Editor's Blog: Mugello Road Trip - Day 1, Into Bavaria
Day 1 is in the books, and it was a pretty decent day's riding. A little over 700kms from my home near Arnhem in the Netherlands, down to Cologne and then crossing the Rhine to follow the western route southwards via the A61. It is a far more scenic road, avoiding the heavy traffic of the Ruhrgebiet, skirting the Eifel mountains and passing just east of the Nurburgring. South of Koblenz, and the road crosses the Moselle valley. On the steep northern slopes of the Moselle, the road authorities have built a viewing point and service station, where you can admire the view.
The Moselle stop is an unusual one. As inspired as the German autobahns are, their usual choice of location for a rest stop tends to be rather dull. Hidden by trees, with no view other than trees, long distance trucks and, at the moment, plenty of bikers and vacationers all heading south for the sun. The view from the road is glorious, though stopping to take photos of the view is unwise. With traffic pelting past at very high speed, it is hard to hold your camera / phone still with Audi S8s blowing by at 200 km/h plus...
The up side of such high speeds is that lane discipline in Germany is, of necessity, a thing of wonder. Traffic keeps right, only pulling out into the overtaking lane to pass slower traffic. Before pulling out, it's best to check your mirrors carefully. Those lights in the distance could be approaching at very, very high speed indeed.
Crossing the Rhine at Speyer, and passing the massive grandstands of Hockenheim on the left - Germany has more than its fair share of fine tracks - I headed to Karlsruhe, and then east along the northern edge of the Black Forest. Where it was raining (in fact, it always seems to be raining there, at least whenever I pass through). But a road trip with a fixed objective means you press on, and suck up the rain. While the surface of German autobahns is great in the dry, the amount of spray it throws up in the rain is much less appealing, leaving you anxiously watching the lights of the vehicle ahead. Fortunately, it only rained for an hour or so. Tomorrow, it looks like I could be riding all day in the rain...
Turning south at Ulm - and foolishly ignoring the instructions from my GPS, thereby missing the chance to actually see the city - I arrived at last in Memmingen, in Bavaria. How do I know it's in Bavaria? Because one of the middle-aged gentlemen in the restaurant was wearing lederhosen. It's a charming town, full of large Baroque houses. A good place to stop.
Tomorrow, I head across Austria, through the Alps and into northern Italy.
Thanks to everyone who contributed by sending a donation, they were all greatly appreciated. Tomorrow, I hope to have more time to post updates to the site.