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October 2005        Volume 3               Issue 2

Sometime during the first part of July 2005, I received an all call message from my German friend, Peter Weiss.  It was addressed to mostly German folks; so, consequently, it was in German.  I could make out some of it; however, being the spoiled American I am, I sent it to another German friend of mine, Wolfgang, and asked him what it said.  It was an invitation to a recumbent meeting and camping excursion on Altmuhl River, very near the Altmuhlsee near the small town of Ornbau, in the much smaller town of Gern.  All of these places are just off the map from Ansbach.

Now that you really do know where I'm talking about, we can go on with, "the rest of the story".  Of course, being the old army fellow I am, this wasn't going down without a reconnaissance.  So it was, that during the recon trip, we found places for me to visit and take pictures of to share with you.  But, before any of this was going to take place, Nolan and I were going to have some time on the trike together, consequently the first few pictures you see below are not of this trip, but of Nolan and me together along the river.

It is absolutely too bad that the rest of you fellows, out there, don't have a woman like Nolan and I have.  Three forty-five on the morning of July 29, 2005 found yours truly scurrying around the house--mostly my office--looking for maps that I had forgotten to corral the day before.  Turning everything topsy turvy resulted in no maps.  Unorganized offices and desks are definitely me.  Unorganized recons?  That definitely is not me.  "Oh, maps are already in the truck from yesterday's recon, dah," I thought.

At some point our lady came down the stairs and fixed coffee, beacon, eggs, biscuits, and served it all with jam and orange juice.  Told you Nolan and I are to be envied. As I write this, it is a Sunday morning at 0805 and that lady is busy cooking sausage, eggs, and biscuits and making coffee. Hummmmmm....yum, yum, I'm hungry.

Tweety and day box all loaded, I pointed the Dakota in the direction of Ansbach.  There were two places I had plans to show you on the way.  The first was a Bourg in the town of Lietnau.  As I arrived, I spotted the entrance that I wanted to show you, but had to first find a place to park my truck.  Finding a parking area, I looked all around to find someone to ask if it was ok to park there.  Seeing no one handy, I rang the door bell of a house nearby.  Finding no answer, I entered to open door of the local brewery.  It was obvious that the place was in the process of renovation.  But, there was no one around.

Back out in the parking lot, I finally see a couple walking through.  I was told that it was ok to park there for an extended period.  So, off came Tweety and out came the camera.  And the rest is below.

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 We do not recomend this eatery in Margetshochheim.  This Turkish fellow treated Nolan and I very badly during the time the U.S. was being denied permission to cross Turky into Iraq.

After having lunch from a bakery, fruit stand, and butcher shop, it was back to the truck to load up Tweety.  Then we were on the road to the town of Wolframs Eschenbach.  Here, I had noted was a walled city and thought you might enjoy a few pictures of some parts of this medieval community.

This was a somewhat larger town than where we just left.  And, while it was not all that large, it did have a bit more of a stand-offish air about it.  I suppose if I had initiated the first move, I would have been met with a welcoming handshake and smile.  So, it was likely the fact that I did not initiate a meeting that I went away without the warm feeling that I had garnered in the previous village.

During my tour of the city, I had wound my way through one gate and out and around the outer wall.  Coming back in through the rear gate, I noted an inner wall that impressed upon me that the city must have had a second wall behind which the soldiers fell for a second line of defense. 

I had went up one street and down other streets and was coming by a guesthouse for the second time on my way out.  I pretty much just wanted to stare down some wise guy who had previously laughed at my trike.  As I pedaled by slowly, it was uphill, there were no takers. Returning to the Dakota, I loaded Tweety and was on my way to the camp site.

As I was passing out of Ornbau, I just had to take a picture of the rock bridge and archway leading out of the city, as well as the city wall.  Crossing the bridge and following the curve to the right, I saw a pull-off on the right.  Getting out of the truck to unload, Tweety--she wanted in the picture--I noticed a large blue travel bus parked under the trees to the left.  Folks must have been stopped just for a rest.

Placing Tweety just right, I took her picture under the shadow of the bridge and town archway.  Crossing the rock bridge on cobblestone, I almost jarred my glasses off going down the hill on the other side. I took what I considered the appropriate number of pictures and was back to the Dakota and uploading Tweety within about fifteen minutes.  We were at the hotel by 1315.

Once I got my room and had my clothes stowed, it was time to visit the camp ground and see all of the different types of recumbents as they arrived.  When I got across the street to the camp grounds, there were three folks already there, Wolfgang from  Koln, Herbert from Pfakofen, and a young lady, Kriss, from Austria.


After visiting for a while it was time for a little ride.  Traveling around the area, I found a bakery/candy store and a butcher shop.  After a few miles of wiling away time till more bikers showed up,  I returned and watched as all these beautiful bikes rolled in with even more beautiful people riding them.

Activity started to bustle with the clank of tent pegs, fluffing of tent canvas, and distant conversations. All was well with man and nature.

Again, I got restless, I pulled out of the camping grounds and visited a few small farm communities.  Then it was around the wall of the walled city of Ornbau.  However, the wall trip lasted only a few yards, not because the wall ended, but because of all the dog poop and broken glass.  Getting off Tweety, I lifted the rear and pivoted her  back the direction from whence I came.  It was back "on the trails".

The gravel road, corn field on the right, and forest on the left, and the stillness in the air again attested to all being well with nature and man.  However, I had not been raised on the farm in Arkansas for naught.  I had better sense than to get too far from cover.  The stillness is what gave "mother nature" away.

I guess maybe the farmers in this area are less sensitive to weather change than what I grew accustomed to as a kid.  When I asked them about the weather and got a shrug of the shoulders, I was inquiring about an actual weather report.  No one had an answer.  Then I felt it, that one lone drop of cold water.  I had a feeling  that things were going to get a bit tough for our camping friends.

Just as I had returned to the campsite, I spotted Frank, one of the event organizers, and his wife and son whiz by.  So, off I went to ride with other recumbent riders.  It was not long before Frank had pulled over and was checking out his bike.  I asked if all was well and finding out there was no major problem, I went on.  I didn't want to horn in on a family bike trip.

Later, returning to my room, I had a sandwich from the meat and bread I had picked up in Ornbau earlier that evening.  The coke that Dolores had insisted that I put in the truck cooler topped it off well.  Then it was back to my laptop and downloading pictures from my camera. 

Knowing the download would take a little while, I used this time to get my shower.  As I was stepping out of the shower, I could hear the storm brewing outside.  However, before I could snap any shots, I had to clear my camera of all the other pictures I had just downloaded.  By the time I had my camera ready and opened the shutters, it was too dark for pictures; and, the wind was blowing in the rain.

Streaks of lightening preceded the clapping of thunder.  Gusts of wind rammed my windows; tree branches grated the shutters as the rain pelted down.  A lone mosquito buzzed the air about me as if glad to be in out of the onslaught of bombarding rain and wind.

By 2145 things had subsided somewhat, and I could hear conversations drifting on the breeze across the street from the campgrounds to my open window.  By 2200 I was in bed ready to saw some logs.

Second day:  July 30, 2005

After waking at 05:20 to the call of nature and a mosquito buzzing me, I covered to keep off the mosquito. It was too hot.  I dozed.  My snoring woke me.  Finally, at 06:30, I got up ready to eat.  But, breakfast was not served till 07:00 hours.  While waiting, I opened the windows and snapped some pictures of last night's aftermath.

Following breakfast, I cleared my room and paid my bill.  Then it was off across the street to see how the campers faired.  Wolfgang and Kris' lean-tos had both not faired well.  Each of them had spent at least part of the night in the breakfast room trying to get out of the rain.  Their sleeping bags were soaked through and through.  I felt sorry for them in that they each still had many miles to go.

When I saw what they had for breakfast, all they could eat for 4 euros, I almost paid to eat again.  In addition to what I had, they had my favorite breakfast item, eggs.  Instead, I spent my time taking pictures and trying to listen to conversations in German.   These folks were so accommodating and nice to me.  All of them made a much better attempt at speaking to me in English than I did in German.  I enjoyed them so much, I fully intend to go again next year, provided I'm invited.

As the morning rocked along, I felt somewhat lost because I was still of the understanding that there was to be some sort of meeting.  Then while I was speaking to one of my newly made friends, he said, "I don't know how to say it in English except that we are meeting".  Then it dawned on me. "OH! This is a get-together."  Once I realized it was not a meeting as we would term it, I was more at ease.

Frank broke out some photocopies of various maps, and we each took what looked interesting to us.  I initially took a kind of short route and tried to get my bearings so I could at least know what direction to start.  Then, someone asked if I'd be interested in taking a trip around the lake with their group.  I quickly changed maps and started snapping pictures as we lined up to commence our ride.

We weren't hardly out of the campgrounds before we met a couple of fully faired trikes.  From my position of about midway, I surmised that the two were being invited on the trip with us.  One accepted the invite and the other proceeded on to the campgrounds.

No sooner had we lined out than I picked up a limb in my derailleur.  Although it took only a short time to remove the stick, those faster two wheels had already put a scary distance between them and Tweety.  Power pedaling and swapping gears, I started to close the gap.  I passed Wolfgang.  He was just wiping his hands on some grass. It appeared that he was back in the saddle.  Soon he was up with me.  I was getting winded.

We met the young fellow on the gray Baron who had turned around to assist Wolfgang.  They soon sped off ahead of me to catch up with the rest.  Wow, these guys were kicking my rear and not even trying.  Sure, I could attribute it to their young age.  But, I knew better.  I was just plain out of shape and knew it.

I hadn't gotten to the right-hand turn yet, but I could see the lead group as they doubled back in my direction on the other side of the river.  "Well, I might as well just relax and settle back and enjoy my lone ride", I thought.  But, what is this?  "They've stopped."  When I arrived, they were busy picking up tree sized limbs and clearing the bike path for others.  I have a feeling that also served as an opportunity to wait on me without embarrassing me.

At any rate, Mr. Reimann, suggested that I lead the group so as to not be left behind..  Several times the word was passed up the line to stop due to folks having bike problems.  Finally, after a stop of several minutes, a couple of riders went back and returned without the stragglers.  From this point it was "hell bent for leather".  I didn't think I'd ever keep up and was just barely still with the group when we arrived back at the camp site.

It was a great ride of which I need to do more.  My total mileage that day was 17 miles.  Some folks said goodbye on the road; and others, such as I, said our goodbyes after returning to camp. 


Lining up for our ride around the lake.

I departed the area at 1400 and got home at about 1600.  I snapped some more pictures of storm damage on the road home.  I can't wait till next year.  Provided I'm invited back and if more folks are desired, I'll set the calendar here on 'Bent Miles so you can mark the dates.






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