Iceland Ring Road scenery

Fire and ice day 4

June 14, 2021

“Fellowship of the Ring Road”

Without a railroad, the only way for us to travel in iceland

   The reasoning behind Carol’s and my decision to rent a camper van was a Plan B idea for having a place to sleep, in the event we arrived in a remote village lacking available hotel accommodations. We’d both camped in our distant pasts, but recent impulses to rent a camper in the States had been muted by the MAGA epidemic. We simply believed most American campgrounds would be overrun by the disease.

   After picking up our Ku Ku camper, and stocking it with food and wine, I suggested we plan on sleeping in the van the first night to see what it would be like if we actually had to sleep in it.

Iceland Ring Road travel
Steady as she goes; always on the lookout for sheep in the road

   We’d bought the platinum package of car insurance, which covers everything except hitting a sheep or having the car door blow off in a sudden gust of wind, two things that apparently happen with enough frequency that the insurance companies are very specific about not covering them. (Sheep will graze alongside the road, regarding their master’s fences as just some sort of playground equipment to crawl through.)

   And then, we were off onto Iceland’s famed Ring Road, about 800 miles of ribbony asphalt cut through scenery ranging from the pastoral (there are more sheep in Iceland than people) to dystopian desolation, yet still breathtakingly beautiful.

  

And then, we were off onto Iceland’s famed Ring Road, about 800 miles of ribbony asphalt cut through scenery ranging from the pastoral (there are more sheep in Iceland than people) to dystopian desolation, yet still breathtakingly beautiful.

roadside sign on Ring Road
American Buffalo

   Our first stop was alongside a fjord in the little town of Borgarnes, about 50 kilometers outside Reykjavik, driving the Ring Road clockwise up the western coast. I’m a cautious driver in ideal conditions, but it’s taking me some time to get used to accepting this winding road being wide enough for two cars to pass each other. I’m staying below the speed limit, which I’m sure is making me a lot of new Icelandic friends, but happily, this first day there’s very little traffic. We headed next for the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Iceland Ring Road scenery
Columbus prayed here

   Either fact or legend (I’m not looking it up; should you care to, message me what you find) has it that Christopher Columbus camped out here, worshiping in the little red church and copping all the intel he could about sailing west to go east, and what to call that big gob of land that gets in the way.

overnight accommodations on Ring Road
Home for the “night”

   The locals love mural painting and there’s a famous one of a giant ram on the side of one building. Sheep is to the Icelanders what the buffalo is to us.

   Our first campsite was along this Snaefellsnes Peninsula, a western appendage of this crab-shaped country. The campground was spare with two portable toilets for facilities. The cost for a night’s sleep was and would remain between $20 and $30 throughout the country. These campgrounds number in the hundreds it seems, and all are easily located by Google maps. The facilities are clean and most offer free showers and a common kitchen area for boiling up those road Ramen noodles.

   Through steady bands of rain, we slept our first night in the camper, and awoke to claim it was the only way to travel. We didn’t stay in a hotel again, until we tearfully turned in our little house on wheels and spent the last night in Iceland in an airport hotel in Reykjavik.

funny camper sign
Let’s say a triumph of hope over experience

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.