Published: September 3rd 2008September 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 one point the bike trail went off on an old railroad bed, which made the valley it climbed out of relatively easy because of the grade (luckily). When we arrived in the sleepy little town of Aub we found out that most of it was closed on Mondays (it being almost like another day of the weekend to the locals). Not only that, but only ONE of the six or so Gasthous’s in the town was going to be open today, and that one not until five. We were lucky enough to find a little bakery - type store to buy some bread and other lunch fixin’s, then sat down outside of our “only one opening” gasthous and ate lunch…towards the end of which is started sprinkling, and then raining, and then POURING. We were quite glad to be sitting under an umbrella, even if there was a partial leak and the rain was coming down hard enough to spatter into us from the next table over. The rain finally petered off after approximately a half hour, and wouldn’t you know it, that was the same time the front desk clerk showed up, and checked us into our rooms. Had another wonderful dinner (pork medallions in mushroom sauce with spatzel for Jesse and a monster wienerschnitzel for Margaret) wash down with yet more great beer before retiring for the evening. We finally realized today that we’re actually a day ahead of schedule, so we’ll head to Wurzburg tomorrow.
At breakfast this morning we learned an interesting fact about the Gasthous we spent the night at. It’s been in constant operation as a Gasthous, and nothing else, since the year after Columbus reached America! Yes, that’s right…this place has been in operation since 1493. It’s been remodeled down to timber and upgraded over the years, obviously, but the fact that it’s still going is amazing. The current owners have *only* been running the place since 1989 ;) While saying goodbye to the Gasthous owner, he insisted we should check out the local church on the way out. Apparently there’s an important crucifix carving there from the 1300s by an important artisan (who’s name unfortunately escapes me). This morning has once again driven home the fact that the US has NO sense of history compared to Europe! We started the ride this morning with a hard half mile uphill grunt, and realized there was a turn in there that we should have taken. We took the next left that led back down into the other side of town, but had a very scary moment at the bottom of the hill. The last downhill section was VERY steep, and Margaret didn’t have enough brakes to stop! Luckily for her there was no oncoming traffic at the bottom, and she rolled to a stop 40 or 50 feet down the road past the “Y” intersection. Needless to say we dismounted the bikes and tightened up her brakes some! We continued on down the road, eventually re-finding the trail we needed to follow out of town. Once again it was a fine hard-packed gravel trail running over an old railroad bed from a railway long since shut down. We had no further mishaps until we were trying to find someplace to stop for lunch. We’d checked several places along the way, but each was closed. Finally, we followed signs off of the bike trail for a place 200 meters down the road (more like 350). We were going uphill on the left side of the road on a narrow sidewalk. I (Jesse) started to unclip my pedals in case there was a problem, and instead caused a problem by wiggling the big when unclipping my left foot. My left front pannier clipped the wall and grabbed on, twisted the handlebars left and throwing me off to the right, my right foot still clipped into the pedals. I slammed down into the road, mashing and scraping my right shin into the curb, skinning my knee up a little, and smashed my palm into the pavement pretty good in “arresting” my fall. I was lucky I didn’t break my wrist, really, because the only things stopping the fall off of the curb were my shin into the curb, and my palm. I was also lucky in that there wasn’t much traffic on this road either, and I escaped being run over by the narrowest of miles ;) I got out from under the bike swearing and limping, trying to walk it off. We gathered up the bike and limped the rest of the way to the restaurant, only to find this one close as well! What the hell? We took the opportunity to break out the first aid kit and scrub the wounds down with antiseptic towelettes, then covered the big one with antibiotic cream, a gauze pad, and a self clinging sports wrap. We got back on the bikes (oh, that smarts), and kept pedaling down the road. Eventually found a place to have lunch, only to be served by one of the most forgetful waitresses I’ve even seen. Took her half the meal to remember the bread that was supposed to go with my Polish sausage, was very slow on the refill of our sodas, and had forgotten mine, which took her another 10 minutes to remember about, then when she settled up with us she left the notepad at the table. If only she’d forgotten some of the meal prices instead! Re-fortified, we continued down the trail, eventually coming back into Ochenfurt at the exact place we’d started. We crossed the river in a little ferry boat since the bridge there that the Nuvi GPS insists is there, was bombed out during WWII and never replaced, and then cycled our way into Wurzburg. We ended up doing a little extra mileage because we didn’t initially have the address of the rental car place we’d need tomorrow (and we were checking to make sure where things were), and it turns out the rental place was on the other side of the river almost exactly opposite of where we left the bike trail coming into Wurzburg to pass through downtown’s shopping district and to the train station where we THOUGHT the rental place was. Got that sorted out, and then ended the day having gone 32.5 miles and staying at a hotel right next to the car rental place. Not bad.
This also ends the trip, really. Tomorrow we get the rental car, throw our bikes in the back, and then head to our initial host’s house again. There we’ll box up the bikes again and get everything packed, and then drive towards Frankfurt. We plan on stopping for the night a little short of the city (hoping to find a better price on hotel accommodations) and being closer as well so we don’t have to get up as early as we would have if we stayed overnight in Giebelstadt. The blog will get updated while we’re at Agnes & Edes house, and then may not get updated again until we’re state-side. At that point, I’ll add pictures to the rest of the posts like I didn’t have to do this trip, and also add a link to the full gallery of pictures once I get those posted. Unless you hear otherwise, I bid you “auf wiedersehen” for now! Stay tuned for the pictures though ;)