Monday, September 4, 2017

DACA Barn Poem

Remove boots to air out the dogs
Hike cotton grass  full of snakes
Remove silica mask before algae
Examine motivation of authority
Remove makeup before retiring
Dig foundation, find gold coins

Ask why President ends DACA
Play a tuba Bonerama to protest
Ask if children's LEGOS murder
Sing when opposition speaks hate
Ask if castle crumbles from time
Discover treasure in true hearts

Remove slippers before dancing
Draw symbols to free joy souls
Remove stain hiding in the barn
Send children to abandoned life

Caroline Gerardo poem and images all rights reserved © copyright September 1 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Pink Sky

Pink sky

Pink sky over ocean

Pink sky over sea ~ waves wear on toes holding ground ~ this moment is ours.

I'm just a Mom who raised children on her own, hosted family gatherings for 40, and find joy in everything. I work long days, then I'm creative. There's great people around me. Tide like sound of chewing and cranes constructing I hope brings happiness and awareness.

copyright  ©  Caroline Gerardo August 2017

Iceland Airplane DC Crash Site

Sólheimasandur’s big tourist attraction in Southern Iceland made
me sad. It's not the airplane crashed upon the black sands, it's the tourists who disappoint. I saw young men pulling pieces off the plane, and carrying spray paint cans to decorate with icing. Travel opens eyes.

Pass Skógafoss waterfall on the Ring Road 1 - look for flashing yellow lights. Parking area is on the ocean side. Parking is free. Wear warm clothing, it's windy. Follow the yellow road reflector plastic markers about three miles on black gravel. Stay on the marked road. This is private land. Do not trample on plants, many are endangered. 

In 1973 this Navy DC-3 crashed in southern Iceland. 
It won't will last past 2020. Tourists take pieces, climb on it, and make holes in the walls to climb up top. 

I share this with you and sigh. Information on the internet can
be fabulous; but; however; instead; in this case it's people that aren't so fab.
Photograph copyright ©  Caroline Gerardo August 28 2017 Do not use without my permission all rights reserved

GPS coordinates: 63.4912391,-19.3632810

Need driving directions, how to read the signs, what side of road and much more

read here

Thursday, August 31, 2017

How to Drive In Iceland

Tips for driving in Iceland. Signs, road hazards and how to safely

see Iceland by car, SUV or camper. I'm travelling with my daughter who
shoots landscape photographs. the weight of her camera packs is like a bowling ball collection. I'm catching pictures and enjoying the waterfalls with cell phone and old Nikormat.

Methods to travel to choose from:
Bike rentals with tent. Too dangerous for us on the narrow roads.
Hitch hiking is too risky for me but many young people wore backpacks and had their thumbs out.
Bus tours. Cringe. Ugh, reminds me of cattle call with no freedom. The majority of tourists choose the bus tours. It's easy. The itinerary is planned. See the things everyone else sees.
The Blue Lagoon was nice but it is low on my favorite places in Iceland. Reminds of Disneyland. 

After research we decided to rent a car. A vehicle that also serves as a 4 X 4 camper
was an excellent choice to be able to travel to everything and be on our own schedule.
You only need a valid driver's license for your home state and a bit of courage to drive
as a tourist in Iceland.

We rented a camping two seat car from Ku Ku camper. They were fabulous!
The vehicle was a new Subaru with a futon back that folds down to sleep two persons.
The car was beautiful. No problems for driving Iceland. They 
supply a basic cooking kit with two pans, plastic plates, dawn washing soap
and pieces that fit neatly in the area where back seat passenger leg room area. You drive.
Renting a car in Iceland is not cheap; but hotels are double the price of comparable 
in the United States. We were free to travel the Ring Road (1), and visit gravel roads into the less seen waterfalls of the island. Having a car that we slept in allowed for unlimited schedule. We stayed in a couple hotels- Hotel Berg (excellent six stars) At  the glacier at Jökulsárlón temperatures overnight were below zero.Our bodies were chilled from hiking so we stopped in to Hotel Smyrlabjorg (expensive three stars). Also stayed at Foss Hotel (expensive one star) Skuggi Hotel (moderate 4 stars).  

Here is my list of tips for driving round Iceland. 
My daughter navigated in advance and printed our plans on paper. We took turns driving. She used WAZE for GPS and it works well. MAKE SURE YOU RENT A portable WIFI that plugs in battery to your vehicle. The Subaru has five or six "ports" or lighters to plug in phones and the WIFI. Bring your home vehicle lighter plug in and extra cords in case you lose them. Hotels and restaurants have European plug ins which are not universal to American technology. I bought two extra batteries and memory cards for a digital camera. Daughter brought 80 rolls of film, four cameras and nine batteries. Don't want be caught with a dead camera.

Roads are well marked with simple signs but Iceland does not repeat the signs. Look at the pictures on the sign and understand in advance what it directs. It is not necessary to be able to read the language. The pictures tell you what to do. 
The weather changes in minutes. Winds pick up fast. Keep to the posted speed limit. Allow those in a hurry to pass.
Icelandic police uses cameras and mails you a ticket. We never saw a police officer in twelve days but the crime rates are amazing low in this country. 
If the sign shows falling rocks. Look to the left and that mountain slide may deliver so be careful. If the sign shows man on horseback, you will see Icelandic horse riders crossing the road. The horses reside on most farms. They are not always fenced. When you see the sheep sign it means the sheep are roaming and crossing the road at will.

driving signs Iceland this one says YOU are on camera for violations
Signs with image of a camera do not mean this is a good place to take a photograph. This sign is also offered with front facing camera picture.
Translation: you are on speed trap camera ahead.
We found WAZE (now owned by Google Maps) useful in reporting speed camera traps

Places of interest to take a photo are a blue sign that looks like a snowflake or flower. Stop at these. Find parking and take your pictures.

Iceland sign gives route number left City name center and kilometers distance to drive on the right
Sign above shows on the left the number of the road and on the right how many kilometers to the location

This road sign is helpful it indicates there isn't a town for a while. If you vehicle is on half fuel, time to fill up to the top. Better to be safe. Iceland does not have Triple A and few or no tow trucks in rural areas. Tourists generally don't stop or have a gas can to assist.
Iceland driving sign for reindeer in the road
Above sign indicates reindeer crossing. A variety of animal signs are used in Iceland. The road signs are serious warnings. There are no second chance warning signs. Icelandic drivers must be self sufficient. Also there are sheep crossing signs- the sheep do run alongside the shoulder and dart out into the pavement. If you hit a farm animal you are responsible to pay for the animal. Car insurance usually doesn't cover the big damage. Hitting a live animal is traumatic to passengers and the living being. Icelandic horse riding or loose horses also will be indicated with appropriate animal images. Domestic animals and farm animals may spook when you drive near them. For heaven's sake don't steal the signs. 
Common Iceland drive sign for one car bridge

One lane bridge   Einbreid bru
Yes, one lane bridges are VERY common in Iceland! Car closest to the bridge has the right of way. Okay how do you figure that out? When in doubt give the right of way. Backing up on a one way bridge can end in car in river with dead passengers. Use your brights to blink. 

Always drive with lights on- day or night it is the law

Above is Dangerous curve to the left. This sign also flips to the right

Blind hill =  BlindhaedThe road is coming to a hill and it will be difficult to see oncoming traffic. self explanatory sign with image of 

Do not pass - solid white line just like homeRoads are narrow. If you rented a two wheel drive economy car don't dream you can get up enough speed into the wind.
When passing use your blinkers -right indicator light

Road closedThese signs are for your protection, DO NOT ignore. Don't die.

Pull off/passing space
Spaces when the road is tight or perhaps it’s a one lane tunnel (those exist in Iceland!), there will be a blue sign with a white “M” that means a pull off ahead. generally these are poorly marked. Do not stop in the middle of the road to take a photograph. Find a farm gravel outlet and park off the flow of traffic. 

Flat tire from off roading? Damage to wheels and tires by flat or under inflated tires is pricey and you will be waiting a day for someone to help. Flat tires are not covered by insurance.

Hold your door. Do not open all the way!! Doors are damaged when opened in extremely windy conditions. In a storm, expect winds at 50m/s (112 mph). Yes,this force can knock you to the ground.

Losing traction on gravel roads is common where the asphalt road suddenly turns to rocky dirt road and the driver has not reduced speed to compensate for this. I live four miles from a paved road. For me driving on gravel has regular cautions- ridges in the road shake your spine and the car to ultimate stress. You don't want to break down. Go 15 miles an hour or slower if the car trembles. Of course your car won't be in miles per hour, go 24 kph or less. Allow others to pass. When another car is coming in opposite direction, move over, slow down, even stop if dusty. There is no shoulder. Often the shoulder is water, a slope or a life threatening caution.

Yellow circle with red = Don't tread, right Do not try it. The signs are not emphatic. Many places in Iceland are dangerous and unlike the U. S. no emphasis 

Iceland has many Roud-abouts. Enter with caution. Pay attention to the other drivers and yield. 
sites to see as a tourist in Iceland here

Okay that's enough. I will post more about the trip soon. Was I too cautionary to frighten you off? I recommend driving in summer months.


Iceland Poem

Iceland Poem

far from home
no internet - no TV
 radio in foreign tongue
gulls rest on the highway
unaware tourists drive SUV
melting environmental ballet
 Joyful children's voices sung
buried under flowery loam

Iceland Poem


click on Above Iceland video

Caroline Gerardo copyright © August 31 2017  poem, images and video 
Iceland Trip

driving directions and those pretty snowflake signs read here for Iceland travel information