Monday, December 31, 2018


Today turned out to be mild and a second night at the hostel here at Lake Myvatn gives me the chance to see the sights. This area is packed with geothermal and geological wonders and natural beauty as well. I don't want to sound like a guide book, but you have old lava flows, cinder cones, mud pots (which I didn't see), stalagmite-like columns that formed under water long ago and are now exposed, lots of bird life, etc., etc. I recommend you "google" it if interested. I just took pictures.

The first picture is the back of the hostel and the glassed in kitchen area. You can see the surrounding lava field. Most of the good stuff is on the east side of the lake and that is where I went.

And then there are the midges. These are not the midges of Scotland or no-see-ums of Alaska. These are a tad bigger, swarm like crazy, and do not bite. Going about 10 mph on the bike avoided them, but when stopped they were all around and quite annoying. I guess they are attracted to heat.

So the plan was to leave the next day (Day 23), but the forecast was for very high winds, and then from several sources I was told that the 100 miles between Myvatn amd Egilsstadir was "boring". There is a spot about 2/3 of the way where one could eat, camp, and maybe stay overnight. After much mulling over, I decided to take a bus. The bus comes at 5 PM. The next day was very windy and a Swiss fellow I met at the hostel suggested I call the bus company to check on the schedule. Sure enough, the bus was cancelled! Later I bicycled to the market (about 2 km away) to get some food and felt the wrath of nature up close and personal. The next day (Day 24) was a lot better, but I still wanted to take the bus. 

Got it, and as predicted, the first 2/3 of the ride was very boring. It's kind of like the Mojave Desert of Iceland, only a little juicier. The road was super narrow also. Later someone told me, the bus was cancelled not from fear of getting blown off the road, but of ruining the paint from blowing lava dust. The bus stop in Egilsstadir is right at a campground and it was a mild evening so I set up my tent for the first time in Iceland during my 24 days so far. I have photographic proof in the next report.




I forgot to mention an incident on my rest day in Akureyri. I was cruising around town with minimal weight on the bike (except me of course) and all of a sudden one section of my front tire became unseated. I immediately hopped off and let the air out before the tube popped. I think I was running about 85 psi, and  the tires are rated at 95. I'm not positive if there was damage to the bead, but I re-seated and am running about 75 psi now. And here I am 5 days later, still alive. Back to my story.

Leaving town there was a pretty good climb passing many farms. I was intrigued by the various colors of the hay bales, white, black, pink, and I have also seen blue. I wonder if there is any significance to the different colors, maybe adjacent owners of the fields to keep things separated.

Beside the beautiful countryside, the highlight of the day was the Godafoss waterfall. I got pictures from both sides and a couple of video clips. Pretty impressive even with the darkening skies. The road immediately climbs from the falls and it started to drizzle. The climb was tough, the drizzle became rain, and it continued for a few hours. Then there was a final climb, even higher than the first two and the rain was not relenting. I decided to take the 4 km shorter route around the less scenic side of Lake Myvatn to my destination of Reykjahlid, a tiny little spot on the map, where I booked a hostel room. 

Sure enough, the rain stopped just as I got to my destination. That final picture of a fractured old lava flow is what you see for miles around. In fact the hostel is built right next to or on top of it.




My rest day in Akureyri was mild and sunny. It's the second largest town in Iceland, but still small compared to Reykjavik. I decided to do a little toodle around town to see the sights. The town is on the same fjord that I was on for the past two days. The giant cruise ship that you see is French and very new. This town has everything, is compact, and really pleasant.

It doesn't have a long history like some other places in Iceland, but does have an older section and some beautiful modern buildings. In the town center, the throngs of spectators are watching Iceland get whipped by Nigeria 2-0. The hostel I stayed in is the last picture of the white building surrounded by trees.




Today I left the cutesy town of Siglufjordur. Bright yesterday, overcast today, but got more pictures of town on the way out anyway. There are light posts everywhere because this place in winter must be as dark as Hades, not to mention snow covered. After a brief climb, there are 2, two lane tunnels, the first about 2.5 miles, the second about 4.3 miles. They are pretty well lit and traffic was very mild. I have a pretty good rear blinker too, so no problems. They don't climb or descend much, but go directly through the hills. This dumps you into another nice little town, Olafsjordur, (where I stopped for coffee), before another little climb to a one lane tunnel about 2 miles long. There are pullouts in the tunnel and drivers seemed to be quite cautious.

Then the road runs right along the fjord (Eyjafjordur), before entering Dalvik, another little port town where people can take boat rides up to the island of Grimsey, right on the Arctic Circle. After another nice undulating stretch things flattened out and all hell broke loose. The last 15 miles or so into Akureyri, I had a raging headwind of 20 to 25 miles per hour. I crept along for hours, the only good thing was knowing that I would not run out of daylight and I had previously booked a private hostel room for 2 nights in town. Like I mentioned earlier, "no country for old men". I made it, suffering mightily. The key to this type of direct headwind is to just be content with your 3 to 4 mph pace, not push it, and have the luxury of time.