2017 Summer Adventure part 14, border crossing

The next two legs were about border crossing, quite a bit of border crossing. The course was to be set northwest. Heavy weather was looming over Germany and central Europe. I had my share of mega-wetness the day before.

So, west was the best.

Farewell Switzerland

Left the hotel not too early in the morning (again) after breakfast. At first I headed slightly south, roads and landscape looked pretty promising. Passed through the city Saint Ursanne, turned west, then north on a really nice road.

Passed through the old city Saint Ursanne

Passed through the old city Saint Ursanne, very well preserved old buildings.

I had thought about going more southwest, see more of northern part of France. While underway changed my mind and headed up north again, past Vendincourt where I’d stayed overnight. Time and weather played a significant role in the indecisiveness. 

I rode across the border into France again, up to and through Mulhouse (no pics) . It would have been worth a stop but I decided to save it for some other time.

Rapid border crossing

Past Mulhouse I turned east and crossed the border at Chalampe, over the river Rhine past Neuenburg am Rhein. From there more north towards to Freiburg and a lunch stop.

Passing through the village of Au (ouch in Norwegian)

Passing through the village of Au (Au means “Ouch” in Norwegian. No Ouch fortunately 🙂 )

Freiburg sits at south of the Black Forest. While underway made plans to do some exploring, the area, and the roads attracted my interest. Heading south into Schauinsland (which literally means look into the country) I went up into the mountains and along the Black Forest.

On the way up and into the Black forest, which indeed is.. pretty black!

On the way up along the Black forest, which indeed is.. pretty black!

At this point the weather was turning bad again, having journeyed a little too far east I found myself at the edge of the system that hang over Germany. The higher up I came, the lower the temperature. Being pretty well dressed that didn’t bother me but dense fog and slippery roads on the other hand, another story.

Lets say, electronics such as traction control, ABS breaks etc. helped a lot. Still, I didn’t rush. 

Heavy clouds sweeping across the landscape on the way up a long the edge of the Black Forest

Heavy clouds sweeping across the landscape on the way up a long the edge of the Black Forest

The road I was on led me further up, reckon altitude was max around 1200 to 1250 meters. 

Light Photoshopping, an attempt to beautify things.

Light Photoshopping, an attempt to beautify things.

The Black Forest; Dark, wet & cold

Much thanks to the weather. For, as i came up to the highest point the temp was around 10C, some places below, and raining. Thick fog drifted through the woods and across the road. Did not feel like stopping to take pics, besides it was, as the name suggest, really dark. In retrospect maybe a pic or two would have been nice to have.

So I rode through it, coming out on the other side the descent offered some spectacular views I could not ride past.

Gütenbach - Schwarzwald. Copming out on the other side this opened up.

Gütenbach – Schwarzwald. Copming out on the other side this opened up.

Regardless of weather, Black Forest, and here we talk about the REAL Black Forest, is worth a visit. If weather was better and I had more time would have stayed an extra night, and gone exploring. Riding across I saw many interesting gravel and dirt roads running into the woods.

In this district there are lots of places to stay, rode through and past countless villages and hotels.

Northwards in Germany

Spending so much time on winding smallways I now pressed on for some time.  And rode across many hills and valleys, through many villages in the Black Forest region. I took road 294 which zig-zags valley-style north and west.

Wolfach is a town in the Black Forest and part of the Ortenaukreis in Baden-Württemberg.

Wolfach is a town in the Black Forest and part of the Ortenaukreis in Baden-Württemberg.

It was fast approaching late afternoon towards evening. But I kept on staying on smaller roads, which also led me through several pitoresque villages and old towns. One of which was Schillach.

Schiltach is a town in the district of Rottweil, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated in the eastern Black Forest, on the river Kinzig, 20 km south of Freudenstadt.

Schiltach is a town in the district of Rottweil, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Another hour or so decided it was enough. it had started raining again, pretty heavy too. Coming into the village of Neuwier, closed to Baden Baden, where lots of Russians live, I decided it was enough. Picked a hotel, basically the first that showed up along the road, and settled for the evening. Not a moment to soon, just as I parked it began to rain buckets.

The Gasthof or hotel was ok, but in my opinion, overpriced.  Standard was good but compared to others I’d stayed at, pricey. Should have checked more thoroughly for options, later discovered there were a few other hotels. But oh well, one can’t win them all. They did fix a garage for my motorcycle though, given the weather great to have a dry place to park.

The next day, west towards France (again)

Waking up the in the morning it was clear I had to stay on a western course. The weather system hovering over much of Europe and Germany wasn’t moving. If I wanted to avoid heavy, lengthy showers going west was the only option.

Hotel view in Neuweier

Hotel view in Neuweier, weather looked so so

So I didn’t hesitate and rode towards the border to France, less than an hour north of Strasbourg. The river Rhine separates France and Germany. the river isn’t particularly wide here. A ferry runs across, must be one of the shortest ferry trips between two countries in existence!

On the ferry between Germany & France, Germany in the rear

On the ferry between Germany & France, Germany in the rear, 

Hardly had time to get off the bike to take pictures! Interestingly this ferry doesn’t turn, so it has a French and a German flag on either side.

It literally took mere minutes to get to France

It literally takes mere minutes to get to France. 

This area of France, in fact all the countries in this region, clearly have throughout history been under the influence of another. Place names can be either French, or German. Or how about … Pfaffenhoffen? If you look it up in Wikipedia you won’t have any luck. There are several Pfaffenhoffen’s around, and all of them are somewhere in Germany.

Busy street in Pfaffenhofen, France

Busy street in Pfaffenhofen, France

I rode across on small roads and passed through Hinsbourg. A part of Alsace I didn’t expect much from, but it surprised me. Nice landscape, great roads and stuff to look at. 

An Advent calendar approach I've never seen before!

An Advent Calendar approach I’ve never seen before!

Further down the road, a nice perspective to a small town or village in Alsace.

In the area and village of Hinsbourg. Added a little artistic touch :)

In the area and village of Hinsbourg. Added a little artistic touch 🙂

Back over in Germany (again), and Luxembourg

Staying on the western course I rode into what seemed to be flat’ish areas. But not entirely though, enough hills, twists and turns to make it fun. And, the weather was getting better and better!

The world famous city of Helfant, in Germany (just kidding)

The “world famous” city of Helfant, in Germany (just kidding)

Shortly after passing through the village Helfant it was time for border crossing number five of the day. But this being EU all you notice crossing borders are a few discrete signs. Primarily to inform you about speed limits.

Luxembourg on the other side of the bridge crossing over the river Moselle.

At the border, Luxembourg on the other side

At the border, Luxembourg on the other side

Never been to the country,  and had no plans of going into any town. Just riding through the countryside made me realize it was a lot different from what I had initially tought. Not as flat, nor as boring.  But, it’s as small as history class had told me. Pretty soon I was out, and had crossed border number 6.

Larochette, a small town in Luxembourg here represented by the Larochette Castle

Larochette, a small town in Luxembourg here represented by the Larochette Castle

Belgium, Germany and nighty nighty

Belgium wasn’t quite as flat as I’d believe it was either.  Either by chance or accident I rode trough, or rather past, Signal de Botrange,  which is the highest point in Belgium. 694 metres (or 2,277 ft) to be exact. Made a stop to get some food and coffee. 

Witlessly, I took no scenic pics at Signal de Botrange.

Witlessly, I took no scenic pics at Signal de Botrange.

Witlessly, I managed not to take any sensible scenic (or other) pictures at Signal de Botrange, you’ll have to settle for the above.

As it was getting later in the afternoon I just hurried on thereafer and made few stops. Therefore, no pics on this last leg, or none I’d even consider sharing after 10 hours of Photoshop tinkering.

Reason for the hurry; wanted to be back home and have time enoughfor a couple of days worth of rest before being back at work. And I still would have quite a bit of riding left to do. More than 1 days worth actually.

Just outside the city of Gladbach I’ve had it. The GPS suggested a reasonable hotel nearby. Without reservation I gambled.. and won. But not the grand price. Although in fairness, Akzent Hotel Landhaus Heinen wasn’t pretending to by a 5 star experience, nor priced that way. It was ok for a tired rider like myself. Clean rooms, decent food.

I had my late dinner, which was perfectly ok, got my beers, which were perfectly ok, and that brought another 10-11 hours worth of a day ride to an end.

Believe it or not, in the next post I’ll try to end this series of posts. Yes.. really. 🙂

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