Let me set the scene here – we are off the ring road, the major highway circumnavigating the island. We are on a supposed “highway,” which was really a dirt road. (I feel like while in Iceland we ended up on a lot of highways that were really just dirt roads.) And it wasn’t like this was just a short section of dirt road – we were driving for hours in our tiny Opel, which was probably the size of a mini cooper, over bumpy dirt roads.
Anyways, we are on a dirt road driving next to a fjord, about an hour from the nearest fishing village – yes, fishing village (pop. 1,100). Emily and Anna, in the front of the car see a giant “teepee” shaped rock. Without enough time to clear away, we hit the rock full on Titanic style – that is, instead of running into it dead on, it scraped along the side of our tire and tore a massive hole in the side of our tire. It deflated in seconds.
Even though we are three girls, we still know how to change a flat, so Emily goes to the trunk to get the spare, but instead we find that the hole that should have the spare in it is empty, and at the bottom is a small kit with a jack and instructions for changing a tire. Over the next hour we devolve to our most basic instincts, I take control as leader of our new found tribe, as we begin to hunt small animals with our handmade bows and arrows. Kidding.
Sixt – our car rental company – proves unhelpful. Over the phone they tell us “I will see if we can do anything for you and call you back.” They never call us back. Good thing we were smart enough to try other options while “waiting” on Sixt. The person working at the inn we are staying at that night amazingly is able to call up the local mechanic at 9pm at night. After sitting for an hour next to the beautiful fjord, and rationing out our Ritz crackers, Athlede, our “Icelandic hero-man” (as Anna Schleusner dubbed him) arrives at the scene in his huge pickup truck. Instead of giving up a spare, or towing us, he somehow stuffs the hole of our tire shut and uses tar to seal it. He then reinflates it with air and then just advises us to come by tomorrow and get a new tire. He telss us that there is someone not far behind us who also has a flat tire. Teepee rock apparently took two victims.