German campfire

Skoll awoke briskly in the morning and started the day by calling to an Ural service station in Wehr, Germany. We heared that it’s OK to bring the bike there so our target for the day was set. Also Bergie woke eventually to a call from the Italian Midgardians. We had a small breakfast with the last Switch franks we had and hit the road.

It was some 190 kilometers as the bird flies to Wehr and as we planned to drive only smaller roads - and it was already 11 o’clock, there was no time to waste. Bergie was still a bit worried about the overheating light but the bike seemed to run well.

Most of the day we spent enjoying the French countryside driving smaller roads that were nevertheless in good shape so we managed to keep good pace. When about half the way was behind us, the overheating light returned. We tried to troubleshoot the bike for a while but having no success had no option but to continue.

We crossed the border to Germany some twenty minutes before Berni’s Motoshop was supposed to close. Opening the throttle to the fullest and lanesplitting where we could we reached our destination 10 minutes late from the supposed closing of the shop. However, Berni was still in the shop, and promised to handle our bikes first thing in the following morning.

Skoll threw a wild card and asked Berni about camping opportunities nearby. Berni made a phone call and informed us that the nearest place would be ten kilometers away on the Swiss side of the border. However a moment later he made another phone call and after the call informed us, that in a few minutes a fried of his would come and show us to a camping place nearby. While waiting Berni offered us beer which we declind as we hadn’t eaten anything for the whole day and still had some driving to do. After a while there indeed appeared a lone rider riding a horse of steel. He looked exactly like biker should look being about 50 years old and having a respectable beard, small open helmet and goggles. We followed him about a kilometer to a clearing in the woods. The piece of land was owned by the biker and he used it to grill sausage and drink beer in the evenings. While setting up the camp we were offered beer again and we simply couldn’t refuse anymore.

When the camp was up, Berni gave us a ride to a local store where we bought some bratwurst, kartoffelsalad and beer of course. We walked back to the camp and Bergie, being an old boy-scout, built us a fire. When we were starting to grill the bearded biker came also back with a friend to check that everything was ok and brought us some dry wood and more beer. We chatted a while about bikes despite some minor language difficulties. They also provided us with a scenic route through the Schwarzwald area. After three beers, the guy said he had to drive back home because he had work the next morning at 5 o’clock.

Left alone, we contined grilling and watched the full moon rise slowly from behind the forest. We also heard dogs howling in the village, and horses shuffling in a nearby farm. After some marvelling at how much better this was than regular camping sites and watching satellites pass by, we turned in.

The morning started too early as we wanted to reach Berni’s shop by eight a.m. Drowsily we rose up and broke the camp quickly, gulping some grapefruit juice as we packed, and drove to the repair shop. Berni started to immediately work on the Ural, while we watched the progress in order to be able to perform the maintenance next time by ourselved. He also took a look at Bergie’s overheat light problem, but wasn’t able to spot it. All the while working on the Ural he kept referencing to his own rat bike styles Dniepr sidecar outfit. Both services were done well, and costed much less than the initially quoted amount. With the early start, we were ready to go already around 11 a.m., so we were very happy.

We stopped for breakfast in a cafe in Wehr’s center, where the waiter was noticeably amused about Bergie’s attempts at German. After this we continued to the first waypoint on our route, Todtmoos. The road ran curvily in a narrow forested canyon carved by a small river, providing us with a good view on the Black Forest wildlife.

When reaching Todtmoos the dark clouds overhead finally turned into rain, and we stopped to put on our rain suits. The rain continued on and off while we cruised through the twisties of the B500 road through the forested hills and picturesque villages of Schwarzwald. The heavy rain and early wake-up started to weight early in afternoon and we stopped for long lunch in the town of Freuenstadt. The local grilled dishes were greasy and delicious. After lunch we walked around to find an Internet Cafe, only to find that access would have been available in the town library, which was closed.

With this small defeat we continued to a nearby camping place, where we swiftily put up tent before rain started again.