Black Forest - Day 15 : From Brey to somewhere near Loch
Getting up today was exceptionally nice. Everything was dry, even my shoes. We had breakfast in the tent nonetheless, just to be warm. We left late. Along the Rhine were a lot of cycling-vacation-people. Just our campsite already had two groups. We cycled much faster than them, about 23 km/h on average. We quickly overtook cyclists who had left an hour earlier.
After 10 km we arrived in Koblenz, a big city where we again didn't want to cycle. We tried following a highway with a cycling path next to it that passed straight through the city. After a while a wall started on our left. As there was nowhere to go we hoped it would be there only for a short section. Instead, the cycling path just stopped after another 200 meters. It was difficult to turn around on such a narrow path next to a busy road. We cycled back to figure out how to get out of the city. That only other available cycling path involved carrying our bikes up a staircase, which was pretty strange even for German standards. I could barely get my bike up there and Bram's was even harder. After a few minutes of cycling that path also suddenly ended and we arrived in the crowded center of the city.
After a lot of searching we crossed a bridge. There was a second river joining the Rhine in Koblenz. 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. Afterwards we followed the Rhine for a long time. It was nice not to have to pay attention to the route. There were many cyclists but nobody looked like us. They all had way too expensive panniers and cycled super slowly, probably only next to the Rhine.
In Sinzig we ate hotdogs and rice soup. It was a strange combination that tasted good nonetheless. We also bought some oil to lube our chains which helped a lot. After dinner the first 10 km were though. 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 Euskirchen, second the area would be more rural which would be good for wild camping.
The route had a lot of nice views today, but was also more hilly. There was a small mountain where we needed to take a break halfway up. In the next village we were analyzing the map when a motorcyclist wanted to help. We said 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 thinking if there would be another one close by, but fortunately he couldn't think of one.
We cycled some more until it got really late and dark. The area seemed easy to find a place to camp. It wasn't really inhabited, villages were 5 km apart, and there were a lot of forests. Still the hills and fields were pretty visible and the forests too packed to pitch our tent easily. Eventually we found a good spot, a field with trees around it. We spent some time watching the stars before getting ready to pitch our tent. Bram saw a light nearby. First we thought it was a car, but it stayed in the same spot. Then we heard someone call. The light was about 200 meters away, so probably it was a farmer. He was shining his flashlight over the field next to us, we ducked and tried to be as quiet as possible. Fortunately he didn't shine 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 were we decided to camp. It was really too late and dark to continue. There was no place to pitch the tent and the weather was good so we decided to just sleep under the stars. The ground was tilted but at least we weren't cold. We hoped it wouldn't rain, because then we would still need to pitch the tent. Fortunately it didn't and we slept pretty well.
Left: This is almost the entire route of day 15. We didn't cycle super far and it never went smooth.
Right: The remainder of the day, we managed to end up near Neukirchen, as we initially planned.
Distance cycled : 117 km