The Last Ride & Supper: Iceland

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I knew the last day would be long and in some ways not as interesting. Pan was hoping we could find remote interior areas to explore, ride and shoot more footage. But the eastern part of Iceland, before you get closer to the coast, is wide, expansive, and desert-like. Open spaces, with wide valleys and towering mountains to the south.

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The long ride to Egilsstaðir can be boring—at least from inside a car. I stop to take photographs and in seconds our film crew tries to catch up on long overdue and long lost sleep!

It’s barren and there are no trees. But bright purple and yellow flowers dot the roadside, and often large swaths meander into the hesitance, often in a random and serpentine manner. The farms of the west soon disappear and we see less cars.

As we get closer to Egilsstaðir, where we plan to spend the evening, the landscape becomes greener, the farms return, and we find ourselves riding and twisting around a river with high mountains and seemingly dozens of waterfalls.

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We arrive in Egilsstaðir around 6pm. Every hotel we try is booked. We wander around the small city, the biggest in Eastern Iceland, for an hour to no avail. Only the most expensive hotel in town had any availability. When we have stayed in hotels or guest houses, we typically get two rooms. With the cost way over our budget, we agreed to cram the four of us into a small double room.

The plan is to consolidate gear, back up footage, and organize all of our “kit” for the next journey. Pan and Jaime to Vancouver, Johnny A and I to the Faroe Islands.

I had been carrying a bottle of wine, a 1997 Shafer Hillside Select, ever since landing in Iceland. Fortunately, this was kept in the film crew vehicle, so it didn’t truly weigh down my bike. Last summer when I was in China with this crew, I brought the same wine from a different vintage. We shared that wine at the airport before parting ways.

So it is tradition, we share one last meal and a great bottle of wine for our last supper. Jamie and Pan must leave at 4am in order to make it back to the airport on the western side of the island. Johnny A and I must leave around 7am to make it to Seyðisfjörður, about an hour ride, to catch the Smyrill Line ferry to the Faroe Islands.

Jamie peruses the menu and decides on the Arctic Char

Jamie peruses the menu and decides on the Arctic Char

Pan chooses the modest but delicious burger.

Pan chooses the modest but delicious burger.

Johnny A and I double down on reindeer.

Johnny A and I double down on reindeer.

It truly didn’t matter what we ordered, but Johnny A and I chose reindeer, while Pan had a burger and Jamie a delectable salmon dish. The wine was amazing, but the company and the camaraderie legendary. The dynamic will change going forward, but that keeps the adventure fresh.

IMG_0187IMG_0183Stay tuned for more on the Iceland episode of Border to Border—and much more from the North Atlantic and Scandinavia while I ride, for the first time in many years, with Johnny A—as the WorldRider adventure continues.

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