Cold start, Colder finish

36F was the reading on our thermometers as we loaded the bikes Friday morning. It had just finished raining and our hotel was on the water in Bremenhaven, Germany. We needed to ride 553 miles to Mieming, Austria for our hotel that night. 517 mile were on the autobahn, which has no speed limits on the open road. In urban areas the limit is 120 kilometers/hour (72 mph) and sometimes 100 kph (60 mph) in very congested areas. Sometimes they posted a 120 kph limit for some curves. For thirty years there is a campaign to limit the speed to 130 kph, but there are no rules for it. Three rules for driving on the autobahn: 1) Keep right except to pass, which means drive right up to vehicle, pass and get back into the right lane as quickly as possible. 2) Look in your rear view mirror and if you don’t see any lights, then pass as stated in rule 1.  3) Pass with extreme caution. You might be traveling at 130 kph, but the person trying to pass you may be doing 130mph!

We passed/were passed by brands we don’t see in the States any more, Peugot, Renault, Opel and some we’ll never see like Skoda, fromRussia. It took lots of concentration to travel at these speeds, but we made good time. Unfortunately, Cathy’s turn signals, brake lights, and instruments stopped working a half hour after starting. Her GPS still had power and she lead the whole way with me doing the signaling for cars behind us. She used the GPS to keep track of speed and mileage for gas stops. This worked for first 2 tanks, but within 30 miles of our hotel on a mountain road, we ran out of gas. She walked to the closest house and they took her to a gas station for a can of gas. We stopped back at the station to return the can and fill the bikes.

We were on twisty mountain roads and they’d had 3 inches of snow earlier in the day. The temperature was 30F by the time we got to the hotel. Beer never tasted better as we joined the others for dinner and an early bedtime.

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