into Reykjavik where I had a "warmshowers" connection for my first night or two. It was Sunday, traffic was light, and there was a pretty good shoulder most of the way. I literally got lost 4 or 5 times when I got closer to the city and it was advisable to get off of the main road. Now I know there are separated paved biking and walking paths along almost every major road. A lot of intersections have underpasses to further our safety. When there are not underpasses, cars are very respectful as if they care if you have a good day. No horn honking either. This is similar to what I found in Norway. And little Iceland is in the World Cup and big fat USA is not. It's good to be in Iceland! Okay, maybe I am a little judgmental.
I am staying with a really nice guy named Birgir inside his house in a separate little apartment that he rents out as a BnB. I was just lucky that it was currently empty. He is an avid bicycle rider and has several.