europe2003 PII, Day 9
21June03, 144k/85 miles***
Western Europe’s different from the USA and Australia. People have tailored every bit of ground. There is virtually nothing wild left. That said, they do a great job of preserving what they have. And no where we’ve been in 20+ days of riding is as natural and pretty as the Black Forest in Bavaria.
Today Sylvie drove to Munich to take Dave for his flight home and to pick up Bill and Jason Capps and Don Hudson. For the first time we were riding without support. That plus Lisa’s back injury and the hills motivated Lisa and Susie to hitch a ride with Sylvie to Ulm (on the way to Munich)– our destination for the day.
Steve, Charlie and I checked the maps, I checked out the birthday cards on my bike and we then headed out into the forests.
Bavaria is full of forests and trails and winding roads. We saw many hikers, kayakers, canoeists and bicyclists – more bikers with panniers today than Bob has seen in all of America, Australia and Europe (to date) combined. The Black Forest area is an obvious outdoor destination.
If there’s anyplace to just go and ride a bike, we vote for Bavaria. Charlie and Steve were very happy with the riding (except maybe for a couple big climbs and some difficult to interpret road signs).
We raced along in the afternoon. Somewhere along the way Steve got a flat. Charlie helped him repair it and by the time they got to me, they both looked like they needed a break.
We stopped for a last break at a McDonalds about 30km outside of Ulm, got separated again, but all made it into town. It would have been hard to miss the Cathedral (our traditional meeting) in Ulm – it has the tallest tower of any church in the world. So tall, in fact, that as far away as I could get it still took two pictures.
Everyone from everywhere (Lisa and Susie got dropped off in the morning; Sylvie, Bill, Jason and Don drove in from Munich; Steve, Charlie and Bob rode in from Tuttlengin) managed to show up at the Maritim Hotel around 5PM. We’ve got a big group now – 9 people including 8 riders. Here we are at Bob’s birthday dinner.
We would try various ways of communicating the route and keeping people together for the upcoming 90+ mile days. This evening, after dinner, we got together in small groups of three to review the plan. The last shot of the day is Bob going over the route with Steve and Bill, excited, hopeful but unable to vouch for the results of the effort.
It’s sure to be complicated, interesting and fun riding with so many people!