At the Superrally 2018 in Poland, we came up with the idea to do a roadtrip through Iceland. From the pictures we’ve seen it seemed a beautiful country and it’s a challenge to go there on a Harley. After a lot of planning and waiting for a while, we were able to go there at the end of June 2019.
On June 29 I finally left home and drove to the German border where I had agreed to meet my friends. From the German border we drove to Buxtehude, a town near Hamburg where our last companion lived. This was the best time to go there because that weekend coincided with the huge Hamburg Harley Days Festival. Thousands of Harleys everywhere in the city and the weather was also good. It was nice to walk in a t-shirt through the city and looking at motorcycles. At the main location of the event there were several stands. As you can imagine food and drink at different places, what more could you want? Motorcycles, music, a market and all that in the full sun with a cold beer in your hand. We got to see the Harley-Davidson Livewire here for the first time. Also Zodiac was here with a stand showing custom bikes and various parts. They also had the Formula 1 on channel. We hung around at their stand for a while. The people from Zodiac and Jimmy, who also came on this road trip, could get along very well. My friend Jimmy applied for a job at Zodiac and is now a member of their crew. After a great weekend in Hamburg we left on the 1st of July to Hirtshals in Denmark. Here we would spend 2 days on the ferry to Iceland.
The ride from Hamburg already started out nice. On the way I lost the taillight of my Jawa PAv 40 trailer and the rubber of my gear lever. However, this could not kill the fun. Although it was a long highway ride, we had great weather and it was still nice to drive. A few kilometers from the Ferry we rented a cottage. This was a small wooden house with a sleeping place for 6 people. We were with only 5 people, so we had more than enough space. By now it was around 7pm and we had not eaten anything. What a luck we had when a scouting club on the campsite had food to share with us. They gave us each a plate of pasta. After dinner it was time for a drink together. We bought a couple liters of Strohrum 80% because we thought we would drink less of it since it’s pretty strong stuff. This was not the case. It went down as if it was a beer so you probably can imagine we went to bed early! In the morning we left for the ferry. We arrived around 9.30am. We waited in line until we could ride our motorcycles onto the ferry. On the ferry, we secured the motorcycles and took the necessary items off. On the ferry we had a room with 4 beds. Just big enough to be able to turn yourself around with a private bathroom. We were with 5 people on this trip so Jimmy slept in a common sleeping area. After we put our stuff in the room we started exploring the ferry. I have to admit I was not really looking forward being on a boat for 2 days, but there was plenty to do! There was a movie theater, several bars, dining rooms and even a gym. Since the sun was shining nicely we sat down on the deck with a beer and toasted that we were finally on our way to Iceland.
On the 3rd of July we arrived at the Pharaoh Islands around 5:30 pm. What a beautiful landscape! So deep green and rugged. Unfortunately, it was very cloudy with lots of dark clouds, so the view was not optimal. This is where some people got off the ferry and we ended up continuing our way to Iceland.
Then on the 4th of July we arrived in Iceland at 09:40 am. Before entering the port we sailed through some sort of fjord. Huge rocks on both sides of the ferry and deep green grass. The Ferry docked at Seydisfjordur. Once in the harbor we grabbed our bikes and drove off the ferry. 5 Harleys in Iceland.. It was so cold! We prepared ourselves at home and brought warm clothing so we didn’t have to freeze our hands off while riding. The first waterfalls could already be seen in the harbor. In Seydisfjordur we soon came across the famous rainbow road. This road leads to a beautiful light blue church which is built entirely of wood. From Seydisfjordur it was immediately a tough climb to the top with several sharp turns. From here our tour-trip finally started. A tour around Iceland.
Once we reached the top, because the harbor is in a valley, we ran into a camper with tourists from China. We thought we had already made quite a journey, but these people were traveling with their camper from China and had come to Iceland via Scandinavia. They would go back through Africa and southern Europe. After a short chat and some pictures we continued our trip. The sky was tremendously gray and the temperature was really cold. We were hoping for something warmer this vacation. After a beautiful winding road through nature we finally arrived at an American Diner. Here we refueled the bikes and went for some food in a typical American Diner. 5 Harleys parked in front, it can’t get any better than this! After we warmed ourselves up and had some food we drove on and came across Rjukandafoss. This is a waterfall of 139 meters high. In Iceland almost all waterfalls have a name. It is still very beautiful to see with what great violence the water comes down, the rough rocks and deep green grass around it.
In these first few kilometers I already knew that this was going to be a special trip with a landscape I had not seen yet. I had been in Scotland and Norway etc., but this is really different. Eventually we drove on and found ourselves on roads that seemed endless. You could see for miles. The asphalt was of good quality. Eventually it was time to refuel again. From the Ferry we drove in a circle around the top. But Iceland is of course huge compared to the number of inhabitants, and we ended up in a village at the coast with maybe just 10 houses there, but there was a gas station. And once again, it was very cold to ride. From the gas station you could see the sea and it was very windy. The temperature must have been around 4 degrees Celsius. Fleece scarf, winter gloves, 4 layers of clothes and still it was so cold.
Of course we were real bikers and we would just go camping in a tent… we didn’t let the cold get to us. We still had lots of fun and we could appreciate the surroundings. After a day of riding we found a campsite around 5 pm. A campground is a big word. It was more like a meadow with a toilet and a tap. This is where we were going to pitch our tent and get ready for our first night outdoors. We had a 6 person tent with us so we had enough space and a large awning so we could still sit inside if bad weather started to come for us. One of the group also brought his own dome tent. This was to protect us from his loud snoring. We stopped our bikes, unpacked the tent and then we would start. The tent laid out and we began to build it up. This did not go quite as planned. Since we still felt wind force 10, it was impossible to set up such a large tent. The sail was flying like a kite in all directions and there was no way to keep the tent in one place with this wind. And now what? We are on vacation planning to go camping. But what if we can’t? Well, then we pack up the tent again and look for a hostel, right? And what luck we had! Less than fifteen minutes later we were at a hostel that still had vacancy so our first night we lay in a warm bed.
The next day, July 5, we continued our journey. Nature remained breathtaking and after every corner there was a great opportunity to make a good picture of it. This day we did not drive long and around 1:30pm we arrived at a campsite. The wind had laid down and we were able to build up our tent. This time we had a reason to be at a campground since we had planned a whale spotting safari in Husavik. With 5 people on a boat we went out to sail to the sea. There were quite high waves where 1 of us could not deal with it anymore, Seasick! We got a long waterproof jacket and went looking for whales, at first we didn’t see any. When the sky cleared up we could see huge cliffs in the distance. We then saw several whales. This was a very special experience for me. They are so huge! When they go under the water and you see their huge tail sticking out above the water it almost gives you goose bumps. There was also a whale that spent about 5 minutes near our boat and was flapping its fins on the water. After we spend 2 hours at sea we arrived back at the harbor. Here we got some warm drinks and food, then it was time to leave again. After walking around in the village we went back to the campsite. After some food we had some more drinks. What’s nice about Iceland… that it doesn’t get dark. So when you are having a nice conversation it can be 1 o’clock in the morning while outside it looks like it is noon.
Then it was July 6 and I had been on the road for a week already. We decided to stay a day longer at this campground and just go for a day of driving. Again the beautiful rugged green scenery with huge roads. At one point we came around a corner and it seemed like we were on another planet. The green environment had completely changed into a sandy one. As if you were suddenly standing in the desert. We saw smoke coming out of the ground in several places. There was a large parking lot and we saw people everywhere. We decided to stop and started walking around. You could see boiling water coming out of the ground everywhere. Small pools of black water where you could see the water bubbling. There was a real nasty smell of sulfur. There were also several piles of stones where hot steam was coming out. Very special to see. As if there was a fire in the heap of stones. After taking some pictures we continued driving. The landscape again changed into something completely different. We drove in a very barren landscape. Completely gray from the big rocks. No hills, no deep green colors, just stone. We then came to a parking lot where we could walk further to Dettifoss. Another huge waterfall. I myself had never seen such a huge waterfall. What a force of nature! At the waterfall is a large walking area so you can see the waterfall from different angles. You get a little wet, but it’s worth it!
Then we drove back the same route and had decided to look for a hot spring. Here we spent a few hours swimming. Just like in the Netherlands, it’s like an outdoor pool. The only difference is that this water is made very hot by mother nature herself and it smells a bit like sulfur. Iceland is known for these hot springs so if you are there, of course you have to experience it! Then we went back to the campsite and had a nice dinner and some more drinks. In the meantime we came up with the smart plan to get it nice and warm in the tent. We lit the barbecue and then heated up the front tent. We practiced a few times and those times went well. Once it almost went wrong (Never move a bbq with a flame when you are intoxicated with stroh rum..). Yet we got it under control. You light the bbq outside and make sure the coals are glowing and then put it on a tile in the awning. Works super as a stove! Make sure you don’t drop it because when a tent is catching fire it melts and seals you in…
On the 7th of July we packed up our gear in the morning and drove all day. This day we also had all kinds of weather. From a clear blue sky, to fog and rain. The nice thing about a tour of Iceland is that you drive alongside the sea a lot. You can really make a tour through the whole country. There is also only 1 main road so getting lost is difficult. At the end of this day we arrived at a campsite. Again a grassy field with a shower and lots of campers. One of the camping guests did not agree that we came to stand next to them, because now she did not have 4 meters of free space at the entrance of the camper anymore. She didn’t like that we took a bit of her space so she decided to move her camper somewhere else. Again we lit the bbq for warmth.
The next days we drove a lot and saw many different beautiful things. Something I personally found a bit less exciting was the 60 kilometer off road ride on my Harley. In retrospect, this was quite an experience, but I was not relaxed while riding. The main road suddenly turned from debris to gravel and sand. I think this was my most slow 60 kilometer ride ever. But we didn’t crash so afterwards it’s a nice story to tell that we went off road on a big Harley. After driving unpaved for a while we came to a ship that was stranded in 1981. The whole ship was rusty and it looked like a ghost ship. The bottom of the ship was already completely overgrown with grass and the ship itself was covered in rust. It was nice to look around.
Eventually we found a campsite. I thought I could just turn my bike around on a hill. Didn’t think of gravity and I almost fell over with the bike while trying to make a turn. We had a great time on this campsite, just like all the other evenings. We made jokes and spoke about all kinds of things. The next day one of the bikes didn’t start, so we had a bit of a delay. Fortunately, there was a couple travelling with a camper and they had jumper cables. The engine started again and we could continue our trip. In the morning we drove to a pond where we had to cross the lake by boat. By now we got used to the cold. At the end of another beautiful part of the route we arrived at a campsite with a great view, the sea!
On July 12, we were in Reykjavik. The capital of Iceland. We had parked our motorcycles in the city. The police arrived and stopped at our bikes. We were already thinking: « Well, this will be a fine because maybe we can’t park here. But the officer made pictures of our Harleys with his phone. After a friendly conversation we could just leave the bikes behind and we could go see the center. In the center of Reykjavik people made very nice graffiti on buildings and the center is very colorful. We bought some souvenirs and then we drove to the famous church « Hallgrimskirkja ». When we wanted to leave here we were surrounded by tourists. Everyone wanted a picture. We felt like celebrities, very weird to experience that people stop you from leaving because they want a picture of you. Eventually they let us go and we drove to a small Harley dealer named Reykjavik Motor Center. This dealer is also a supplier of Zodiac in Iceland. Here we got a cup of coffee and had a chat.
The following day we drove to a national park. Here the border runs between 2 earth plates. You can literally walk through the crack. Then we drove to the next attraction. A Geyser. This was also very nice to have seen once. You see a large pool of water. And you see the water bubbling more and more. And then all of a sudden there is a huge pressure under the water what makes it spray enormously high into the air. The only downside to places like this is that it’s full of tourists. The north of Iceland has more charm I think because you hardly meet anyone there. But the « Golden Circle » is a place where you have a lot of things to see. Because of this, of course, it also attracts a lot of tourists. This day we also drove to the Gullfoss. This was another impressive waterfall.
July 14 we drove all day again and saw several beautiful things. We came to an old volcano where you could walk in the crater. In the crater itself was a lake. This landscape was again completely different. In the crater all the sand was red. Iceland has many volcanoes and some of them are active too.
It would not be a vacation on the Harley if nothing breaks or doesn’t work. In the evening it was time for my starter motor to stop. From that morning onwards, I could be pushed every morning by my friends so I could get the bike running again. All in all, you can get home fine with it. It only takes a little effort for the people you are on a vacation with.
We had another beautiful day the following day where we again saw many waterfalls. Also a waterfall where you can even walk behind. Then we drove to a Glacier. I never expected those to be so huge. After that we drove to Black Beach. A beach which is completely black. Not a nice beach as we know it, but deep black sand.
At the end of the day we had a beautiful campsite overlooking a waterfall which ended in a river with deep blue water. Of course provided with the necessary drinks. Sleeping in time was not an option this vacation. Even though you get used to the fact that it does not get dark outside.
The following day we again enjoyed the Icelandic landscape. At one point we came to a place where the ice was floating in the middle of the sea. A very nice light blue color that I had never seen before in my life.
At the end of this day we ended up in a hotel and had to get on the ferry the next day in Seydisfjordur. Iceland has made a huge impression and is in terms of nature / landscape one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen so far while riding on my Harley .