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Published: September 16th 2008
Saturday 13th September
Germany had been hard. F*ck me did it rain today and I finished the day the wettest so far on this trip. Proper wet - squeeze your hands into a fist and water comes pouring out wet; sitting in a pool of water like some incontinent old fart wet. If there was an extreme test for wet weather gear, then today was it and in the end all of it failed, just by differing degrees. The inaptly named DryStar gloves from Alpinestar faring the worst. DryStar my arse - WetBlackHole more like it, they were rubbish. Bad enough but expensive rubbish at that. Usefully though if you managed to put your hand in one with an atom of water on it, the lining all came out of the fingers - which really p1ssed you off. The Tuareg suit faired the best but even that gave up through the battering of rain and soaked through. The boots once as watertight as Jeff Goddard's wallet, were now also hopeless.
Still I had a new lid on my bonce, After some last minute but incredibly useful email dialog with ex-local Vinnie, I stopped off at the Hein Gericke in
Frankfurt and purchased a new helmet. A Schuberth C3. About as cool as a Jalapeno but I couldn't give a toss, I needed the quietest helmet possible to at least try and reduce the wind noise battering my ears. Also I reckoned a flip top would be pretty handy for scoffing lunch on the hoof and sticking on and off without faffing around with my glasses. The Euro exchange rate is cruel - so much so that it would pay the Krauts and the French to scoot over to London to buy their motorcycle gear. Helmets being up to £100 more over here - ouch,
Was it better? Actually yes - the wind roar was gone, which if I missed from the Arai I could easily reproduce by opening the front vent. Still nothing, not even the standing-at-the-front-by-the-speakers-rave-proof Schuberth C3 could take the battering at 80mph, so you still had to duck under the screen. But it was a marked improvement. So three screens and two helmets later I reckon I had the best I was going to get on the noise front, so it shall be discussed no more.
I headed due West from Frankfurt to Mainz to pick up the B9 to Worms which ran alongside the impressively wide Rhine. To my right vineyards covered the fields and gentle hills as far as you could see and pretty villages with familiar names such as Nierstein came and went. The rain, a heavy drizzle in Frankfurt, was now very heavy - a shame because it made any photo opportunities impossible as well as of course detracting from the ride.
Vince had recommended a lunch stop in Deidesheim at a place called Deidesheimer Hof. Given the battering I was sustaining with decreasing body temperature, I figured I deserved it and duly pulled in - as per the photos. Cracking place with an amazing wine list. As I stood in the porch looking at the photos of all the famous people that had been there: Kohl, Chirac, The Queen, Vince Poole... I realised what a state I was. Obviously I would remove my jacket but I remembered the state of my shirt - it was a white technical top (sensible colour choice!) that was streaked in grease. Hmm - nice. I looked like some oik from Quik Fit on his lunch break - there was no way I could eat in the bistro looking like that, even if generally people were informally dressed. So in the torrential rain I ducked back out to the bike to at least find another top - not easy, trust me. Anyway it was a tip top lunch, just a pity I couldn't try some of the wine. The biggest Reisling list I have ever seen. Deidesheim was a visually appealing place even in he pouring rain, typical of the villages of the region - lost in a plethora of vineyards. I took some photos from the dry safety of the hotel porch, knowing it would not be possible later on.
My planned route from Deidesheim had me following the D38 to Landau and on to cross the border at Wissembourg before picking up the D263. For nearly an hour I clung grimly and steadfastly to the task - following wealthy geriatric old f*ckers in their oversized Audis, Beemers and Mercs literally crawling along at 20-30kph. Near Landau soaked through I had to admit defeat before picking up the main road trail again to Strasbourg - I was just too wet through and chilling down again.
I finally hit Strasbourg at 4:45 pm, relieved that I wouldn't have to ride tomorrow or even any significant distance for days as I was staying here till Wedneday - eureka! Just as well - as I type this 24+ hours later my kit is still wet through.
Wendy was meeting me in Strasbourg, so blogging may have to play second fiddle for the next few days...
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