After Breakfast we left Freudenstadt and headed along the route described in Great Motorbike Tours of Europe, along the L96 to Gutach (where we refuled and had a Mars Bar), then onto the 531 to Triberg (The land of Cuckoo Clocks and Tourists). We tried to get to Badenweiler but it was blocked off (we don’t know why) so we went into Basel and that was not helped because Vince had the GPS on Curvey Roads/Avoid Major roads so we went on a scenic drive! From Basel we went up through Mulhouse into Cernay.
In the Black Forest we passed a Bear and Wolf Park
Alternativer Wolf- und Bärenpark Schwarzwald
Rippoldsauer Straße 38a
77776 Bad Rippoldsau-Schapbach – Schapbach
phone 07839 910380
We turned back and called in and for just 5 Euro each we spend about an hour and a half there. We managed to see all 9 bears currently there. …awesome…I’ve never been so close to a bear before…..they were amazing creatures. Martmoort, a Ranger at the Park, chatted with Vince (whilst he was putting on his wet weather gear as it was raining when we departed), about how they care for the bears and acclimatise them.
We continuted our scenic route eventually crossing the border into France, finding a Acacias campground in Cernay on the banks of the River Thur. We many stay a few nights here….we will see how we feel in the morning.
Monday 18th May – we decided to spend two nights in Freudenstadt (our overnight stop last night) so we could catch up on some washing and have another crack at the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse (the Black Forest High Road – the B500) after being baulked a couple of times yesterday by slow cars that interrupted the rhythm of the ride. Wandered through the sunshine on legs to the Marketplatz and located the laundromat, only to be told via a little pantomime act that our washing would not be ready for collection till Thursday – fail. We had a coffee/coke & some Black Forest cake in the cafe overlooking the fountains in the square, and then strolled back to our hotel so we could get the bike.
I switched the bike to ‘Dynamic’ mode and with most of the luggage left back in our hotel room we had a sunny and lively ride from Freudenstadt along the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse heading north towards Baden-Baden. Unlike yesterday’s ride on this road there was minimal traffic on the road, and most of that were bikes heading south. We blipped past a couple of cars and enjoyed the sunshine and the drifting rear tyre. The road provides a scenic view over the valley below and the distant hills, and was magnificent to ride with its sweeping bends. We pulled over just out of Baden-Baden to turn around and ride the road again, and Karen was very complementary of the way the bike was sliding through some of the high speed corners as up to that point she had been very quiet on the back, savouring the experience.
We had another quick run along the High Road, stopping at Mummelsee – the highest point on the road and a lay-over which featured a hotel, a restaurant full of staff that completely ignored us and whom encouraged us to walk out without placing an order, and a shop that sold all sorts of bratworst sausages, souvenirs, and ice creams – and we settled on an icecream each for lunch. A lot of bikes were parked up in the shade, including a skull-festooned trike that also had a stuffed toy on the back of it (the squirrel character out of Ice Age). The owner must have been sitting nearby with a remote-control as when I approached to take a photo the bike’s four-speaker stereo made the sound of a flushing toilet, and a short while later when a mum with two young kids walked past it started to spurt out bubbles like a giant bubble-blower 🙂
We remounted the bike and finished off the remainder of the High Road until the B500 met the B28 leading towards Freudenstadt, and from there we had a leisurely ride back to our hotel. Now it’s time to catch up on a few blogs and emails before we wander back into town for a bite to eat 🙂
After a late start ( saying goodbye to all the wonderfull people we met) we headed South East towards Baden Baden to pick up a route from “Great Motorcycle Tours of Europe” called Forests and Wine trails that eventually ends in Reims in France ( where all the Champage is – yum!) and not too far from Paris.
We tried to cross the Rhine by small local ferry, but the river had burst its banks and was overflowing so we had to turn back and find an different route. Closer to Baden Baden we pulled in to a service station were it cost 70 cents to pee! We then went to a nearby MacDonalds to use their wifi to find some accommodation online …given the language barrier reading signs and going door to door would not be a good option….Whilst there we met a group of 7 Scottish guys who chatted with us about the ANIMAL and our trip and suggested we take the B500 down to Freudenstadt ( which is where they were spring the night). Vince found a great deal on a hotel in Freaudenstadt and we booked it on the spot…..Hotel Hohenried in Rosegarten…..reduced to 80 Euro including breakfast instead of 110 Euro.
We headed off and got onto the B500 and what a road …..sweeping bends and twisties and fantastic scenery! Wonderful! When we arrived we had to ring the bell at reception and the waitress from the restaurant (Yasmin) came to help us….she spoke English pretty well which made things easier. We got settled into our room, which was lovely, had showers and got changed out of our bike gear and went downstairs to dinner. They have a set 5 course menu for 28 Euro …I couldn’t manage it (3 and a bit) all but Vince made a good go at all 5 courses. Vince suggested staying an extra night here …to catch up on washing and as we have wifi to attend to some emails etc…..he also wants to go back to the Black Forest High Road again but with the GoPro….we’ll sleep on it and decide in the morning.
Some people started to arrive on Wed 13th May …. We had gone for a ride and when we got back there were about 6 people in tents….this was nothing to the onslaught on Thursday 14th May with about 200 people attending the meeting. We met Jens (the organiser) who arrived around lunch time with his family.
Over the 4 days of the event we met so many people and so many experienced travellers it was fantastic! It was a very different organisational set up than we had experienced at previous Perth HU meetings and a unique experience for us …..any stereotypes of German people were blown out of the water by the relaxed, welcoming and friendly atmosphere and the very flexible schedule. There were some inspiring presentations ….especially the two given by the famous (crazy) Dutchman, Shaak Lucassen ….truly amazing! So much so we bought his DVD for 12.50 Euro….he offered to sign it for us …which we accepted and he also offered for me to sit on his famous bike …the Yamaha R1 he rode around the world for five years – including through deserts in Africa and mud in the Congo ….awesome!
We also met another larger than life and top bloke Aussie (Sheldon) – “rides four smiles” who Vince knows from Adv Rider and he has offered us some advice and help for some of the counties we plan to go to…..so generous! We may even cross paths somewhere on the road.
We made many new amazing friends ….too many to name them all individually….but we have already had some emails and they will be following our blog. One particular friend (a kiwi) who lives in Switzerland, has invited us to come and stay …we’ll see where we end up…..very hospitable.
Sunday 17th May was filled with packing up a wet tent ( it rained each night and sometimes a shower during the day) as well as saying goodbye to people ….it was after 11.00am when we eventually left to head for the “Black Forest”.
The weather here is much warmer and we are finding our riding gear very hot. With no food on hand we set off looking for supplies in nearby villages….initially with little success until we reached Winnweiler, were we spotted an ALDI supermarket. We pressed on to the nearby service station as we needed fuel. Whilst paying I asked if there was a bank or Teller machine as we need cash to pay for our accommodation (they don’t take card). The lady said to go straight on, which we did and we found the bank and got some money out….yahoo one problem solved! We went back to the supermarket were we discovered we could not get a trolley as you needed a special token, there were no baskets……Vince solved the problem by finding a cardboard packing box. It was an unusual shop layout but we managed to get supplies for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days. In the carpark were approached by Peter, a German man, who asked us about our travels and told us how impressed he was and gave us his card to stay in touch.
We rode back to the campsite and unpacked our shopping and had some cereal ….even though it was almost lunchtime. We tied to pay for our accommodation as arranged but the office was closed …it does so every day between 12 – 2. We met Karen’s (the Campsite owner) husband, Walter, and he explained. It was very hot in and around our tent, as there was no shade, so we went down to a outdoor shaded area and I did some work on the computer whilst Vince had a snooze on the wooden bench. At 2.00pm I went and paid our money for three nights (69 Euro) and asked if the was anywhere we could use a power point to recharge our devices, but was told NO!….not helpful!
Back at the tent we moved our chairs along the pathway where a bit of shade from the trees had started. We shared a punnet of grapes and they were delicious! We tried to solve the shade issue with our tarpaulin but gave up in the end. We decided to both go and have cold showers ….it was a bit of a walk from where our tent was. After our showers we fired up the Dragonfly for the first time ….we cooked Chillie Con Carne and had bread rolls accompanied by a bottle of 1.37 Euro Merlot ….highly successful! Vince is looking forward to some coffee in the morning!
Our original plan was to spread the 520km ride from Ypres to the Horizons Unlimited meeting place in Pfrimmtel, Sippersfeld, Germany over a few days as we didn’t need to arrive ’till Wednesday, however we decided to crunch the distance in a single day, and the 130kph autobahn helped us do that relatively easily in five hours. By aiming to arrive at the campsite early we hoped to finish off our presentations, however the absence of electricity to recharge our devices left us somewhat jammed. We checked into the campsite and erected our tent, and then took the bike and went looking for food….. which proved much harder than anticipated. Many of the little villages we had passed through enroute to the campsite did not appear to have a shop or Restauarant, and those that did were closed. It appears as if everywhere is closed on Mondays. We finally found a posh restaurant that was open, and we enjoyed a delicious…. if expensive dinner. Given that we hadn’t eaten much through the day we were grateful to find food, even at 70 euros. The campsite itself wasn’t cheap at 23 euro per night, and the absence of facilities is in stark contrast to the Jeager Stadion Campground we had left in Belgium that morning. Karen noted that we were charged by both the number of people, number of tents we had, and number of motorcycles we had. When we arrived at the campsite it looked as if it as unattended (being a Monday I guess) and I was going to squeeze the bike between the hedges and the office (rather than squeezing under the barrier gates) but just as I started to push through the gap a voice boomed out over a loud speaker (in German so we couldn’t understand what was being said) but we gathered that they had seen us on their cctv cameras and were impressed with our problem-solving efforts. We tracked down the owner of the booming voice and the hostess – Karen by name – helped sort us out.