Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 46, Last Day of the Ride: Aug 10, 2011

This was it - the last day of our ride! We slept in a guest house by the sea in the small village of Hellnar, squeezed next to one another in a bunk bed. Eiko and Saya took the top bunk, while Sho and I snuggled below. I awoke at 4:30 am, stirred perhaps by a desire to prolong the final day of our adventure, and snuck quietly outside. The windless pre-dawn sky glowed orange and gray over a range of coastal sea cliffs. Nesting gulls called out from the cliffs to my left, their staccato exclamations echoing off the rocks and harmonizing with the soft lapping of ocean waves far below. Dozens of arctic terns cried out from the field to my right, performing early morning aerial stunts while hunting for breakfast.

A single star shone brightly over the never-ending sea's dark waters. It was the first star I had seen since coming to Iceland on June 21, the summer solstice. Clouds and a sun that almost never set had obscured the constellations throughout our travels, and I wondered how different my experience of Iceland's big skies would be if I came back during the winter's nearly perpetual nights.

As I stared out over the waters, absorbed into the peaceful early morning, I felt the movement of time. Time is both friend and foe, the life-giving epitome of nature's cruel insouciance, and I wondered how much of it I have left. Spending 46 days on a charity ride through Iceland with my family was not a bad use of it, I decided. And I felt a twinge of excitement at the thought of dreaming up more adventures to explore and cherish and share with my children this remarkable planet we live on.

Once everyone was up, we ate breakfast and cycled 60 km (40 miles) from Hellnar to Vegamot on the southern coast of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Snaefellsjokull glacier receded behind us, as we cruised through rough lava fields and farm land on another gorgeous summer day. We paused for lunch at a cabin by a beautiful mountain lake. By mid-afternoon, we reached the N1 gas station in Vegamot, where we would take a bus the rest of the way to Reykjavik. Originally, I had planned to cycle back to Iceland's capitol, but we ran out of time before our scheduled return to NYC, and chose to ride around Snaefellsnes peninsula instead of fighting traffic on the Ring Road.

Enjoying another of many examples of Icelandic generosity, we spent the night in Reykjavik in the home of Gerda Sigmarsdottir and Hinrik Sigurdur Johannesson. They heard about our ride and offered us a place to stay before we fly back home. Sho and Saya loved the opportunity to play with kids their own age and disappeared into rooms filled with toys, while Eiko and I chatted late into the night with our wonderful hosts.

Here are some pics:

Sunrise in Hellnar at 4:30 am:

Pic from the road:

You can see the edge of the lava flow:

Our lunch spot:

The end of the ride:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure post


  1. Congratulations on completing your goal. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts as you cycled through Iceland. Thank you for sharing with us. One of my personal goals is to circle the island on a multi week tour and its been great to add must-see areas to my list and read about your perspectives and challenges. I've enjoyed your insights and agree with the philosophy of lowering our footprint and that reducing our dependency on consumerism would likely lead to a happier and fuller life. Again, kudos on your success and completion of this family trip.

  2. Congratulations to you all! And, safe travels back to the states. I hope you created lots of great memories. I can't wait to hear the stories!

  3. Dan: Thanks! I'm glad you found the blog posts useful and wish you luck when you circumnavigate Iceland. It's definitely worth the effort. Let me know when you do it. I'd enjoy hearing about your experience. My e-mail is icelandbikeadventure[at]

    Jennifer: We've made it back to NYC and are all still buzzing with memories from the ride. Let's go out to lunch and catch up!