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July 2005        Volume 2               Issue 11

Mulbach to Passau

It would seem that all bikers—and those of us wana-be bikers—get around to riding the Passau to Vieanna bike ride.  But those of you, who know me, know that I’m a different sort of bloke; consequently, I tend to do things differently than most folks.  But, I do tend to do the same things.

 Since the first reconnaissance of the Altmuhl River route, when I was told that the route connected to the Donau (Danube) and could be taken all the way into Vieanna, I’ve been determined to ride it.  However, this trip picked up from where Michael and I had left off on the Altmuhl and proceeded on to the Donau and into Passau.

 A few days before the trip, I took my bike to Peter for a checkup.  On occasions, the gears shifted of their own accord and a weird sound was emanating from the rear end.  As usual, when I picked it up from Peter, it was like new.  Everything just seemed to operate more smoothly.

 Day One: June 28, 2005

48 Miles

 We all got up at 0600 and were on the road by 07:30.  By 10:30, “Tweety” and I were pedaling down the bike trail in Mulhbach.  Looking in my travel log, I found it to be a bit, lot, sketchy; and, waiting several days after the fact to do my ride report, did not lend to memory creditability.

 The trails were not nearly as good as I had anticipated.  For most part, they were crushed rock and gravel.  I’m sure this slows down even the two wheelers.  However, while three wheels don’t present a falling problem in gravel, that third wheel sure does produce a lot more resistance to pedaling in gravel than on pavement.  There is a noticeable increase in the amount of power needed for pedaling as well as a 3 or 4 mile hour reduction in average speed as versus pavement.

 If you are going to do this ride, I would suggest that you not use the narrow, thin, racing, tires that so many folks on fast bikes like using.  You are liable to use the time saved by these tires, fixing flats.   The portion of the trail that follows along the Altmuhl, has signs with brown background and white letters. 

 At one point, in the absence of any other signs, I followed a sign with yellow lettering.  While it had the same number as one of the numbers that had been posted on the brown signs, the number 2, it took me up this monster of a hill along a paved highway.  An overweight middle-aged man passed me on a mountain bike.  So, I figured I must be on the right trail.  Soon the biking sign pointed to a dirt/gravel forest road dragging me up an even steeper hill.

 Flies buzzing around my face reminded me how glad I was that I had not forgotten my swatter, my breeze—thru cap.  It is just the thing for swatting pests such as flies, mosquitoes, and Nolan, the hair pulling head beater.  Pump—pump—pump all the way to the top. Then, there it was, a little wooden chapel in the woods.

 I looked around for any type of biking signs.  There were none to be found.  I looked for any sign that would indicate any town on my map.  There were none.  There was a hiking sign; but, there was no way one could bike through that underbrush.  So, beware when coming out of the town of Essing; the route is not marked too well.

 Being the old collage ranger that I am, as well as orienteering recondo badge recipient, I took out the old trusty map and compass only to find them both broken. No mater which way I turned them, they just would not work  In other words,  they just would not tell me where I was or how to get to some place I wanted to be. 

 Taking copious pictures of the little wooden chapel, I had fleeting thoughts of making camp and sleeping on the floor of the chapel.  However, it was way too early in the day to be contemplating a campsite for the night.  So, it was back down the hill and ferreting out the correct route.

 The last five kilometers to Regensburg were murder on my knees and tailbone.  Then came the last five kilometers to the campsite.  I had to stop four times for water and eat an orange.  All total, I drank over three liters of water and was still touristy when I drank a large drank with my evening meal. 

 The day was hot and the trails were not nearly as good as they have been reported to be.  As I said before, they were a mixture of mostly crushed rock and gravel. I arrived at the campsite in Regensburg along the Donau at about 18:30.  I off loaded my trike and met a nice German couple who told me the camp restaurant stopped serving meals at 20:00.  So, what was I to do?? Take a chance that it might start raining before I could get my tent up, or take a chance on not getting supper?  Decisions, decisions, why won’t someone make one?  Oh!  That someone must be me!

 I dumped all items from the trike and rode to the restaurant.  I wanted a large salad without meat or cheese; but that just is not the good old Germany way in many restaurants.  They prepare food only in prearranged assortments and you choose from those offers or you don’t eat.  It is called a menu; da…

 Oh, well!  I found a table at about 19:00; I made my order at about 19:30 and was served at about 20:00.  I picked off the meat and cheese.  I guess it would have just been too much effort for them to just not put it on.  I was so tired and hot that I was not too hungry and could not eat all of my meal.  Now, if you know me, that is a lot of tired.

 Upon completing my meal, I went back to my tent and prepared for the night.  After setting up camp, I rode around the campsite to get the lay of the land.  After returning to camp, I introduced myself to one of the young fellows from Finland and returned to my area.

 There were some folks sitting comfortably in camping chairs reading.  I was just not to be outdone.  I sat in my 45-degree recliner, placed my legs up on the pedals, and caught up on my trip journal.  I often have trouble remembering five minutes ago.  So, a journal is a must for me to reconstruct a ride in order to share with our readers.  However, my journal entries are often so sketchy I have difficulty with the reconstruction.  The many pictures also serve as a memory boost; but I’ve learned to not consult them till I’ve reconstructed as much as possible from my journal and memory.  Otherwise, my writing tends to be stilted toward the pictures rather than flowing as the events unfolded.

 I had the tent up by 21:00 and was listening to a lone pigeon advertising his availability with a reply somewhere in the distant twilight.  Uncomfortable with my trike unsecured, I pushed it under the limbs and leaves of a young sapling and locked one of the tires to the sapling’s trunk.  I was still uncomfortable with it being out of sight.  One of the things I like about a dome tent is that you don’t have to stake it to the ground.  So, I took out the bike bags and picked up the tent and turned it 180 degrees to face the trike.  I then took a battery operated reflective light designed to be worn in the dark, so as to be seen, to my tent.  This gave me a sort of nightlight so I could more readily see my way should I need to exit the tent in the night.

 As I’ve confided in you folks before; I snore to the point where I’ve had other campers holler out in the night for me to shut up.  The first place I recall this happening was several years ago in Garmisch.  I awoke wondering to just whom these comments of hostility were being hurled.  Well, just as I feared, I was awakened in the night with a loud squeal on some sort of air horn.  Sorry about that folks; but my air horn does not use CO2.  So, mine continues to work even when others have lost their propellant.  In that event, I did have the last words, or should I say snorts.

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Donor kabob place during our reconnoiter.Guests in the donor kabob place.


Day Two:  June 29, 2005

55 miles

Birds woke me at 04:00.  I grabbed my toilet articles bag and rummaged for clean clothes.  Stumble bumbling to the shower, I quickly noticed they were of superior quality to many of the campgrounds I've used.  They didn't have the plastic curtains that allows water to spray all over your clean dry clothes.  They had two compartments, dressing and shower separated by actual doors.  The dressing section had a bench as well as hooks for hanging your clothes.

There was a laundry section just as you entered the shower building.  There were also sinks and a stove for cooking and washing dishes.  Returning to my site I took down the tent and packed my trike.  By 06:15, I was back on the bike trail.  It started to rain about 08:30.  It stopped at about 09:00.  I had been thinking about what my biking friend, Michael, likes for breakfast, brochen smeared with butter and jam.  Just as the rain was stopping, I found a bakery and ordered two brochen with butter and jam and a large cup of coffee.

Back on the trail, thunder and lightening ushered in the rain.  I had plenty of notice.  The rain drops initially, were few and far in between. People were pulling over and taking refuge under trees.  Not me; I was enjoying the pedaling way too much to stop.  Besides, I reasoned, "The rain gear will get me just as wet with perspiration."  On I pedaled.  Harder and harder came the rain.  Noticing an open carport to my right, I swung under just as the rain really broke loose. 

It soon started to blow in from the side; I moved over.  It abated somewhat; I was back to pedaling.  The slackening proved to be only a lull before the storm.    I noticed a couple stopped under an underpass.  They had moved to the back and to the side, out of site to keep the blow-in from drenching them.  The further I went, the harder it came.  I was drenched to the bone.

Passing a sign that announced a guesthouse, I swung my trike hard to the left and parked in front of an open restroom.  Locking my brake, I stepped into the guesthouse and asked the man if I could change in his restroom.  As the rain broke, I retrieved my dry clothes from the plastic zip bags in which they were incased.

After changing and putting my wet clothes on the trike, I entered the guesthouse and ordered a pot of coffee.  Apparently the fellow had to go to another house to get the coffee and the rain returned, this time in torrents.  A gray haired young lady in here 70s, drawn over from the years of hard work, hobbled into the room.  I asked to take her picture and was told unequivocally, no.

I looked out the window; the rain was so hard you could barely see down the road.  I thanked God that I was in a dry place with dry clothes.  I again asked the lady about my coffee.  She indicated, as we would say back home, that it would be coming directly.  I waited.  I looked out the window.  I took pictures; I waited.  After the rain had slackened somewhat, the fellow retuned with my coffee.

I got hungry all over again and could think of nothing but those brochen covered with butter, and jam.  So, once again, I had breakfast with my coffee.  I asked if it was projected to rain all day.  No one knew.  Thunder roared; lightening flashed; water swept across the street on its way to the drain.  The lights flickered and I thought, "I doubt they have a backup generator."  Then I sneezed. "Hope I'm not getting a cold", I thought. Then, all of a sudden all was quite.  The rain had stopped, and the thunder and lightening  no longer buffeted the skies.  But, the gloom was so heavy that it reminded me of late twilight at10:20 in the morning.

Back on my route, I could once again appreciate just how much the trails had improved.  They had went from the crushed gravel to sealed pavement.  Being laid back and on three wheels, does have its disadvantages.  I'm constantly lulled into the trance of easy pedaling which severely diminishes my quest for fast and a higher average speed.  As I was easy-riding between two cornfields, two ladies and a young fellow passed me.

I fell into their slipstream and was having a great time with them setting the pace and me just swapping gears.  I noticed that I was able to double my speed to 14 and 15 mph just by letting them set the pace.  I passed them.  Then came the unsure turn. I stopped and the couple caught up to me.  We agreed on the direction and pressed on.  I was not satisfied; I stopped and spoke to a farmer cutting hay.  He indicated we were on the correct path.

Just out side the little village of Pondorf, the path very abruptly went from sealed pavement to sand, potholes, and gravel.  This continued for 1.5 miles.  At the intersection of potholes and pavement, I took a right.  Again at some point on this route, there was a sign that indicated you could go either way.  I forked to the left.

At about 15:30 in the small village of Mariaposching I passed a sign, "Zimmer Frei"--Room Free.  Just for spits and grins, I turned around and inquired about the price.  In my limited German and their English I got the understanding that there was no bath included.  However, as I was turning around to leave, I once again inquired.  I went inside and was shown another room with a shower.  I assume the first room with restroom and basin, had a shared bath.  Anyway, for 20 Euro that included breakfast, I took it.

After unloading my bags in my room, I inquired about a guesthouse in which to eat my evening meal.  I was told there were a couple in the same village but one was closed and the other may not be open.  The husband offered to take me somewhere in the car to eat.  I thanked him but would not impose.  Besides, I had my trike unloaded and ready for easy pumping.

Finding no guesthouse open in Mariaposching, I proceeded on to find another of which I had been told.  Stopping to get directions from a couple sitting under the tailgate of their open van, I was told of two posibilities.  I took the directions to Loham and immediately noticed a pronounced bobbing up and down on my back tire.  I was convinced that it was out of round and hoped it would continue to carry the 60 pounds of luggage till the trip was over.

Arriving in Loham, the guesthouse was easily found.  Prior to this, Nolan had called and told me that he was on a dinner date with Granny at the Schnitzel Factory.  I just couldn't get that schnitzel out of my mind; so just guess what I ordered.  Yep; and it was delicious. 

By 16:30 I was done, and by 18:00 I was showered and making entries into my travel journal.  Looking at the beds, the first thought that ran through my mind was like in any hotel, "What if the beds hurt my back and I can't sleep on them?"

Well after a night in the campground sleeping on the ground and having air horns blown to wake me up because of my snoring, just how bad could sleeping inside a house on beds be?  "Ohhh...it feels so good to be clean, dry and on a bed.  If it rains tonight; that's ok", I thought as I slumbered in comfort.



Day Three:  June 30, 2005

60 Miles

I kept waking all during the night listening for rain and wondering if it was time to get up.  Finally at 06:30 I rolled out of bed and packed my bags.  By 07:00 there was a knock at my door and the landlord announced that breakfast was served.  Arriving at the table, I found enough food for two people, meat, egg, tomatoes, bread, cheese, coffee, and orange juice.

By 07:00 I had bid the good folks a good day and was on the trail toward Passau.  My original plans had called for me camping last night in Deggendorf.  But taking the room in Mariaposching had left me 11 Ks short on my previous day's ride.  That would have to be made up today.

At first I thought it was going to be a clear day.  Then it darkened.  I hoped that it would not rain.  I pedaled. Then I pedaled some more.  Coming to a small town, I ran out of signs.  I saw a couple parking their bikes and gong in to a store.  I did likewise.  There were several bikers inside. I browsed, saw nothing I wanted and proceeded on the the checkout counter where I inquired as to the location of the Donau Rad Weg, Danube bike trail. 

I understood the lady to tell me to turn right at the end of the building. I immediately made the incorrect turn and realized it.  I looked back and saw the couple who had been in the store with me going straight ahead.  Swiftly turning around, as swiftly as I could with 60 pounds of luggage, and fell in on their back fenders.  Once again, I was using their higher silhouettes to block the wind and was slipstreaming and swapping gears.

They stopped at a fork in the road.  The young fellow was looking at his map.  It appeared that his was not broken because it was telling him that he could go either way.  They had been blocking the path and it was up hill, so guess which way I went.  Yep, like my agriculture teacher used to tell me, I'm like electricity; I take the path of least resistance.  And, so I did.

I was really making good time; it was approaching noon and my speed odometer was approaching 30 miles. I pulled in behind a group of bikers following a man and lady on a tandem up hill. I once again glanced at my watch; it was just a few minutes till noon.  I wanted make 30 miles before or by noon.  I sounded tweety to a semphony of laughs.  I shifted and power pedaled; they lined to the right. I shifted once again and power pedaled.  I said good day as I pulled away from them.  I looked at my watch it turned to 1200.  I looked at the speed odometer.  At about 1202 it turned to 30.  "I did it!" I shouted.  I've done thirty miles by noon.

Then I pulled over and took a long swig on my 1.5 liter bottle of mineral water.  The tandem and their group passed and waved.  I was soon back on their fenders and passing.  In the lead once again, I was the first to come to the road closed sign.  I pulled around the sign and spoke to some folks just parking their car for a walk.  They indicated that the trail went on and I could make the swing around and catch it on the other side.  I thanked them and sped on.

About two miles and there was tape strung across the road and it was clear the other side was fresh tire.  They were just now extending the trail and it was either no trail or fresh tire for many miles to go.  So, it was around and retracing my path.  I waved as the tandem bikers looked down from the main road.  They had been good little bikers and were rewarded with not having to retrace their efforts.

Swinging to the right upon the main road, it looked to be up hill all the way.  But, I had realized on this trip that I could pump in much higher gears and keep up my speed than what I had originally thought.  So it was, power pedaling all the way, up the hill, around the curve, and up the hill some more.  Then came the bike trail once more.  It was off to my right and down hill.  Weeee! oops! Shoot; its a danged air strip.  Back I go, retracing my route back upon the main road.

In some town, which I no longer remember the name, a group of male bikers riding empty passed me.  Then came a man and woman.  I fell in behind them and starting thumbing gears.  I was hot on the woman's fender when a BMW passed and squeezed in between us.  We had sped up one hill and had a little down grade.  I was starting up the second upgrade riding the BMW's bumper.  He stopped.  "Shoot!" I really had some thought for that jerk. I had just lost too much momentum and dropped to the lower gears and off went the others without Tweety and me.

I took a bike route off to my right and saw the five men resting up ahead.  I shifted up and power pedaled past them and their laughs and whipped around the curve to the right.  I pressed on.  Several miles later, I heard them coming up behind me.  They were not overtaking me easily even though I was running with sixty pounds of luggage and they were running empty.  The one in the lead spoke to me asking me where I had traveled from.  We exchanged pleasantries and bid each other good day as they pulled ahead.

Once again, I came to an unmarked turn. I pulled up one direction then another. I didn't want to make a wrong turn and have to retrace my route. Finally, I made a guess and was on my way, whatever way that was.  Then, there it was; the bike trail.  It was about noon so I pulled over at a bench and opened up a tin of sardines and a pack of crackers.  One tin just was not enough; so, I had another.  I took copious pictures and had some dates.  I deposited my trash in the nearby trash can and was back on the trike.  I was still eating my dates in route.

Soon it was back out on to the highway.  Biking through a little town of Windorf, I noticed several eating establishments.  I rounded the corner, and it was up hill and out of town.  Keeping to the higher gears, I was making very good time.  At 1300 I passed another room for rent on my right.  Na, 1300 is too early to be stopping.  But, I had a good feeling.  So, I turned around and found out they had a room and breakfast for one night at a price of 18 Euro.  I figured I could unpack rest and ride empty the remaining 18 K into Passau.

I took a shower, took a nap and then was on my way to Passau.  I had to take the highway for 1 K then back down to the river bike way.  The route was hard packed gravel.  Some local ass had a dog who, from his bowel movement, must have been a monster.  He left his copious deposits in at least three different locations likely on three different days.

After a while the bike path gave way to streets.  At one point, I had to tote the trike down some steps. I was glad I had left the 60 pound bags in my room, because I would certainly have to tote it back up on the return trip.  Approaching the entrance to the lock, over which I would have to cross the Donau, I spotted cat poop deposited right in the bike trail.  For folks who are pet owners, I hope you are better at cleaning up after you pet than some of the asses I've seen in recent years.  The Germans used to be very good about taking a plastic bag along and picking up after their pets.  Maybe it is the outlanders who are perpetrating this menace on these great biking trails.

Exiting the loch, I turned left and tried to memorize any distinguishing land marks so as to not get turned around on the way back.  All I wanted was to take a picture of the city limits sign of Passau, just to show that I had ridden it.  Then there it was.  I snapped some shots and was back on my way to the zimmer.

On my way back across the loch, I stopped to take pictures of a couple of boats and felt cold.  I knew it was going to rain. I just hoped it would wait till I got to my room. I had used my last dry shirt.  I had two oranges as I waited.  After taking the pictures it was back to the return trip. I stopped at a fish restaurant where they appeared to have their own fish tanks.  I was not in the mood for fish.  So, I move on.

Returning to my room, I asked about a guest house and was pointed back to the town of Windorf.  The guesthouse I chose was very classey and the salad bar was a help yourselfer.  Oooh! What a salad.  The main meal was ok as well.

I returned to my room just as the rain started. I evaded getting wet.


On the morning that Dolores picked me up. She wanted a room for all of us for a couple of nights. However, Ms. Wagner was filled.  But, she and her daughter made some calls and found us a room up the street. When Dolores and Nolan arrived to pick me up, she provided a second breakfast at no cost.  I could not believe the hospitality.  If you can book ahead, this would be the place to stay.

Below is the hotel in which we stayed in Windorf.






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