Chocolate Melts (August 26)

As was the plan last night, this morning began rather early. Neil had to be on the road by 7:30 and therefore so did I. And we were. One thing that was very apparent during today’s early start was how much cooler it was. The forecast for the day once again featured temperatures in the mid-thirties but it was probably only about 20 degrees when we hit the road at 7:30. That said, while the temperatures had woken up yet, the wind certainly had. Apparently I was in for another day of headwinds. Not brutal like the winds I faced in Texas (ughghh) but certainly an inconvenience. Sigh.

Nice morning for a cruise.  Or a bike ride.

Nice morning for a cruise. Or a bike ride.

Given the early start to the day, there was absolutely no urgency to my pace once I started my ride. My destination for the day was a campground near Boppard which was only about 85 km away. Even with the headwind I could’ve likely made it to the campground by early afternoon. As such, I made a few leisurely stops along the way for photos and ended up talking to a couple of locals along the way. Well, they were “locals” in the sense that they were from Germany were also on cycling tours.

The first guy I met was in need of a bicycle pump and thought I might have one. He was right. For what it’s worth, he had a pump but it was for the wrong type of valve on his tire. Anyway, we chatted for a bit – fortunately he spoke English – before we headed off in our respective directions. For me, south towards Mainz. For him, north towards Rotterdam.

Not long after I started pedalling again, I met another cyclist. This time while still on the move. He was also on tour but travelling lighter (and faster) than me. As he caught up to me he slowed to chat. Side note: Even though he was travelling much lighter than me I still hate it when another cycle tourist passes me. I know, I know … it’s not a race. But it’s not NOT a race.

Anyway, he told me his name but he did so with a thick German accent and it was a German name so I didn’t really understand it. It started with “H” though. We chatted for a while about our trips, raved about the scenery, and ranted about the wind before he continued on ahead. Seriously, he was moving really fast.

From there my next major stop of the day was in Koblenz. It was approaching 13:00 so I made a brief stop at a local grocery store for some necessary and some not-so-necesary provisions including bread, some banana, and ice cream. I had been craving ice cream for a while (then again, I usually do) and bought a chocolate dipped ice cream bar. Despite the heat, I managed to eat it before it melted.

Monument at Deutsches Eck.  And me.  And my bike.

Monument at Deutsches Eck. And me. And my bike.

After my grocery detour, I moved on to a place called Deutsches Eck. It’s at the spot where the where the Mosel river splits off from the Rhine. There’s also a very large monument there. It’s also where I once again met “H”.

It was kind of funny, I was taking one of several pictures of the area and my bike when I heard someone casually say, “Hi Mark”. Of course, that caught me a bit off guard because, well … it’s not like I know many people in Germany. It was “H”. We again chatted for a while. I mentioned I had just stopped for ice cream and he was quick to fully support that course of action. As he said, ice cream is always a good idea. We also noted that the wind had died down significantly over the past hour and the ride had become rather enjoyable and relaxing – assuming you’re the type of person that can relax while riding a bike in 30 degree weather. I am.

From Koblenz, the ride to the campground was only about 20 km. And with the now relaxed wind it was a very enjoyable ride. Hot. But beautiful.

It was a very hot and windy day.

It was a very hot and windy day.

The campground in question was called Campingplatz Sonneneck. I went into reception where I made a very feeble attempt German. Fortunately, the woman behind the desk was very friendly and spoke English. She claimed her English wasn’t very good but I assured it was much better than my German. In actual fact her English was very good – and I’ve always had a weakness for broken English. Anyway, I checked in successfully and she even nicely corrected my poorly pronounced efforts at German.

I managed to find a small piece of shade under which I could set up my tent for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. As the sun moved across the sky, I knew the shade wouldn’t last long but it was better than nothing.

Bad Decision of the Day: In addition to the ice cream I purchased earlier in the day, I also bought a chocolate bar to eat once I arrived at the campsite. Given the aforementioned 30 degree temperature and the fact that I’m not travelling with a cooler (about the only thing I’m not traveling with), the chocolate bar purchase was somewhat ill advised. I should have at least bought a straw too.

In theory the campground had WiFi but the connection was inconsistent at best. As such, updating my blog wasn’t going to happen – although, I did managed to post a brief update with my phone. And while I couldn’t upload much to my blog, I could at least try to get caught up with some of the writing. The only issue with that was the heat and lack of battery power.

Gratuitous bike shot.

Gratuitous bike shot.

Normally I would work on my blog in my tent but it was far too hot for that to happen. Seriously, my tent was like a sauna. Yes, I like the heat but it’s hard to work on a computer when the sweat is literally pouring off you. As a result, I’ve taken shelter at a table in a gazebo-like structure. Sadly, my battery is only at 65% so I’m not sure how much I’ll actually get done … Side note: I just got a whiff from a nearby BBQ. I’m not going to lie, whatever they’re cooking smells REALLY good … yes, even better than the cereal I had for dinner. Yes, I had cereal for dinner. With warmish milk.

Fast-forward a few hours and the sun has set and the temperature in my tent has reduced considerably. That said, I won’t be using my sleeping bag tonight. Instead, I’ll just use my silk sleeping bag liner which should be perfect for tonight’s conditions. Given the conditions, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m in a very busy campground, tonight would’ve likely been a great night to forego the fly on the tent and fall asleep while watching the stars.

As for tomorrow, I think I’m only about 50 km from Mainz so there doesn’t appear to be any urgency in getting started early tomorrow.

Today’s totals:
Distance travelled: 88.03 km
Ride time: 4:54:42
Average speed: 17.92 km/h
Maximum speed: 32.56 km/h

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