I was a little late getting on the road this morning after struggling to get out of bed in Luxembourg. My legs were beginning to get really tired and took an hour this morning to reprogram my Garmin for the day ahead.
I set off from the hotel in Luxembourg just after nine with a full stomach and a new found trust in my route planning equipment. Just as I crossed back across the French border my route took me down a small country road which a few hundred metres down the steep hill turned into a dirt track towards a field.
Rather than the sensible thing which would have been to turn around and retrace my steps back up the hill and work around. I wrongly put my faith in the technology and found myself in the middle of a field on a dirt track. The road was about half a kilometre ahead on the other side of the crops growing in the field.
I was a few hundred metres in before I realised the magnitude of the mistake but it really wasn’t worth turning around as I was almost at the half way point. Eventually I made my way along the path and rejoined the road. The white line in the map below shows the route I should have taken through the town of Hagen.
At the next town, I found a tap outside a petrol station and washed the bike down, clearing off all the mud that I collected while on the dirt path. I got some strange looks from the other customers.
I cross the Moselle river just before eleven and continued on through the day towards the German border through the valleys and the mountains as the hours flew by. Through the hills of western Germany as the towns and cities just whizzed by, names on signposts, with ever decreasing numbers following them. Waldwisse, Dillingen, Saarbrucken all counted down before being replaced by the next city on the road signs.
Eventually in the dark as it started to turn really cold. I lost all interest on being on the bike. The girls had found a place to stay for the night, a triple room in a hostel in Homburg, but try as I might it I couldn’t find it in the dark and finally my phone battery died.
Eventually a kind local suggested where it might be, and I wandered down to be met by a smiling receptionist who opened with “Are you the guy on the bike?” I was never as happy to say the word ‘Yes’ in my life. I secured the bike and made my way up to the girls before finding the restaurant next door did a steak and chips dinner for €12. I inhale the nicest dinner I’d had in weeks in what seemed like seconds. Once fed I got back to the room and fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow.