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Published: September 12th 2008
Friday 12th September
As is usual when I express any smugness about the weather I get almost instant payback and today was no exception. It may have been a beautifully bright and sunny day in Walsrode when I left - gulping in the warm air with my visor up when below 100kph, but 200 miles south it rained all day. So within an hours riding the temperature dived from 24 to 15 and I was once again riding in the rain. Super.
I had been on the A7 most of this week - what an incredible road, well incredibly boring. To think I bemoaned our A1, this road really does go on for ever. It starts in Frederikshavn (at the top of Denmark) and scythes it way down the face of Germany all the way to Austria. OK so it’s the E45 in Denmark, but it's the same road and becomes the A7 as soon as you cross the border near Flensburg. The A1 is a mere layby in comparison.
My destination today was Fulda, some town about 100km north of Frankfurt, en route to Strasbourg for tomorrow. The girl on reception recommended it - f*ck knows why, maybe it was her home town? It was at best ordinary. It was a dull, wet ride and the wind noise kept me lying just above the tank. However with upright bars and your hands higher than your head this is the equivalent of doing a 45° press-up against a wall, with your nose just off the plaster. How long can you hold that for? Well quite a while as it turns out, but you'll be popping ibuprofen at the end of the day.
I have decided that partly the culprit of the wind noise is my helmet. I don't think my Arai was so much made on a Friday afternoon as made on Xmas eve by the office cleaner to while away her evening. The noise howls down a gap between the visor and the helmet and I think that is half the problem. This was reinforced by the relative quiet with the visor up. It has been looked at before but to no avail. So tomorrow I am hunting down a new helmet, hopefully a Shoei Multitec which I think will be good for this trip. Vince recommended a Hein Gericke which is en route so that will be my first stop tomorrow.
I always knew this part of the trip would be the hardest and it has proven so. The banality of the journey apparent from the scant amount of photos - well none again today and only a couple of snaps of Hamburg yesterday. Hardly National Geographic. It has just been a slog, made worse by penciling in a crazy and ultimately unnecessary schedule to be in Strasbourg for Saturday. Fine perhaps on a Honda Blackbird, as I jealously noted one whistle past me at about a ton-thirty, but not on my bike. So wet again, sore and with my hearing all echoey I shouldn't have been surprised that tonight I questioned what the f*ck I was doing. Especially as I am a moody bugger anyway. Still even objectively it had not been an easy week and the brilliant times I had in Norway were fading from my goldfish like memory.
I needed a good day and tomorrow should hopefully prove so. Having missed the Mosel my revised route for tomorrow had me cutting across the west of Frankfurt to follow the Rhine through the Pfalz wine region down to Strasbourg. (Courtesy of some inside knowledge from Vince.) Yes it was slightly longer, but I was sick of the A7 and I was losing sight of what the trip was about - certainly not days on autobahns on an adventure bike anyway. And of course I would be meeting Wendy in Strasbourg. I just hope some of my hearing is intact to actually listen to what she has to say. Although then again...
After a break off the bike for a few days in Strasbourg there would then be no more days just slogging to get to destinations, it was relatively relaxed now all the way to Tunisia. Well schedule-wise anyway... Thank f*ck for that.
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