Iceland Star Grab: Winter Edition

whereisgibson Dec 27, 2015

  1. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Day 4
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    After a good night's sleep, I was already at Hvitserkur. Conditions were icy, so the descent down to the beach was left for the summer.
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    The next star at Reykir was a hotspring that I intended to camp at to see in the New Year. For whatever reason the road was shut, so I got tantalisingly close, but not to it. Moreover, I now had to find somewhere to spend New Year's Eve.
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    The nearest city was also Iceland's second largest - Akureyri. I headed there. The city put on a bonfire and fireworks display.
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  2. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Day 5
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    Getting in at 5am and checking out at 9am didn't do me any favours... though the reward was a beautifully clear day.
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    First star of 2016, Godafoss. All to myself.
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    Then next two stars, the natural springs at Myvatn.
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    Amazing light today. I hope you like Landcruiser pictures!
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    Dettifoss was listed on the http://road.is website as being impassable. There was a barrier with advice:
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    I decided to try it out, but unfortunately coudln't safely stop anywhere to get a picture of the road conditions. It was either sheet ice with 20cm snow, or really chewed up ice in undulations 40-50cm deep left from Super Jeep tracks. It was nervous driving for sure, I didn't want to get stuck out here especially after ignoring the sign.
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  3. Ian Chuter

    Ian Chuter Well-Known Member I am in england

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    Stunning Martin, thanks. (and yes, we love Landcruiser pictures) Keep them coming :thumbup:
     
  4. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Day 7

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    My off-road curiosity got the better of me today. The car fell through the drift and was resting on the chassis and the hand winch couldn't drag me out.
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    After hiking 5km back to the main road, I happened upon the only local in the area who was just about to leave for the day to feed his horses. Instead he happily dragged me backwards and out using my long straps and shackles.
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    The point of exploring this area was to see this star, the Asbergi falls:
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    After the delay of three hours, almost all the daylight was gone, so I high tailed it to the East for the next set.
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  5. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Day 8
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    Insane driving conditions. High winds and wet freezing roads. The road.is website listed the roads as "slippery" when I headed out that morning, and as the car skated and drifted for seconds at a time I did wonder what it would take for them to upgrade their conditions to "extremely slippery". As it turns out, that is exactly what they had done whilst I was driving. Honestly, imagine trying to drive on an ice rink, but with hills and corners and cliffs. Forget the brakes. Very glad to have a manual so I could control the speed on the down-hills. To add to the mayhem, Highway 1 was closed and so the only option was to follow the treacherously cornerful fjord roads.
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    I stopped in Hofn at 2pm as there wasn't enough remaining daylight to get to Vik, and these conditions were no joke.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  6. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Day 9
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    I think I'm learning trepidation. There is so much less that I can explore with this truck than I can do with a dirtbike. This seems obvious when typed out, but I have been gauging terrain using criteria suitable for two wheels. "Yeah I can get over / through / around that". Nope! Stuck! Shit! A dirtbike can always be dragged out. I turned around here, the water was maybe half a meter deep, but there was no ramp to get out - I think a Super Jeep had fallen through the ice and clambered out over the lip.
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    Back on the tourist trail.
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    The black sand beach near Vik is great for testing diff-locks and doing the occasional doughnut...
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  7. AndyCook

    AndyCook Well-Known Member I am in scotland

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    Nice to see some familiar landmarks, studded tyres would be good on those icy roads.

    I know that exact spot you got stuck at Asbergi, had a snack a few metres from there during a bike ride in July. Want a contrast in conditions .


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    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  8. IRLGW

    IRLGW Well-Known Member

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    Kudos! I like standard truck (and the interior lighting) If I can be so rude what was the budget for this trip. I was thinking Noordkapp this year but that is awesome looking.
     
  9. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Thanks.

    Iceland has a reputation for being expensive, I think this comes from pre 2008 ie before the financial crisis, when the currency was literally twice as strong. Now it's about the same as in London, a beer being around £4, so really nothing in particular to budget for above and beyond living costs here.

    The main cost was the return freight £1300 and my flights. The former is on par for renting an equivalent vehicle for a few weeks, plus of course bringing all my camping gear and whatnot which also reduced accommodation and food costs. Besides, I own and maintain this vehicle so it needs to earn its keep on the occasional trip!

    I am a freelancer and get paid by the day, so the additional cost is offset by the opportunity to be in London and not missing a week's invoicing by driving up Denmark and the three day ferry there and back. Instead I dropped the truck at the port, and flew two weeks later.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  10. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Interestingly I've seen many 4x4s with BFG ATs that are not studded, it is mostly the cars that seem to have the studs. That said it's quite lucky I didn't have more bother; it's almost essential. 'Almost' as I got around without them, but I probably wouldn't repeat the trip without them again.

    I've got 40k miles on the ATs and they're only 50% worn - if that - so I didn't want to have them studded and then illegal back in the UK for the next few MOTs. I have used self tapping studs on a motorbike, perhaps that's the best solution as they can be removed afterwards, but at a quid each, I hate to think how much it would come to for 4x 285s. I would also want to run tubes with them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  11. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Thank you, and no, though I am tempted by one. These things are so fragile, I'm not sure how I can integrate my current one into my motorbike adventures without totally wrecking it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  12. IRLGW

    IRLGW Well-Known Member

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    Forgive my speed reading (or ignorance), but what are the 'stars' you keep referring to- are these just photos of specific places?
     
  13. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    It is all because of a paper map of Iceland that I bought, which had 25 mysterious stars marked on it. In the summer I set out to find what they were (http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/iceland-star-grab.1002178), and this time I'm attempting to retrace my steps and see what those landmarks look like in the Winter.
     
  14. IRLGW

    IRLGW Well-Known Member

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    I like your thinking and good excuse for a return trip. Are you taking the shots from the exact same position each time or just a general landscape?
     
  15. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Yes, pretty much the same positions, though as it has turned out the vast majority are out of reach... Iceland in winter is no joke.
     
  16. chapel gate

    chapel gate Well-Known Member Supporter I am in england

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    I think I'm learning trepidation. There is so much less that I can explore with this truck than I can do with a dirtbike. This seems obvious when typed out, but I have been gauging terrain using criteria suitable for two wheels. "Yeah I can get over / through / around that". Nope! Stuck! Shit! A dirtbike can always be dragged out. I turned around here, the water was maybe half a meter deep, but there was no ramp to get out - I think a Super Jeep had fallen through the ice and clambered out over the lip.

    youve always got a roof over your head and somewhere to shelter with a truck though.. great pics. your a braver man than me not having winter tyres on with them kind of icy conditions. how low have the temps got? what mapping worked for you in the end? are you getting wifi in the smaller villages?
     
  17. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Day 10
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    Spent the day in Vik, taking a day off to explore the sights instead of crunching miles (and ice!).
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    And in the process picked up a hitch hiker who was in Iceland to make a report for an offroading mag.
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  18. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    Day 11
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    Cracked on towards Selfoss, picking up a star on the map from last summer:
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    The hitch hiker and I were also recommended to take a detour between Vik and Selfoss, to see four waterfalls in a row. Now they were described to me as being along a stretch of road, and what I didn't realise was that they were all close together. So the first bunch I came to, I counted in my head "one", then kept driving. And driving. And driving! And then the road turned to an F road, and then all the diff locks were on, before finally being in awe of the chap who recommended this to me having explored it the day before in a RAV4. It was when the superjeep in-front stopped to lower his 44" to ultra low pressures that I twigged something had gone wrong! You can see on the GPS track, the actual four falls are about 1km from the main road, and how much further we went!

    Backtracking got us to the falls, the first of which is most impressive as you can go behind it.
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    Or try to. Just imagine the ice from the spray of the falls onto every surface. Oh and wet frozen trousers, shoes, coat, and beard!
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    Arriving in Selfoss, the hitch hiker hopped out and I stopped to admire a genuine Artic Truck.
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    A drive back into the Golden circle area, to the Secret Lagoon [not so secret!] to enjoy the remaining evening before car camping again.
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  19. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Would you mind sharing the company you did the shipping arrangements through? It is cheaper than what I have found with previous research.
     
  20. whereisgibson

    whereisgibson Member

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    I dealt directly with Eimskip. Their customer service in the UK is poor. I think we had 80 emails back and forth each time eeking out more information or just being fobbed off to Iceland (who were much more helpful). I presume they are used to dealing with agents that know what they are doing on behalf of their customers.

    Also hugely inconveniently they only accept vehicles Monday to Friday either side. Immingham itself is open every day, and a vehicle could *easily* be left on the weekend with a key drop. Public transport options around Immingham are zero, and you have to hitch-hike out of the port back to civilization. Then, to top it off, a coach from Grimsby that takes 6 hours back to London! I must be mad.
     
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