Everyday of this walk is unique, even though sometimes it seems like I’m just trekking from one little German village to the next. It’s the choices I have to make from minute to minute that keeps me on my toes. Today was no different.
After a surprisingly good night’s sleep in a room the started out pretty steamy, but by morning had me covered up to my ears, I was out the door at 8:00. Today’s walk was suppose to be 15 miles across more farmland, but first, there was a 1000’ tall hill to climb immediately after leaving the hotel. Once again, my choices were to follow the main road and walk an extra mile, or follow the Google Maps walking route and take a more direct approach to this hill I had to climb. Both routes ended up in the same place. As I’ve learned 10X over, if the driving route looks very crooked, and it says it’s farther, it’s because the climb gradient is less. If the route looks like it pretty much a straight line and ends up in the same place covering less distance, you can bet it’s a lot steeper to walk. So I made my choice. It was early in the day, and the day was a relatively short one, so I took the direct route straight up the hill. And as usual, halfway through the climb, I was questioning my sanity. But I made it to the top quicker.
About 10 minutes after I crested the top of the hill, my phone rang. It was a number from the town where I’d just spent the night. It was the hotel calling, telling me I’d left a shirt (one of three I have with me) in my room. They wanted to know if I wanted to come back and get it. I could hardly keep from laughing. There was no way I was going back two miles down that hill, and two miles back up, for a shirt. I politely let them know they could just keep the shirt. So now there’s a heavily used, white dry-fit t-shirt with Texas A&M on the front in a hotel in Eichstatt, Germany. I hope it finds a good home.
I walked most of the day on a main road with no bike trail. Luckily, the traffic wasn’t quite as heavy as usual, but of course, there was no shoulder. After the mistake I made a couple of days ago not paying enough attention to the route on my iPhone, I kept a closer watch today. When I was within about three miles of my destination, the route showed me getting off the main road and basically taking a trail through the woods straight to town. The distance if I stayed on the road was about one mile farther, and very crooked. I also noticed I had 700’ of elevation still to lose. I decided to get off the road onto the trail and give it a look. It didn’t take but about a quarter mile to see I did not want to walk on THIS trail. It basically disappeared into the undergrowth and was going to go straight down the 700’ high hill. The other lesson I’ve learned about this option is it can end up at a creek or stream that has no dry crossing. That’s happened more than once already. So rather than go explore the unknown, I took the conservative route and walked the extra mile on the road to town.
The town I’m in tonight, Weissenburg, population 17,000, dates back to the 1st century when the Romans built a fort here. There are still some old Roman ruins that have been excavated in and around town. I’m staying the night in a comfortable little family-run Gasthof (Inn) in the center of town.
I think that’s about all for today. I hope everyone has a happy July 4th tomorrow. Of course it will be just another day here in Bavaria but in my mind I’ll be celebrating with all of you! JB.