Saturday, 9.16.00 – Hirschhorn, Germany to Jagsthausen, Germany

We awoke to rain this morning, with heavy black clouds that appeared to prophesy a stormy day. Luckily, it started clearing up during breakfast, and by the time we left at 9 AM, the rain had stopped. The roads were wet, the skies were overcast, and the temperature was 60, but we didn't need to put on our rain gear, which was a relief. The rain outfits get very warm.

We continued to follow the Neckar River most of the morning, with its abundance of orchards, vineyards, and sunflower fields. At the halfway mark we decided to do the optional ride for the day. It involved riding up a 10% grade to the town of Bad Wimpfen. What a place! The Romans founded it in the 1st century A.D. as they built a fortress and a bridge across the Neckar. The tower above the city can be seen for miles.

Today the small winding streets of the historic center offer a jumble of picture-postcard Gothic and Renaissance buildings. We followed a few of them, but they were very steep and constructed with rugged cobblestones. We soon grew tired of stumbling, and moved on toward our destination.

After getting lost a few more times, Judith was sure that she had located a sign that would lead us to a town where we could get back on the route for the day. So, we climbed and climbed and sure enough we found a place to rejoin the correct route, but it was the part that we were going to go around in order to do the option. Oh well, we certainly couldn’t go a whole day without adding some "bonus" miles.

So, we were back on track and ready to follow the instructions on the queue sheets without any more mistakes. Let’s see…the next thing we do is get on the bike trail along the Jagst River. Do not go over the bridge and do not cross the railroad tracks. "Judith, don’t go over the bridge!" "Judith, don’t cross the railroad tracks!" Fortunately my famous LOUD whistle got her to come back. She was enjoying a great downhill, and had no thoughts of stopping.

Ok, what else can happen today? SNAP!!! I just broke the cable to my gears in back. Only one gear works now – the highest one. That means getting a running start on hills for the rest of the day and hammering up to the top. But not to worry, I’ll get it fixed as soon as I get to our destination. The van will surely have one.

Wrong. The cable that I broke was a very long one and the truck had only shorter ones. I decided that I needed the night to think about it. It was too frustrating right now, and it was dark and had begun to rain.

We decided to just enjoy the evening at Burg Gotzenburg, the castle where we were spending the night. Each room was different; some of the furniture looked like it could have been there since it was used as a castle. However, we did have some modern conveniences such as a bathroom with a shower. Once again, the dinner was fantastic. After a short stroll, we retired for the evening.