"Iceland 2010, part 3, the second week, Landmanalaugar, Askja, Dettifoss, ..."
NOTE: Due to the duration of the trip and therefore volume of the diary I have split it up into several parts.
05.08.2010 Starting-km: 134.549, End-km 134.653, Distance 104 km
After having filled up the tank (112l, 29,5l/100km) on Tuesday morning I drove again on the “1” direction west to leave it this time after some kilometres to the F208 direction north. After my experiences from the previous day I expected the worst and was prepared for an overnight-stop for the ~100 km to Landmanalaugar. But this time the similar marked track was in a much better condition and I had enough time to take a side-road to a waterfall – the last kilometres are by foot-walk only, as far as I remember it was called Öferjifoss.
A picture especially for my Dutch friends! J
After that I drove the last kilometres to Landmanalaugar, where I was pretty sure even from a bigger distance that the Unimog on the camp site can only be the one from family Laske. And really, it was them and so the plan for a common BBQ was fixed. Unfortunately the awning (this day the name rain cover would have fitted better) didn’t prevent that fine rain sprayed underneath and the wind made it even more uncomfortable. Nevertheless we enjoyed the food together with Jan – supported by various drinks.
Afterwards we walked to the hot springs were we were in the hot water for a long time – GREAT! At 23:30 we left the hot springs warmed up very well and us 3 men had a nice evening (or better morning) by talks about “diesel”.
06.08.2010 Starting-km: 134.653, End-km 134.805, Distance 152 km
After breakfast we all enjoyed the luxury of the hot springs.
Jürgen Laske took some pictures of me, how I crossed the both river arms which were in front of the campsite. From the outside it does not really look spectacular but when you sitting in the truck your first thought is, that the water will be in the cabin immediately.
Then it was time to say good-by to family Laske. Jürgen drove the 2 ladies to the airport in Reykjavik, he and his son had some additional days in Iceland to drive with the Unimog east to the ferry. I hope we will see us soon & healthy where-ever in this world! J
I continued on the F208 direction north, made a short stop at this volcano
and filled up again, this time 51l, which resulted because of nearly completely tracks in a consumption of nearly 35l/100km.
On the F26 I drove further to the inner Iceland. Although the street was two-lane and without steep hills the surface was like washboard and extremely shaky.
Above 50km/h driving was better because you mostly only hit the tops of the waves but unfortunately it was impossible to maintain that speed everywhere. Either it was too steep, the curves were sandy and therefore slippery or oncoming traffic would have made it to a kamikaze-job to maintain the speed. More and more the road became smaller, first river crossing appeared and the high-speed driving was extremely demanding – you had to be up and awake every second not to get off the road accidentally. After ~100 km I heard a metal sound and stopped – the noise had disappeared. The next 8 km to the ranger-station, Nýidalur I drove extremely careful and slowly. After having parked I started the examination. The problem was isolated quickly, the rear support frame of the external generator had lost its fixing screws. I seemed to me as if he was only hanging on the front support frame. One of the screws I was able to fix again quite quickly. The second one was a much more difficult task. Furthermore it was meanwhile only later than 20:00h and a very intensive wind of max. 8°C was blowing directly in my neck. So I turned the truck around and prepared my dinner.
07.08.2010 Starting-km: 134.805, End-km 134.881, Distance 76 km
Shit, I woke up because of raindrops hit the roof. So I had a very relaxed start with breakfast, reading (for the trip I have bought a Sony E-Book-Readert, so the “books” don’t use extra space). At 11:00h the rain had stopped, so I jumped into the overall-work dress. When examining the rear support frame further I realized, that it had 3 screws to fix it the chassis. My idea how to fumble in the 3rd screw failed and without removing out the generator and taking off the rear aluminium-wall I had no chance. Due to the rain and the temperatures I decided that 2 screws must be sufficient and to have a frequent look at them.
But no further problems occurred with the support frame and so I extended the inspection intervals. After a view kilometres I leave the F26 to the right and hit the F910. This track to Askja is getting worse and worse and the average speed is decreasing more and more. But the lava fields are offering beautiful sceneries.
Whilst an inspection- and photo-shooting-stop I realized a scratch in the surface of the left rear tire! When I had a closer look I realized that a piece of rubber big as a fist had gone off – down the steel layer – SHIT! So I had to drive from now even more careful and slower, because I am too lazy to exchange the tire here in the desert.
Slow driving was anyhow the only choice because of the ground structure (rocks and sharp lava fields) I can only use the 1st gear in reduction mode which results in more or less walking speed. L For safety reasons I put in 4x4 and hope to minimize the stress for the rear wheel.
When climbing up a steep hill driving Big Foot feels strange but a look at the left rear tire doesn’t show any further problems. So I continue for a few meters but the driving feeling gets even stranger. In addition the cabin seems to tend to the right. When getting out again I realize that the right rear tire has gone off the rim and is completely damaged. Unfortunately I am now directly in a lava area, not even 30 cm to the left or right before big rocks of lava or complete lava flows make it impossible for any vehicle to pass by. If someone would have appeared now he would have been forced automatically to help!
I will make the story short: After 4 hours the damaged tire has been demounted, the spare tire is mounted, all tools etc. are stored back again and I am tired, hungry, stressed, dirty and feel a little bit helpless. I don’t have an additional spare tire but a tire which has a severe damage and in front of me a lava field with sharp rocks and stones where I don’t know for how long it will last. Due to my records it must be another 55 km to Askja, where the track should become better. From Askja to the next bigger town (Egilsstaðir or Akureyri) it is another ~100 km track and another 150 km tarred road. But from where I can get the tires, for which price, with assistance from ADAC, …, lots of open questions because here in no-where no telephone is working.
I am curious how I will sleep tonight and what I will dream, at least the heating is working – which is good due to 5,6°C and a strong wind!
08.08.2010 Starting-km: 134.881, End-km 134.931, Distance 50 km
The night I woke up several times, got up at 08:00h Sunday morning and after I had a light breakfast (wasn’t really hungry) I started.
The next 20 km seemed to be endless – walking speed on a track which hasn’t really deserved this name! Bit by bit the track got sandier and I was able to use the 2nd gear ... . At 13:00h I passed the south track of the F910 and the track became really sandy, like dunes and I was able to get up to the 4t gear with ~30km/h – I could have driven fasten but didn’t wanted to overstress the damaged tire. Meanwhile I got telephone connection and contacted immediately Sven Strumann and asked him, if he could assist. Because he is a really nice guy he committed even though of his vacation and contacted a friend of him – who promised to help even though it was Sunday. But the information about the tire prices will not be available before Monday.
After the sandy track there were again 3 km nasty lava and rocky-track but I could already spot the ranger station! When I finally arrived there I was so happy to have now finally much easier track that I was pretty close to kiss the ground. Since the accident at 18:00h the previous day none had come from my direction, only 2 jeeps and 2 motorcycles came from Askja at 11:00h.
On the parking-lot of Askja I saw a Steyr-truck from Austria. So I parked next to them and because the “inhabitants” weren’t there I prepared my lunch.
Just when I had finished the washing-up, Walter and his family re-appear from a tour. I knew them from Allrad-LKW-Forum. They gave me a ride up to the parking place directly at the volcano, because I wanted to prevent any unnecessary kilometres and stress for the tire.
Meanwhile I had interest again to make pictures, because I was much more relaxed now.
Askja has two lakes the smaller one smells heavily after sulphur, he seems to be warm as well, because one person got in and swam in it.
The big lake is with 200 m as they wrote with 200 m the deepest one in Iceland.
Meanwhile lava-pieces raised at least optical attraction with me.
09.08.2010 Starting-km: 134.931, End-km 134. 931, Distance 0 km
A picture taken very earyl in the morning:
Monday after the breakfast I walked into the canyon directly behind the ranger station and at its end was a beautiful waterfall.
Afterwards I made several phone-calls, one with ADAC because of my tires. They promised to ask their Icelandic partner IAC to assist by my search for my favourite tire type (Continental HTC) and in case IAC would not get back to me till end of their normal time (16:30h IS-time) they asked me to give them tomorrow morning a call so that they can check with their supplier to organize shipment from Germany. Sven Strumann had already checked with his Icelandic tire-dealer for prices and the result was for a Nokian in the correct size: EUR 900,-/tire. So an import from Germany would save me lot because I have got through a friend of mine, Andy Paszik an offer for Continental HTC of EUR 260,- plus VAT!!
Afterwards I tried to fix the ribbed-off piece of rubber with rubber cement, to guaranty better fixture I slang several ropes around and tightened them.
plus several more fixtures (minor issues which I recognized whilst the trip but nothing which really was a problem so far), checked the oil in the axles etc. etc..
In the late afternoon Günter came with his two children and his KAT, at ~20:00h Stefan and Sabine and their 2 children arrived with their Mercedes 1017A and so we had a nice and enjoyable meeting with BBQ, various delicious drinks etc. etc..
10.08.2010 Starting-km: 134.931, End-km 135.063, Distance 132 km
Tuesday morning and NO call from IAC, so I gave ADAC a call and they promised to organise the transport from Germany – OK, meanwhile Andy Paszik had found out that the tires for 260,- EUR where retreated tires but the new ones with EUR 470,- incl. VAT where still only 50% of the Icelandic price.
The other 3 trucks wanted to try the southern track of the F910 and I headed north direction of my new tires – easy driving with washboard character but no rocks etc. which would harm the tire due to Martins information. What a pity, to drive together with the other mates the southern track of the F910 was the reason that I tried to be here in time.
The F88 is an un-tarred road and normally very easy to drive – as a result lots of vehicles use it which results in extreme washboard surface. Because I didn’t wanted to overstress the damaged tire I have the no other chance as to “enjoy” every hump with max. 30 km/h! L
On the other side there are a lot of beautiful spots, e. g. here at Arkross (I hope I spotted the writing right in the map).
You have nearly from the complete way a view to the Herðubreid.
Not far from the end of the road is an old hut, maybe built as a safety shelter.
The volcano Hrossaborg is already located as well at the „1“, here I stopped for lunch and send an SMS to Sven Strumann, to ask him where he is. What a co-incident, he was as well on the way to Dettifoss-waterfall and so we agreed to meet there. There we walked together to the rim of the waterfall with the biggest amount of water (in Iceland).
He is really impressive.
The evening ended after long, enjoyable and very informative talks with him and his wife.
11.08.2010 Starting-km: 135.063, End-km 135.165, Distance 102 km
Wednesday morning I had to say good-by to family Strumann, they continued direction east; I wanted to follow the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Shortly after Dettifoss is the Hafragilsfoss waterfall, not as high as Dettifoss and it seems as if you get only closer on the western side, where I spotted a hiking-track, but it looked as if he is quite long and costs efforts.
The origin of Ásbyrgi was ages before when the river rise dramatically because of melted ice – caused by a volcanic eruption?? – and created this scenery. Behind the curved and sharp-edged mountain which previously was the waterfall is a long rock in the middle of the U-shaped, former river-bed. As a result this looks as a tremendous footprint of a horse which is due to an old myth the case: Wotan’s 8-leged Horse Sleipnir hit here the ground with one of his feet and left this scenery.
Not far from Ásbyrgi I reach the American continent, a warp in the ground is due to the perfect made presentation of the tourist information in Ásbyrgi the borderline between Eurasian and American continental plate. The volcanoes alongside the river similar to a pearl-chain are as well caused by this.
Having just entered America, I have a perfect overview from the next hill with perfect sunshine.
Sometimes you can spot the old ring-road next to the new one.
The signpost of Ytritunga highlights an attraction and I turned right, opened the cattle-gate (and closed it afterwards of course) and drove the coast. On top of the coast is a parking place but I drove down the paved road although it was steep – but I have got 4x4, so where is the problem? When I arrived directly at the waterfront I didn’t only had a fantastic view to the ocean but there are lots of layers of fossils – mussel shells embedded in stone. When I followed the small river which flows here into the ocean you can find lots of stones with fossils in.
I wonder how many tons of fossils they have simply pushed into the ocean when they have built that road?
It is not far to Húsavik and I found there a parking place next to the spa.