When we left off at the end of Day 11, we had finally found my lost phone in the most unlikely spot possible, and we were on the road to the next location. As we drove along in the dark, the storm that had been threatening for hours finally hit. The rain and wind gusted as we searched in the dark for a spot to sleep.
The downside to ‘free spiriting’ it through your days, is when it’s finally time to sleep, it can be a real struggle to find a legal place to park. Not to mention the squeaking windshield wipers that seemed like a laugh on Days 1 & 2 were now really starting to get to both of us by Day 12.
It rains a lot in Iceland, and we were just lucky it didn’t rain much while we were there. But when your windshield wipers make a screeching-squeaking sound with every swipe, you really start to dread the rain. It wasn’t so bad if when the drive was shorter between stops. But in this section of the island we were often driving for hours at a time, and the sound was driving us both slowly mad.
We had so many problems with our rental, but this one was definitely the worse. It really is the little things that can get to you! Although as a side note, the man who owned the rental company drove us to the airport in the van. And it only took him a couple of minutes to be so fed up with all the problems we had with the van that he drove in the rain without the wipers.
It was a small thing, but after 15 full days of mind numbing rattling and screeching, it was gratifying to see him loose it so quickly driving his own rental. I know that’s probably not the nicest thing to say, but we paid a small fortune to rent what amounted to a heap of rust. I mean so much money we could’ve bought a decent vehicle at home with the 15 days worth of rental cost.
So anyways beyond tired and exhausted, we finally pulled into a place to sleep. The rain and wind howled and we did our best to get a few hours of restless sleep. The next morning was gloomy and still raining, but the forecast said things were about to improve. So we got up and made coffee and breakfast in the rain. By this time, we were getting the hang of our camp stove, and enjoying some pretty good meals.
This particular morning I made what’s now a new camping favorite – 1 pan bacon and eggs skillet breakfast, (pictured above). First up you fry a few slices of bacon, then pour off the grease if there’s a lot. Next up you fry a couple over easy eggs around the bacon slices, with some thinly sliced green onions and a bit of cheddar cheese. The cheese melts around the eggs as they cook and it creates the most delicious breakfast skillet.
(Head to toe gortex for most of the trip, all day every day!)
And in the spirit of ‘true dirtbags’ we like to eat our 1 pan meal right out of the pan for almost no cleanup whatsoever. It’s really amazing how good you can eat on the road with just a small amount of creativity. I promise to do a full post about how we cook on the road at some point. I get loads of questions about how we make food like this and fresh coffee when we don’t even have a sink or table to work with. So I’ll do my best to answer all the questions in a full post about camp cooking.
Not long after we finished breakfast, is looked like the rain might actually break. So we packed up and started driving towards Godafoss, (1st and 2nd photos in this post). Godafoss is a really spectacular waterfall, and we were lucky enough to have the sun come out just in time to give us a gorgeous rainbow in the mist.
Day 12 also turned out to be another day where we encountered some of the rudest tourists we’ve ever come across. I was all set up down by the river above the waterfall getting some photos, (photos above and below) when a woman came down and tried to get a photo so close to me she kicked my gear, and it almost went in the river.
As if that wasn’t enough, she steadied herself by using Tyler as her post while she was taking more photos. We were both completely flabbergasted with her absolute lack of boundaries. She never spoke one word to either of us, not even when she almost kicked my tripod over, and not when she started using Tyler as her own personal tripod. I mean, when did we start treating other people like this?
So taking deep breathes, and trying to regain some patience to make it through the rest of the day, we meandered back to Godafoss for a few more photos. But my lack of patience was about to be tried again when we ran into a group of people from Day 9 that made this woman’s behavior seem almost tame in comparison. They didn’t recognize us when the asked for some group photos which turned into a bit of a nightmare, but I definitely recognized them.
After all, when you’ve had a group of complete strangers invade you space to point where one lady sat underneath my camera tripod and leaned on my leg, you tend to recognize them. I’m still completely weirded out by strangers touching me when they’ve never even so much as said hi. So I just can’t see why on earth anyone would do something as strange as leaning up against someone else’s leg like it’s some kind of outdoor chair?
I know this post is starting to sound a little negative, but that’s not at all my intention, (only trying to inject some reality into travelling). It’s just that travelling has it’s own challenges, and this particular day was chock full of them! But in any case, we shook it all off determined that absolutely nothing would bring us down.
From Godafoss, we headed toward the picturesque town of Akureyri to get restocked. We would’ve loved to spend more time there, but we were running late after spending a bit too much time at Godafoss. So we pretty much popped in and right back out again before heading towards the Hvitserkur rock, (last 2 photos in this post).
It’s a bit out of the way, but it’s so photogenic we decided we couldn’t miss it despite the fact we were running out of daylight. We drove through another rain storm, but we lucked out again when it broke just enough for a gorgeous rainbow and sunset. We set up for a short time lapse, and took a few photos as the light began to fade.
Everyone packed up and left, leaving us to the gorgeous view all by ourselves which was awesome after a super busy day! I know most people stop taking photos when the sunset fades, but I love to take photos right into what they call the blue hour. You can see what I mean with the last photo in the post. Blue hour produces really fun images, (in my opinion) that are more monochromatic in nature.
Once we were completely out of daylight, we decided to head towards out next destination. We wanted to be near a certain secret, most magical looking hot spring for first light. That way we would have a jump start on getting a moment to ourselves before anyone else would arrive. As we start driving closer to the ocean, we drove into another really bad storm. It was actually so bad we were poking along at super slow speeds because we could barely see.
I only had GPS points to try and find this secret location which made it even more challenging. As the storm worsened we started to question our sanity being out in this crazy weather scouting for a what was seeming more and more like a wild goose chase. But finally we came to area I knew it was based off a few photos I had seen, everything was finally lining up. Except… as it would happen this hot spring wasn’t so ‘secret’ anymore.
And it would also happen that it turned out to be on private property. So when we came to a dead end complete with a large electric metal gate and survellience cameras with no trespassing signs everywhere, I knew it was ‘game over’. Such a bummer, who knew this magical place wasn’t public. But I’m guessing the owner was fed up with tourists chasing this magical place, just like we were.
I was really disappointed because this hot spring looked incredible and the view was unparalleled. I had also done hours worth of extensive digging on the internet to ferret out the location, so it was hard to admit total defeat. But we were both absolutely exhausted, (again… no surprise) so we sucked it up and moved on to find a place to sleep.
We actually stayed in a campground this particular night, and it was great for the next day when the crazy storm still hadn’t been enough to clean the extreme amount of mud off the van. They had a nice station where we could hose off the van, which was pretty invaluable. It’s hard to keep things clean when it’s all covered in mud!
Luckily since the weather was so bad, we felt no need whatsoever to get up and check for the aurora. Which means we got one of the only full nights sleep in our entire trip. And the next morning we made a great full scale breakfast too, coming on Day 13