Slow Starts, German Kindness, and Uneasy Camping

31 October 2011

Today we awoke at around 6:30. Getting light early so it may have been daylight savings time. Not sure. The camp grounds are deserted so we are hoping that we can get away without paying and count this as wild camping and a boost to our budget. If that is the case, this will be the second free hot shower in a week. Lucky us.

The coffee this morning still tastes a little like the chicken and pasta soup from yesterday, which is a surprisingly great combination. Warms the soul. We even have electricity and can charge the phone and take some pictures.

We don’t have costumes this year but it will be okay. I mean we are just cruising around Germany. Fair trade. Though we do miss our friends and the amazing time that I am sure they are having at Voodoo Festival. Next year.

The air in my tires held up so now we get ready to get back on the road next to the Rijn. Oh yeah, a quick description of the surroundings.

Hills rise on both sides of us. Covered in a patchwork of orange, yellow and red with the occasional evergreen. We are situated at a red topped picnic table next to the shower where we camped. The stream behind us making a constant and droning pitter-patter against the rocks. Birds chirping in the crisp, misty autumn air. Nice place to be on a Monday.

Yellow piss means I have to drink more water. Besides that we had a great start to the day. The first little town we rode through had everything that the big one yesterday didn’t. Got groceries plus a few extra goodies. Cokes and dark chocolate. Plus a bike shop had tubes we need. The sun is even peaking through the clouds as we sit on a bench for a late breakfast. Muesli and fruit juice!

Cool to see that we bike faster than the big boat going up-stream.

Well I should have made 100% sure that the tubes that I bought this morning were the right size. It took finding a town with a gas station, ripping off the tire and pulling out the old 26in tube that rolled us here from southern France to realize that I had bought a prista valve that is 2mm too big. Just 2mm stands between us and continuing to kick some mileage ass on the road. But today I stay positive. It is a holiday after all.

I spoke to a gentleman here at the gas station and after seeing the predicament that we are currently in, which looks pretty bad because it’s my rear tube so I had to completely unload the back. And with bags strewn around he volunteered to drive a couple miles down the road to get the right tube for us. I wrote down the size, 700c prista 6.5mm. Hope that he comes back with the right tube so that Kim and I can continue on. For now we sit and wait, drinking Coca-Colas in the cool shade. He said it would be an hour.

Kim is restlessness already showing as she wonders down the street on foot “just to see.” People are Germany have been exceptionally kind. Mr.Uue Strunk came through and in less time than he said. Off we go!

The road felt smooth and great under full tires. Every time we went through a town I searched the street for free WiFi. Finally found some and called family. Nana is 80 years old tomorrow and it was so great to talk to her. She is awesome. Said that 80 is finally getting old. Ha.

She also told me that my dad got engaged. Very happy for him and Wendy. They go good together. And after Nana I called my dad to tell him congratulations. He is really happy. I think they will go to Hawaii and elope. Very cool. Good talking to everyone. Have to think of a poem for Nana’s birthday party.

Now with no place to camp we are sitting at a McDonald’s trying to use the internet. Worked for a bit thanks to a really nice employee using his phone to get us a pin.

Feeling weird now. As soon as it gets pretty dark we will go set up camp in some bushes near by. Nice to be indoors for the time being.

The bushes on the opposite side of the roundabout leading to the shopping center was dark enough and thick enough to choose it as our place to camp for the night. After waiting for the cars to pass we snuck around back and forced ourselves into the shrubbery. After loosing my hat, glasses and nerve I found the open area and where we would pitch our tent.

As cars passed and lights came and went we set up our tent and covered it with a dark tarp for maximum stealthiness. After laying down our bikes and hopping inside we quickly became paranoid and restless. And then we scramble back out into the semi- wilderness and went shopping at our neighborhood Lidl market.

We went to sleep after deciding that our appetite could wait and feeling more nervous and paranoid than any other night of our trip. Being so close to society and so far away at same time is so strange.

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