We went a few years ago, before Rick even had an Iceland guidebook. Also, it was early April, so going all the way up north wasn’t in the cards. But we spent a few days touring along the southern part, as far as the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, then doubled back. I can’t say that going east (counterclockwise) or west (returning clockwise) made for better traffic or views. Turning off the highway to a sight or parking might actually require more left turns if going counter-clockwise, thereby turning across the road, rather than exiting with a quick right, but that wouldn’t seem to be a big deal. Does Rick provide any rationale?
Our flight from Denver also arrived really early, but it was so much shorter than a flight to continental Europe. We stayed up all day in Reykjavik after landing, and did a whale watching boat tour in the early afternoon, and attended a performance that evening. Body clocks didn’t require that much adjustment, and sleeping on the plane maybe helped make a difference there. But I might not hop in a rental car right at the Keflavik airport immediately upon landing, and begin a big driving tour.
We went to the wonderful Fontana springs/sauna/steam/buffet restaurant on Day 2, and did not go to the Blue Lagoon that trip.