July 25, 2013
Now that we were in Stuttgart, Chandler and I had a desicion to make about what we wanted to do next. We had plans to meet my sister and her family in France in mid-August, however we couldn’t get excited about the bike ride there. The cycling routes in Germany were good but it was a lot of stop and go cycling, as we had to reorient at every intersection. We were used to longer medatative grinds. Also, with the time we had it was going to be a less than liesurely haul to make it on time to rendezvous with family. We discussed taking a train again, but after some research we came to an easy conclusion. We would rent a car and drive to Kleve, a German town on the border of Holland, and continue biking from there. Then we’d cycle to France and cover the last bit of distance with another rental car. Oddly, even with gas, it was cheaper to rent a car for a day than it was to take the train, plus we could pick our own route!
So, Chandler left early in the morning to catch a train to the airport to pick up our car. I stayed at the campground to take down the tent, pack up everything and disassemble the bikes enough to fit in the boot. Everything actually went smoothly and we were on the road before noon.
Getting out of town was complicated but the car came with a really slick integrated GPS that we were able to program to English. After a very scary mile or two of heavy rains, lots of traffic and no speed limit, we headed off for the Black Forest. It was vast and beautiful, but there was no cake or ham to be found.
We only had the car for a day and had to reach our destination, which was still several hours away, so we drove fast. There really is no speed limit on the Autobahn… Our rental car was only comfortable in the 90 mph range, and even travelling at this speed lots of folks were passing us going at least 20-30 mph faster. We made only one or two stops for dinner and bathroom needs. Chandler was very excited to see a bratwurst stand outside a grocery store, so his dinner was easy.
We arrived at the campground too late and the gate was locked, so we kept driving. However, we were on a minor rural road and managed to find a parking pullout. Being close to midnight and too tired to keep going, we decided to stop. We pitched the tent in a bit of grass near some trees and hoped no one would bug us.