A start to the day which I officially recorded in my diary as wet :-( so I assume it was suitably miserable. Today we were going to head back towards the interior to make our way to Pingvellir, the site of the first parliament in Iceland 930 AD.Still before then we had a lot of track to cover so lets not get too far ahead. With 15 soggy kilometers in the bag we were at the start of the off road track heading up into the mist where we bumped into our French friend again. While said friend was behind a big sign Duncan tactfully noted that what he liked about the frogs was the soft underside. A generous person would give him the benefit of the doubt and mention the frog sweet in his hand at the time. Once our experienced friend had let a bit of air out of his tyres for the rough track he set off before us. We soon caught up when he had a puncture a few hundred meters later.
Trudging up the track we came across a sign declaring that the road ahead was closed in the afternoon due to a rally event which presumably would be tearing strips out of the tracks - hopefully leaving them a bit smoother than they found them.Despite the date being correct and our hopeful pedaling all day we never did see a rally car, perhaps they only come out in the sunshine? What we did find was a classic bit of Steve reconnaissance. With spirits flagging and lunchtime upon us we almost stopped in a lay by which offered little in the way of shelter but Steve persuaded us to plod on looking for a better patch further up the trail.With nothing on the horizon other than mist the chances seemed low to nil and when Steve pointed out a hut off the track to our right we didn't jump for joy but at least we might be able to huddle behind it out the worst of the rain. Steve dashed off to investigate and the grin on his face could only mean we had flipped over a trump. The hut was being patched up but the door was yet to be added and inside there was a large tank of hot water fed from a hot spring. We clambered into the roof space above the tank (sealed in case your a QHSE lawyer) and warmed up nicely while our clothes were drying below us. Result!
After lunch the rain finally gave up and the track wasn't too bad. Duncan disagreed though and to prove the point tumbled off his bike to slash his knee and snap a clasp on his pannier. Some quick running repairs to man and machine and we were off again. Soon the track turned south and became much more rutted, a stretch our French fried had warned us about earlier in the day.Even so we were soon climbing up the summit of the climb and rolling into the national park on the other side. Hugh and I tried to make the most of the slope and had a rolling race, no pedaling allowed and the fact that he beat me by 400 meters suggested something about the relative efficiencies of our bikes.
We arrived at the national park center and spied a car which had passed us on the roughest section of the tracks earlier in the day. When it passed us it had sounded distinctly mechanically unsound, it was now parked with it's exhaust on the roof. While booking in for camping we amused the lady behind the counter with some Laurel and Hardy style comedy, just swap plank for Steve's pointing arm and you get the picture.With a spot booked we threw up the tents and moved to the communal area to cook. Here we met Lisa, a plucky German lass who was cycle touring alone around the south of Iceland. Not too special you might think but add in the fact that she's only everdone a few days biking along the Rhine and little camping and you have to applaud and warm to the adventurous spirit - Iceland's tracks is an enormous step up! We tried to pass on as much advice as we could, although keep in mind that just over a week earlier we had beensitting in a tent with more vodka than water so perhaps we weren't the best people to talk to but we tried to fan the flames of enthusiastic adventure while stamping on the bugs of self-doubt. Luckily our French friend came along and offered perhaps a more knowledgeable perspective on her route having biked it previously. Never the less I can confirm that Lisa learns quickly, after teaching her the basics of poker she promptly beat the lot of us with a spectacular run of cards.
The final point of the evening to comment on was the sight of Hugh and Steve running across the campsite shouting something about free ice cream. A curious treat given that it was already freezing but it turned out that a couple to be married the next day had been given a vast quantity of ice cream to eat and had no chance so were offering it round the campsite.It seemed rude to refuse and despite the fact that it was cold was very nice so we shoveled as much down as we could.