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Iceland

Started by Alps, May 24, 2016, 08:28:02 PM

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Alps

Three of us on the forum are going to Iceland, and at least two will be circling the island. I'll start off this thread with a question - can people comment on the quality of unpaved roads? My expectation is that anything with a number is traversable, even if rather carefully, in a 2WD passenger car. (Some of the three-digit routes are not covered in Street View, but the ones I can see look equal to dirt and gravel county roads in the Midwestern US.) Similarly, I expect that anything preceded by an "F" is going to be non-traversable in a 2WD passenger car. I've read that when dry, F35 can be had in a 2WD, but I would also assume that applies to a 2WD SUV or similar, and not a low-clearance passenger car. But rather than assume, can anyone tell me their actual experience?


1995hoo

When do you need an answer? I haven't been there, but my parents have and I'd be happy to ask them whether they had any experience with the roads. However, they're currently on a trip to Norway without e-mail access, so the question would have to wait until they get home in early June. Let me know if that would work.
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"
—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Alps

Quote from: 1995hoo on May 24, 2016, 08:51:05 PM
When do you need an answer? I haven't been there, but my parents have and I'd be happy to ask them whether they had any experience with the roads. However, they're currently on a trip to Norway without e-mail access, so the question would have to wait until they get home in early June. Let me know if that would work.
Dude, totally. We're going in September. But the layman tends to be warier of unpavement than the roadgeek...

english si

Given there is the F prefix for roads passable only in 4x4s, I'd imagine that the others are passable in normal cars.

I imagine that the bar is set low - ie that F roads are often driveable by other vehicles, but would be difficult and there's issues and so you shouldn't risk it.

Could you not hire a 4x4?

Dougtone


Alps

Appears that F roads may be closed even last week in September. Also clear that I would need a 4x4 to do it. Not interested in the rental contract issues otherwise...

Duke87

Quote from: Alps on May 25, 2016, 08:16:56 AM
Appears that F roads may be closed even last week in September. Also clear that I would need a 4x4 to do it. Not interested in the rental contract issues otherwise...

The dates on which the roads typically close are annoyingly unavailable online, as noted in this Reddit thread.

From the comments it looks like some F roads may be passable in late September, but don't have your heart set on it.

I'm not finding data specific to the interior, but the average high in Reykjavik for late September is in the 40s (Fahrenheit). Would not be surprised if the highlands are already starting to experience temperatures below freezing by that point, in which case the availability of those roads depends on how much snow starts falling how soon.

http://www.road.is/travel-info/road-conditions-and-weather/the-entire-country/island1e.html shows current conditions and the entire interior is closed as of today, a time of year with similar average highs as late September.
If you always take the same road, you will never see anything new.

Alps

Quote from: Duke87 on May 25, 2016, 08:47:47 PM
Quote from: Alps on May 25, 2016, 08:16:56 AM
Appears that F roads may be closed even last week in September. Also clear that I would need a 4x4 to do it. Not interested in the rental contract issues otherwise...

The dates on which the roads typically close are annoyingly unavailable online, as noted in this Reddit thread.

From the comments it looks like some F roads may be passable in late September, but don't have your heart set on it.

I'm not finding data specific to the interior, but the average high in Reykjavik for late September is in the 40s (Fahrenheit). Would not be surprised if the highlands are already starting to experience temperatures below freezing by that point, in which case the availability of those roads depends on how much snow starts falling how soon.

http://www.road.is/travel-info/road-conditions-and-weather/the-entire-country/island1e.html shows current conditions and the entire interior is closed as of today, a time of year with similar average highs as late September.
Yes, but the entire interior is still covered with winter snow now.

cpzilliacus

#8
It is my understanding that F-Series roads definitely implies the need for a 4x4 vehicle. 

The Ring Highway (Route 1) is about 1400 km, and can be handled in a "regular" car.

Gravel highways (of which there are many) are generally passable in a "regular" car as well.
Opinions expressed here on AAROADS are strictly personal and mine alone, and do not reflect policies or positions of MWCOG, NCRTPB or their member federal, state, county and municipal governments or any other agency.

cpzilliacus

Quote from: Alps on May 25, 2016, 10:22:22 PM
Yes, but the entire interior is still covered with winter snow now.

F-Series roads are generally closed (according to a Swedish-language site I looked at) until the "end of June."
Opinions expressed here on AAROADS are strictly personal and mine alone, and do not reflect policies or positions of MWCOG, NCRTPB or their member federal, state, county and municipal governments or any other agency.

Alps

Quote from: cpzilliacus on May 30, 2016, 01:05:54 PM
It is my understanding that F-Series roads definitely implies the need for a 4x4 vehicle. 

The Ring Highway (Route 1) is about 1400 km, and can be handled in a "regular" car.

Gravel highways (of which there are many) are generally passable in a "regular" car as well.
F35 is the only road that they say can typically be traversed in a 2WD car - no one specifies if that means passenger car or SUV - unless it gets muddy.

1995hoo

Quote from: Alps on May 24, 2016, 09:18:53 PM
Quote from: 1995hoo on May 24, 2016, 08:51:05 PM
When do you need an answer? I haven't been there, but my parents have and I'd be happy to ask them whether they had any experience with the roads. However, they're currently on a trip to Norway without e-mail access, so the question would have to wait until they get home in early June. Let me know if that would work.
Dude, totally. We're going in September. But the layman tends to be warier of unpavement than the roadgeek...

Following up on this, my parents got home last weekend but I didn't want to ask them about this straight off until they got settled back in, so I asked my father about it yesterday. Unfortunately no help to offer–they didn't rent a car and didn't encounter any unpaved roads.
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"
—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

kurumi

Live stream of a 24-hour drive around Route One; soundtrack by Sigur Rós: http://www.ruv.is/routeone
My first SF/horror short story collection is available: "Young Man, Open Your Winter Eye"

Dougtone


Alps

Based on my experience, I can now say that numbered gravel routes are potholes strung together by some dirt, but traversable. Side streets are generally traversable but may contain a judicious number of rocks, possibly enough to make the attempt iffy. (For the record, I've successfully traversed every road on my list.) I drove an F route for about half a km looking for a turnoff (signs were misleading) and I can vouch that those are not traversable by passenger cars.

Duke87

In poking around for more detailed info about routes, I found this link:
http://vegasja.vegagerdin.is/eng/

This zoomable, GIS-based map shows the extent of Federal road maintenance and therefore provides specifics on where exactly the endpoints of any given route are.

Of even more intrigue is that this map shows numbers for all numbered routes... including some which are unsigned. Iceland has secret routes!
If you always take the same road, you will never see anything new.

Alps

Quote from: Duke87 on October 13, 2016, 12:55:30 AM
In poking around for more detailed info about routes, I found this link:
http://vegasja.vegagerdin.is/eng/

This zoomable, GIS-based map shows the extent of Federal road maintenance and therefore provides specifics on where exactly the endpoints of any given route are.

Of even more intrigue is that this map shows numbers for all numbered routes... including some which are unsigned. Iceland has secret routes!
I could definitely have used this. I now see I clinched 6302, but 61 takes a turn seaward to the north that I had no clue about.

Dougtone

#17
I have started to blog about my Icelandic road experience, starting with the capital city of Reykjavik.
http://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2017/02/icelandic-highways-byways-part-1.html

Dougtone

The second part of our series on driving and sightseeing in Iceland. This focuses on the popular Golden Circle Tour in the southwestern quarter of the country and will have a mix of roads, scenery, history and natural attractions that make up the Golden Circle.

http://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2017/03/icelandic-highways-byways-part-2.html

webfil

Cool article.

Quote from: Dougtone on March 04, 2017, 06:16:21 PM

From what I can best tell, this is a distance marker of some sort. I'm not sure if it is meant to be for touring purposes, or if it is a replica of an older marker. This is pointing out that it is 49km to the small village of Skalholt, which we'll come across later in our travels.

According to my CAA international driving license guide, the Pretzel sign (⌘) is standard for tourist attractions in Scandinavian countries, and probably in Iceland too.

cpzilliacus

Quote from: webfil on March 09, 2017, 12:14:13 PM
Cool article.

Quote from: Dougtone on March 04, 2017, 06:16:21 PM

From what I can best tell, this is a distance marker of some sort. I'm not sure if it is meant to be for touring purposes, or if it is a replica of an older marker. This is pointing out that it is 49km to the small village of Skalholt, which we'll come across later in our travels.

According to my CAA international driving license guide, the Pretzel sign (⌘) is standard for tourist attractions in Scandinavian countries, and probably in Iceland too.

Definitely used in Finland and Sweden.
Opinions expressed here on AAROADS are strictly personal and mine alone, and do not reflect policies or positions of MWCOG, NCRTPB or their member federal, state, county and municipal governments or any other agency.

Dougtone

For those traveling the Ring Road in Iceland, also known as Route 1, there is a change to the routing in eastern Iceland.

http://icelandreview.com/news/2017/11/09/changes-ring-road-weekend

Chris

The 7.5 kilometer long Norðfjarðargöng, or North Fjord Tunnel, opened to traffic yesterday. It is the second-longest tunnel in Iceland, located on Route 92 between Eskifjörður and Neskaupstaður.

http://www.vegagerdin.is/upplysingar-og-utgafa/frettir/nordfjardargong-verda-opnud-a-laugardaginn

Chris

#23
A third eruption occurred on the Reykjanes Peninsula today.

The sequence:
* November 10: nearly an eruption, earthquakes result in severe cracking in Grindavík, the town is evacuated ever since.
* December 18: an eruption occurred north of Grindavík, far enough from the town to avoid damage. Lava spread over undeveloped terrain
* January 14: a second eruption occurred close to Grindavík, with a secondary fissure opening right at the town limit, destroying 3 houses. The eruption ran across Highway 43.
* February 8: a third eruption occurred at nearly the same location as the December 18 eruption. Highway 43 is crossed by a lava flow at a second location.

The central focal point is Svartsengi, the location of the world's first geothermal power plant. It provides electricity as well as hot water (heating) to the peninsula. Magma accumulates at some depth below Svartsengi and then erupts to the east. They built an earth wall around the Svartsengi Power Plant as well as around the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, which is the biggest tourist attraction of Iceland. A little while later, they built an earth wall north of Grindavík, which was partially overrun in the January 14 eruption, with fissures opening up within the perimeter. But that wall succeeded in keeping the main lava flow away from the town.

Grindavík has a population of 3,700. Which doesn't sound much, but it is 1% of the Icelandic population. The town also has the only natural harbor on the south coast of Iceland. It has some industry for that reason. The government is considering to buy up all the property in Grindavík and relocate the entire population permanently.

Here's an aerial view of the February 8 eruption from today. The image is looking west. Most of the lava flowed east but reached the farthest west, across both Highway 43 and Highway 426. It extended across the hot water pipeline from Svartsengi to Keflavík, putting that part of the peninsula without hot water and heating.




Chris

A fifth and so far the largest eruption of the sequence near Grindavík started today. They estimated that a volume of 20 million cubic meters of magma was stored in a magma chamber, which is the largest since the volcanic episode began at this location.

The eruption resulted in a 4 kilometer (2.5 mile) long fissure, with a much larger lava output than in previous eruptions, it was estimated at 1,000 m³/s, but I've also seen quotes of 1,500 - 2,000 m³/s. Webcam footage shows very rapid lava flows.

Lava is now closing in on the naval transmitter, which is operated by the US Navy. The transmission tower is 183 meters tall (there are two).

There are four roads into Grindavík, two of them now covered by lava and the two others are also at risk.

Route 43: the main road to Grindavík, has been covered by lava at multiple locations, including a large volume on the north side of town. The temporary high-voltage transmission towers also burned down.
Route 426: a secondary road from Blue Lagoon to Grindavík, near the naval transmitter, is covered by lava
Route 425: the main road west (Nesvegur) will likely be covered by lava soon
Route 427: the main road east (Suðurstrandarvegur) will likely be the last road open to Grindavík, but is also at risk from a lava flow around the defensive barriers.

Information from the Grindavík side of the eruption is limited however. The town is evacuated, it's inaccessible for press, FPV drones can't fly that far apparently, and webcams don't have a good angle of that area.

Here's a webcam view from Mount Þorbjörn, looking south to Grindavík.The lava flow has wrapped around Þorbjörn.



Earlier today. Route 43 is to the right, the Svartsengi geothermal power plant can also be seen. Lava has reportedly reached Route 43 in this area as well.









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