Last ride in Iceland … to Keflavik

We woke up Tuesday morning to a very windy, chilly day. We ate breakfast and did a good job of running our food supply down to almost zero. It’s funny how a big ride like this kicks in some instinctive food hoarding behavior — we’ve been constantly trying to stock up on food and running our supply out required mental effort.

It was sad to leave our Airbnb as it had been such a nice place to stay and nest. Compared to our other rides, the ride to the airport was short, and it was easy to mentally discount it as nothing, but it was going to be 30 miles in wind and take 3-4 hours. Plus, we were going to be in traffic for 3/4 of the time.

Gratefully the ride was uneventful, although probably the windiest of our entire trip. We had a strong sidewind for most of the ride which constantly tried to push us into traffic. The road from Reykjavik to Keflavik has a great shoulder — easily the best in Iceland — and we took full advantage of it. We felt safe, even in the high wind. Our ride sometimes took us near cool lava fields and the ocean shore. It was, as has almost always been the case in Iceland, beautiful.

Our final night’s accommodation is at Alex guesthouse where we are staying in a tiny cabin — you know the ones that could double as a tool shed (it is cool how they pack so much house into such small space). It is about a mile from the airport.

We arrived cold and chilled from the winds and spent the first hour huddled around a space heater trying to warm up. Then it was down to business packing our bike. It comes apart at the middle, but requires a bit of work to fit it into bike boxes. We had arranged many months ago for our final hotel to store our boxes. They picked them up at the airport after we had assembled the bike and stored them in a shed. We were glad we had figured this out prior to arriving in country. We saw other fellow bike tourists caching their boxes under the building near the airport where we assembled the bikes and just hoping nobody would take them or clean that area. It was nice to not have to worry as both of us seem to have a nice talent for worrying.

Boxing the bike is something of a process. If there was going to be one effort on this trip that would put strain on our relationship, this was going to be it. Happily we did fine with no stress. It helped that we were in a comfortable shed out of the wind. Getting the bike into two boxes requires some disassembly of the bike. Our bike boxes had been well thrashed by the airline on the flight to Iceland. The boxes had cut outs for handles, which ended up being points of weakness and those cutouts were now large holes, so part of our effort was finding ways to patch the holes but still allow for the airline to be able to pick the boxes up easily. We pieced them together in a way we hope will hold and they are now ready for another airline thrashing. These are the boxes we bought in the airport in Amsterdam. It would be so nice if every airport sold bike boxes. That would eliminate the logistics associated with storing bike boxes and allow people to give away their boxes upon arrival.

We met a few groups beginning their bike trips today. One was a group of men from the U.K. — they were funny and enthusiastic — kind of that nervous humor where one says “we have no idea what we are getting ourselves into, but if we laugh about it, somehow that makes everything safer.” Another was a couple of women from Germany riding an orange tandem. Too bad we had just finished boxing ours or we could have taken a picture of the dueling orange tandems. Theirs was not a recumbent, of course.

Then to Netto (our favorite grocery store here) down the street to buy a few items for dinner. Breakfast is included with our stay here.

I (Pete) headed to the local pool for a final soak. Since Natalie wasn’t coming I knew I was going to have to pull her weight and do a double soak. It was, as always, awesome. Toward the end the professional football (soccer) team for the town/village of Keflavik came in for their post-practice soak. It is crazy to think that such a small town has a professional soccer team. It is similar to Roy or Morgan in Utah having their own professional soccer team…. I guess that is why Iceland was playing in the World Cup and the US wasn’t.

We planned to head to the airport at 5:30 AM but our flight has already been delayed 3 hours. Luckily we have a long layover in Minneapolis, so our itinerary can easily absorb it.

Natalie’s parting comment:

Wow, Iceland, what an experience!! We are sad to see it end, but it will also be very good to be home.

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