Market Crashes and Wedding Crashers

Submitted by mag on

Maggie's retirement home after the market crashMarina at the "Sailing Lake"After Donauworth the trail suddenly leaves the river and begins climbing steep hills. These are the kind of hills that even with fulll power and lowest gear, fully loaded you're lucky to crawl up at 10 km - but you can fly down as fast as you can stand! We were also concerned about the market which is in freefall so I was happy to find a potential retirement home alongside the trail.  

As a result of all this, we were pretty tired by the time we reached Newburg - and there we encountered one more steep climb up to the walled well-preserved town. This area is quaint and interesting, but pretty tricky for the bikes with steep hills and really bumpy slick cobbles.

On to Donauworth - day of detours and dubious shortcuts with a perfect finish

Submitted by mag on

Happy diners at Cafe Raffeallo DonauworthEiscafe in HochstadtAfter our lavish frustuck we headed out, marveling at the wonderful trial and the elaborate signage system. We were happily following the signs, when a man in a car stopped and started gesturing and speaking rapid German. We explained for the hundredth time “Danke aber wer sprechen nur ein bisschen Deutsch” and continued on. A few minutes later he came back and with gestures told us we needed to go back and turn another way – sure enough when we went back we saw the Umleitung sign we had missed and started off on a dirt road through a cornfield. This worked out fine and soon enough we found ourselves in the pleasant town square of Hochstadt where we treated ourselves to a luscious Eiscafe.

After Hochstadt the signs and maps told us the way to Donauworth was along the left bank… but Google said the right bank was shorter… Jim enjoyed discussing the matter with the corn… big ears/no backtalk. After some debate Jim, Google and the corn won out The path looked OK at first but rapidly degraded until it climbed up a steep levy to a hunter blind it petered out entirely. By this time we were committed as it was a long way back to the bridge, so continued on through the farmers’ fields for quite some time.

Ulm to Lauingen

Submitted by mag on

Orange Hotel UlmWell, it looks like we paid our dues to the weather gods - the weather has finally broken – no rain in the forecast and increasing temps a few degrees every day. We saddled up, bid farewell to Orange and set out down toward the river and across the bridge to the north side, where we picked up a beautiful section of the Donauradweg on a paved trail right along the river. This was about the last paved trail along the river we’ve seen – from there on it’s been mostly crushed limestone – some very smooth and some very rough.

Soon after we left Ulm it became obvious we were in Bayern - blue and white checks everywhere and people on the trail say Gruss Gott instead of Guten Tag.

Orange Hotel - Ulm

Submitted by mag on

Dinner in OrangeWe were worried about where to leave the car for the 3 weeks we will be cycling the Danube. We think we hit on the perfect solution – the Orange Hotel in Neu-Ulm. The Orange Hotel is one of those hotels we call “Human Filing Cabinets” that the French are so good at.

Van Gogh Country

Submitted by mag on

Starry Night TrailFrom Houten we hopped down to the Nuenen/Eindhoven area – Nuenen is famous as being where Van Gogh lived in his early years while developing his style – and for the new Van Gogh Starry night bike trail. Eindhoven is famous as the home of Philips and also as one of the top 5 most bikable cities in the world.

Good times in Holland

Submitted by mag on

windmill near Punt 53Alena and Kevin arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol no problem and caught the bus to Haarlem – I was lucky to find them just as they got off the bus, so no problem getting them to our wonderful apartment on Schagchelstraat. After a good lunch at the Grote Markt and a nap – everyone felt much better.

Final Countdown

Submitted by mag on

We are into the final launch sequence and so far everything is moving on schedule. We finished up a lot of yard work yesterday, and got our preliminary packing and checkout done, and even had time to enjoy dinner on our new deck and a fire. Tomorrow we finish packing and getting the house ready, and then in the afternoon drive to Kalamazoo to pick up our rental car. We haven’t had time to do a real “shakedown cruise” like we did last year, but we did a trial load of bicycles with our touring panniers to make sure we had all the pieces we will need in Europe. So we think we are good to go and ready for liftoff on Sunday. 

Hard to Leave South Heaven

Submitted by mag on

It’s really hard to leave this beautiful spot in Michigan – just when the weather is getting perfect and the house is fixed up for outside enjoyment. Here are some photos of the beach near our house where I sometimes (not often enough) jog. And the town beach and lighthouse at sunset. Here are a couple of shots of our new deck – still some work to be done, but better.

Planning the 2015 Adventure - this year the Danube

Submitted by mag on

Every year we spend several months cycling in Europe in the late summer and fall. When we first began this series of grand adventures, we were inspired by a book by Mike Lyon "Cycling Along Europe's Rivers". Each year we base in Haarlem, near Amsterdam, and set out on a quest to explore the best of Europe's great rivers. The first year we did the Rhine all the way to the Bodensee in Switzerland and the Mosel. The next year it was France's beautiful Mayenne and Loire Rivers. This year we are planning the Danube.

2015 Shakedown Cruise

Submitted by mag on

We were really busy this year with yard and house improvements, so we didn’t really get a shakedown cruise in preparation for our Third Great European Adventure. The closest thing we got was a ride on the Beautiful Kal-Haven Trail into Kalamazoo back in May to celebrate our anniversary (48th) and my birthday.

Blois

Submitted by mag on

We spent a couple of days at a small AirBNB apartment in Blois mostly resting as I was still sick. The city of Blois is nice with a lovely walking zone and square. We enjoyed the castle although any castle is going to be anticlimactic after Chambord. We had planned on riding 2 days to St Pierre Des Corps near Tours, but since I was recovering we decided to take the train.

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