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Friday, 18 March 2011

The Day The Road Melted



We got a lot of rain when we were cycling around Iceland - it was the summer of '06, we were missing a heatwave in England, and a lot of the Icelanders were complaining that it was the worst weather in living memory. One day, however, as we were pottering down the east coast, the sun came out.

Now, Icelandic roads are probably designed more for snow than for heat - but I'm pretty sure they're not supposed to melt at 20°C, either. The part we were riding had only been resurfaced a year or two earlier, and oh, did it melt!

I had mountain bike tyres, which wasn't too bad, just a bit sticky. Andy had road tyres... and duly began to sink into the road. We kept needing to stop, pick up rocks, and scrape tar from the tyres and brakes. With hindsight, it's funny, but at the time it was a nightmare - it's not easy to get clean again when you're camping by the side of the road most nights.




17 comments:

Ginny said...

This is unbelieveavle, Rachel!!! I can't believe the road would do this at that temperature!!! I'm wondering what they make those roads out of, anyway! You did get fantastic pictures to show us, otherwise who would believe it?

Elizabeth Braun said...

Ugh! The joys of travel, huh? As you say, it's funny years later!

I appreciate the way you blog tidbits from your travels years later too as it makes me feel I can post about trips I took 6 years ago as well....one day!!

Chef E said...

I cannot even imagine Rachel!

My son called me one day devastated, he had taken his shirt off, a hot summer day, was ridding home from college and went over this patch of newly tarred road and evidently it was so fresh it came up the tire and onto his back. He said it took days to get it off, and lots of scrubbing with olive or vegetable oil. He was so put out it became the topic of a paper the following semester for creative writing. I helped him do edits, and I was laughing :( bad mom huh?

Did that happen too? Tar on you back sides, or clothes?

Missy said...

Nice to visit again your blog...it's pretty interesting to see the tires melt from the heat in Iceland ;-P

The Smiths said...

Hi Rachel,

Am enjoying your blog - such interesting travel adventures!

Have never seen anything like that! You just wouldn't believe it - if it wasn't for the photos...

It must have been awful - but good that you can see the funny side now!

Kay :)

Jacqueline said...

Oh my! Don't think that will happen in the UK anytime soon.

Fly Girl said...

Wow. That is truly funny. Who ever heard of roads melting? I can't stand the smell of tar and I can only imagine the frustration of scraping it off your tires.

Tabor said...

What an odd situation. They must have mixed this in correctly or it was just covered. Was your bike ruined?

Stuff could always be worse said...

Yes this is a funny in hindsight memory, but scary also...
kim

Linsey said...

Wow, crazy!

becky said...

Oh, yuck! Hard to believe...

liliannattel said...

wow--great pictures. I'd never have thought of melting roads at 20.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

That does seem a very low temp for them to melt at!
P.S. I just saw your comment on Sicily Scene about Italy's Unification I did a post with a potted history that you might find interesting, if you have time do pop over. :)

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

Oh my gosh that's nuts!

Rachel said...

It's always the things which are real horrors at the time that you can turn into funny stories later, isn't it!

Deirdre said...

Wow... yuck. Heh.

Rabbit Hole Report said...

Rachel, you are queen of the intriguing titles. What an adventure!

And you're right, as comedian Lenny Bruce said, pain + time = humor.

Did you know, by the way, that the root word for travel is "travail"? Makes perfect sense given your biking episode.

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