July 23, 2013
Distance: 36.7 miles Climbing: 1879.9 ft
Chandler’s grandfather’s family was from Germany, hence the last name, and we knew they were from the area. While Skyping with Tayler, we found out that the family was from Plochingen, directly on our path to Stuttgart.
The ride began with some interesting sculptures and birds. We passed a museum with some dinosaur and other prehistoric creatures of display. We thought about checking out the inside, but there was a huge group of kids and we were interested in a more quiet activity. We didn’t find what we were looking for, because school must have just started or something. There were kids in school uniforms everywhere, on the bike paths, in the grocery store and feeding some swans.
After we got our fill of the birds, we went on to Plochingen. The town was small and quiet, with lots of nice architecture to take in. We roamed around for a while, but it was really hot so soon we got back on the road.
Soon we began traveling through the sprawling suburbs of Stuttgart. Assuming that we were officially out of the countryside, we were surprised to see a huge vineyard growing on the side of a steep hill directly adjacent to a busy road. On the other side of the road were large apartment buildings. It was quite a sight.
There were big, dark clouds rolling in, but we hoped we could make it to the campground in time. The area of Stuttgart we rode through, didn’t have the same charm as Munich, so we hustled to keep going. Everything was going smoothly until we were trying to find the entrance. We were a bit lost and a huge windstorm picked up swirling dirt, trash and loads of tree pollen into the air. Luckily, I wear “safety” glasses all the time, but Chan doesn’t, so he was having a miserable time trying to ride his bike, look at the map and keep his eyes clear with his hand.
The GPS indicated one way to the campground, but when we arrived, the road was gated off. So, we went around and found ourselves in a horse stable. There was a road in our path that we couldn’t seem to get around and was bounded by fences everywhere we looked. We considered climbing over the fence but decided against it as it seemed that would be trying too hard and that we must be missing something.
We back-tracked again to the main highway and finally found some stairs we could walk our bikes down, which was a pain. We ended up on a bike path next to the river and realized the “road” that was in our way was the Mercedes-Benz factory test-track. Shuttling our bikes across that might not have gone over so well.
The campground was very decently priced considering it was located in the center of the city and there was a grassy section just for tents. While I set up camp, Chandler chatted with our neighbors and found out that the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums were very close by. We would definitely be staying another day. Until then, Chandler found another game store and bought us a little present!