Assembly Day

After catching up on sleep and checking in with work, it was time for the traditional (by now) all-day bicycle assembly, where I carefully turn a box and several bags of parts into a self-contained touring machine.

The traditional all-day bike assembly.

This time things were a little more complicated because I had to locate a box from DHL. It contained a kickstand, taken from my other bike.

A week earlier I was double-checking my boxes in Portland and realized I didn’t have a kickstand, so I called up my nephew James in Oakland and walked him through removing the one from Alice. He boxed it up and sent it ahead to the hotel at considerable cost, but it was either do that, or go without a kickstand for my entire trip, which would be extremely annoying. James had never taken a bicycle apart before. And Alice is a greasy bike. It took him hours. He’s a real mensch!

As an aside, I still can’t believe that cycle tourists go without a kickstand just to save weight… I stop at the side of the road dozens of times in the average day and sometimes there’s no place to lay the bike down, or it’s raining and laying it down would soak my gear. Maybe those other people are just younger and they never slow down, and they only have to pee twice a day instead of ten times like I do when I’m on a trip?

It was still light out when I rolled the assembled bike outside. Well… Of course.

Do I look pleased? Well I am!

For my first outing I left the big bags and camping gear in the hotel. It was time to scoot around town and see the sights, and see how much I recognized.

Valoria is back together and ready to look around!

There was that familiar, scintillating line of the ocean in the distance…

The ocean beckons us to our doom.

There’s that giant sword, like a radio beacon for tourists…

Whosoever pulls this sword out of the stone shall be -- way too damn tall, even for an Icelander.

There’s the hilarious Icelandic graffiti. Perhaps a few new scribbles since last time…

Icelandic graffiti wants to be edgy, but it's just cute.

But hang on. There’s something new this time…

What's that in the distance?

Okay, that giant orange light definitely wasn’t there two years ago.

Apparently a mountain is exploding nearby.

It’s the volcano Fagradalsfjall, further north along the Reykjanes peninsula, erupting for the first time in at least 6000 years. Pretty cool!

I perched on the hillside and stared at it for a while, then decided I was too tired. Back to the hotel for a nap, and then I need to deal with the bicycle box…

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