This should be an uneventful day
A Brief Introduction
Given that I was expected to ride to Nurmburg, and then relax and wait for sightseeing tomorrow morning, I expected this to be an easy, uneventful day. But then, my mind started racing, and I found numerous topics to talk about.
|Miles Driven Today
|Total Trip Mileage
|New Countries visited Today
|Countries visited on trip
|US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany
I logged 284 miles today, for a day that was scheduled for 330. The primary reason for the shortened mileage is that with the weather breaking on the hot-to-very-hot side, I wanted to get to my destination as quickly as possible. I’ve logged almost 2000 miles so far, and as this is day 16, I’m right on track to hit 18000 miles for the entire trip.
During the ride today, temperatures reached 100 degrees F, and they lasted from about noon, until my arrival at about 1:30, and then they remained through dinner. So, this was the hottest day yet, and I expect to see many more like this, over the next 100 days or so.
We’ve all heard of the Autobahn, but few of us have driven on it, and yet fewer of us have ridden a motorcycle on it. So, let’s take a moment and explore just what the autobahn is, and how it’s seen through the eyes of an outsider.
First, anyone riding or driving on the Autobahn must be hyper-vigilant, or always attentive towards the other drivers, and riders. It is not uncommon to have a vehicle closing on you at a rate that is 30 mph or faster than your rate of speed. Perhaps this difference in speed does not sound like much, but it can be quite unnerving, especially if you’re not familiar with the standards and practices, and you’re constantly trying to guess what the other drivers will do.
The good news is that, as I watch and study these other drivers, I am struck by the fact that they all seem to have an excellent level of skill about them. It’s quite common in the USA to see people that are not paying attention, are texting, or doing anything but actually driving the car. This simply doesn’t happen on the Autobahn. Most, if not all of the drivers are well educated, highly skilled, and quite attentive. After you get in the groove of driving on this set of roads, you learn to relax, and transmit your intentions in advance.
And so, as I’ve ridden more than 700 miles on the Autobahn so far, I think I’m finally getting in the groove, and finding my rhythm.
it also seems to me that most of the cars on the Autobahn are quite new. All cars are within 10 years old, but most are within 5 years, which is quite a change from the US, and seems to be an indication of affluence, or at a minimum, attention to the state of their cars.
And so, after riding on the Autobahn for 284 miles, I finally arrived in Nurmburg, today’s destination.
Tonight’s accommodation – An Air BnB
I’ve never stayed at an Air BnB before, so this is my first. My host, Vincenzo met me as I arrived at his front door, and he welcomed me in Italian. Vincenzo speaks very little English, and I speak less German, and even less Italian, so our conversation was difficult to start with.
In addition, I believe that I had communicated with Vincenzo in the past, and I made it clear that I had a motorbike, and that it needed to be secured, and I’m pretty sure that he said that it could be secured at his AbnB. But, I’m afraid this is not the case, and there was no place where the bike could be secured behind a wall. Numerous times, Vincenzo expressed that I should not worry, and that nothing would happen, but you can only imagine that I was having none of this. The whole time we were talking, I was thinking about how my trip would be ruined, if my bike was stolen “again”. So, perhaps I was a bit direct, but I made it clear that I would not park the bike on the street, unless and until I secured a lock.
But, I must stress that Vincenzo was terrific. I think that the looming stress of not being able to secure the bike simply got the best of me, and due to the language barrier, Vincenzo could not help as much as I needed, and with limited German language skills, I was frustrated.
Oh, yeh, speaking of my frustration, I forgot to tell you about the lock that Ben ordered. Hmmm, more on that later.
To continue about the Air BnB, it’s a nice location, and Vincenzo is a Super-host, which is a name that the Air BnB people give to hosts who consistently receive excellent reviews and ratings. And so, I’m staying in Nurmburg, with a super host.
This is my first time at an Air BnB, and I think that I like it, but it is a bit odd to stay in the home of a complete stranger. Nevertheless, my host is very nice, and the room is clean, of reasonable size, and very comfortable. Oh, and the price is right too…
After I made it clear to Vincenzo that I needed to purchase a security lock, he seemed a bit putoff that I would not accept his recommendation to simply park the bike anywhere, and so I’ll have to think about other ways to engage, in order to treat folks like Vincenzo with respect, while also conveying the urgency of the situation.
Purchase of a security lock
You’ll recall from yesterday’s post that I was supposed to wake up, get the bike packed, and then head over to Ben’s place to pick up my brand new Abus Security lock and chain. But, something went wrong, and the lock and chain did not arrive as expected, so I rode to Nurmburg, knowing that I would face the dilemma of my security situation, once again, and I would not be comfortable.
So, in broken German/English, I tried to convey to an Italian, that I wanted to purchase a high-strength security chain and lock. Vincenzo sent me 2 blocks away, to a bicycle repair shop, who informed me that they did not have any locks to sell to me. These folks suggested that I visit Siedle, a local shop, about 1 mile away, who should be able to help me.
I arrived at Siedle, and Darius, the owner, quickly discovered what I needed, and he sent me to a sort of motorcycle super store. This place is called Stadler, and it’s huge. They sell anything with wheels, including bicycles, strollers scooters, and motorcycles, as well as all manner of motorcycle parts.
I wandered into the motorcycle area, and asked a question in English, and Sven quickly volunteered to help me. We stopped at three different places in the store that sold locks, each time, finding locks that were bigger, and strong, until we arrived in the other motorcycle section, who had the proper locks.
After receiving help from Sven, I offered to help him, if he’s ever in the US, and he said that he’s going to visit next year, at which time, he’ll look me up, and take me up on my offer of hospitality.
But I could not hide my joy in finding the lock, and so, I took a quick selfie video.
Returning to Air BnB
I made my way back to the Air BnB, and proceeded to move the bike to a spot on the corner, where I could lock the bike up, and feel like there would be no chance of having the bike stolen tonight.
The two pictures below, show the bike, secured, and locked to a post. I’ve also routed the chain around the frame, around the wheel, and around the post. While the post is open-topped, it seems like it would be tough for someone to lift up the bike, raise the chain over the top of the post, and then carry the bike away. This seems unlikely, but to make it even more unlikely, I’ll put the cover on the bike tonight. In the meantime, you can see the photos that are proof of me, finally doing the right thing.
With the bike secured, I took a very cool shower, trying to get my body temperature back down to a normal level. When I hit the shower, I felt like I was on fire, which is likely the direct result of sustained time in the sun, coupled with the temperature, and also combined with the need to wear all of the gear. This “triple threat” can really cause a rider to become very hot, and dehydrated.
On a side note, I’ve already drank 2 full liters of water, in an effort to re-hydrate myself.
So, I’m tired, I’m hot, and I’m hungry. In situations like this, it is most important to find someplace that is simple, easy, and has cold beer. I found just the place. A little outdoor cafe, who specialize in Bratwurst. So, I wandered into the bar, and asked about ordering some beer and food, and by doing so in English, the bar tender made it clear that he did not speak English, but another guy in the bar volunteered to help me.
So, I talked to him, he passed on my wishes to the Bartender, and the next thing I know, I’ve ordered a Bratwurst special, which includes 3 Brats, and some warm potato salad.
The beer was cold, crisp, and very refreshing. The first beer took about 4 minutes to disappear, and so, with the affection I was feeling toward the beer, and the fact that the food was also delicious, the question is, have I come down with a case of Stockholm syndrome?
You’ll recall from recent posts how I’m describing how the Germans have embraced Green Energy, how all the beers are excellent, and how the food has also been great. So, like the folks that are kidnapped, and then begin to sympathize with their abductors, the question I’m asking myself is whether I’ve been corrupted, and can now only see the wonderful things in Germany. Have I been blinded? Perhaps a few of you have opinions?
The beer was also cold, crisp, and the perfect accompaniment for my dinner, experienced in 100 degree temperatures.
The French make a mustard called Dijon, which is certainly not one of my favorite things. I think that the horseradish is simply too much for me. In any case, the German mustard looks like a Dijon, but it was also excellent, and did not seem to have any horseradish in it at all.
I find that I’m getting tired often
Over the past few days, I’ve mentioned that I’ve been struggling to be alert and attentive while riding. I’ve even posted videos of me, pulling to the side of the road to rest.
Well, last night, I thought I got enough sleep, but after I woke up, I discovered that I had only slept 6 hours, and it seems that for this type of activity, I’m going to need to get more sleep. So, my new plan is to be sure that I’m able to get about 8 hours sleep, to see if I can overcome this problem. More to come…
As I tried to manage my exhaustion today, I went to Monster Energy Drink level 5. That is to say that over the course of the 6 hour ride, I stopped and purchased a monster energy drink 3 times. In fact, one of the flavors is called VR46. Those of you familiar with MotoGP will recognize this as being Valentino Rossi’s number plate, and you’ll no doubt know that he’s also sponsored by Monster Energy Drink. So, I drank a Blue Haze, Mango Loco, and VR46 flavored drink, which allowed me to overcome the exhaustion, and make it to my destination safe and sound.
Tomorrow’s tour of the AMG factory
I’ve got a tour of the AMG factory scheduled for 3:30 tomorrow, and I’m really looking forward to it. The AMG division of Mercedes seems to be really on the ball with this whole “Tour thing”, as the coordinator, Ingrid, has sent me an email to confirm the time and place, and in doing so, she also shared some of the details of the tour with me.
It seems that all AMG owners are treated to a personal, one-on-one tour of the factory, given in my preferred language, expected to last more than 60 minutes. I’m really excited by the promise of the tour, and also that Mercedes continues to impress me with their organizational skills, and their attention to details.
Temp reached 100 F
As I mentioned, it seems that the heatwave has taken a strong foothold here in Central Europe. Today’s temps started at about 75 degrees at 7:30, but quickly built to 100 F by the time I had reached Nurmburg. I expect this heatwave to continue, and so I’ll need to be sure that I bring plenty of water with me, along with salt tablets, and anything else that might help produce as comfortable a ride as possible.
Special thanks to my friends and hosts
I would be remiss if I did not take a minute and talk about friends, and how they open their hearts, minds, and homes to me. Ingo and Anika opened their home near Dusseldorf to me, and were wonderful hosts, and tour guides. In Berlin, Ben spent two days focusing on making sure that I was able to do all the things I wanted, while also drinking a good amount of beer, and making it back to the hotel by 10:00 PM. And finally, also in Berlin, Maria spent several hours with me, while we both fumbled through the various placards of the Wall memorial before we stopped for a beer, and ended our day.
So, while I’m certainly enjoying the “motorcycle part of the tour”, I’m also really enjoying seeing old friends, making new friends, and enjoying the local hospitality. This is what really makes a trip like this, into something special.
What will tomorrow bring
In essence, tomorrow is a day of medium complexity, but timing is critical. I’ll start out by visiting some of the local exhibits here, in Nurmburg. The party HQ is hear, as is the documentation center, where I understand many Nazi documents have been preserved.
I can only spend a couple of hours here in Nurmburg, because I’ll need to travel about 110 miles to Affalterbach, where the AMG factory is located. My tour starts at 3:30, after which I will need to ride to Stuttgart, where I’ll spend 3 nights at another Air BnB.