At around 8am, the sound of the running stream behind the tent got me out of bed and, after the cider the night before, I was in somewhat of a hurry. After showering, I went up to the main building where our hosts had laid on a continental breakfast. There were small rolls, butter, various jams and fresh coffee, all of which I was very grateful for. There was also a very large bowl of scrambled egg with ham. I later noticed that my fellow breakfasters had divided into two camps upon seeing it- those who ate and those who stared. I have to say that it was the large volume of it that I found off putting. I don’t know how our hosts managed to produce such a huge quantity of the stuff and seeing that amount of cooked egg just didn’t do it for me. In my minds eye I could imagine it having a gravitational effect on everything else on the table. To our hosts’ credit, those who ate it seemed to be enjoying it. At the rate it was going down, it didn’t have that dark yellow crust, that so often greets hotel guests on a slow morning, and there were favourable comments of how it managed to stay hot on the plate; doubtless due to something still going on within its core.
I’d heard “Bhaad” being muttered by a couple of people and it took a little while for it to sink in that it was the cider that they were referring to. We were feeling ok (tired perhaps, but ok) and we concluded that those most affected had been enjoying other beverages the night before and that it was, probably, that which contributed to them feeling under the weather. Dave was having a lie in but the rest of us were up. As usual on these events, there was to be a large ride out in the morning. It’s a glorious thing to do. There’s nothing that compares to the feeling of riding in a long train of bikes, especially when the engines are either Triumph’s triple or twins rumbling around you. The ride out was to visit the nearby Nurburgring, riding through some absolutely beautiful German countryside. Les decided to wake Dave but, although I didn’t hear his muffled reply, said that perhaps we might let him sleep in a while longer. Anyhow, we’d decided the day before that we’d go for a walk, taking in the scenery in a more leisurely way. We’d worked out that after spending a few days in the saddle that we’d need a bit of exercise and that we’d still have after effects of the cider to consider. We watched the ride out assemble and move out and then pottered about for a while.
Dave had missed breakfast and JC had figured we could make a local village bar restaurant for lunch. It was only 4km and we’d easily be there within the hour. Les opted to chill out, remaining back at the campsite. JC is famed for his early morning jogs and albeit a tad shorter than the rest of us, set quite a pace as we made progress along the road.
Ted and I were at the back looking for signs of wildlife whilst Dave managed better to keep up with JC. Ted and I found a couple opportunities to cut across fields and managed to close the gap before we eventually reached our destination. It had taken us nearly two hours, I’d finished my bottle of water long before we’d got there, and I was looking forward to stopping. Both Ted and I had noticed that we’d been walking down hill since we left and were pondering the return trip.
The village was charming, the neatly kept houses had steep roofs with small rails along them, presumably to control the snow falling off in the winter. Along the road we’d noticed several well maintained shrines, adorned with flowers, and there was a pretty one at the cross roads that must have marked the village centre where we stopped. It had two bars, however, both were closed. One had closed years ago and the other, with a plaque outside saying Gaststatte Zum Nurburgring, was shut up for a couple of weeks holiday. We were deflated. Ted and I were knackered and Dave had come packed for riding, not walking, and was sporting blisters. On top of that, the weather had warmed up; even when it wasn’t sunny it was hot and we were really thirsty. We rested for while. Dave, who had missed breakfast, had a long night drinking cider, not had anything to drink for a while, had marched for two hours and had sore feet, lit up his pipe and went back to look at the bar that was closed for the break, appearing to be giving it a Paddington Bear-like hard stare.
We had walked almost 9km and had to choose between heading back, up hill, or continuing on another “4km” downhill to the next village where a local advised us there was definitely an open bar. There was no chance of getting a taxi where we were, but we could get one there. He also told us that the local fire brigade had arranged a community event later that evening that we might want to consider going to. We’d stoically started heading out when we noticed a small electric vehicle towing a couple of open carriages passing us. It was slow moving and was being escorted by a fire engine behind it. Dave stuck out his thumb and initially the driver waved a cheery No, but then realised we were walking towards the next village and reconsidered. We ran across the road and climbed over the chains that closed off the carriages and settled in whilst it was still moving. I can not tell you how relieved we were.
The driver explained that he was taking it to the Fire Service evening do and it was going to be used to give children a ride. It seemed to labour along the flat but picked up speed and swayed a little alarmingly going downhill. The fire crew at the back were as amused as we were and took a couple of photo’s, so we were probably the subject of some fun later that evening.
As we rode along, we met the ride out coming back in the opposite direction. Words fail me to describe the look on their faces. Looking at the photo of JC at the back, I wonder how he felt being recognised, with us grinning like idiots, 12km away from camp, heading out, not on our bikes, but on a toy train being escorted by the emergency services.
We arrived at the next village after almost a 20 min ride and were so grateful for the lift in the heat. It turned out that the village bar bistro, called Ahr Wind, was a bikers’ pub. It had photo’s of just about every kind of bike and was completely full of motorcyclists. We ate, drank and sat outside in the sun for a couple of hours chatting, then Dave called a cab and for the sum of 4 Euros each we got back to camp. There was some explaining to do when we got back and although I didn’t catch all that JC said, the summary was that we wanted a drink and couldn’t get a taxi.
That evening our hosts laid on a hot buffet, which was welcome as it was getting cold again. Just before the food was served, our hosts announced the winners of the usual trophies that you get at these things: Longest Journey, Youngest Rider, Best Meriden, Best Hinckley, etc. I have to say that over the weekend there had been a lot of admiration of Les’s trike and I was expecting it to get some acknowledgement, but sadly the prize went elsewhere.
At the camp, next to our pitch, was large solid hut. It was sort of enclosed BBQ with a central hearth about 1m in diameter and a grill suspended on chains, that could be wound to adjust for cooking temperature. The previous night it was being used to cook sausages, burgers and steak, but that night it was just burning briquettes to keep the cold out. Our hosts had explained that it had been a good turn out with over 110 attendees from all over Europe and we spent a pleasant evening chatting inside it with many of them.