And we're off on another Battlefield adventure...

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#5
The trials tires will come in handy nnext week... On Iceland. In the meantime,,, have to go through EU to get to Iceland! Cheers, Sirhr

Ps AJ... More like Industrial strength Lysol to spray at the French. Ever,ride in a French cab? After 5 blocks you want to pay them 10 Euros to run over a skunk. Hey, Claude... Paint the daylillies later. Right now, pick up a Loofah and storm the 'pit Bastille!
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#6
A couple of pictures.... The White Cliffs were spectacular today!

And coming into the port at Calais. The "Book a Ticket" place said it was the Dover to Dunkirk Ferry. But it was not. It was Dover to Calais. Which is 40km South. Which pissed me off. But it was a beautiful day for a ferry ride... and a bike ride.

Dinner was Steak Tartar at an amazing beachside restaurant. What the French lack in military prowess, they make up for in cooking skills!

Tomorrow, to Arnhem for the anniversary of the last day of operation Market Garden. Going to miss WW1 in France to be at Arnhem for the events there.

Cheers,

Sirhr

PS. The knobbies will also come in handy on 'part 2' of the trip... Trans-Labrador highway next spring. dunkirk port.jpg dunkirk white cliffs.jpg
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#11
So today was a bit of 'the suck...' Because after a great start to the day at dawn on the beaches at Dunkirk....



... I got about 100 mile up the road on a perfect riding day.... and my %$#king cell phone caught fire. At least the cord/plug did. Melted right out of my phone. There went my connectivity, navigation (I have backup paper maps... but they are a PITA!). And all my contacts.

Got into Eindoven and lucked into a cell phone store and was able to get a cheap Droid galaxy (about 4 generations ago).... and move over my SIM card. But not memory, etc. Between Laptop and nav on new phone, however, I'll at least have some GPS. Which matters in medieval Northern Europe. Because paper maps suck navigating a motorcycle through back streets.

Back to the trip.... I did not get navigation working until I got to hotel. But did manage to get to the Nijmegan and Arnhem bridges and do a bit of battlefield archaeology along a very, very low river bank.



In the background is the Nijmegan bridge. Not much to look at. Tiny. But so strategic, once upon a time. You can see the 'modern' bridge that replaced part of the span. Imagine crossing that with a highly-motivated SS-Panzer division trying to keep you... well... off it. The GI's came across in folding boats. A lot didn't make it.



Here is the bunker at the North end of the bridge. Note the difference in the cement between the front and the sides.... the sides are smooth and like new. The front is blasted and peppered with massive amounts of small arms (and some large-arms) impacts. To the point that some of the rebar is exposed. Not a place to be for either side... a couple of MG42's would have made things very tough for the Americans.



Arnhem bridge. The real "Bridge too Far." Again, not much to look at. And hard to put in context, except that riding slowly around the area, you realize that there are not many 'old' buildings near it. And the streets leading up to it have lots of modern buildings interspersed with the 16th century 'downtown'. Because out of the rubble.... they built new buildings. You can still easily find the war here if you know what to look for.



My hotel is on the canal/river. So I walked out back and went a few hundred yards up the riverbank. Looking for... relics. Tons of bicycles, pots, pans, paint rollers, bottles. The trash of hundreds of years. But I did find a post that likely held barbed wire. And this 'box' like object that I can't identify for sure... but which looks very military. Overbuilt and latches that just scream 'military contract.' It looks a lot like some kind of ammunition tray or box. Sort of like a 'nutsack' for a SAW.... but older and metal. Any ideas on what it is... let me know. I left it where it was.

Hopefully tomorrow is smoother. New phone... albiet a couple of generations removed from current. But at least it navigates.

More to follow....

Cheers,

Sirhr
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#16
Thankfully, I am missing the charlie-fox that is the SCOTUS hearings... Probably better that way. Hope he is confirmed by the time I get back. I don't want to know....

So burning Droids aside... lots of cool pictures for the trip. And some thoughts which I'll put in another post. Because EU has gotten more interesting lately. And more sarcasm-worthy.

I've ridden about 750 miles since Monday morning. About 150 more to go before getting to the ferry to Iceland. Good roads, mostly. Lots of secondary roads across Germany and Denmark. Been avoiding the Autobahn... but not just by choice. I keep going places where even Germans and Dane's don't want to go.

Tuesday was the Bridges at Eindoven, Nijmegan and Arnhem. As I think I mentioned, Monty was an idiot. If you take the 'old road' you can follow the real battlefield. The British tank forces were required to push some 60 miles to relieve the paratroopers at each of the three bridges. Now 60 miles is not a lot. In fact, on a bike, even on secondary roads, it's a bit over an hour. But here's the rub for the British. The only road was two lanes. Which in WW2 terms meant one lane. Because two lane roads in EU are... about one lane wide. And it's raised. As in.... on sort of a causeway. Because otherwise, it would be underwater part of the year. The rainy part. So all the Germans had to do was set up their AntiTank artillery (and they had lots of it) in the woodlines that are just a few hundred yards from the road... on either side. And, lo and behold, the Allied tanks are %$#@#ing Silhouetted against a skyline for.... 60 miles! And the guns can fire 'at' each other... because misses go off into the distance. So the Germans had a perfect crossfire at tanks, barely supported by infantry... that could not get to the woodlines... and every 'hit' vehicle stopped every vehicle behind it. Then, you get into Eindoven and Nijmegan... and these are medieval cities. Tough to navigate on a motorcycle. Because all the roads are the width of a burro... not a tank. You had to get into the city.... fight door to door. Get tanks to a bridge that is hard to find. Before Hermann the German blows it up.

The whole Market Garden operation was idiotic. Because Monty thought he could win the war by Christmas. Should have given the gas to Patton.

But that was Tuesday.

Wednesday, went to the German Naval Museum at Wilhelmshaven. A very cool museum with a number of ships that can be explored.

There are some interesting themes at the museum. The main one seems to be that the Germans engineer and build the most beautiful and, presumably, lethal ships. And then either have them damaged to the point that they scuttle them. Or they 'think' they are about to get damaged... and so scuttle them. It is amazing. I don't think anyone's ever sunk a German ship... except Germans!

Lots of neat Cold War stuff at the museum, too.

The ships are most excellent. About 6 of them, including a cold-war era diesel-electric sub. Unlike most American museums where the ships are all cordoned off, you can go almost anywhere on these. Lots of cool open hatches and interesting places to go. I particularly liked seeing the feeding mechanism for the auto cannon. I also think I may have accidentally launched an Exocet from their guided-missile destroyer. But I have not been watching the news. So if anything 'strange' happened in, say, France... I know nothing! L1070706.JPG

This is a gun barrel that took a hit from a British shell. If your shell gouges the other guy's barrel like that... I think it was pointed pretty much back at you. Fastest on the trigger won that engagement! Ship was later sunk, but not before the barrel was changed.

L1070710.JPG

Cold war Diesel electric sub.
L1070721.JPG

Anti-submarine Rocket launcher. The crew painted "ASROC Cafe" like the Hard Rock Cafe logo on the door into the CIC.
L1070725.JPG

Auto feed for a, IIRC, 75mm auto cannon. That will empty its hopper of 40 shells in under a minute. That's a lot of firepower for a little ship!

Next, on to the Seawar Museum in Denmark...

More on that shortly.

Cheers,

Sirhr

P.S. Bike crossing the Elbe River where the Soviets and Americans met at the end of WW2. That was further South. But is a definite landmark. This was all in the British Occupation zone. And the Germans here are nowhere as friendly as they are down in the old "American Occupation zone" that is the South and central parts of Germany. I was trying to figure out why.... then it occurred to me that you would not be as friendly if you had been occupied by people who had nothing to give you but mushy peas, badly cooked bacon and cars with bad electrical systems. In the American zone, it was unfiltered Camels, Hershey bars, Nylons and Elvis. In the British occupation zone, you got poncy British officers and rationing. That would piss you off for a couple of generations, at least.

L1070736.JPG
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#17
I had a whole bunch of observations I was going to share... and will. But it's been a long day. I will, however, make one that occurred to me this morning when, once again, I was confounded at breakfast.

The observation is that.... whatever you bite into in Germany, seems to contain a sausage. And, no, I am not talking about the kinds of things that Danish Tourists get into during their Phuket Honshu Cephlopod porn tours... but the fact that Germans have turned breakfast pastries into a nasty game of hide-the-sausage.

For example you order what looks like a wonderful-looking cheese danish. All flaky pastry and a nice looking cheesy crust. Yummy. Just the thing to go with your septuple cappucino (more on that later).... and you take a bite of it and inside... you guessed it. Not nice raspberry or cream-cheesey goodness. No... A cold, congealed, nasty 'wurst of some kind. Mocking you. Tasting like cold pigs in a blanket.

Now I like a good wurst and all. 'Brats are a favorite. But not when I think I a getting a nice lemon puff pastry to go with my coffee. For the love of god... at least label things properly! I know to look for Apfel... but guess what. They have Apfel sausages, too! Apparently, they contain congealed apple inside the Brats. If you go to the Pop Tarts Aisle at Der Piggly Wiggly.... I assume that you will find Blueberry, Raspberry and Wurst flavored Pop Tarts. And none would be labeled.

I think this explains part of why the Germans have always had sort of a national "Got out on the wrong side of the bed" character. I mean, if I got up every morning and looked down at would should be a delicious popover or cherry-cheese danish and got a mouthful of nasty wiener... I'd want to string barbed wire around my back yards and fill it with starving Poles, too. If you get up in the morning to bacon, eggs and some nice toast fingers with marmelade or a yummy Ho Ho.... well, you're ready to invent the lightbulb, perfect mass-production and save the world repeatedly in the last century. If you start your day with a mouthful of last night's ball-park-frank wrapped up in a croissant, who can blame you for being cranky?

Cheers,

Sirhr

Oh and the coffee.... no longer are there actual coffee pots in EU. There are remarkable machines that you have to swipe with credit cards and press numerous buttons written in runes and hieroglyphs... to try and get a cup of coffee. Kaffe Americano is what they call a cup of black coffee with no milk, sugar, soy, froth, fizz, carmel, egg-white, kale or anything else in it. But lots of those machines don't HAVE kaffe Americano... or black coffee at all. And if you push the "Cappucino button" enough times to fill even a tiny coffee-cup with more than a mouthful of coffee... you have a septuple cappucino. Which they charge you 11 euros for. And because there is still not enough coffee there to dunk a donut in past the first knuckle.... you gulp it all down in one swig to try and wash the taste of congealed breakfast ball-park-frank out of your mouth. Which tastes quite good. Until you get about 20 miles down the road and suddenly realize that you have had seven shots of cappucino in the span of about 20 seconds. The symptoms of which are that you are riding 30 kilometers over the speed limit while singing Abba's Fernando at 78 RPM speed in a Mickey Mouse Falsetto. And I am only partly making up that last part. Again... as a military historian, I think I now have a pretty good grip on why Germany invaded the rest of the world repeatedly over the past centuries and killed off millions. The problem is, they should have killed off the sausage-hiding chef's and the idiots who replaced the coffee-pots with R2D2. I think that there is a PhD thesis in there somewhere... Not the least of which can answer the question of how I can remember the lyrics to Fernando, having not heard it since the 7th grade.

Tomorrow, my thoughts on the Danish and why they are so enamored with Hokkaido Octopus porn and with giving cavity searches to Polish truck drivers at their border.
 

PDXGS

Sergeant
May 31, 2009
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#18
Sirh.....are you an AdvRider?
I'm the proud owner of a '92 GSPD and an '02 1150GSA. Your post has motivated my to get off my ass and finish the rebuilt carb install on my GSPD this weekend.
Keep having fun for the res
 
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ArmyJerry

Staff Sergeant
Nov 22, 2012
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#20
put some sefoam in that thing and get out and ride.

Sirh.....are you an AdvRider?
I'm the proud owner of a '92 GSPD and an '02 1150GSA. Your post has motivated my to get off my ass and finish the rebuilt carb install on my GSPD this weekend.
Keep having fun for the res
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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The Snobbiest Town in The Snobbiest State in the N
#27
So the ferry has Internet... not exactly high-speed. But free. What the heck.

Forgot my number one rule of International Ferry travel. Never get between a Norwegian and a buffet. They are like Stanley the Honey Badger without the good breeding and patience.

North Sea right now is more than a bit 'sporty.' And I have the far forward port-side cabin. So the full brunt of seas. Thank goodness for IPA and Tylenol PM.

Cheers,

Sirhr
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#32
No only a sticker with a gun... but it says in English and Arabic "All-American Infidel."

%$#k them! I am not going to mince all over EU pretending I am Canadian or Australian. I'll be polite. Tip according to customs. Drive friendly. Speak the language when I can... but I will NOT tread lightly when it comes to not offending snowflakes.

BTW, I get more thumbs up... than I can count. The EU has taken a huge hit in American tourism since their immigration woes and idiots in power. Americans just don't go to Europe like they used to. So those who do spend their tourist dollars here... get appreciated.

Cheers,


P.S. Crossing the Swedish frontier, well above the Arctic Circle in 2012. No, I did not take off my Shemagh... and there was nobody in the guards booth to give a crap, either.

P.P.S. The 'refugee' gutter rats are everywhere. Seems like every small town has a knot of them hanging out on their mobiles. Not working. That said, when my phone burned up, it was two fantastic Arab-types who helped out. One checked out my old phone and sold me a new one... in minutes. The other helped me with some connection issues. Both had little cell phone sales/repair shops. Both were constantly busy repairing phones. Working their asses off. The locals were all coming in to pick up/drop off their phones. Those two guys have gone entrepreneurial and are working like hell to build a life. Credit where credit is due! IMG_0822.JPG
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#33
Short update from the Norrona.... Passed over the site of the Battle of Jutland. It's wet. Nothing to see here.

But the experience so far has been interesting. We're on a MV ferry. See picture above. A box full of cars and trucks... with a hold positively stinking of fish. We're constantly trailed by a flock of scupper-rats (seagulls) that think we smell delicious. Or like Rosie O'Donnell.

Last time I took this route was January 2014, headed to UK on the Queen Mary, a true ocean liner. And it was smooth sailing with just one day of bad seas... and always following. This trip... is different. Everyone aboard, it seems, is seasick to one degree or another. Me included. Never happened before. But we're taking a pounding. Now have enough Dramamine in my to paralyze a horse. It's working. Mostly.

What is interesting about the experience is that we are a lot more comfortable, well-fed, relaxed and Internet-enabled than something like a million GI's who went overseas to Europe about 77 years ago. And they were stacked in racks/bunks 8 high at times. Confined to their bunks. Crappy mess-hall food. No shower for the 10 to 14 day passage, depending on how much zigzagging the convoy did. And they knew that at any moment, a torpedo could slice their ship in two... or they could hit a mine. And that was that. No rescues. Convoy more important than a ship.

So any misery that us 'modern' travellers might deign to complain about... Don't go there! This is a delight!

Part of this trip is for the battlefields. And they're not all fields. But experience... not hardly. One can observe. And reach some Monday-Morning-Quarterback about what an idiot Monty was or how Jutland should have come out differently. Experience a battlefield, however? Balderdash. One can only experience a battle. After that, it's just another piece of terrain to study. Only those who were there can experience the terror, adrenaline, stench, noise, tragedy, triumph, loss... those who come after the battle can only experience a sunny day on a piece of soil. And learn from those who did experience the event.

All these companies in EU selling their 'battlefield experience' tour bus trips around Normandy, Arnhem, etc? It should be called "Battlefield tourism.'

And do I have newfound respect for the guys who had to fight the Battle of the Atlantic... just to get to where they could fight in the European Crusade.

Just a thought for the day.

Cheers,

Sirhr
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#35
Short update from the Norrona.... Passed over the site of the Battle of Jutland. It's wet. Nothing to see here.

But the experience so far has been interesting. We're on a MV ferry. See picture above. A box full of cars and trucks... with a hold positively stinking of fish. We're constantly trailed by a flock of scupper-rats (seagulls) that think we smell delicious. Or like Rosie O'Donnell.

Last time I took this route was January 2014, headed to UK on the Queen Mary, a true ocean liner. And it was smooth sailing with just one day of bad seas... and always following. This trip... is different. Everyone aboard, it seems, is seasick to one degree or another. Me included. Never happened before. But we're taking a pounding. Now have enough Dramamine in my to paralyze a horse. It's working. Mostly.

What is interesting about the experience is that we are a lot more comfortable, well-fed, relaxed and Internet-enabled than something like a million GI's who went overseas to Europe about 77 years ago. And they were stacked in racks/bunks 8 high at times. Confined to their bunks. Crappy mess-hall food. No shower for the 10 to 14 day passage, depending on how much zigzagging the convoy did. And they knew that at any moment, a torpedo could slice their ship in two... or they could hit a mine. And that was that. No rescues. Convoy more important than a ship.

So any misery that us 'modern' travellers might deign to complain about... Don't go there! This is a delight!

Part of this trip is for the battlefields. And they're not all fields. But experience... not hardly. One can observe. And reach some Monday-Morning-Quarterback about what an idiot Monty was or how Jutland should have come out differently. Experience a battlefield, however? Balderdash. One can only experience a battle. After that, it's just another piece of terrain to study. Only those who were there can experience the terror, adrenaline, stench, noise, tragedy, triumph, loss... those who come after the battle can only experience a sunny day on a piece of soil. And learn from those who did experience the event.

All these companies in EU selling their 'battlefield experience' tour bus trips around Normandy, Arnhem, etc? It should be called "Battlefield tourism.'

And do I have newfound respect for the guys who had to fight the Battle of the Atlantic... just to get to where they could fight in the European Crusade.

Just a thought for the day.

Cheers,

Sirhr

Must be something weather wise happening in the North Atlantic.

There was a tradgedy yesterday on Cape Cod and it was notable how rough the surf was/played a roll.

Being sea sick, there is little that is worse.

A sadistic person would hand the truly seasick a pistol and know that like an addict to the full heroin needle they would use it without reservation. Just the solid realization that until the boat hits land you will hate your existence blows.
 
Likes: barneybdb
Dec 2, 2011
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#36
I know what you mean about the battlefield experiences but the stench you mention was still very apparent when I visited some of the concentration camps when we were based in West Germany 61 to 63. I remember Buchenwald had been bulldozed and plowed over but still stunk, nothing would grow there and even saw flocks of birds divert around the site.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#37
I know what you mean about the battlefield experiences but the stench you mention was still very apparent when I visited some of the concentration camps when we were based in West Germany 61 to 63. I remember Buchenwald had been bulldozed and plowed over but still stunk, nothing would grow there and even saw flocks of birds divert around the site.
History.

Its real.

We cant let people revise it for political purpose.
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#38
Seas are much better today. And I have dramamine. Feeling good.

Watching what I eat. No beer for remainder of boatride.

All good.

Cheers,

Sirhr


Must be something weather wise happening in the North Atlantic.

There was a tradgedy yesterday on Cape Cod and it was notable how rough the surf was/played a roll.

Being sea sick, there is little that is worse.

A sadistic person would hand the truly seasick a pistol and know that like an addict to the full heroin needle they would use it without reservation. Just the solid realization that until the boat hits land you will hate your existence blows.
 

PDXGS

Sergeant
May 31, 2009
658
141
43
Northwest Oregon
#40
Beer and pretzels and dramamine=Beernine.
More effective is Scopalamine and Dexadrine.....ScopDex.
NASA issued this for flights on the Vomit Comet. It kept us from puking on expensive space toys.

Lastly, consider that you're on the North Atlantic during the polite time of year. Imagine that crossing on a Viking ship.
Here's hoping for better weather and smoother seas!
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#41
PDX... I remember the pills before the Vomit Comet. Never knew what they were. Just that they 'recommended' you take them.

I went on it when I worked at NASA c. 1993. We took a bunch of Congressional Staffers through "Adult" Space Camp at, I think, Stennis. Part of keeping the funding up and the 'advocates' working for you in the background. The VC was highlight... well, that and a full - up mission on the simulators.

It's an amazing feeling! Better than skydiving because no wind. I have a picture somewhere... in an album. Remember photo albums? When I get home, I'll see if I can find it. I need to put it and my NASA badge in a frame.

Cheers ,

Sirhr
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#43
aH BUT THE CHANGE OF REALITIES IN FREE FALL CHUTING NEEDS TO BE EXPERIENCED TO APPRECIATE

(excuse the caps, had caps lock on by mistake and im not going to erase and retype those letters)

In free fall you go from a world of extreme noise and violence.

Than you transition through shock of the birth canal to a world of relative absolute silence and peace.

It shocked me that instant change of experience happening so suddenly.
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#45
Astronauts getting beer bellies these days or is that suit for the knocked up ones?
No, it's a 'salamander suit' joint like used on underwater pressure suits. It's round, but on an angle, allowing the astronaut to flex and twist... while still wearing a rigid suit instead of a cloth one.

To make the circle 'Smaller' its mounted at an angle. That way it still rotates, but is much slimmer than a full sphere.

It's a very cool design.

Cheers,

Sirhr
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#46
No, it's a 'salamander suit' joint like used on underwater pressure suits. It's round, but on an angle, allowing the astronaut to flex and twist... while still wearing a rigid suit instead of a cloth one.

To make the circle 'Smaller' its mounted at an angle. That way it still rotates, but is much slimmer than a full sphere.

It's a very cool design.

Cheers,

Sirhr
Like the infinite possibilities to adjust a length of pipe by rotating paired elbow joints.
 
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PDXGS

Sergeant
May 31, 2009
658
141
43
Northwest Oregon
#47
The ring segments in the torso and above and below each joint can be switched and stacked to allow the suit to be quickly sized to fit folks between a 5'2" female and up to a 6'4" male.
The joints were invented by a NASA engineer, Hunbert Vykukal, and inspired Phil Nuytten to use a similar design in his underwater hard suits.

Sirh.....how long are you going to be in Iceland?
 
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sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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#48
About a week. Riding for 6 days. Though the weather looks like it is going to suck.. Already snowing in the Northwest. And a big cold/rain front coming in.

My initial plan was to spend a couple of days in Reykjavik, doing some 'recon' day trips. Then riding the Golden Circle... the ring road. But with the weather coming in, I may end up just doing day trips. Playing it by ear. But it's the end of a great trip. And I don't need to ruin it by getting caught out in an ice storm or similar. So may be doing less riding than I wanted.... But there are still a few nice days in the mix.

Cheers,

Sirhr