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Last night, the bomb shelter was hot and stuffy. Foe us, who sleep with the window open 366 days a year, it was almost unbearable. I looked at my watch a dozen times, the last I remember it was 2:30. I must have slept, though, because Lisa was awakened by loud shouting and cussing in the hallway. It was Jason, a (young and very immature) TK&A bike mechanic. He had come back pretty drunk from a party and had made a call on the phone in the hall.
This morning at 8 o'clock, the bomb shelter was pitch black -- of course! Hardly anyone had got up yet. We dragged out about 8:30 and went across the street to the Cite University cafeteria for the TK&A breakfast.
While there, we met some other riders who had stayed in the university dorm. After talking with them, and considering out night, Lisa was coveting a dorm room. We checked. No room at the inn -- but check back later.
After breakfast, we went to the International Red Cross Humanitarianism museum. It was interesting both in the subject matter and the method of presentation. Essentially, it showed the history of, including the creation of, the International Red Cross. Of course, the works of the Red Cross are closely with the history of war, natural disaster and misery -- so a lot of that had to be shown in order to show off the good works of the Red Cross.
We were rushed a little, though. The museum was downstairs from the ground floor lobby, and it reminded Lisa too much of our bomb shelter housing.
From there, we walked down to see a crowd that was gathered around some tents in a lawn area. It turned out to be a "Free Tibet" demonstration on the lawn in front of an (we don't know which) embassy. All the speeches were in French, though, so we didn't linger.
From there we caught a bus into town. We explored the old town area a bit, had lunch, walked over to the lake, had dessert and coffee, then sat on a bench overlooking the lake. There we read and people-watched for awhile.
We also watched a "fountain," claimed to be the biggest (we have found, however, that the world is full of things claimed to be the "biggest", "best", "grandest", etc., so we take such claims with a grain of salt) in the world. THIS fountain shoots one stream of water about 40 meters (13 or 14 stories) up into the air. At any one time, there are 7 tons of water in the air. It's not particularly beautiful but it is fascinating to watch the water cascading down in curtains.
We bussed back to our bomb shelter where I took a nap, then went over to join the Odyssey Choir. When practice was over, I ran into Lisa. She had arranged for a dorm at the University, so we grabbed our stuff and moved in.
HOW NICE IT WAS TO HAVE A WINDOW THAT GAVE US LIGHT AND AIR!!!
Love to all,
|08/27||Switzerland, Geneva to Salavaux
Last night we had a wild lightning and thunder storm -- rained cats and dogs for awhile. The rain continued into this morning. In light of that, we all opted to call it a non-riding day.
Instead we drove to the "Musee Olympique" (the Olympic Museum) in Lausane. There we spent three hours reviewing displays and watching slides, movies, videos and other multimedia images of modern Olympics past.
One of the most interesting was a multimedia show that mixed images of each Olympiad with images of current events of the time.
One of the most fun things was in the special exhibit on the Tour de France.
(I think it's because Lisa, being a fantastic stoker who never has to shift, didn't think to shift. She just poured it on.)
We drove on to Lac de Neuchatel, then on to Salavaux -- our destination for the night. The campground was very basic and very, VERY wet. Looked like they had LOTS of rain today.
We checked at campground administration to see if they had any rentals available. They did not, but they called a local hotel for us just 5 km up the road. It was an okay, basic, clean hotel -- large rooms, clean beds, sink in room, toilet and shower down the hall.
Love to all,
|08/28||Switzerland, Salavaux to Zurzach
We met Larry and Joan at breakfast. It was Larry's driving day so he asked what time we wanted to be picked up. We said we thought about 2:30ish and asked Joan how that would work for her. She said she didn't know, but she wanted to ride. Larry said he'd be looking for us between 2:30 and 3.
Today was a wonderful riding day! The morning started out cool and foggy. The fog soon cleared and the temperature stayed cool. The route was mostly rolling hills through countryside and small towns.
We stopped at a great little restaurant for lunch in the town of Oberbuchsiten. We had soup and something interesting and tasty -- but we're not sure what it was -- but we'd order it again -- if only we knew the name :-)
We stopped and talked to a lot of other riders. Most were also having a good day. At about 2 we started looking for Larry.
We continued along the route, all the time wondering what happened. We weren't too worried yet though, because Larry has been late in the past picking us up.
The route continued to be easy, rolling hills -- until about 3:15. That's when we got to the part of the DRG that said, "Begin serious climb."
Still no Larry, so we set out on the "serious climb." It turned out to be a 4 km long, steep climb. It took us about half an hour. Still no Larry.
We asked other riders at the top of the climb if they had seen Larry or Joan. No one had.
We headed down the long, steep descent. At about 4:30, we were having all kinds of terrible thoughts about what might have happened. Did someone get hurt? Did the car blow up again? Did they get hijacked?
We thought we would e-mail them and see if they had e-mailed us. Lisa said the next town was about 5 km ahead. Right about then we hit an unannounced, long, steep hill -- every bit as steep and long as the last one.
It was 5:30 by the time we got to the next town. Phones were hard to find -- then they didn't work. But finally we got to send our message and check for one from them . . . Nothing!
We stopped several other riders and asked if they had seen L or J. No one had. What could we do but continue riding and continue having dire thoughts.
Finally, as we were pulling into camp about 7:15 we saw Larry, Joan and Ken Anderson in the car heading out of camp. They turned around and told this incredibly complex story about why they were late. For the record, it went something like this:
They rode a bike route with some other folks. The bike route was supposed to intersect the DRG route.
They gave Ken A. the car with the agreement that he was supposed to meet them at a church that was called out on the DRG. But, apparently the bike route didn't intersect the DRG route at quite the right place, or L&J got lost trying to get to the church, or something like that. In any event, they got to the church 2 1/2 hours later than they had planned. Ken wasn't there.
By now it was 2:30 and they were still 100 km or so from the end. They decided to take a train to the end, hopefully find Ken and the car there, and drive back to get us. The train apparently involved several transfers, but they did get to camp around 7, found the car and Ken, and started back. That's when we saw them.
Bottom line -- we rode 168 km's today. That's 105 miles! And we don't feel too bad -- only a bit tired. (We'll see how we feel tomorrow.)
|08/29||Zurzach, Switzerland to Solingen, Germany
Today was a layover day for the Odyssey. Tomorrow they will bus to Solingen in Rheinmunster, Germany.
L&J and Lisa and I decided we would rather ride than have a layover day in Zurzach. So, we set off into the Black Forest area of Germany. We did a "leap frog" ride today. Larry and Joan rode first. They decided how far they wanted to ride. We drove ahead that far, parked the car, and we rode from there. They rode to the car, then picked us up farther along the route.
The Black Forest area of Germany is HILLY. We rode from about 40 km to about 95km. Nothing but hills, lots of trees, a few spectacular vistas, and many, many real nice downhills.
We stopped at a nice restaurant for lunch. We had some homemade soup and the house specialty called "Rosti mit ??." We didn't quite know what it would be, but we thought we'd try it. Turned out to be a very good choice. "Rosti" means it's a potato dish. This particular one had fried potatoes -- like hash browns -- on the bottom. On that was some thin sliced Black Forest Ham. Next was cheese. Then shredded, fried onion. That was all baked so the cheese melted, then the whole dish was topped with a fried egg. DELICIOUS!!
We rode on, and on, and on. We mingled with many other Odyssey riders who were also riding the route today. We finally stopped about 5:30 at the bottom of a big hill. We decided we had had enough hills for the day. We sat down to read our books until L&J came along to pick us up.
When they arrived about 5:30, we proposed that we all drive to the end of tomorrow's route -- where the Odyssey riders will be tomorrow night -- and get a room for two nights. That way we would have a leisure day without having to pick up and move again tomorrow.
Good plan -- but wasn't as easy as we had hoped. The DRG route took us on a long, hilly, curvy, complicated route that avoided main highways. That's a reasonable plan for bicycling, but not the best for driving and making time.
We couldn't find the place we wanted to go on any of the maps we had, so we stopped in Triberg and Larry got a local area map. That was good. It had the little town where we were headed. But it was such a large scale, it was hard to sort the streets and byways from the roads and highways. However, our star, experienced and absolute best navigator (Lisa) took on the task and did a SUPER job of getting us to the campground. We all agreed that we owed her BIG TIME!
When we got to the campsite we found that they didn't have any rooms, cabins or trailers to rent. That wasn't a surprise though.
So we checked in town. (It was VERY small, with one "Gasthaus." Nothing, but they suggested the next town, only 3 km's South.
We checked there. No rooms, but maybe the next town that was about 8 km's East.
No luck there either. We asked why everything was booked on a Tuesday night. We found out there were two things going on. Some big horse racing events, and an international conference hosted by Dow Chemical. They suggested taking the highway to the next interchange South (about 25 km's) and checking there.
We did that, made a wrong turn, and ended up almost going across the Rhine River into France. But we caught ourselves at the border and headed back.
We found a little town that wasn't even on the map. We drove through the town. It was 8 o'clock and everything was closed and the sidewalks rolled up. Then we saw a small street sign with a bed symbol on it. We followed that and lucked out. They had rooms available.
We got two rooms. Ours was very nice, but very normal. L&J's was more like a suite. It was HUGE! They had four beds, a sofa, a cot, a table and chairs, a super-sized TV, and enough floor space for a small dance party.
Then Larry opened their bathroom door. Their bathroom was as big as our whole room! Double sinks, a tub, a walk-in, double shower that sprays you from all directions, the whole works!
Of course we kidded them about having the executive suite -- and they loved having it.
We all had a nice dinner at the on-site restaurant with some very good German wine. We got to bed a little after 11. A nice ending to a long day.
Love to all,
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