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Trip Report: Part 4: Germany - Even Commuting to Work has it's Thrills




          Trip Report: Germany - Even Commuting to Work has it's Thrills

Monday, 8 May: Well it has been a blast so far, but I did come to Germany for 
to work, so off I go on what should be an uneventful commute. Hey! was that
where I was supposed to get on the Autobahn? Darn too much traffic for an
easy u-turn. Ah, a sign pointing to Sindelfingen, OK, I will take the back
roads there. Ooh! nice curvy road! Wow! and a hairpin turn. This is almost
as good as VT 17 and I'm just commuting to work. As I come into the city
I have NO idea of where the office is, I drive around a while looking for
something that is familiar. I finally find a M-B gate and get a map and
direction to the office. I am only 5 minutes late to my first class and caused
a minor panic.

Tuesday, 9 May: I'm getting things down pretty good now. I don't get lost
commuting and I know what to expect out of the roads. While headed to
work, a guy on a Transalp passes me so I say "OK, I can pick up the pace
a little and I have a bigger engine." So as he passes the car in front of
me, I pass too, but this guy is hauling some butt through the twisties,
because I'm be alot more agressive but he has just left me in the dust,
but the ride was a lot of fun.
  Work until 4pm.    On the way back, I do a very high powered pass to
get around 3 cars on the down hill straight before the hairpin turn. When
I press the right bar to get back in my lane, I'm still under pretty hard
acceleration and the rear end steps out twice, before I'm hard on the 
brakes to scrub off speed for the drive into hairpin. I never felt out of
control, but today was much cooler than the summer-like days I had over
the weekend and I decide I should take it easier as these tires don't have
very good traction on cooler days. I could probably lower the tire pressure
a little to help this, but don't. The other thing that comes to mind is that
cornering forces and hard accel or braking combined can quickly use up
all the available traction!

Wednesday, 10 May: Afterwork today a group of us are meeting for dinner,
on the way I have lots of time to explore. I find some nice roads that follow
the Nagold River north from Calw (pronouced cowf) up to Pforzheim. This is
a long series of sweepers and a few tight curves the runs up the river valley.
I turn around and doit again on my way back thru Calw to Herrenberg. 
Herrenberg has a beautiful old village where the buildings are over 400 years
old wall that was part of a castle on top of the hill just over the church.
>From the top you have a beautiful view of the village and surrounding country
side. Took lots of pictures. Had a great dinner, and it was fun to get to know
the people form work better. After dinner, it is dark, so I take the autobahn
north. I'll be darned if I can figure out which exit to take, so I exit by the
office and take the back way. Shit! that lights red! Grab both brakes! Bad
idea, the rear has locked and is twisting sideways toward the curb. We're
in the intersection now, quick head check, no cars, grab the bike with my
knees, release both brakes, the rear wheel hooks ups --- the bike give a 
shutter as it straightens and I remember to start breathing again. I'm very
thankful I didn't highside or worse. Its late, Iwas going to fast, I wasn't
paying attention -stupid-stupid-stupid!  Its cold, there was probably dew
on the road surface and the painted arrows are like ice. You got a hairpin
turn up ahead, just get your sorry ass home in one piece!

Thursday, 11 May: Today I'm a lot more cautious on my way to work because
of the traction problems I've had. As I'm wait for a light, a guy on a smaller
dual-sport bike just lane splits right up to me and buts in front of me and
doesn't say a word. The light changes and we off with the other traffic and
he's passing the cars on the double line. I follow him around but have so
much more acceleration that I shoot past him and a few more cars also. I'm
still taking it easy in the corners but accelerating hard on the exits and
straights (there aren't that many) and darn if this guy isn't hanging with me
he has lost a little ground but the guy must be burning thru the corners!
Most of the riders I've seen here in Germany a very capable, I guess it comes
from living on these twisty roads .I must have been watch this guy too
much because the road does not look familiar anymore. I don't even remeber
a turn-off - I wonder where I am? - I'm gona be late to work again! Hey
I know this intersection, but I should have been coming fromthe side street.
Well atleast, I'll get to work on time. This "detour" was a another great road
with lots of curves.

At the suggestion of the staff here, I'm headed south to a village of
Tu"bingen, which is a large University town that, like Heidelburg, was
not bombed during WWII. A little autobahn and some side roads and I'm
back in Hennenburg and following 28 into Tu"bingen. It lies between a
river to the south and major hills to the north. there are houses and fields
to the north on the hillside that might offer interesting roads, but most of
the turnoffs look more like driveways than roads. I head into town which is
very pretty with old houses and the church spire or two. They can be seen
in EVERY village. At the 3 or 4th intersection I head north toward the hills
and I wander thru 30 km/h streets. I finally find my way onto a road that is
taking me up and thru the fields a saw. There are againlots of small streets
that exit up into the hills and probably service the fields. I take one, but
shortly it appears to dead end. After stopping and looking at a sign that
shows a car and a motorbike in a circle without the bar across it which
means NO, I head down a ONE lane paved path that twists and turns like a
cork screw. I don't want to come flying around a corner to find a tractor
or a car and there is a lot of loose dirt/gravel/debris on the surface.
The road eventually widens and is joined by other streets and traffic.
I pass a bus stop and the road narrows to a lane and a half that is twisting
through the woods. I go thru the village of Hageloch and the has now gotten
very interesting with smaller and often dirt roads off both sides. I round a
corner and WHOA! a bus!, luckly it is parked but the road looks like it has
ended. I ask the driver (via sign language) and he agrees, I must turn around
and go abck, but I seem to be at a castle or ruin, so I park and grab my
camera for a look about. The building is on a height of land with a very
steep slope falling into the river valley that I followed into Tu"bingen.
The building is now a resturant, but it was a little early to eat. The map
says I am at Schl. Hohenentringen. (The prefix Hohen means high and
Entringen is the name of a near by village.) I head back into Tu"bingen
and try to find 27 North. I am still confounded in my attemps to figure out
directions from the signs. After following the signs for 27 i find I am on an
autobahn headed in the wrong direction. I exit and start wandering thru the
city streets resigned that I will probably have to return the way I came.
This is starting to get very frustrating. I round the next corner and to my
surprise I find 27 and a sign pointing in the direction I want to go. It is
not exactly a back road but it has almost no traffic and at 130-150 km/h
it has very nice sweeping curves. In the next village I find a sign pointing
to Ehningen, which will take me down a scenic road. This is a beautiful
valley with fields on both sides of the road following the twists and turns
of a small river. As I approach the village, there is a very old church and
clocked spire sitting on a hill. The road too narrow to stop for a picture
and I have to deal with a double 90 degree jog in the road as it crosses to
the other side of the river. More villages, churches, twisty roads and a
little down town traffic and I back to my temporary home again.

Friday, Mat 12th:  In the morning, its to work but classes are over at noon.
I had BIG plans for this weekend. I was going to leave today and ride south
through the Black forest, then on Saturday cut thru Switzerland into nothern
Italy and on Sunday swing north thru Munich and back again. BUT a major
low pressure weather system over the area will keep ALL of central and
southern Europe in rain for Saturday, with snow in the higher elevations
I am very depressed. Some of the colleages in the classes loan me better
maps and offer suggestions of interesting places to go. Depressed, I head
back to the hotel after lunch, but decide that if I plan to see anything I
should just go. I use many of the back roads that I already know as I head
south-west to Calw, again to to take 463 which follows the Nagold River
 south thru Wildberg and Nagold ( the Nagold actually flows north to
Pforzheim where it joins the Enz). I continue south thru Horb and south
on 14 to pick up a smaller scenic route to the village of Betra. The scenic
road passes by Betra and heads to Empfingen but I decide to ride thru the
village. Quite by accident I head north out of the village north toward
Horb on another Holbrookian special which snakes thru the woods with
4 or 5 switchbacks in addition to the fact that you can never see more
than 50-100 meters of road because it is turning everywhich way. It is no
wonder that I have totally lost my sense of direction. I enter the village
of Isenburg which lets me do a map check and pick a different road to 
Empfingen where I'll pick up 463 to Haigerlock. Next I'll head thru 
Rangendingen, Hechingen to look for  Hohenzollern which is a HUGH castle
on top of a small mountain that rises dramatically out of a flat plain
to 895 meters. This is a big tourist attraction and the road up the mountain
has some nice views and switchbacks. Three-quarters of the way to the
castle you have to park and leave your car. There is a souvenir shop and
you must pay to ride a buss to the top for a tour. It is getting late so I
get some postcards and head north to Tu"bingen on B27. It is 20 Km and
one town, but at 170 km/h on the divided highway it that longer to get
thru the center of the town. After fighting traffic thru Tu"bingen center
for 20 mins, i'm back on the highway and headed home again. I miss the
turn-off for the a scenic road I took the other day, but I guess that is a
hazard of driving fast on curvy roads. If you are looking into the turns,
thenit is hard to watch for the signs!  I am very tired and depressed about
the wetter (the german word for weather which seems VERY appropriate!).

Saturday, May 13th:  Rain and wind, only to be interupted by wind and rain!
Well I had another page of text for what I did do on saturday, but since it
was not moto related and this report has already been very long, I will have
mercy on you. In short, I put on my rain gear and walk about for 2-3 hours
on wooded trails, so I don't go stir crazy.

Stay tuned for the last and final part, which covers some of the best riding
of the whole trip.

                     --- End of Part 4 ---

------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.    ))