Eastward we go!
Trip Start Jun 17, 2011
36Trip End Aug 26, 2011
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Leave it to us to head out of Reykjavik on a Friday afternoon. For one, we were missing the prime time to experience "runtur," an epic all night bar/pub/club crawl that anyone that is someone participates in on a weekendly basis. As you can imagine, this was not such a big deal for us as we are not much of the going out type. More significantly was reason number two: the mass exodus of giant 4x4s and trailers and giant 4x4s pulling trailers from the city. Our first experience of the Ring Road left us inhaling more exhaust than we care to think about while the power rigs whizzed by inches from our comparitively whimpy Long Haul Truckers. With no place to take refuge from the traffic as we crossed a barren lava plain, we were left wondering if there was anyone still in Reykjavik to do the runtur thing anyway.
Just when we were coming to terms with our situation, two beer cans came flying out the car window, barely missing Matt and hitting me right on the butt. Seriously, in Iceland? I guess if it happens here, it can happen anywhere! We wouldn't have minded so much if they had left us some to drink...
About thirty miles later, we gazed upon the green oasis of our destination from the top of a ridge and flew down the hill in to the town of Hveragerdi. We settled in to the crowded campground, cooked some pasta, and got some sleep.
The next morning we took a stroll through the geothermal area uniquely located right in the middle of town and bought some bread at a bakery that baked it in the ground directly using the geothermal heat. Well, the novelty of that wore off after our first bite of the dense substance. Heartily fortifed, we rode out of town to a trailhead and hiked a few beautiful kilometers to a steaming hot river that was just barely tolerable for a soak. Amazing!
Upon our return, we packed up and headed out late afternoon, leaving the Ring Road to pass through two small villages on a coastline remniscent of Oregon's. Before reaching camp in Stokkseyri, we detoured onto a gravelly farm road to reach a bird reserve where we most notably observed a loon and a pair of swans.
Our next day was mainly devoted to covering some distance through the scenic agricultural flatlands, with only a short lunch break at Iceland's largest waterfall by volume, apparently threatened by a proposal to build a hydropower plant on the river nearby. An impressive sight even by our "waterfall snob" standards, this one doesn't even regsister in promotional tourist brochures. We camped at a site that friendly farmer runs as a summertime side business in Hvolsvollur, cooking dinner in the bathroom shed to escape the wind.
During these last few days, we've experimented with different systems to work toward optimal efficiency with the constant packing and unpacking that seems to consume a decent chunk of each day. On the road, we are starting to find our rhythm too, slowly figuring out the balance of exploring while making necessary progress onward.