Saturday, November 6, 2010

May 12 - Rhine/Danube continental divide

We had a nice, served breakfast at the Hotel Adler and hit the road at 8:45 - a new record for getting out in the morning. The route took us west through Triberg to get a glimpse of the "highest waterfall in Germany". We decided to skip the dueling "largest cuckoo clocks".

There was a fairly stiff climb out of town and then a crossing of the continental divide separating the Rhine and Danube watersheds. Right after passing the divide signs, we had a wicked descent to Triberg, where we then climbed slowly through the cute, gingerbread town. There was an exclamation from a lady on the sidewalk - something along the lines of "look at the Frau". I guess they don't often see women schlepping straight uphill on bikes with baggage. I think the family cycle-touring culture sticks to the flat river valleys for the most part.

We had about an hour to explore the falls, each of us taking a turn to walk up the short hiking trail while the other stayed with the bikes. Heading out of town, we took the "hilly" route. It started at a "gentle" 11-12%. Then, I had to ratchet down to my granny 20x34 as it went about 15-16% for half a mile or so and then about 200 meters of 20% plus - a bit worse than the top of Mt. Diablo. It was all I could do to keep my front wheel on the ground. Then, it "leveled off" to about 10% for another mile, which was a relief. We topped out our climb at just over 1000 meters. I took a breather at the top, as I had a nasty case of "track hack" (roll foreshadowing music).

We rolled downhill gently to Vohrstat and then had a climb to Hammer-Eisenbach. We pulled over at a cafe and considered stopping for the day, as the sky was looking heavy with water. But, as we ate our bockwurst, shokocroissants and coffee, the clouds lightened. So, we decided to continue on to Eisenbach. It was a gradual climb to town, and we decided to look for a place to stay, as the rain had started falling lightly. We found a couple hotels across from a factory at the near end of town, but decided they were not that tempting. So, we continued to Neustadt-Titisee.  Fortunately, it was a screaming 8km straight downhill from there.

It took us a while to find an open hotel (bad time of day, as usual). We finally found the Hotel Jagerhaus where we found a room for 70 Euros with breakfast. We showered, did laundry and napped. We decided to eat at the hotel, as it was raining pretty hard at dinner time, and we didn't feel up to walking around a lot. I enjoyed a stew of venison and wild boar with noodles and salad with local rotwein, which was really sweet.

We walked around briefly after dinner to digest. It was quite cool out and we were thinking it was going to be a full-jacket day when we got back on our bikes in the morning (roll more foreshadowing music). The good news about the bad weather was that it meant the volcano ash from Iceland was not likely to spoil our trip home.

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