Monday, 9.18.00 – Rothenburg, Germany to Eichstatt, Germany

We left Rothenburg and almost immediately had to climb a steep hill to reach the top of the continental divide I mentioned yesterday. The shifter gave me a little trouble, and I had to hammer up in an unfriendly gear, but by the end of the day everything was back to normal.

We traveled through a lot of farmland, partially on hard packed dirt bike paths. They are not as comfortable as riding on a paved road or path. We have high-pressure tires that tend to sink in sometimes, and definitely add to the vibration factor. My favorite is cobblestone downhills. If you get out of the saddle, put all of your weight on the pedals, and hang on to the handlebars very lightly, you can get a great foot massage.

In addition, the headwinds prevailed for the whole day. Actually, we haven’t mentioned it but we have encountered headwinds for the entire trip so far, and it appears that we will have them all of the way to Hungary. Of course, anyone who knows me realizes that I love headwinds, so I probably enjoyed today a little more than some people. OK, a lot more than some people.

I just drop down to my aerobars, and imagine that I am a flying knife that is cutting through butter. I especially like long roads out in the middle of nowhere, with lots of twists and turns that allow me to experience different wind directions. Since Judith abhors headwinds, she tolerates my insanity and usually tucks in behind me for protection.

We tried to stay on the bike path by the Altmuhl River most of the day, but 135 kilometers of river gets old. The scenery was great with castles that seemed to grow out of the rock formations above, and very scenic parkland, but you end up bypassing the picturesque towns and villages. So we left the trails once in a while to check out some of the towns, and enjoy the pastries and ice cream.

Because the bike paths are so slow, we ended up arriving in Eichstatt a bit later than planned. So, we added a little hill and explored some of the city by bicycle. Three stops for information from non English-speaking Germans, two map stops, and a couple of guesses later, we found our hotel.

We also found a bike shop, where we purchased TWO long cables – one to fix my bike and one for a spare. After parking our bikes in the bicycle garage for the night, we showered and hit the town. The hotel is located right in the middle of the old part of town, so we walked around until dinnertime.

The old part of town has many magnificently painted buildings. We spent quite a while touring the area and tasting pastries. Judith just loves the brightly painted buildings.