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August 2009 Volume 7 Issue 7
August 2009 Regensburg to Passau Ride
August 11, 2209
Trip miles 46.6
Total miles 52
Real time about five hours
Saddle time 4 hours
Average speed 11.6 mph
I had been considering what long distance ride I would take this summer after the operation on my neck. The doctor had said I could ride a week or so after my release. I was feeling ok; the dissolving stitches had, for the most part, dissolved. The operation had been on 14 July and now it was 11 August. I kept getting flashbacks of my first Passau trip back in July 2005. Most of the other considerations, along a river, were a considerable distance from home and Nolan was going to accompany me on this one. So, the fact that Regensburg was only an hour drive from our house, cinched my decision, Regensburg to Passau it would be.
Now, as you may recall, our last issue was my trip from Weiden to Regensburg. So, there was no reason for that ride again. This would knock off 75 or so miles. My estimate was that it would still be 144 kilometers or 89 miles. So, it was that since Gate's Vista won't allow me to use my trusted biking program on my desktop or my laptop, I used Nolan's, "hand-me-down" to run the route and snagged it with "Tehc Smiths' Snagit", saved it to a thumb drive and printed it out for our trip. None of my maps were of that particular route and, since I've used such printouts innumerable times before, I trusted the itinerary as attached below.
If you are familiar with uploading and storing files on the internet, you will appreciate the fact that I have to resize each and every photo I post. The reduction in file size both reduces loading time for my readers as well as reduces storage space for which I pay on someone else's server. So once again, I'll give some free advertising for one of the best little, FREE, programs out there: FastStone Resizer. Just type it into your browser and download for free. It is great.
I used to love to write about my trips more than taking them. In fact, the writing drove the riding. Now, I'm not so excited about the writing aspect and often drag my feet. I've still got trips Nolan and I did for which I have little memory; but, the photos do help. However, I try to allow the photos to only guide not direct the writing because then it becomes just a ride report. Procrastination for this issue, however, was perpetuated by the ineffectiveness of the folks who host my site as much as anything else. Some time ago, we were notified by our credit card company about questionable purchases being charged to our account. As it turned out, we had to cancel our card and get a new one. I immediately started contacting folks, like my host server, trying to give them my new number. They could never get my panel to accept my new card info and wanted me to pay for the call to them. After about two months of their ineffectiveness, I called the number they gave me and got a fellow in Bulgaria. Now, I mean no offense to anyone; however, do you really think I'm going to freely give out my number after having one credit card stolen years ago and now a number compromised? So, now I have two site accounts; the old one open until my new host migrates my site and my new one. My new one has no limit on storage space; so, I'll be able to show you as many pictures as I want.
Now, back to the ride: So, it was that on the Morning of 11 August 2009 the Tuckers got up; had breakfast and Pa Pa loaded the bikes. Granny put some trip supplies in the "forever" plastic food bag that always hangs from the back of my seat when I travel. You will be seeing some of its contents as the story unravels.
We arrived in Regensburg at about 0800 and found a parking lot from which to unload and test ride our bikes. By about 0830ish we were on our search for fun and adventure. I had been checking the weather from my weather link above for several days and the forecast had been sunny in Regensburg at 0800. On the way Dolores commented on the fog and something about the weather. I looked at her, grinned, and stated that after the Weiden to Regensburg ride, I was not likely going to seriously consider her forecasts. However, the sun did come out enroot. The forecast for all other areas we would be riding had a 20% chance of rain. And, believe you me; we found the entire 20% on that first day.
The night before, I had wanted to get up at 0500 but, Dolores wanted to get up at 0600. Since we needed her, and she didn't need us, you can guess which one won out. Still, on the morning of the ride, August 11, 2009, dawn--the time of day, not the girl-- came sneaking through my window at 0415 hours. I tried going back to sleep but managed to only doze off and on until a mosquito started buzzing my bad ear driving me out of bed at about 0515 hours.
Shaving the right sided of my face is still very difficult because so much of it is still numb. But, I did manage a shave and puttered around my office till I heard Dolores downstairs. After hearing Dolores trying to wake Nolan, I hollered downstairs at 0615 that I'd leave him if he did not mind his granny. Whose little feet do you think I heard hitting the floor to the bathroom? Young fathers, support your wives when the children won't mind her. That is biblical. She and they are to follow you, as you follow Christ, not just because you are the adult male of the family. Breakfast for that morning consisted of me making peanut butter and toast sandwiches, some of which went into a zip lock for later use.
I had gotten on Nolan's bike before we left home and felt the back brakes were in need of adjustment. I told him to ride around the parking lot to check his brakes and gears. I wanted him to slide the rear tire. He reported everything ok. I told him I had not heard the rear tire slide. He insisted they were ok. Thinking, maybe, my heavy weight had made the stopping more difficult, because I had pushed the bike with locked back brakes before leaving the garage, I accepted his report, and we were on our way before 0830. We had each put on long sleeves to protect us from the sun. This morning the protection was more from the coolness of the morning than any sun we were likely to experience. If you notice the parking lot, the leaves on the ground reminded me more of fall than summer; this would prove to be the theme for much of the first day's ride.
Kissing granny bye, it was off in the direction of the river. As we rode the bike path along the side of the street, a large bus started backing out into traffic. I was, and still am, amazed that the front wheels were able to turn a complete 90 degrees from straight forward; so, in essence, the bus could turn on a dime, a sizable one. Seeing the top of the large bridge ahead and to the right of us, I surmised we were headed in the direction of the river, hence, the direction of the bike path. A large parking lot, that I'd seen on previous auto rides, promised access to the biking trail. Spotting a fellow who was getting out of his car to walk his dog, I asked for directions. He pointed, "right there it is", he seemed to say, in German. Just a few steps and we were on the bike path.
While much of the route is paved, there are still parts that are as I saw them in July 2005, cobblestone and gravel. I never did see the campgrounds where I stayed on my first trip. They had been located right on the gravel bike path and it was somewhere around 1800 on that hot day that I arrived. I suppose I could have found it had I tried. But, we were on our own trip, Nolan and I, and not necessarily going down my memory lane, unless--of course--it just happened to present itself.
At about the 12 or 14 mile point, while entering the little river village of Frengkofen, Nolan promptly announced that he was hungry. I persuaded him to wait till we could find a view of the river. I remember thinking, "why would anyone build a wall to block the view of the river?" Then it dawned on me that it might be to hold the river back. However, I was not convinced that it was at all strong enough for a retaining wall. It might slow the onslaught of water for a short time--maybe till a loch could be opened to control the rise of the river. Anyway, that be as it may, we did find an opening where we parked our bikes and dug into the food bag. Last in equals first out. The leftover peanut butter and toast sandwiches were not crisp, but they did do the trick. It was obvious, while watching him eat only one half of a sandwich that the stop was likely more for rest of legs or boredom than hunger. While standing there eating, we watched as two men talked and worked with a boat and fishing nets. It appeared that one was the fisherman and the other had different duties of sorts. Finishing our break, we had no sooner mounted our bikes than it started to sprinkle. Just before exiting the village limits, I hollered at Nolan to stop and put on a rainproof jacket of mine that I had packed for him.
As I said earlier, the route was a mixture of pavement, cobblestone, and gravel. However, even the roughest of paths beat the bumper to bumper traffic we witnessed in Kossnach. Seeing the stall from afar, I snapped a quick picture that I was not at all sure took. As our bike path looped around, it brought us side by side with bumper to bumper autos which we passed as I snapped another photo. Rounding a curve, with Nolan out front and out of sight, I encountered a bend that I had to almost stop to get around then an immediate steep incline. I dropped one on my back and the went down one on my front. For whatever reason, my gears jammed and down came my feet to brace me from the almost immediate fall I was going to experience from the abrupt stop. So, it was pushing up hill at the jesting of my biking partner, who was waiting around the bend and across the street. He seemed to take real glee from the experience.
At just about noonish, I started to experience some real hunger. As usual, Nolan was out front as we entered the little town of Wienzl or some such spelling. I remember seeing the sign but failed to take a picture. At any rate, we stopped at the Bahnhof for trains and busses. I remember the busses well, because this nice looking young blonde came over to the bench on which we were sitting and leaned over me to check out the bus schedule. I of course being the true blooded American male I am, was totally convinced she was just taunting me. That is one thing about being 62 years old; the young ladies no longer consider you a threat.
Upon entering the town limits, I spotted a bus stop with covering and a bench wherein and upon we did take cover and spread our fixings. Once lunch was over, it was back to the pavement. And just guess what it did after we left the cover of the bus stop. Yep; once again, it rained. About an hour or so down the road, I saw a sign to Mariaposching. However, I was not sure from the direction we were coming, which would be first, Lolam, where our room was or Mariaposching. Further down the path, seeing another sign--this one to the hotel where our room was, and thinking the sign indicated we should take the highway to our hotel, I hollered at Nolan. But as you may guess, he was out of hearing distance. I started slapping gears and increasing pressure on the pedals. Some bikers had passed me earlier. Seeing them stopped up ahead, I looked into my side view and leaned left. I shifted up one on my rear cog then another and another. Now I was doing 20 mph and catching up to Nolan. I informed him of how upset I was at him for us missing our turn. After another couple of miles, I spotted a large sign with our hotel advertised. It routed us down this, what seemed to be an endless dirt trail pock marked with pothole after pothole. Once again, I reminded Nolan why we were on this instead of pavement. He told me not to blame him. I countered with why not; it after all was his fault we missed the paved route.
Coming to the end of the dirt trail, I spotted nothing along the paved street that indicated our hotel. So, as I've stated many times in "Bent Miles", in absences of signs, keep straight. And so it was in this case. Nolan, of course, was the fist to see the sign directing us into the driveway of our hotel because he was, you guessed it, in front once again. I have to say, I've never had a better scout. The only mess up all day was missing the turn onto the paved street to our hotel. Again, he seems to be able to read the signs as I'm just seeing their shape. Without him, I would have had a much more difficult time of it and would undoubtedly missed some of my turns.
By the time we got to the hotel it was sunny and the landlady had a difficult time believing that we had been rained on so much between Regensburg and Lolam. However, the proof was in the wet clothes. After hanging our clothes, and a shower, it was time for a nap. After some snapping from me, Nolan gave up on aggravating me and allowed me to get a few minutes of sleep, during which time, he accidentally did the same. Upon awaking, we went downstairs and ordered supper. I told the lady we ate no animal products and would like an all vegetable meal. This seemed to pose somewhat of a problem but not an insurmountable one. She asked if potatoes and noodles would do. I replied it would with a mixed salad. Then came the sauce, did we want paprika or Baum. I selected paprika but changed my mind when I considered sleeping with too much spice in my stomach. She informed me that the Baum had milk in it. I said ok. Then, of course, I had to tell Nolan what he would be eating. We both decided that since it was not a daily thing it would be ok. While our meal was being cooked, we took a ride to find water. We found an general store just around the block and asked what time they opened. They were open at about 0730 and we decided to return the next morning before starting our trip. I figured some of our four bottles should be empty by then; and we could refill them.
We returned to our hotel and our meal was served at about 1700. No fast food here. We had placed our orders at about 1600, just about an hour in preparation. Here in Europe, I've grown to equate fast food with unhealthy food, the same as in the States. We had a filling and satisfying meal and once again, took to the streets. We rode out to the place where I stayed on my first trip, the Zimmermann's and reestablished old acquaintances. After a few moments of reminiscing, I asked for and received the below posted business card from Frau Zimmermann. They and the Stoberl guest house can be found along with others in the below chart. I have stayed at the Zimmermann's and at Stoberl and do recommend both. The Zimmermann's have a room for 20 euro a night with breakfast for one person but, they do have more than one room. So, if you speak German call them to establish what they have available or have a German speaking friend to call for you. Their email is also included on the below business card they gave me. The Stoberl has a double for 49 euro plus breakfast as well as other rooms. Frau Stoberl speaks English. .Just be aware that it appears that Irmgard Elsner, below with whom I originally scheduled a room but cancelled, rents one room with five beds. If you plan to rent here, you may want to make sure this is not the case before you make arrangements unless you don't mind a community room or this is the number in your party.
That night sleep did not come easily for Nolan or me.
August 12, 2009
35.2 miles actual bike trip
48 actual miles counting riding around after trip
Time in saddle 3 hours
Actual time: 4 hours and 20 minutes some of which was used for bike repairs, eating, and shopping.
We got up at 0730 hours and had a breakfast of multigrain breads, jelly, coffee, and orange juice. We then returned to the room, packed, and brought or bags down in front of the guesthouse. After paying the bill and saying goodbye, we loaded our bikes, waved at other bikers who were in a similar process and moved out. Our next stop was the general store around the block to purchase water for our upcoming day. We emptied glass bottles into our two empty 1.5 ltr. plastic bottles for only a couple of euros. This store was run by a very pleasant couple who looked to be in their seventies. I tried to take a picture of the lady, she was the only one of the two in that morning. However, my camera had gotten wet the day before and the shutter would open only part way. We exchanged pleasantries; she showed me some pictures of her daughter's family back in the States. After a few moments of international relations, we said goodbye, mounted our water bottles onto our bikes, and took off for a day of adventures in the sunshine.
After a quick prayer, my camera started working again and functioned well for the rest of the trip. Initially, our trail was a paved path that ran along the left side of the dike. However, the pavement soon gave way to a gravel trail running along the top of the dike. Because this section was so unusual, I remembered it distinctly from my previous ride in 2005. We stopped at the same covered rest stop as in 2005 while I reminisced and snapped some pictures. This was truly a great day to be biking. As we were departing several older men stopped and congregated in the area of the rest stop. As I said, this graveled path was routing us along the top of the levy where we had an unobstructed view of the Danube River and its barrage and boat traffic, of which I snapped copious pictures.
The sun was shining; the temperature was neither too cool or too hot; and, the path turned to pavement just as we entered a touristy park and camping area. Keeping a youngster interested in the ride can be difficult work. Work that is made easier with stops along the way. So, when passing a play area, I asked if he would like stop and check out the playground. Of course, he was only too glad to do so. As interesting and intriguing as it was, the park was, just a brief distraction and he was telling me that it was now time to ride. I have to say, he is the best biking partner a fellow could ask for. He scouts out front, keeps me informed on the directions and can carry on a very intellectually stimulating conversation.
So, as the playground lost is allure, and my scout was ready to once again forage out ahead, we resumed our trek for Windorf and our room for the night.. Arriving at the small village of Niederalteich, my buddy needed a bite to eat. So it was that we once again broke bread together, literally. We each had a piece of multigrain bread. However, as I turned with the food sack, to take it to my buddy already lying prostrate on a swing, my bike fell over. Apparently the luggage was a bit off center and the ground a bit soft. I picked it up and readjusted its position. As we were eating, he wanted me to push him in the tire-like swing. This being a bit tedious, I soon grew tired and told him to continue on his own, which lasted until the swing slowed and he was ready to be on our way. Replacing the bag and mounting, I noticed my gears would not function. "Oh, heck!" I thought. "The fall must have messed up my rear derailleur. Now, I'm going to have to find a mechanic."
I pushed the bike over to the bakery across the street. The lady informed me there was a bike shop in the next town. Now, it looked like I was going to have to push the bike all that way. I took the bags off and tried to fit them on Nolan's bike. Like the cheaper ones we left at home, they rubbed in the spokes. Now it was back to scratching my head and anything else that might be itching. I got on my bike empty. It rode just fine. The gears shifted just like they were supposed to shift.. "Ok, I know what it is", I thought. After the fall, I had noticed the right bag had been resting on the fender support bracket, which was now bent. I had moved the bag so it would fall free on the outside of the bracket. The bag was now interfering with my derailleur. What to do? At this point, the bags were sitting by the steps of the bakery. I told Nolan to join me in prayer that God would lead my thinking. I had allowed the situation to anger me. As soon as we finished praying, I had the thought to turn the bags around backwards. These bags were designed for an A-frame bike and had cut-away front sides to clear the biker's heels. This same cut-away edge also cleared my derailleur and thanks to God, we were back in business.
When I loaded the bags, I went riding around the park testing the gears and Nolan announced he had to use the restroom. I told him I had spotted a public restroom where we had entered the town. Once all the bags were adjusted, we mounted and he started out of town the wrong way. Hey, for once I was again in the lead. However, that was soon outlived and the scout was out.
On this route, we passed folks on the river getting dressed to swim. Nolan really got some laughs from this and I told him to bring it down a notch. With me cut from ear to throat, I could not afford a confrontation. Now, I no longer took my awesome ride for granted. Each time my rapid fire shifters caught and I heard and felt the gear change I was totally impressed with their efficiency. Like I always say, a properly functioning machine is awesome. However, I detest them when they fail to function properly. Coming out of one of the many towns, there was a bike path along the highway. Just a thin solid white line separated bikers from autos. Again, Nolan was out front. A biking couple had caught me lolly-gagging-around and passed me, getting between Nolan and me. With traffic this close, I needed to be next to Nolan. I glanced into my side view, shifted and pulled into the street. A jack-ass in a BMW blared his horn. I communicated my contempt, shifted, and pulled back upon the bike path. I shifted again. We were now, rounding to the right where the path was pulling away from the highway. I shifted and pulled passed Nolan. Now, this was a ride. I shifted into high and was running at 20 mph.. Up ahead, I spotted a man in the lead and his wife behind. I shifted down one gear, increased pressure on the pedals and pulled around. I nodded at the man and greeted him. He glared at me as though I had insulted him. I guess he was aggravated at his wife for holding him back. Coming to a sharp bend to the right I started shifting to better attack the approaching hill. Nolan passed and was down shifting up the hill and across the bridge. I soon caught up and now the river was on our left. This is where he got such a kick out of seeing the man and woman changing clothes. I did not snap a picture of that.
About five or ten miles out of Windorf, Nolan had pulled so far ahead of me that I could no longer see him and became worried. "Ohhhooo"! Just wait till I catch that little bugger!" I thought. We were now on a new part of the trail they had not yet finished on my 2005 trip. That trip the route had put me out onto a major highway. While I was glad this was no longer the case, I was worried that he would make a wrong turn and I'd not be able to find him. In the past when he got so far ahead, he would stop and wait or come back to me. Now, I was really mad. I shifted down attacked a hill, rounded a corner and saw a red shirt on my right. As I approached, I realized it was a construction worker. The rapid fire shifters responded as I called on each succeeding higher gear. Approaching a cross-over of a major highway, I spotted him on the bike trail. He was standing on the pedals trying to get up some speed. He was in a race with his "Old Man". I was so mad I decided to just not say anything. A lady approached the intersection from my right and entered the path ahead of me. Her husband yielded and I pulled in behind her. She thought my shifting was her husband and tried to pull ahead. He hollered, and she pulled to the right for me to pass. By this time, little toot had pulled out of site.
As I was contemplating his fate, the couple passed me. I pedaled on. Increasingly, I became worried about his whereabouts and safety. I shifted and applied pressure, the "Tour Easy" responded like a well tuned automobile. I shifted and shifted and shifted again. The man was on the left. I rang my bell and he pulled to the right in front of this wife. I shifted again and blasted past. Shifting into high, I saw a red shirt, and helmet pushing a blue bike up a hill on an exit ramp. I slid to a stop and dismounted. As I was pushing my bike backwards, the German couple came speeding up with confusion written all over their faces. They followed my gaze to their left and now to my right only to see this little boy riding his bike back down the incline stating, "wrong way". Up till now, I don't think they realized we were traveling together. I hollered at Nolan to pull over and get out of their way and hurled threats of what a miserable life he was going to have if he ever did such a thing again and he had better stay in my sight.
Shifting up we increased our speed. I could see the German couple stopping at a map billboard across a u-turn curve. Curving left we shot past them and immediately entered a 90 degree turn to the right. I swapped gears until I hit 20 mph. Further up the trail, Nolan stopped at the sign indicating Windorf. He wanted to know if we stayed on the bike trail or take the highway. Since I had never ridden this new section, I indicated that he was to follow me onto the highway/street into Windorf. Snapping pictures of the main street, we quickly rounded the curve to the right and crested the hill that led us to our room. Speaking with Frau Wagner, I learned that what had served as the lounge on my previous trip was now set up as sleeping quarters for a lady and her child who would be arriving about 2000 hours that evening.
After taking a shower and a nap, Nolan and I went in search of a place in which to eat. I, once again, returned to the swanky hotel where I had found an awesome salad bar on my previous trip. After not being able to converse with our waitress, they sent us one who spoke a little English and between my German and her English we established that one, the salad bar was the next day and two, cheese and eggs are vegetables. So, it was back on the bikes and to the Italian dive where I had eaten on my second day of the 2005 trip. At least they knew that pasta was made from plants and didn't have to have cheese. Nolan had a mushroom tomato paste pizza that was very tasty. I had spaghetti. We had wanted to sit outside but a drunk was drinking his beer and smoking. We moved inside and noticed he smoked three cigarettes within just a few moments and then had a friend joined him.
After dinner, Nolan spotted a town sign he wanted to check out. However, seeing the monster of a hill we would have to ascend, I suggested we ride the river toward Passau. The Italian Restaurant where we ate was just in front of the Hotel where we wanted to eat. I had seen what appeared to be a bike path to the river from there. We retuned and started across a grassy spot to the trail. Abruptly spotting a sharp edged curb edging the grass, I hit my back brake and the bike went out from under me. The next thing I knew, my right leg was pinned under the bike, I was sitting somewhere near the rear tire on the left side of the bike. I could feel my knee and ankle being stressed. Nolan came up to me saying how I should not have done that. Oooohhh! did that set me to boiling. After scouting the way, we found that it did not lead to the bike path. We turned in the direction of the street.
Some miles past our room, and after a very healthy up-hill grade, we met two young men, one of whom gave me a thumb-up about my bike, as we entered a paved bike path which soon turned into the graveled trail I remembered so well. I warned Nolan about the monster of a dog that apparently had lived in the neighborhood back in 2005. I could tell his size by the many huge piles he had left in the middle of the bike path my last trip. By now, I too wass feeling the call of nature and decided we would stop at the fish house about half way to Passau. I was concerned that it was getting late and while Nolan had a light on his bike, I had left my head lamp in my bags at the room. Nolan started calling out that we needed to turn around. I told him that I thought the fish house was just up ahead. When we arrived, guess who dismounted, left his bike and went to the restroom. Upon his return, I took care of business and we returned to our room with a bit of daylight to spare.
The Hungarian lady had arrived at about 2000 with her six-year-old boy while we were out. Despite the age difference, the two boys did find things to do together before bed time. Ms. Wagner, came up and closed the lady's window telling her that she would be eaten up by mosquitoes if she didn't' keep them closed. I had established that right after unpacking at 13:15 and had kept our window closed. After a bit of talk, I told Nolan we needed to go to bed. We locked our door and all was quite by 22:00. I awoke at about 0500. Dolores called between about 0600 and 0700 saying she was out front. I knocked on the door to warn the lady we were coming through. Speaking to Frau Wagner after loading the truck, I told her we would forgo breakfast. She could give it to the mother and child for their continued trip into Hungary. I knew Dolores had veggie burgers and coffee in the truck. We arrived home at 10:15.
This was, once more, a fabulous trip. Having taken it once before did not distract from its enjoyment. In fact, the reminiscing just added to its allure. So, as always, keep your face to the sun and your back to wind. Get out and get exercise, biking, hunting, fishing, golfing, walking or whatever your sport is. Just do it.
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