I wanted a title closer to “I Walk The Line”, like “I Walked The Rhine”, but rarely have I walked much of the Rhine.
A Great Day To Be A Duck
If you’ve not read the short post I put up on Saturday, I recommend you do so now.
What travelers did prior to weather radar boggles my mind. Oh hell, I’m old, I remember the days before accurate Doppler radar… With technology on my side I knew that the worst of the storms had passed Koblenz before I departed, but that I was in for a nasty day of riding nonetheless.
You BRAG riders are probably nodding, or shaking your heads at me since my leg of riding in the rain was “only” 36 miles. I am sure you all have endured much worse.
The rain and wind started in earnest, well the town was actually called Andernach, causing me to have to skip Andernach’s tourist attraction — The World’s Largest Cold-Water Geyser! Yes, on a hot day I certainly would have stopped to see it.
Andernach was also where I did something that I don’t even do in The States, I went into a McDonalds. I could’ve, and perhaps should’ve, bought a beer at McDonalds (which can be done here I assume you know) but instead decided on a Coke. I swear that I am ruined by the Coke in Germany and will never be able to drink it in Atlanta again.
I spent the next two-plus hours riding along the Rhine, in the rain, into a headwind,
uphill, and being cautious when riding through water covering the path. At spots I was alone in the middle of virtually nowhere so a mechanical breakdown would have been heinous.
Needless to say my cameras rarely left the dry bags (oh how I now love dry bags!) because even if there were castles along the hillsides I couldn’t see them.
When I arrived in Bad Godesberg, having to climb an actual incline to get to the hotel(!), I looked a mess. The man who greeted me was pleasant and apologized for the “shit weather”, I laughed.
After a nice warm shower I suited up in dry non-cycling clothes, nearly finally resorting to using the fleece I had packed, and walked the streets of Bad Godesberg for a little while. I headed to the restaurant picked out for me and had yet another pork steak and potatoes, but this time the soup was white asparagus (“Spargal” in German, a June delicacy in Germany). Supposedly Germans can only sell this white asparagus for two weeks in at
June; of course the Germans would have a law like this…
It was Saturday evening and a band played in a small park; I watched them perform a few songs before deciding that I didn’t want to stand in mud any longer; I had finally gotten clean for the first time all day.
After a long day on the bike I wandered back to the hotel. As I wandered back to the hotel I spied a stack of free, and still dry, newspapers.
Pro Tip: jam newspaper into wet shoes and they will absorb a lot of moisture.
While not completely dry, my cycling shoes were much drier yesterday than they would’ve been without using the newspaper.
I fell asleep watching Fußball on the television, probably around 22:30.
And On The 5th Day He Got Lost, Sort Of
Fuck, I just lost an entire paragraph! 🙁
I started yesterday with a short ride from Bad Godesberg to Bonn where I met up with Colonel, Stiffie, and their kids for brunch. It was good to see people I knew again. Brunch was fantastic, but I still had riding to do so I was off with li
Along my journey I passed many “high water” (Hochwasser) warning signs. By and large I was able to go around them because the water had subsided since they were put in place. Just north of Bonn I encountered my first impassable situation and was forced to navigate city street. This time it was not Doppler Radar that saved my bacon, but rather Google Maps. Oh technology, how I love you! After a few map misreadings I was once again pointed North and riding along with the Rhine to my right.
Until later in the trip…
However, this time I was saved not by technology but rather some thoughtful signage that had a bicycle, the word Köln, and an arrow pointing me in the correct direction.
As I neared Köln I was passed by many cyclists on serious road bikes, wearing numbers. While stopped at a traffic light I nearly asked about their ride, but feared I wouldn’t understand the man’s answer.
My bicycle was very displeased with riding through the rain and mud on Saturday. It squeaked and moaned for the entire final 36 miles yesterday. At one point I looked down and saw rust on the chain. Unfortunately the provided repair kit contained no oil, and the tiny tube I had packed was in my transferred luggage along with the pedals I never used. I managed.
Hello Again, Köln!
Yesterday was a day of recognition, starting with the Clits in Bonn, and ending with sights I had seen when I hashed in the south of Köln just last Monday. I even stopped again at the Hausboot Alte Liebe for beer.
I have to admit a certain swelling of pride knowing that I accomplished my goal as I passed the sites that all-new to me a mere week ago.
Again You BRAG riders are probably nodding, or shaking your heads at me since my journey was “only” 120 miles and I got to sleep in hotels. Meh! I’ll get my comeuppance an a month at RAGBRAI.
I navigated my way through the incredibly crowded walkway along the Rhine to my final hotel
upon where I turned in my bicycle, shown here at the beginning of Day 2; take note of my makeshift pannier (red/black messenger bag) on the back, for the last time.
At my final hotel of the bike tour I was informed that their restaurant was closed for the night but that someone would make me food if I requested. Instead I chose to go out to watch Germany’s soccer game in a bar and to try and eat something other than a pork steak with potatoes.
My dinner was pork steak and french fries.
I think the front desk tried to call me and inquire about my dinner plans, but this was at 10pm, and I was already fast asleep.
My German Still Stinks
I’ve done poorly communicating in German, but am ready to return home for more classes.
You know, the first three stages of the 2017 Tour de France are in Germany, starting with an individual time trial in Düsseldorf…
And Two More Days To Go
Speaking of Düsseldorf, I need to get myself and all of my luggage back there, via the train, today. Today I must also stop eating breakfast as if I were headed out for a 25-35 mile bike ride afterward, since I am no longer doing that.
I have two more days of unplanned vacation before I fly home to tend to small matters such as my health, finances, and future, all of which are a bit uncertain at the moment.
Tomorrow I will give a roundup of the cycling experience.
More photos from this trip will be uploaded and posted when I am back in the US of A.