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June/July 2008 Issue Volume 6 Issue 10
Saturday July 26, 2008: Bike Ride from Schwarzenbach to Kirchenthumbach
Since we moved here from Wuerzburg, there were some very sunny and bike friendly days. However, we went three or so weeks with mostly rainy and or cold days. Night before-last I slept with a fan once again. So, yesterday, Saturday, I decided to do a bike trip. At first, I wanted Dolores and Nolan to go on a short local trip. However, since Dolores went on a short one the day before and Nolan was having stomach problems off and on, that left just me and "Blue".
Dolores wanted me to just get on the bike trail running parallel with highway 470 and just ride till I had enough and she would come pick me up. Now, I ask you: What kind of true biker would do such a thing? After all, just how much of the fun is found in the planning of the trip? So, she and Nolan hit the road to scout out the shopping centers between here and wherever.
I had in mind to ride to Pottenstein. So, I put my point of origin, Schwarzenbach, and the towns along the way to Pottenstein into my trusted bike program. The printout made no since at all. Total mileage came out to 117, and it is only a thirty minute drive from here. I was surprised to see such a small town listed in the program with other towns nearby not listed. Then I noticed it, the zip code. It was not the same as ours. And true to my expectations, we were not in the program. So, I did the next best thing. I planned the trip from Grafenwohr to Pottenstein and the mileage came out to 83 km or 49 miles. Ok; that was doable. But then, I got to looking at the route it was sending me. It was taking me through towns that were totally out of the way.
So, it was back to the map and my trusty Ranger instincts. (Have your heard this somewhere before? How about disorientation? Have you heard of that somewhere before? Most common folks call it lost; but, not us Rangers. We just get disorientated.) So it was, out the door and on my bike and down the road. "Ooops! forgot my map. Ok, where did I put it? Where was I last? Putting on my shoes in the living room." And, there it was on the coffee table. "Got it; now where do I put it? Don't want to put it in the day box, too unhandy. Oh! I know; I'll mount my handlebar bag. Ok! Good! Now; I can go. Wonder how many Euros I have? Where is my pouch? Oh, Dolores must have it in the truck. I'll call her. Where is my cell? In the house; but, where? Where did I put my pants I wore yesterday? In the upstairs bathroom. Ok, now to call Dolores. No, the pouch was left on the door handle."
"Ok, now I can ride." I turned right and down the street; wait; I wanted to go the other way. So, it was; "Blue" and I were on our way. I rode down the street, turned right and then a left onto the forest path. My gosh! What a beautiful ride. A laugh started to rumble up from my chest to my larynx and past my lips. This was often the effect my beautiful Easy Racer had on me while riding. The rhythmic turning of the pedals and the easy and sureness of the shifting gears just made me feel right with the world.
I took the forest path till I got to Pechof where I saw one of our neighbors with her two girls. I waved and said hi, in passing. Below are some pictures of that quant little village.
Having passed through the village, it was back onto the paved path through forests and fields. I marveled at how the bike responded to my legs and how the gears shifted quickly and smoothly. Then I hit gravel and broke out of the forest into the open with gravel pits all around me. Now, I'm sure I need not remind you that gravel is a lot less threatening on three wheels than two. I shifted down and slowed to about 5--8 miles per hour. I topped a fairly steep little rise and turned left onto the paved highway. Straight would have taken me onto a much more trafficked highway. I knew from experience that the one I chose had very little traffic; and what it did have was slow.
I took the curve to the right and had level ground for about three or four hundred yards; then came the hill into Dorfgmund. Topping the hill, I viewed my map again and realized I was going out of my way. Replacing the map, I coasted down the hill, across the bridge and to the next intersection where I knew if I turned right I'd be on a very bike friendly road. But, it looked like I should go straight for the most direct route on the map. Climbing the next hill, I saw a shade tree and a bike trial sign to Hutten. Straight ahead was a major highway that I truly did want to avoid. Looking to my right, I saw a car coming from a small road intersecting the one I was on.
The man spoke but I knew not what he said. Then I saw another bike sign to Grafenwohr. Wow look at this Ranger reading a map. I found it. The long way around. I pushed the bike across the road and took some more pictures. The IVV painted on the pavement is the start of a volks march route
Coming into Grafenwohr, I started scanning the terrain searching for the direction of the route. I saw a biker coming around a corner and over a rise. I followed suit. I came out to the main road and spotted the ESSO service station. Stopping, I checked my cell and found that I still had plenty of units left. My stomach had been bothering me. You know, one of those feelings where it felt bloated with something you didn't remember eating. It was not a nauseous feeling, but uncomfortable non the less.
Entering the store, I spotted a drink cooler; good, it had coke in the bottle. It was the kind of cooler where you see perishables in the supermarket, one without a door on the front. I felt of all the drinks; they were just about room temperature. Looking to the right, I saw another cooler. This one had a door on the front and all the drinks were very cool. But there were no cokes. Going back to the open cooler, I rummaged around in the back and found those to be just like I wanted, cold. Taking a small coke, I told the lady I would drink it there so as not to have to pay for a bottle I'd just throw away in the first trash container I saw. It took me another ten or so minutes to down the cold soda. A healthy burp or two later and my stomach, while not quiet right, felt much better and my thrust was soothed as well.
A tractor had pulled into the station just about the time I did and, tried to beat me out of the drive. I thought the ass was going to hit me with his huge blade before I could get out of the way. The path through Graf. was easy pedaling. Just before getting to the Tea Garden, I pulled over to the right and consulted my map. There was a railroad track on my right, but I could not find it on my map. Dang, I must have broken another map. Once again, even in the face of all my ranger training and my ROTC recondo badge, maps were becoming a hindrance rather than the help for which they were designed.
Looking down the road, I saw a huge yellow sign with a bike and an arrow to the right. My ranger instincts were telling me that I wanted to go left and not to the right. Sure enough, the map agreed. Cautiously, I approached the sign. I knew there had to be another to the left. My ranger instincts were insistent. "Well, looks like I'm going to have to get into the traffic", I thought as I started to engage the highway. But! Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a paved path to my right running behind the bus stop. Pausing, I reconsidered my options and decided the road must initially turn right then back left. Upon further investigation, this proved to, indeed, be the case. I turned around and made a double swing to the left and was on the bike trail to Eschenbach.
Topping the hill out of Graf., I spied the sign Gossenreuth. Wow, my map had repaired itself. I had actually seen that little dorf on the flat replica of Earth's surface that I toted in my handlebar bag. Now, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Gossenreuth, Eschenbach, here we come.
Arriving in Eschenbach, all bike signs seemed to disappear. So, it was back to reading my trusty map and depending on my infallible ranger instincts. Did I mention that my map had repaired itself? Well, I must have placed it back in the bag too hard or hit a rough spot in the road, because once again, it stopped working. I almost turned around when it looked like the bike path was entering the major highway, 470. But, once again my trusty ranger instincts had brought me upon a turn in the bike path that took me under the highway and on to great biking terrain. Following those great ranger instincts soon found me doubting my decision. The path soon turned into a gravel forest roadway. When the roadway split and I, once again relied on that keen ranger sense of direction and the path turned into a wagon trail through tall grass and weeds, I no longer doubted my choice in direction. I knew, without any doubt, I was once again disoriented. I took another fork to the right, because it seemed to be headed toward the only buildings in sight. That put me up onto a white gravel road. Looking to the right, my keen senses told me that was not even close to the right direction.
All my ranger training propelled me to swing left onto the white gravel and a sharp right at the far end of the cornfield. Soon this brought me out onto a major gravel forest road. Spying a small bike sign pointing to the right, I took a very questionable trail where I happened upon a nice looking mother and her even nicer looking daughter walking a beautiful gray horse. When I told them I was headed for Pottenstein, the daughter laughed and said, "today?" When I indicated that I was turned around the mother said that I was correct about that and they pointed out our location to be near the small village of Bar winkel. The mother asked if I wanted to go to the main road. I said that I'd prefer not to get on it. The daughter told me to go back to the white gravel road and keep going. It would take me back to Eschenbach.
I thanked them and headed back. When I got to the left turn that would take me back to the white gravel road, I didn't want to retrace those steps and thought the road I was on would take me to where I could get my bearings. My ranger instincts were telling me that highway 470 was just a short distance to my right. Approaching an intersecting dirt road to my right, I stopped a car coming from that direction. He told me that Eschenbach was that way. Getting to highway 470, I saw a familiar bike path on the other side. However the ditch that separated me from it was just too deep so I rode 470 to the exit. After receiving directions, I was soon back on a bike path toward Pegnitz. I was starting to get hungry. By now, Dolores had called me once; and I had explained how I was running late due to getting temporarily disorientated.
Soon, I was in familiar territory pedaling past a friend's house overlooking the beautiful lake from above. I stopped and spoke to two ladies on a bench near the lake and asked if there was a place to eat nearby. They indicted a place on the right of the trail about another1k. Then came another hill. I swung right at a sign indicating Kirchenthumbach. Another sign was not clear. It seamed to point straight ahead. This took me very close the the camping site where many campers were already in place. Soon it became obvious I should have turned left. Doing so ran me under a viaduct where I encountered another sign that verified I was once again on my ranger's game.
It was getting evening time. I was hot, tired, and hungry. I had not had anything to eat since breakfast; and, my stomach was feeling hungry plus uneasy. By now, I had went through the two one liter metal water bottles on my handlebars. But, I knew I had a full 1.5 liter bottle in my day box. Across a meadow, I saw a sign affixed to the wall of a barn that said there was a 24 hour service station in the little town of Kirchenthumbach where I was headed. I told the sign that I would be sure to stop in. I could eat for 24 hours. The sign indicated the turnoff to be only 2000 m up the hill that seamed like I had been climbing forever. Topping the hill, I saw where someone had thrown a beer bottle, likely from a passing car, which had splattered all over the bike path. Navigating around splintered glass, it was downhill. Meeting a jogger, I warned him of the impending danger of a slivered foot tendon.
Dolores had called while I was climbing the hill, and I had told her of my
intentions to eat in Kirchenthumbach. Once I arrived at the station,
she called again, and I told her to pick me up there.
Finding the restaurant, I ordered a very large fanta and coke mix and called Dolores to tell her of my location. I soon ordered something I had no idea of what it was because there was nothing on the menu I recognized. When delivered to my table, it was what tasted like spam with a sunny-side-up egg on top, potato salad and cabbage salad. Even though I was hungry, it did not take me long to get my fill. I have been burned out on spam ever since I was a child.
While inside eating, Dolores called and said she and Nolan were across the street waiting. I paid the waitress. She asked if it was good. I said the potato salad and cabbage was ok, but I did not like the meat. She seamed to take offence to my honest answer. I finished my second drink and went out and loaded my bike. On the way back I heard something fall. We decided it must have been the front wheel of my bike that I have to take off in order to mount the bike in the truck bed. My rear view mirror, reveled no wheel near the open tailgate. However, when I got out to unload the bike, the wheel was square on the tailgate. This was a vivid reminder for me to tie it down next time. I started the ride at 11:10 hours and ended it about 15:30 to eat. We got home about 16:30. I had ridden 26.7 miles. That included the10 miles of lost time, or disoriented time. Next time, I'll start at Kirchenthumbach with the intentions of riding to Pottenstein.
Mileage and route can be seen below.
Discover: Route Planner