Hi there! We are Margaret, Jesse, and Erin. Mother, Son, & Daughter. We’ve set out on a bicycle tour through France, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg, celebrating our 60th, 40th, & 30th birthdays respectively.
While this tour certainly wouldn’t go down in the annals of biking lore as any kind of achievement (like Mike & Cindi Travis of downtheroad.org), it has some special significance to us. When Margaret was a teenager, she did a bicycle tour through many countries in Europe as part of a youth hostel group. In 1986 at the ages of 40 and 20, Margaret and Jesse rode from just south of Modesto, California, to Vancouver British Columbia for the World’s Fair. And now, as Margaret turns 60, Jesse 40, and Erin 30, we’re off to do Europe again (at least in part).
Since we couldn’t take all of our friends and family with us physically, we’ve created this blog on travelblog.org so that others can at least follow along and enjoy a portion of this very special trip. We hope you enjoy the tour as much as we’re hoping to!
Saturday, June 4th, 2006
San Diego, CA
The eve of our trip.....
September 3rd 2008
Sept 1st, part II The ride out of Rothenburg started out with a GREAT downhill, lasting about a mile and a half. We got just up to 30mph going down the mountain (or hill) into the valley of the Tauber River. We then started following the Tauber Northward through Steibech, Tauberzell, Archshofen, Creglingen, Bieberehren, and finally stopped in Aub after 20.6 miles. This wasn’t our longest day, but it was one of our harder days. The Tauber River, in parts no bigger than what I’d call a creek back home, doesn’t have the wide valley available to it that the Main did for things like flat bicycle trails. Instead, the trail tends to porpoise up and down the hill sides so that we had more hills in this one day than we’ve had all trip. At ... read more
September 1st 2008
August 30th Had breakfast in the room this morning, from supplies we’d bought yesterday since we knew breakfast wasn’t going to be available due to the hotel not being truly open yet (that still kills me ;) ). We packed up our stuff and loaded up the bikes, but then locked them up in the hotel courtyard, and called for a taxi to take us to the German National Museum. We were 15 minutes early for opening, so we did a little window shopping (literally, as nothing ELSE opened until 10am as well!) and wandered around for a bit before heading back to the museum. We first headed to an exhibition hall that had an exhibit entitled “Saints and Hares, Book Treasures of the Dürer Period”. To quote the pamphlet, “The era of Albrecht Dürer is ... read more
August 29th 2008
This is a special post for my co-workers, who claim to have started a drinking game based on my posts. To play along, all you have to do is take a drink anytime I mention "great beer" or "gps". So, for my colleagues: GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS GPS Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! Great beer! See you under the table guys! :D... read more
August 29th 2008
August 29th Our real long day yesterday was countered today by a very SHORT day, as it was only a 9.7 mile ride to get the rest of the way into Nürnburg. Tried to follow the river most of the way into the city, but finally got pushed into the city by construction which had closed down the bike paths. Once again, praise be to our Garmin GPS for getting us to the hotel we reserved, even if it *DIDN’T* have a bloody clue as to some of the bike trails today and yesterday. Oh well, nothing’s perfect, I guess. We arrived at the hotel in good order, washed some cloths, and then headed to what the locals call the “Dokumentatrionszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelande”. Commonly known as the Nazi Museum elsewhere, Nürnburgers can be a little sensitive about ... read more
August 28th 2008
August 28th A LONG day today, as we biked 40.4 miles out of Bamberg towards Nürnburg. Even more amazing was that, while most of Germany’s bicycle trails are the Land of Milk and Honey as far as biking goes, today we did about a third of the ride on gravel paths. Granted, these gravel paths were in better condition than most of the roads I’ve seen in either San Jose or San Diego :P but it takes it’s toll after awhile. We had to check the GPS a couple of times to make sure we were on the right path, but we managed to keep it heading towards Nurnburg. Had a race going for awhile with the river barge “Babetta” as she made her way down the Main - Donau Kanal. We joined the race as ... read more
August 28th 2008
Funny side note that I’d forgotten to add: We rode into town and through most of it without finding a hotel or gasthous. We stopped and Margaret pulled out the Garmin and used the “points of interest” function to pull up a list of the local hotels. She chose the one at the top of the list (closest) without looking, and hit “Go!” to navigate to it. The GPS then said “arriving at destination on right”…we had stopped not more than 30 feet from the Hotel Walfisch without realizing it! Oh, and the bookstore that was nearby? RIGHT next-door ;) Oh well, sometimes you fail to see the forest for the trees, or is that individual trees for the forest around you. August 26th A little bit lighter ride day today, with “only” 27 miles, but ... read more
August 25th 2008
August 23rd So our 4-star, €130 / night hotel didn't call the airline (boycott US Airways!!!) at their opening time of 7am like we asked. Mr. Murphy has definitely stowed away in our luggage somewhere this trip! The soonest thez could deliver the luggage was "this afternoon", so we said to hell with that, checked out, and headed back to the airport once again. While on the phone talking to the rep, we got SPECIFIC directions on how to find the customs warehouse, and as luck would have it it was on the OUTSIDE of terminal C. Gee, that would've been a GREAT piece of information to have from the airline rep yesterday. We wouldäve had enough time to pick up the bags then. Grr..... So we get to the airport again thanks to our trusty ... read more
August 22nd 2008
August 19th, 2008: The Tour rides again! Unfortunately, Erin couldn't make this trip, so it's just Jesse & Margaret on this trip. Jesse started out by almost missing his flight from San Jose. Made it with 10 minutes to spare. The dynamic duo met up in Phoenix to continue on to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the bird was bent. In other words, the aircraft was having issues and they were working to repair any problems. The flight was originally supposed to depart at 10:11am. We finally loaded up the bird and were buttoned up and ready to fly by noon, but now the captain comes on the loudspeaker to let us know that we've got yet another problem. This time it's a faulty engine oil indicator and they're working on the issue. We finally get wheels-up at 12:40 ... read more
June 26th 2006
Sunday, the 25th of June All good things must come to an end, unfortunately. We started today by meeting one of Erin’s old foreign-exchange students, Charlélie, at the Arc de Triomphe at 11:00. It was a rainy day off and on all day, but at least we weren’t riding in it again. We strolled down the Champs Elysees, eventually going to a unique restaurant that also was a technology showcase for Renault, of all things. We were meeting Charlélie’s parents there for lunch, and had a wonderful time catching up with him, and talking to his parents about all things under the sun. Of course, the topics that were the most fun were the ones that were slightly embarrassing for Charlélie! After our lunch we had a short tour through the technology center down below, which ... read more
June 24th 2006
Saturday, the 24th of June Started out our train ride today by almost missing our train. We were an hour early, and a train pulled into our platform within 10 minutes of our being there. We thought it was a different train and would be moving on, but time wore on and the train didn’t move. Margaret had gone down off of the platform looking for drinks, and Erin and Jesse were on the platform looking at the train, looking at their watches, looking at the train, etc….We finally looked closely at the train and noticed a digital sign that showed our transfer station, looked at the tickets again, and realized that after a good 15 or 20 bikes had already boarded, and filled the bicycle car, that we were supposed to be on that train! ... read more