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Trip Report: Germany -A Motorcyclists Heaven - Part 1


From sew@feds17.CV.COM Thu May 18 16:28:20 1995
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From: sew@feds17.CV.COM (Stephen Woodbridge x5290)
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Subject: Trip Report: Germany -A Motorcyclists Heaven - Part 1
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        Trip Report: Germany -A Motorcyclists Heaven

This will be a VERY long trip report. A lot of it is just my daily notes,
but I hope you will all find it interesting. To summarize, I had a great trip
and met a lot of interesting poeple, some of whom I hope I can call friends
and have continuing contact with. "A Motorcyclists Heaven" is the closet I
can come to the roads, but add to that a wonderful people, a land with lots of
history and culture, and I have a place that I will definitely be planning to 
return to.

Before I start, I want to acknowledge two people that helped to make this trip
particularly sucessful and enjoyable. On the business end of this trip, Heike
Emrich did an excellent job of handling the logics of setting
up the seminars that I was teaching, which was how I got to Germany in the first
place. But she also assisted me by taking me to K&K Fahrzeug Center where I 
rented a Suzuki GSX/R 750. I don't think I would have been able to find this
place without here help and she kindly assisted me in dropping it off again.
And Second, Herr. Hermann Schnieder who was a great riding companion and guide
on my first weekend, when we rode over 1000km on a trip to East Germany and
back. He and I rode many km, shared meals and beers and lots of interesting
conversations. I hope we have an oppurtunity to share more miles or km in the 
future (and of course beers).

OK, OK, enough, lets get on with the story!!!!

May 10th: D-Day, the plane leaves tonight, I'm not going to the office so I
can get all the things done that have to be done before I leave, not the
least of which is to pack. The week before I was in San Diego doing pre-work
for the trip and the weekend I was chaperon for 96 high school freshmen coeds
on a 4 day camping trip, so to say my life was is chaos is an understatement.
I get most things done and manage to get to the plane with my passport and
tickets and arrive in Germany on May 11th. I couldn't sleep on the plan so
I'm not thinking to well at this point. Customs clearance was virtually non-
existant and I collect my bags and get a cab to the Hotel. Just before we get
to the Hotel, I remember that I forgot to change any money at the airport.
I convey this to the cab driver in very broken German, he speaks less English
than I speak Germany, which is close to nothing. We arrive at the hotel and
dollars are ok, but we neogotiate the exchange rate via his calculator. It 
come close to $60 so I give him three 20's and call it a day and try to get
some sleep. We I get up after a couple hours nap, I have a phone message in
my door from Hermann. I give him a call (which includes figuring out a
different phone system) and explains he has plans to head to East Germany,
I had been thinking of heading south toward Switzerland and the Alps, but
decide I can do it next weekend. Hermann explains how to get to his house
and I locate it on the map but don't take detailed notes. I figure it can't
be that hard to find once I get into the general area.

May 12th, Friday: I have a short day a the office to check on all the business
related aspects of the trip, because at 9am Monday I have 15 people I will
be training in a seminar. Everything is under control and my contact, Heike
Emrich, has worked out all the logistics, so I have to do little more than
show up on time a run the seminars. I ask for some help regarding the motorcycle
rental and since the place is not close to the office or my hotel, she calls
all the places in the phone book, but to no sucess. She offers to help me out
and I have been able to locate the general area by map, and we have a street
address so how hard can this be? Well an hour later and 3 stops at bus stops
(where they have posted the local street plans) we find K&K Fahrzeug Center.
They don't have the VFR750F or the Yamaha YZF which I wanted, so I end up with
a Suzuki GSX/R 750. It is clean, has Michlin tire with lots of tread and only
8500km on the odometer. I follow Heike back to the office, thank her again for
the help and I'm off to the hotel to get the pants to my aerostich, pack for
the weekend and head off to meet Hermann. Well I leave the office for the 10
min ride to the Hotel and I get totally lost. This place has to be cool 'cause
I get passed by 5 policemen in green and black leathers on what looks like
BMW R1100's. I eventually find the hotel, eat lunch, pack and leave to meet
Hermann. I picked a nice mix of roads that should not be to hard to follow.
>From Leonberg (west of Stuttgart), I'll grab the Autobahn (A81) Heilbronn and
then head north up Neckar River Vally on (37) and due north looking for a
turnoff toward Reinheim and then ask direction. I even made a list of towns
the I will pass thru or near to help with the navigating, now if I only new
what more of these signs meant and a little German, I would feel a little
better.

I get on the Autobahn (going in the correct direction) for a fast trip. I
get to crank the GSX/R up to 200km/hr. Bike works great in a straight line.
I find my exits and I'm headed up the Neckar valley, I should get to Hermann's
well before 7pm since it is only a little after 3pm now. Wow! these roads are
great! Twisty, fast, drivers that are biker aware! Whoaaaaa! slow down, I
rounded a corner and ZAP! I'm in a village. Very pretty just like from a story
book and just as fast the village ends and we're (me and my bike) are ripping
up beautiful country roads with sweepers and switchbacks on the hills. Better
check out the signs in this village, darn I can't find it on my map, and I
don't recognize ANY of the names on the signs and can't find them on the map.
Lost again! Ask directions, ask more directions, ok, we're back on track again,
another village, in a blink of the eye and just as fast I'm lost again and
again. At 200km, I'm thinking of gas, my VFR does about 200 miles on a tank so
I shouls be safe at 200km, but here is a gas station and I need directions again
anyway. Fill the tank with Super -- 18DM!!!! Ouch that's about $12 and the tank
was not empty. Three, now four people has all come to help with direction, this
happens often, everyone has an idea of where I am trying to go and usually they
can find someone with a little English, mostly they point, try to indicate an
intersection and right or left. Everyone is very nice and helpful. I'm on my
way again following the river up a beautiful valley with castles overlooking
the river from the east, high up on a bluff. Terraced vineyards cover the steep
hillsides below the castles. There are two or three castles in the south end
of the valley. I stop to ask direction from a police car that has pulled over
someone, and for once I'm still on the right road. He says just stay on this 
road and keep going.

I should probably explain something here. It took me awhile to figure this out.
I have a good sense of direction, but roads don't go straight thru most
villages. The villages are small, but the main road may take 2-10 right angle
turns to get thru a village. So as I came into a village and headed straight
thru most intersections I would get thrown off the main thoughfare. This made
for lots of interesting side trips onto some VERY interesting back roads, but
kept my very lost most of the time.

Anyway, the next thing I know, I'm in Heidelberg and headed for Mannheim. This
is way too far to the west, darm I must have missed a turn way back there and
now it's getting late and there is no way I will meet up with Hermann before
he has to leave his house. The day has been hot and I'm getting dehydrated and
I can't find way to the autobahn, which will be the fast way to get to Hermann's
house. Directions, fluids and a cleaned visor and I'm headed for the autobahn.
A fast trip north, found the ausfart (exit) and at the first intersection I do
a map check, good thing, I was headded in the wrong direction. Hey! I found
Reinheim, amazing! Now ask directions for Georgenhausen (no one can understand
me because it is pronounced Yurgenhasen). After accosting may people, adults
and kids alike for directions (at one point I had 20 kids run to check out the
bike and offer directions). I find Hermann's house, but it is 8:30pm and not
before 7pm when he had to leave. There is a note on the door saying he is in
the next village south, playing batmitten and that I should meet him there at
the sportsball park and he and his freinds plan to eat dinner there. I should
join them or he will be back at 2330. /sigh/ I don't think I will ever find
this but I have nothing better to do. More direction and help and I eventually
find the place. I actually went by it earlier! I collapase on the floor with
some juice and watch in amazement at batmitten that is played with the spirit
of handball. My eyes can't even follow the shuttlecock. After pizza and a beer
(only one since I'm on two wheels), I am starting to feel much better. The
GSX/R is a nice bike, but it is VERY uncomfortable. Hermann as a wonderful
house and beautifully landscaped yard and makes me feel very much at home.
Tired, I sleep well and we are up for breakfast and off by 9am for east
Germany.

                         --- End of Part 1 ---

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stephen Woodbridge <sew@cvbnet.CV.com> 95 VFR750 Red HOT!   (( 
Computervision Corp                    79 KZ750B Project     )) Dangerous
100 Crosby Drive  MS:21-108            84 GPz750 (for sale) ((   Curves
Bedford, MA 01730                      DoD# 1480, KotT       ))   Ahead
                                       AMA# 398523          ((
Standard disclaimer - these are my own ideas, views, etc.    ))