The boyfriend had to get back to work and I had still two weeks time off from work. An excellent opportunity for an experiment. What happens if I go on my own on the beast to the Eifel region for a few days?
Of course I had mixed feelings when leaving for this trip. I have very little solo travel experience (on/off bike). It was my first solo trip with a motorcycle for more then two days (not taking into account the Horizons Unlimited meeting of last year since that was a travellers meeting).
First feeling: excitement. Finally the chance to go out on my bike and discover a different part of the world. But I was anxious too. A region with mountains and therefore lots of hairpins, my riding skills aren't up to this, what if I drop the bike, what if I don't find a place to sleep, what if nobody talks to me, what if… A whole lot of reasons not to do it were racing through my head. The struggle to get out of the comfort zone. Best remedy I know: stop thinking, just go out and do it. So I did.
First stop: Monschau. A very touristy vibe in the old town centre but it was a great place for a 30 minute rest brake. One thing I'm a bit concerned about when I go riding is “where will I stop for a break?”. I know it sounds stupid but to me it isn't. I want to keep an eye on the bike and I need to find a spot where I can park and ride away easily. The parking bit I had to learn the hard way. Believe me: you do not want to push a +200 kg motorcycle backwards and slightly uphill. That can happen if you have no Obi Wan Kenobi to lead the way… But I took my time and found a great parking spot.
When leaving Monschau I set my GPS unit (Tripy II) in “scenic routes” mode. I rode a whole lot of bends through many small villages linked together by bendy forest roads. Lovely!
Next stop: Dorsel, Ahr. Lunch and a well deserved and needed break. At this point I switched the Tripy II back to the “fast without highways” mode.
About an hour and a half later. Last stop: Senheim (distance: 229,9 km, fuel consumption: 4,1 L/100km). I rode to the camping Holländischer Hof. Yeah, I know. I did it to myself: at a campsite in Germany secluded by mostly elderly Dutch people.
But the location was super! I got to set up my tent at the edge of the river Mosel. On all other sides the campsite was enclosed by mountains covered with vineyards. The broad river and the steep hills were beautiful and overwhelming. They made me feel humble and vulnerable. I parked the beast next to the tent: nose uphill, on the side stand and a crushed beer can underneath the side stand to avoid sliding away or sinking into the grass. It was a good basecamp: close to Klotten (departure of two trips I was going to ride), rather quiet, very clean and the people were friendly.
In the evening I went to a wine tasting since I had nothing else to do. Two young local brothers told us a whole lot about the different wines they make. It was cool to hear how they keep the family business alive. The wines were nice but most were very sweet compared to what I'm used to.
When I finally found the starting point I rolled on the throttle and headed for Cochem and then Mayen. It was a nice ride. Unfortunately upon leaving Mayen I had to cut off a part of the tour because of roadworks. That made me miss Laacher See, a crater lake. Maybe I'll see it some other time. I stopped at a small village called Alken (no not Cristal) to eat lunch. I sat at a lovely terras next to the Mosel.
Upon arriving in Sankt Goar the weather was okay. I went to the cafe to relax a bit at the terrace with a beautiful view on the river Rhein.
But clouds were gathering, the sky became gray. And then it started to rain. No it started to pour. For about an hour.
So I just sat there, stuck in Sankt Goar, waiting for the rain to stop, typing impressions of the last days on the ipad and wondering what I was going to do if the rain didn't stop. I still had to ride an hour before I would reach the campsite. And I wasn't looking forward to ride downhill hairpins in the rain.
The decision to wait about at Schloss Reinfells was the right one. It stopped raining. Because the sky was still dark I decided to wear my brand new rainsuit over my summer jacket and pants. It fits great and it has served its purpose. Although it didn't rain anymore there was some fog in the woods I was riding through. Imagine being all alone on a motorcycle in dense woods going up and downhill through the fog. It was breathtaking: it was as scary as it was beautiful. The road from Sankt Goar back to the campsite was challenging: lots of hairpins after a tiering day. It took all my concentration. Riding 200 km a day in this kind of terrain isn't easy to me. My riding skills have definitely improved since last year (look far ahead and swing those hips!) but I'm not there yet. As usual I was very ambitious and demanding of myself. I was only halfway through my third motorcycle season and I expected myself to be conquering those downhill hairpins like men who have been riding for fifteen years or more on this terrain. Not that I took unnecessary risks, I'm very aware of what I can and cannot do. I just got to remind myself to relax and take it step by step.
When I got back to the campsite (distance: 220,1 km, fuel consumption: 4,2L/100km) the sun was shining. And if that wasn't enough, my very friendly neighbours Tosca and Thomas invited me to dinner and a cold beer. I warned them I was smelling because I had been sweating on the bike all day but they didn't mind. It was an ok meal but the company was great. Once again, the kindness of strangers…
After the meal I went for a shower and then a big cold beer at the campsite restaurant.
There I decided I wouldn't be riding the beast the next day because lots of rain and thunderstorms were predicted. I decided to take the bus to Cochem instead and do all kinds of touristy things there. Riding the motorcycle is fun but it's also nice to chill and take a restday. I have got to remind myself to do that. This trip has taught me a whole lot. And that's what I love about it. In my head my ideal getaway is taking form and that is the most important thing I will have learned from the trip.
Pleased with my decision I went to sleep. In the morning the sky and the forecast confirmed it was not a motorcycling day.