May 14-17, 2015
2015 Horizons Unlimited Meeting
Sunday morning and we were in no hurry. We made some hot chocolate and watched others pack up their dew-soaked tents. [Many people had long journeys ahead – back to all over Europe, as far as Ireland.] We were going to wait until the sun came out and dried off our stuff, just because we could. We also made sure to exchange contact information with a few of the people we had spent time talking with, although in the chaos of the morning departures meant that we couldn’t find everyone. As is typical, re-packing the bike wasn’t quite as slick as the first packing, but everything fit back in/onto the bike and we said our good byes to those who were left. We powered our way through the deep gravel, following another motorcyclist as he left the campground at the same time. There’s a nice uphill, tight right hand turn in a particularly deep gravel section, which I think someone did on purpose. I was doing well until I turned the corner only to find that the rider in front of me had stopped near the top of the slope. I made it past him without issue, but it did come as a surprise.
German town round about
I had set a route to a ferry crossing on the Rhine, using the “curvy roads” feature on my Garmin. I had no idea where this route would take us, so I settled in for a nice morning ride. We immediately found ourselves in a lush, green forest. The road wound its way through mountains and ravines and kept us leaning left and right.
We were in a motorcycle riding Mecca known as Johanniskreuz. Apparently some of the roads in the area are so worshipped by the local riders that the officials close them to motorcycles on the weekends. But even though the key roads were closed today, that didn’t keep the riders away. Other bikes zipped by in the other direction, but not many bikes came up from behind. Eventually we passed what would be the equivalent of Alice’s in the San Francisco Bay area, but bigger. Hundreds of motorcycles were parked in the lot, while the tables at the restaurant’s terrace were packed. I was half tempted to stop to check it out, but it didn’t seem interesting enough to warrant backtracking. We were in a rhythm and were having a good time.
An hour later we emerged from the forest and entered the relatively treeless plain that edges the Rhine. It took a little more zig-zagging before we got close enough to the river to know that we were close to the ferry dock. There were no signs and only the lines on my GPS let me know to make a right turn towards the river – and then stop 100 yards later. Just past the “Hoch Wasser” (high water) sign, the road was completely covered in water. The water ran all the way from the Rhine itself, which washed up heavily into the forest around us. High water, indeed!
We were in the process of rerouting the GPS when a bicyclist rolled up next to us. He was a Dutch rider, traveling from his home to the Swiss Alps. He had seen our license plates and asked us about the route he was planning up to the Bodensee and then to Andermatt.
Dutch bicyclist, out for a tour
Because there was no ferry across the Rhine we had to backtrack slightly and head north to Karlsruhe in order to cross. Fortunately it was just a quick 15 minute detour and we were soon where we wanted to be — on the other side of the ferry landing.
Bridge over the Rhine at Karlsruhe
The other side of the river ferry landing.
The Zollhaus Restaurant
River traffic, swans and bicyclists
After a wonderful lunch overlooking the Rhine it was time to get home. We stuck to the motorway all the way, knowing that it was the end of a holiday weekend and traffic would be heavy. It was slow at the border crossing, but we took advantage of the leniency granted motorcycles and merged into the active lanes at the last minute.
Basel wasn’t much better, as there was a big football (soccer) game just ending [FC Basel win sixth successive Swiss title!] and traffic was rerouted in getting to our apartment, which always adds another ten minutes of in-city riding. Ten minutes may not seem like much, but after a day’s ride, any delay in getting back to the garage is not appreciated.
Welcome to Basel