Converter Peter Weiss Recumbent Bike
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.