Black Forest - Day 15 : From Brey to somewhere near Loch
Getting up was exceptionally nice today. Everything was dry, even my shoes. We had breakfast in the tent nonetheless, just to feel warm. We left late. Along the Rhine were a lot of cycling-vacation-people, there were two groups on our campsite alone. We cycled much faster than them, about 23 km/h on average. We quickly passed cyclists who had left an hour earlier.
After 10 km, we arrived in Koblenz, again a big city in which we didn't want to cycle. We tried following a highway with a bike path next to it that passed straight through the city. After a while, a wall started on our left. We hoped this would only be for a short section as there was nowhere to go. Instead, the cycling path just suddenly stopped. It wasn't easy to turn around next to a busy road. We eventually cycled back and tried to figure out how best to leave the city. That only other available bike path required us to carry our bikes up a staircase, which was pretty odd even by German standards. I could barely get my bike uphill, and Bram's was even harder. After cycling for a few minutes, that path also suddenly ended, and we arrived in the crowded city center.
By looking at the sun, estimating the time of day, and guessing where East was, we found the Rhine again. It had taken 2 hours just to cross the city. Afterward, we followed the river for a long time. It was nice not to have to think about directions. There were many cyclists, but nobody looked like us. They all had way too expensive panniers and cycled super slowly, likely only next to the Rhine.
In Sinzig we ate hotdogs and rice soup. It was an odd combination, but it tasted nice. We also bought oil to lube our chains, making cycling a lot easier and quieter. The first 10 km of cycling after dinner were challenging. In Bad Neuenahr, we took yet another wrong turn. Instead of taking the main route through the city, we decided to take a smaller one 10 km further south. This seemed smart for two reasons. First, we didn't need to cross the city of Euskirchen, and second, the area would be more rural, which would be suitable for camping.
The route had a lot of nice views today but was also more hilly. A small mountain forced us to take a break halfway uphill. In the next village, we were analyzing the map when a motorcyclist tried to help. We told him we needed to get to Euskirchen. He said that would be far and that it was late. He asked what we wanted to do there. I made up a story about a youth hostel. He started wondering if there would be another one nearby, but fortunately, he couldn't think of one.
We cycled some more until it got late and dark. The area seemed well-suited for camping. It wasn't inhabited, villages were 5 km apart, and there were many forests. Yet the hills and fields were quite exposed, and the woods too packed to pitch our tent easily. Eventually, we found a good spot in a field surrounded by trees. We watched the stars before getting ready to pitch our tent. Bram saw a light nearby. At first, we thought it was a car, but it remained in the same spot. Then we heard someone shout. The light was about 200 meters away, so it was probably a farmer. He shone his flashlight over the field next to us; we ducked and tried to be as quiet as possible. Fortunately, he didn't shine his light in our direction. After a while, he went inside, and we quickly cycled away after making sure the farmer was gone.
A few kilometers further was a forest where we decided to camp. It was too late and dark to continue. There was no room to pitch the tent, and the weather was nice, so we decided to sleep under the stars. The ground was tilted, but at least we weren't cold. We hoped it wouldn't rain. Fortunately, it didn't, and we slept pretty well.