Andreas Sommer is RISER AMBASSADOR and shares his motorcycle experiences with you on the RISER Journal. Follow him on the RISER App, check out his routes and stay up to date on his latest tips!
7th of June Thingvillir – Grundarfjördur
Today we split up. Dirk only stays on the island for one more week and therefore he has to travel a bit faster than me. After the packing he drives to the west and I drive to Reykjavik. On the way I pass many meadows, streams, farms, fields with lupines and small villages.
In front of the city, along the motorway, there are all the car dealers, shopping centers and company headquarters on the island. First I look at Hallgrims-Kirka. The impressive cement building makes an impressing appearance.
Afterward, I drive to the center and park my motorbike near the harbor. Here are the yachts, sightseeing boats and whale watching ships. A little further out are two crusaders. In the city, there is still little going on and so I continue driving after a short time. On the way out of the city I shop for groceries. For 20 Euros there are just 2-hand full of goods. The country is really expensive!
I’m on my way back to the Westfjords. Soon I reach Borgarnes. From there on it gets lonelier and lonelier. On the peninsula Snaefellsnes there are many volcanoes again and at the end of the day, I come through a great volcanic landscape. To the left and right of the road are old lava fields and the volcanic mountains carry ice caps.
There are only a few dozen houses in the village of Grunadfjördur. There are some fishing boats in the harbor and the local swimming pool with a heated outdoor pool is close to the campsite. After setting up my tent, I treat myself with a bath there.
8th of Grundafjördur – Flökulundar
Today I drive around the Breidarfjördur. There would be a ferry from Stykkis-Holmur to Amorsstadir, but I am a motorcyclist 😉. Large stretches of the tour are natural roads, the villages and also the gas stations are rare. But the view on the sea is wonderful. Before I reach Flökulundar in West Iceland I pass by many bays, fjords and beaches. At the sea, I find a hidden “Hotpot”. The village has a hotel, a gas station, a camping site and a small shop – that’s it.
I set up my tent, make my dinner on the camping stove and then explore the surroundings. As I stand in front of the gas station, you wouldn’t believe it, Dirk drives up again. To celebrate our reunion we treat ourselves with a beer. Tomorrow, we will drive together again tomorrow.
9th of June Flókalundur – Isafjördur
After breakfast, the way leads us along the coast to Patrecksfördur in the very west of the island. The village is very isolated at the fjord. We wonder what the people here can live on. Except for a few hotels, the school, and a fish processing factory with the necessary boats no jobs are to be recognized for us. After a few photos, we make our way over the next pass to the next fjord. On the way, we pass farms, a fish factory and wide landscapes. The Westfjords are definitely sparsely populated. After a few kilometers, natural roads begin and the area becomes even more deserted. We enjoy the drive through the rough natural landscape, past brooks, waterfalls, and along the fjords. On the dry country roads, we can drive almost like on tar roads.
At Dynlandifoss we take the next break. The impressive waterfall rushes in several cascades from the highlands down to the fjord. On the parking lot the tourists who have taken the long way on themselves gather and admire the mighty brook.
Shortly before Isafjördur, we enter a tunnel. It is single-lane and the oncoming traffic has to let us pass in bays. Halfway is the turn-off to Sudueiri.
After the tunnel, we’ll separate finally. Dirk drives further in the direction of Akureiri, I stay and check in on the camping site.
10th of June Isafjördur – Drangsenes
It’s a glorious day. It goes along the fjords – 90 kilometers as bee-line become a journey of over 300 km. The many bays become boring with the time. 25 km to the rear end, 25 km to the next turn, then again the same game and that five times!!! Finally, I reach a gas station and then I cross the plateau of Steingrimsfjördarheidi to the next fjord. From here it is only a short distance to Drangsnes. The place is very overseeable. A few houses, a campground, a bath, the harbour….
I enjoy the peace and quiet on the square, take a little tour through the village, eat something and work on the photos I have taken.
11th of June Drangsnes – Varmaland
I need gas again and so I drive to Husavik. Here I have breakfast, get some gasoline and the information that you can watch whales in Husavik. So I drive to the harbour. After some research I find the boat that will go out to the whales. While I wait, there are more Whale Watchers gathering. As soon as we are in the bay, we spot the first minke whales.
Slowly our captain follows the animal and we see it appear again and again briefly. After some time he turns around in search of other animals. And in fact, he finds a humpback whale after a short while. The mighty animal appears again and again for a moment, makes a hump and disappears into the depth. Once it swims past the ship directly in front of the bow. For about two hours we cruise in the bay until we end the tour and enter the harbor again.
Since I have enough time until my ferry leaves, I decide to go south again. I follow another 100 km of the coast and at the end of the bay I drive away from the Atlantic into the interior. Another 100 kilometres I drive over wide plateaus on the highway to my destination.
12th of June Varmaland – Blönduos
Today I want to go inland. On the “550” I drive once more to the national park of Thingvellir. In the beginning, as long as farms line along the road, the road has a tar surface. Then, immediately after the last hotel, it stops and goes uphill without tar. The gravel lies quite roughly on the road and the tracks are clearly marked. I have to be careful to “read” the road. To the left and right of the road there are scree heaps, rushing streams down and on the horizon glaciers and volcanoes greet. The shaking puts a lot of strain on my motorcycle and the vibrations loosen a foot grid. I stop and find the footrest in the dust again. Super, really helpful to ride without a grid! I hardly meet any cars and if I do, then mighty dust flags are pulling behind them.
After more than 40 kilometres the effort has come to an end and I am back on a paved road. Shortly after I reach the park. Once again I pass the Geysir and the Gullfoss. I take the last opportunity to refuel and then come to road 35.
At the beginning of the desert lupines still bloom, in the background bare mountains rise and from time to time a brook rushes through the landscape. I stop for a few photos. The area and the road are deserted.
As soon as I drive on, I’m lying on the road. A sand hole brought me down. Obviously I wasn’t really ready to continue! The machine lies so unfortunately that I can’t set it up alone, although I have removed all the luggage. I have to wait 15 minutes for a car to arrive. I stop it and the people help me to set up the machine again.
Now I’ve been warned. Deep furrows alternate with sandy passages and sections of coarse scree. I only drive 30-40 km/h. Often it goes even slower forward. Slowly the road rises. After hours I reach the culmination point at Kjolur (approx. 800 m.a.s.l.). Here is still an airfield and somewhere should be a camping site and a shelter. From time to time there are some paths into the mountains. But I stay on my way to the north.
Cars that cross from time to time pull dust clouds behind them and fog me in. Left and right are only stones and sand, on the horizon mountains, volcanoes, snow and ice fields. It is a barren landscape without green. I sweat blood and water. After a while, I reach the reservoir at Authkuluheidi. I am still on the “Gravel Road”. Now I can finally take a break and enjoy the view of the bright blue lake. The gravel road has stopped me so far. After many hours and 180 kilometers, I feel well again on the ground for the first time.
On the challenging tour, my navigation system stopped working in the meantime and a simmering of the front fork became leaky. It is still a few kilometres to Blönduos. I immediately find the campground, set everything up and try to find someone who can fix my foot grid again. I’m lucky, there’s an agricultural mechanic nearby who can help me. Now I’m completely exhausted and I am happy to go to bed. Finally.
The next part of Ambassador Andreas’ trip will soon be published on the RISER Journal. In the meantime, you can check out his other routes on his RISER profile. If you like his trips, follow him on RISER and stay Up-To-Date 😉.