Our supposed rest day started out in the right spirit. Lots of hand washing of clothes, only later did we discover the washing machine anddryer round the corner. I retrieved the cycling shorts from the shower where I had left them and after some gentle packing faff, cake and pastries from the local supermarket we wondered to the tourist information to book our place on the bus to Isafjordur. Sadly the buswe needed to be on had left a mere three hours ago, the next was due in three days. Our options seemed narrow: fly, bike or hire a car anddrive. This last inspired suggestion gained some traction so we set out to cost it up at a car hire joint. The only vehicle he had left was a generously sized 4x4 - perfect! At 365 quid all in it seemed perfect. But we couldn't resist seeing if his competitors across the road could do a better price. It turns out that despite their sign they didn't even do car hire and we were met with confused looks when we tried.
With the car booked for the day, to be dropped off the next morning, we had to accelerate our faffing to efficient sorting levels. I wentin search of help with the bolts still residing in my frame. I was directed to a bike shop but got distracted by Biko - a huge B+Q styleshop on serious steroids. Steve and Hugh had found heaven. While the A-team could have rebuilt the Eiffel tower and a plane to fly aroundit I couldn't find anything to dig bolts out of my frame. They did direct me to a bike shop around the corner. All the signs were goodfrom the start, a proper bike workshop and someone they referred to as 'the bike specialist' was already busy on some cycle touring bikes.
The others headed back to camp and I waited and eventually explained my problem. After a bit of muttering he pulled out the expected toolsand went to work. While trying to drill the pilot hole he snapped his drill bit and went off to buy some more. I took the chance tonatter to the young lad working there who had heaps to say, mainly that he supported Manchester United. After what seemed like a healthy lunch break the mechanic came back for round two. To cut a sorry story short we had no luck. This was bad news in case the reader is somehow confused by the situation.
Back at camp we packed the car, not a bad feat with four bikes to go inside and we only had five wheels on the roof. We dropped into Bikoto get some bolts to attach my pannier to my rear brake mount, not exactly text book stuff but a more sturdy bodge than p-clips to the frame. With that minor chore over we set out on a 550km road trip with Steve doing a splendid job at the wheel the entire way. It took no time atall for the flapping plastic on the roof to grate on our nerves so we pulled over. When Duncan and Hugh smugly declared they had sorted itwe set out again, to discover it was roughly twice as bad as before. Our second fix was more successful and we took the opportunity tostop for a hotdog. Entertainingly we spotted a very nice touring bike, a guy heading to the toilets with a carburettor in his hand and his extremely annoyed girlfriend. We were happy to fill in the back story.
Setting off into rain we spotted some hitchhikers, two pretty young ladies whose chance of a ride massively dented by the protective boyfriend stood alongside. Here we turned off the main road which circles the island and headed north into the fjords. Along the way weseemed to find an endless supply of drift wood on beaches and there was much speculation as to where this all came from. All I can say forcertain is that crossing Biko with this sort of raw materials would have had the A-team quivering with opportunities for baddie quashingmachines. With a good stretch of road, and 80's music, behind us we came to an interesting junction. Two signposts pointed to our destination, one way was 150km and the other was 132km. The only snag with the shorter option was the single traffic cone and a sign (in Icelandic) carefully placed in the middle of the road. While we were debating how serious a guy is when he only puts a small sign upwithout any internationally recognised pictures of impending doom another vehicle containing some Japanese tourists pulled up, apprised the situation and took the shorter route. We obviously followed the willing guinea-pig. Shortly after we came across a bridge under construction. The tantalising element was that the main structure was in place and the surface had been laid, only the sides were missing.So it was obviously possible to get across and we waited until our test car had made it before heading over. Half way we stopped to take acouple of snaps, just to entice any possibility of further mishap.
With more driving behind us we pulled up in a town 20km short of our destination, attracted by the lights of an American style dinner.Sadly at 11pm they only served cold food and while the Marilyn sandwich sounded good we felt sure that the 'capital of the north westfjords' would offer more opportunity being a Saturday night. We were mistaken. Vastly mistaken. Isafjordur was shut, completely shut. Wedrove around in some disbelief, sure that we had just taken a wrong turning and the high-street was just a couple of twists away sporting every restaurant a hungry bunch of bikers could hope for. After extensive searching even the optimists among us had to conceded defeat andwe thought about where to set up camp for the night. We spent some time hunting for a wild camping spot but the only flat patch of ground appeared to be some sort of bird sanctuary. Besides, we once again had more vodka that water - quite a feat considering the number of opportunities we had had during the day to fill up but we had assumed that gastronomic delights awaited us. We eventually conceded defeat and headed into the campsite.