Around the bend at Hrútafjörður

I woke up to a misty morning, with far less wind than last night. Strolled around a bit after striking the tent and packing.

Looking down the inlet towards the land.

There was still no food to be found but I knew that about 5 miles (or 8 kilometers) down the road I could stop at a service station with an attached restaurant.

Hey Andy! Another restoration job for ya!

The one on Flatey island was in much better shape.

The wind was stronger when I climbed up to the highway. I hardly had to pedal at all for five miles, which felt weird after the struggle of the previous three days, and I couldn’t fully enjoy it since I knew I would pay for my fun when I turned north and had to ride up the other side of the bay, directly into the same wind.

The joint is jumpin'!

Icelandic graffiti! How quaint.

I lingered at the restaurant buying snacks, importing photos, and eating fish and chips. The weather seemed to be getting worse. I knew I couldn’t keep delaying. Time to get back on the road!

The wind blasted unpredictably from the front and the side, making the highway very dangerous. I would not recommend this route to anyone but a seasoned touring cyclist. Luckily the drivers were as considerate as they are elsewhere in Iceland, giving me as much room as they could and slowing down to a polite speed when space was limited.

Eventually I fought my way far enough north to look across the bay and see the little town where I woke up in the morning. The ride south had been so easy…

This is my "argh, wind" face.

Pretty scenery, but lots of cars. Mostly heading south, back towards the airport and the capital city, since the summer season is ending.

Then it started to rain. The most heavy rain I’d felt since arriving in Iceland. The air became humid, and my breath fogged my sunglasses. I didn’t want to take them off because they protected my eyes from the raindrops hammering at my face. I began muttering to myself out loud about how my gear didn’t include a pair of clear driving glasses like I’d thought about getting months ago for this very situation. “Ugh, stupid previous me; why didn’t you think of absolutely everything ever, instead of just almost everything?”

I soldiered on, taking breaks by the side of the road to wipe my sunglasses, until I went up a hill and around a bend and the wind changed direction enough for me to stow the sunglasses in a bag.

At that point I picked up some speed, and some horses said hello to me as I rolled by:

That was pretty cool and gave me a little boost. Then I started going downhill, and felt pretty good about things, until the bottom of the hill opened up into a valley and the wind came back. “Hey, remember me?” WHACK.

Another hour of slow going brought me to this:

I have no idea how drivers manage to read all those symbols as they zoom by.

Perhaps I could find a place open late enough to get something to eat, and maybe even find a place to stay out of this hellacious wind!

And yes! A hotel restaurant was open! PRAISE BE; BLESSINGS AND FELICITATIONS; BLAH BLAH MIRACLE ETC!

Wet and windburned, and glad to be indoors.

The hotel was fully booked, but the attendant actually called around the town for me, asking if any of the homestays had an extra room. And she found one! Then she described me and my bike, and said I would come by in an hour after my meal. Then she gave me directions. Now that is helpful.

Bookshelves do add atmosphere to a room. But they shouldn't take up most of it!

Not much room but I didn't care. It was time for sleep.

The homestay was cramped but warm, and the hosts were very kind. They opened their garage so I could store my bike out of the wind. As I took my luggage off the bike I checked out the confusion of pipes along the garage wall.

Typical example of the complicated plumbing in an Icelandic home.

When hot water (from underground) is the primary way you heat your home, the ductwork gets simpler, but the plumbing gets way more complex!

The hosts only took cash and when I hunted through my wallet and came up 20 dollars short, they hand-waved it. That made me feel both good and bad. After talking with them some more they mentioned that they take American money as well as Icelandic, so I dug my wallet out again and gave them the full amount based on current exchange rates. That made everyone happy.

While exploring, I found a nice sign in the bathroom, and apparently a wall socket that supplies magic??

I've been seeing this a lot lately.

So that's where it comes from.

Pondering this, I put on my pajamas, set up my little speakers, and played some ambient music that merged with the blustering wind against the window. I was glad I didn’t need to set up a tent in that chaos.

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