'Bent Miles, An Online Bike Touring Magazine
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November 2007 Volume 6 Issue 3
Wustenzell August 2007
Tell me; what do you say when your sweet and wonderful grandson asks you to go on a bike ride? Of course you do. Well, that is just what happened one day in August 2007. Since I took no notes and this is now October 2007, and my camera didn't take a good picture of my watch with time and date, I'll guess the date as the date the pictures were downloaded to my computer which was August 17, 2007; close enough for government work?
Remember, the issue where I wrote about a German biking group that I tried to ride with but due to my bronchitis, I was left in their dust? Well, I decided to go back to the little town where they ate lunch and try to do part of the ride that I missed.
Little did Nolan or I realize just how demanding this trip along the river that was not, necessarily, along the river would be. We took copious pictures; so, maybe I'll be able to reconstruct the ride somewhat by the pictures. As you can see by the rather blurred watch, we got on the trail just a few moments before 11:00 hours. The day promised to be bright and shinny, however, as you can tell by Nolan's jacket, the morning still had a bit of a windy bite to it. However, this soon gave way to a very comfortable day.
Initially the route was fairly smooth pavement. We toured through open fields, and through small towns with little effort on the pedals. With my map and the well marked paths the way was easy and we lazily rolled along enjoying the lush scenery.
Leaving the little town of Madelhofen, we encountered our first hill. It was rather gentle and not much of a challenge. It was here that Nolan decided we needed to pull over and rest his but and back. He could enjoy the somewhat wider seat of a park bench and have a water break at the same time. We enjoyed looking at the statute that had been erected in the little roadside park and watched as a few folks ran and biked by.
In a few minutes it was back in the saddle and on our way to Rossbrunn about one k up the road. Here Nolan had to be reminded that there were others on the road besides us and to keep in his lane. As you can see below, we were not the only grandfather and grandson on the street of that little town.
Being about noon time, Nolan decided we needed something to eat. We asked a little boy if there was a bakery in town. He indicated there was and gave us directions. Leaving the bike trail, we traveled up a secondary street to the main highway coming into town, Wuerzburger Strasse. Here, we turned left onto the sidewalk and soon encountered road construction that required my trike to engage the street. Nolan was able to push his bike around the work area and we both met and parked in front of the establishment.
Going inside, we found a lady ahead of us. We took the wait as an opportunity to decide from which of the delicious treats to choose. Nolan had a pastry and a bread. I had a cup of coffee and can't remember what else.
Having finished our meal, I decided I didn't want to go back the way we had come. So, we made a left at the street just past the bakery and was soon in wonder as to where the bike trail had went. A few wrong turns soon resulted in the correct directions and we were pedaling past lush and brightly colored summer garden spots.
We had every intention of following the river as far as the route would allow and we did. However, as we were leaving the little town of Offenheim, the bike trail along the river played out and as we crossed the major highway, we encountered the mother of hills. As if the fact that it was up hill was not enough, we had to engage that monster on rolling rocks for a trail.
Again we took another rest, and Nolan tried to figure out where we were on the map. However, the map must have gotten broken somewhere along the way; because neither of us could seem to make it work properly. No mater how hard we tried, it just would not show us the way. So, it was that I had to, once again, fall back on my old ranger training and use dead reckoning. (Reckoning that I didn't know exactly the way but the general direction)
The hill seemed to have no end. We'd pedal, in low gear, then we'd rest. Nolan was getting concerned that his old ranger granddad, was not going to be able to find his way. It seemed to me that once we topped the hill we would see a route that would take us around to our left. But, Nolan was getting tired of the rocks. So, as we encountered a very faint trail to our right that intersected with a paved trail, I told him we would go down to the pavement and engage the hill from that side.
As the pavement curved left I immediately got a headache. There was also a road to the right. Well, there is nothing like having to make a decision to give me a headache. Which way do we go? Being the old ranger I am, I made a quick decision, in order to rid me of my headache, and we swung left. For the last few moments there had been a tractor plowing over to our left. As we continued "UP" the hill, I started noticing dead mice along the trail. Still don't know if they died of poison and then were ran over or if their flattened shape was the true indication of how they died.
We pedaled; we pedaled. When we would think we were getting near the top, we'd round a curve and see the road, once again, going up. We finally decided to pick out a set of trees at what, from where we were, look like the top of the hill. If it was the top or not, that was where we would stop for a rest. On we trudged, one pedal turn after the other, one tire rotation after the other.
Finally, we did reach the clump of trees. To our surprise, there was a tent and a trailer parked there. A car with just married decorations was also there. Looking off to my right, I soon was faced with another decision. There was a nice paved trail dropping off the hill into a town down below. Do we take it and chance that it is not the town that we are looking for. Or, do we go on up hill in the direction that my "unerring ranger instinct" tells me is the correct direction. Decisions, decisions, I decided to do the ranger thing, take the hill. Wow, what training the army gave me.
Eventually, my ranger training paid off and we were, as Nolan would say, going down hill into our selected town more faster than fast. It was here that we finally, once again, started seeing bike trail signs. Once in the town, the map started working again. It became obvious that if we continued the route that I had originally planned we would be a long time ever getting to the extraction point with granny. So, it was that I made the call that changed our fate. I called granny and told her about the change in the route.
Once again, we were out in the wild away from civilization. If we thought the other route held hills in store for us, "we hadn't seen nothing yet". Once outside town we again hit gravel. And, yes, it was all up hill. At one point I had to promise Nolan that if he made the full ride, I'd buy him an electronic game. This seemed to revive him a great deal. So, it was, up, up, up, we slowly climbed. Meeting a lady on a tractor, she told us to veer off our route. Scratching my head, I looked in the direction she indicated. I looked at the map. Still, I was going with my ranger instinct. Up hill we went. We soon met a fellow on a motor scooter, he indicated that the town of which we were in search was up the hill and.....
On we went. Nolan stopped; I caught up with him. I started a fit of coughing. I took a hit from my puffer. I'd pedal, I'd cough; I'd wheeze. I'd hit my puffer. Up, up, up...we went. Finally, I saw the downside. I let "Tweety" have the bit. I could see in my side view mirror, as Nolan steadily fell behind. The wind blew, I reached up to catch my hat just before it was torn from my head. I could see a tractor and a man and woman working in the field up ahead and to our left. I could also see the bike trail was intersecting with a secondary highway.
Stopping and getting directions, we swung left, and I told Nolan to wait at the top of the hill while I checked to be sure of the directions. After a ways, I turned all hollered for Nolan to follow. We had arrived. We parked and I called granny. We were ready to be picked up. Then came the call. "Where are you? I'm in town and can't see you anywhere." Once again, Nolan and I mount our steeds and go looking for granny. Soon we are reunited and Tweety is in the back and we are all on our way to supper.
Thank you for visiting us, here at 'Bent Miles. May God go with and bless each of you. May your journey be rewarding; downhill is not as rewarding as uphill, but it is often easier.
Archie L. Tucker
Archie L. Tucker
publisher 'Bent Miles
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