Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 8: July 3, 2011

Another chilly, windy, rainy day on Heimaey in the Westman Islands, but we didn't mind. We cycled around the island in the morning, checking out some cliffs and burning calories in the struggle to ride into the ever-present gusts. I've attached a pic of the day's weather report describing the winds as "near gale", just in case you think I'm exaggerating for sympathy. :-).

We stayed two nights in Hotel Thorshamar on the island, but got one night free by the generous owner, as a way of supporting our ride (see pic).

We planned to take an 11:30a.m. ferry back to the mainland, but it was canceled because of stormy seas. We had a fairly dramatic experience trying to get on the oversold 2:30 p.m. ferry. After a lot of waiting and sweet talking, we managed to slip on the ferry just as it was about to leave. The boat was sealed and about to take off, but I convinced the captain to open up the cargo hold, so that we could roll our bikes on board. I can't post video on this blog - wish I could. The ride across the stormy ocean was intense, and I captured some cool video footage.

We rested up at the mainland ferry terminal, then rode 12 km (7 miles) from the southern coast back to the Ring Road. I hate to keep going on about the wind (I've started responding to people I meet who comment on it, "Wind? What wind?"), but I wouldn't be a responsible blogger if I didn't say Holy Crap, the wind was RIDICULOUS on that section. It slammed us from the right, a vicious cross wind that tried constantly to shove us off the road. Many times, we hopped off and pushed the bikes, arms outstretched, straining to keep everything up right. But we rode through a lot of it, and I figured out a technique that kinda worked. I stayed in the middle of the road (almost no traffic on this section), and weaved back and forth in a narrow figure eight pattern, like a tacking sail boat. My right hand was dropped low on the handle bars, and I leaned my body far over to the right into the cross wind. My left hand squeezed the brakes as I pedaled, so that when a strong gust took over and started to push us off the road, I could stop immediately and walk our bikes back to the middle of the road. It was exhausting, but effective.

After reaching the Ring Road, we rode east for a while into a head wind that kept us at a crawl around 5 MPH. When we decided to stop for the day, I decided to skip a nearby campsite, not interested in setting up our tent on a field exposed to the wind and rain. We decided to camp out in the protected entrance way of an abandoned hotel we happened across. At least I thought it was abandoned, until the owner drove up at 9:30 p.m. and yelled outside our tent, "What are you doing here?". Saya was the first one out of the tent, which took some of the edge off his anger. I explained our ride and that I didn't want to expose my kids to the elements. When I offered to pay, he relaxed and agreed to a price of around $15. "That, kids, is called capitalism," I explained to Sho and Saya.

Sho said, "I'm glad he didn't ask for $50."

I nodded with a serious look. "I would have paid it..."

Her are some pics from today:

"Near gale":



Sho and Saya with the hotel owner:




The kids on Heimaey:













Ferry shots:







Sho dealing with the wind. Saya was cozy and warm in her trailer:




Our campsite (notice beautiful waterfall in background):



Inside the tent:


- An Iceland Bike Adventure post

1 comment:

  1. Charles - You and the kids' spirit is inspiring!

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