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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

June 28th: Prien Am Chiemsee to Salzburg

Despite the fact that catching the ferry could save us an hour and a half of riding, nobody seemed very excited about trying to catch it, so of course we missed it by about 8 minutes. Unfortunately, in the rush to try to catch it, I left the electric toothbrushes back at the hotel.
The day was significantly cooler than the prior, and since we were just going to ride all the way to Salzburg that day, we opted simply to use Google Maps. I stuck my bluetooth headset in my ear and used Google Maps on the phone to give me verbal directions while cycling. This turned out to be a mistake, because right after we crossed over the autobahn into Bernau am Chiemsee, Google Maps routed us onto a private road, which we'd only gotten in because there were a couple of people leaving the fenced off areas and they let us in for whatever reason without telling us that it was private!

Thus it was that we rode for a good 20 minutes before private security caught up with us and gave us a questioning! We told them that we were following Google maps, at which point they nodded as though this happened all the time, and gave us directions off the plantation, but didn't bother following us, which was weird because at the exit gate, we were given a hard time as well trying to exit!

In Traunstein, we had lunch at a local asian restaurant. It was passable food, made palatable only because they had exotic drinks like Lychee. What was notable was that after lunch, Google Maps tried to route us onto a walking path that took us over bars that was impossible to traverse with the triplet! We turned around and rode back to find an alternate, which cost us time. With temperatures similar to the previous day, we would have been cooked, but fortunately the day remained relatively cool, and the climbing was somewhat moderate. Demonstrating how far we'd come since the start of the tour, we could take turns standing up on the bike without feeling like the bike was going to topple over and kill us. We'd arrived as a team, even if the two brothers on the back of the bike were still acting as though they were a teenage suicide cult.

In Lauter, Boen fell asleep, and we pulled into the driveway of a house to rest under shade. He slept for about 15 minutes and then was ok to go, but while he was napping the owner of the house came out and filled up our water bottles! The road then went down to Teisendorf where we stopped for some ice cream, and then gave us a  bunch of rolling descents to the Austrian border, very similar to our descent into Fussen oh so many days ago. It was a delight, fun, and very fast.
The Austrian border, when we crossed over it over a tiny pedestrian and bike bridge was anti-climatic. There was no sign that we'd crossed a border other than that the prevailing brand of beer had changed.

Riding into Salzburg on bike paths was very nice, but we had one more snag: Boen once again fell asleep 1km from the hotel. Well, it was a nerve-wracking 1km, but I kept riding figuring that he was clipped in and still holding on to the handlebars. When we arrived, I stopped the bike and saw what he was doing: he had his eyes closed and was nodding off, but every time his helmet hit the handlebars he would "microwake" and lift his head up again, all the while holding on to the bars, and staying clipped in!

I didn't know it then, but that was the end of our tour. We parked the bikes outside the apartment, where there wasn't a place to lock the triplet to anything except itself. Then got in and settled into a very well equipped apartment that had fans to keep everything cool. The supermarket was right across the street, so we bought a frozen pizza and cooked it and ate.
After dinner we went for a walk, visiting Mozart's birth-house (which was also a museum), and exploring the old town which had several bridges across the Salzach. Ice cream was bought, and I finally got to see the city up close which I had never done, given that I'd only ever passed through Salzburg in a hurry and never stayed there.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

June 27th: Schliersee to Prien Am Chiemsee

Breakfast at the hotel was served at 7:00am, which meant we could get an early start. Our route today would mostly follow the Bodensee-Konigsee bike route to Fischbachau. We departed at 8:48am, rolling along the Schliersee before leaving the lake and heading inland. There was a bunch of traffic and Xiaoqin got impatient with Komoot/Garmin routing and decided to switch us to Google routing near Bad Feinbach. My theory was that the the route gave us a busy road for climbing so that the descent would be on a fast paved road where traffic wouldn't be an issue at speed. But I wasn't going to argue over the finer points of descent optimization with someone riding an e-bike who probably didn't care that the hard won climb should be paid back with nice descents!
Indeed, the quieter google-provided route gave us a gentle swooping climb and then a steep descent via a dirt road down into Bad Feilnbach. The descent was so steep that I stopped on two occasions to pour water over the rims in an attempt to cool the wheels. When we got to Bad Feilnbach, we got onto the proper Bodensee-Konigsee bike route, and there we finally saw the hordes of cycle tourists that this route should be attracting.
The heat up till this point had been bearable because we'd mostly been going downhill or in the shade. But once in the exposed country side the warmth built up. A group of cycle tourists passed us, heaping "Bravos" and "Super" on our giant ass bike. I noted that they all had e-bikes, and there were a couple of leaders in the group who seemed to know the route well, so it might well have been an organized or commercial tour.
In Atlenbeuern, we stopped at a supermarket, bought food, and then visited a cafe to eat out of the sun. After that, we continued climbing  up to Pinswang, which surprisingly had a little bit of shade and even a bit of wind to cool us off, making what could have been a miserable day quite a bit less painful.
Nevertheless, Bowen was feeling really hot. "Dad, we should just stop at the next hotel. You can use mommy's e-bike to get to the train station to buy train tickets." I contemplated the idea, and then replied: "Ok, if we stayed somewhere here, though, you won't have a swimming pool, and you'll not have many places to eat. If we get to Prien Am Chiemsee, we'll get a place near the lake so it'll be cooler, and you can swim." I was saying this entirely on faith --- my earlier check of that morning had shown no lodging available, but my experience is that if you just show up the tourist information center can frequently find you places that aren't listed on In any case, that response quieted him up for a bit, so we could finish the climb and begin the descent in earnest.
Soon enough, we were in Prien Am Chiemsee, and I found the tourist information center right on the main road! We stopped, I walked in, and while Xiaoqin took the kids to the bathrooms, I asked about lodging for a family of 4. The woman behind the counter clicked buttons on her computer and said, "I can put you on a farm a little further away..." "How about right next to the lake?" "That'll be very expensive!" "How expensive?" "180 Euros?" "Oh, no problem." "Are you sure?" Because we had shown up on a bicycle, she assumed that we were on a tight budget, but of course, I'd had to pay more than what she was asking recently, and the heat was such that a good location was well worth the money.

The place she found for us was right by the water, and when we arrived, it looked a little old and musty, but the rooms were actually quite good, with separate bedrooms, though of course there was no AC. I moved the bags while Xiaoqin took the kids across the street for some lunch. By the time I was done moving stuff, I was so cooked that I didn't even feel like lunch: I settled for a Banana Split ice cream and called it good.

I borrowed Xiaoqin's e-bike and rode it to the train station, where both ticket agents were free. I laid out my desired itinerary, and they pointed out that the bike reservation for July 3rd was taken, so I had to find some other route. All other itineraries on that day would deliver us into Zurich much too late, so I opted for the July 2nd. We explored all alternatives, but could only take the one that left at 7:56am from Salzburg and deliver us (with no change of trains) to Zurich main station at 1:20pm. The cost was 220 Euros, so I made the executive decision, bought the train tickets, and left.

I returned to the hotel, changed both kids into swimming suits, and then walked them to the local swimming pool/swimming beach, which integrated both indoors and outdoors sections. We paid for 2 hours and went in. This pool featured a high water-slide that was completely dark except for some lights on the tube, feeling almost like a sensory deprivation chamber. Bowen would later tell me that it was his favorite slide of the trip. Of course, Boen refused to do the slide and opted to play in the baby pool, so I had to watch him while encouraging Bowen to enjoy the German water slides while he could. After we got home we'd try a local water slide park but it was so much worse an experience than the European equivalent that I can't imagine why anyone would prefer the American version.

By the time we were done, Xiaoqin was done with her nap and met us at the exit of the swimming pool. We went out for an early dinner, but after dinner while playing at the playground next to the lake I noticed that there was an e-boat rental place that was renting boats by the hour! I asked the kids if they wanted to try it and they did.

Both Bowen and Boen got to try steering the boat and enjoy the feeling of being in control. They had a great time though obviously the boat never got very far anywhere. Bowen even docked the boat all by himself with very little help from me.

I noted that the ferries running the lake could go all the way to Chieming, but the only ferry that would do that leaves at 9:00am. It wasn't clear if they would take the triplet, but if we wanted to try we had to try to make that ferry.

That night, I looked at the forecast and noted that the next couple of days would have decent weather for riding, with nothing into the 90s, but the days after that looked horrid, with 100 degree days in Salzburg. I booked June 30th->July 2nd at the Arte Hotel in Salzburg which boated air conditioning, a rarity in Europe. Then I thought about what the best itinerary looked like. I noted that if we were willing to ride a little longer, we could make Salzburg tomorrow. My original plan was to ride into Mattsee and Seeham, meander over to Mondsee, and then make it into Salzburg, but that plan had significant climbing in it, and I reasoned (irrationally, it turns out) that we could just ride into Salzburg and do day rides into Mondsee and/or Mattsee as needed without a load, and that would be more palatable than trying to do big climbs with panniers. That was an irrational thought, because given a choice, the kids will once again (as our spring break tour proved) choose to take the bus or public transit or even taxi, rather than ride! Nevertheless, with that in mind, I booked 2 more nights in Salzburg at a separate apartment without AC, since those 2 nights weren't going to be murderously hot. I'd nailed down the final days of the tour and locked in the rest of the trip, for better or for worse.

Monday, July 29, 2019

June 26th: Tergensee to Schliersee

 This time, we managed to leave a little earlier: 9:33. Eschewing the bike route, we took the main road all the way back to Gmund where we gave the kids 10 minutes at the zipline before following the bike route to Hausham.
Despite the earlier start, it was quite warm by the time we left on the bike route and the route immediately began climbing steeply. I confirmed with various cyclists going the other way that we were on the route to Schliersee, and they all said "OK, kein problem."
The road was shaded, and I was very pleased with it --- until it degenerated into dirt fire roads, and then became very steep. On no less than 2 occasions did I have to stop, ask Bowen and Boen to get off, push the bike to the summit, park the bike, turn around, go back and pick up Boen, take him to the summit, and then go back down for Bowen. I noticed that all the cyclists I saw on the route had e-bikes, and there were warning signs about how steep it was to become.

This would have been fun if the descent was good, but the descent was also a dirt road! While it was well within my ability to handle at this point (I'd done much tougher descending on the way to Garmisch), it was frustrating not to get back any of the energy I'd put into the climb!

Our arrival into the Schliersee Seehotel hotel, however, was great. Not only was there easy parking for Xiaoqin's e-bike without needing to separate the battery and haul it up the stairs (we could charge in place), our check-in was immediate, and the swimming pool looked awesome.
After lunch, I showered the kids, took them to the swimming pool, and had them swim until they complained about the cold! Then I took them back upstairs, and then headed over to the Schliersee train station. At this point, we were committed to going to Salzburg, so I needed to book train tickets on a train that would take bikes. Long distance bike reservations can fill up, and you need an international bike ticket as well to go from Germany/Austria into Switzerland, so I needed a Deutsche Bahn ticket office with real people.

Alas, Schliersee's train station was too small to have a real ticket office, but the tourist information center told me that there was one at Prien Am Chiemsee, our likely next destination. I fired off an e-mail to Alan Wissenberg in case he could help. And then headed back to the hotel for another round of swimming with the kids, this time, dipping in the lake proper. I also ordered the hotel's half pension for both Xiaoqin and I, figuring that the huge discount for the fixed menu would be sufficient for both kids to feed off our plates.
The dinner was utterly fantastic, though it was hot, with the setting sun shining directly on our backs. After dinner, nobody felt like doing more swimming and it was a french-style dinner, finishing at 9:00pm, so we went back to our room and slept.

Friday, July 26, 2019

June 25th: Bad Tolz to Tergensee

The forecast for the next few days were for heat, heat, and more heat. On a bike tour, my traditional solution was to climb up into the mountains and stay as high as possible, only descending into the valleys in the mornings to climb back out again. On the triplet, that was not a a feasible solution. I considered briefly riding from Bad Tolz to Tergensee, then over to Achensee to Innsbruck for access to the Alto Aldige Valley. But one look at the forecast told me that Innsbruck was going to be even warmer than the Munich/Tergensee area! Once the temperatures climb past the point where you can sleep, your bike tour is going to be in sorry shape. So the best bet was to continue towards Salzburg. Besides, Xiaoqin was giving me a hard time about not making it to Salzburg!
Despite my exhortation for leaving early, we ended up departing the hotel at 10:00am. Compounding the heat was that it was a climb up to Waakirchen on a busy road, thanks to Google routing. Sweat came off me in heavy drops, soaking my headband. I just wanted out, and that's why you saw no pictures from this period. The ride was miserable, and our relief came only when we dropped into Gmund and got our views of the Tergensee.
Right in Gmund by the lake we finally saw a playground with twin ziplines! This enabled Bowen and Boen to have a zipline race:
When we'd had our fill of ziplines, we kept riding in the heat towards Tergensee, stopping only for ice cream.
The apartment we'd chosen to stay at turned out to be closer to Rottach-Egern than to Tergensee. But it was close to a supermarket, so once we checked in I could run out and buy lunch so we could stay in our cool apartment. We then took a short (free) ferry ride, before having dinner, and even got in a short dip in the lake proper.

I looked online and decided that rather than stay put, we could ride to Schliersee the next day so we could make (minimal) progress towards making it to Salzburg. showed several promising places, but the place that was cheap was far away from the water, and the place that was on the water was stupid expensive.

I deployed a trick that worked for my Spain trip: I went directly to the hotel web-site, and reserved a room. would try to make me book 2 rooms for the hotel on the lake, but the hotel's website itself considered Boen a "free entity" since he was still 4. So we could book just one big family room, and only pay a minimal (30 Euro) extra charge for Bowen. This made the nice looking lake side hotel (with swimming pool and private beach) much more affordable. I went to bed satisfied that I had a plan for what was likely to be the hottest day of the week. And since we didn't have breakfast as part of the hotel/apartment we rented, we could eat early and leave early.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

June 24th: Munich

The year before, we started the tour in Munich, but Bowen was fixated on castles that year. Once he discovered Minecraft he decided he likes mines, and I told him that the Deutsches museum had a full scale replica of a mine. He got very excited and told me I should have told him about it the year before, but of course how was I to know that he'd like mines!

I opted not to ride into Munich this year. Part of it is that city riding is unpleasant, even more so on the triplet, but mostly because in all my European touring, the only place where I ever get flat tires is in big German cities on their bike paths. Germans love their beer, and refuse to drink from cans, preferring glass bottles. Large numbers of Germans must gather in the night on bike paths to drink beer, and then when they're done with those beer bottles, will smash them right on the asphalt bike path, especially under bridges. On my commute in Munich, I'd frequently discover a flat, and after fixing it would look up and around me to see all around my tens of cyclists also fixing flat tires. It got so prevalent that on the Munich bike path, I would get off my bike before any bridge underpass, lift my bike on my shoulders, and run through the underpass before getting back on my bike again. There was no chance of my being able to do that on the triplet, so the 32 Euro Bayern ticket seemed like a bargain. Not only does the ticket grant  you full access to all regional trains for the day (for up to 5 adults, and a practically unlimited number of children), it also granted you full access to the Munich municipal transit system, which itself is a 20 Euro value!
The problem with Bad Tolz, however, was that the train station was far enough away that we needed a taxi ride to the train station. Once on board the train, we discovered that it had a special compartment meant for families with children. Once in town, we headed straight for the Deutches museum, where Bowen had fun being in the simulated mine, which was so big that he even felt as though it would never end!
When done, we headed over to Viktualien market for lunch, buying gooseberries and the various fish snacks from various stations. Then we visited Marienplatz and the Schuster, the outdoor store where we replaced Boen's Camelbak bladder, as well as getting Bowen a new pair of sunglasses to replace the one he'd just lost the day before. Both kids asked for new helmets, but their reasons weren't legitimate, so we put them off. Xiaoqin noticed that the prices for kids cycling clothes at the Schuster were even cheaper than what I'd found in Barcelona!
We then visited the Englischer Garten by transit, getting a much needed afternoon break. Bowen started complaining agian about being tired, but of course, perked up again once he saw the playground at the Chinese tower Biergarten.

Dinner was at the Haxnbauer for pork knuckles which were huge (the full size portion is just 3 euros more than the half portion, which was enough for Bowen and I!). After that, we took the transit back to the main train station and got onto the train back to Bad Tolz.
I  contemplated visiting Alan Wissenberg at Euraide, but we were pressed for time. It was just as well, as it would turn out that he was on a trip to Sweden. Back at the Bad Tolz train station, we visited the supermarket for some milk and drinks, as it had warmed up a lot, and then took the taxi back to the hotel. It was a very full day, and I told everyone that the next day was due to be even warmer, so we should sleep early and get up early so we could leave early. The kids ignored me, of course, knowing that I was the one who'd be paying the price the next day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

June 23rd: Garmisch to Bad Tolz

We woke up to sunny skies. It was cool but not cold, and I was happy to be riding again. I had expected all the rain to make the chains on the triplet rusty and squeaky (the ebike had a crank case that protected the chain from all but the worst downpour) but other than a link or two with a touch of rust on it, the bike wasn't making much more noise than usual. I was pretty grateful that I'd brought the fender this time, though leaving the front fender behind meant that I'd had soaked shoes more than a couple of times, which was painful because I only had one pair of shoes, a victim of trying to reduce weight on an already too-heavy bike.

The ride to Bad Tolz was fairly straightforward, leading us through beautiful fields at first at a good pace --- until I made a bad shift and shifted the tandem into the big chainring/big cassette combination. I probably had no business running a 52t chainring on the bike in the first place --- I could probably downsize to a 50t big ring with no speed penalties, but I'd simply been too lazy.

Fortunately, a couple of cyclists came by and helped me with the problem, though not without a lecture about not shifting into the big-big combination. We made our way to the town of Ohlstadt, where we once again found signs for the Bodensee-Konigsee bike route. We ignored the route, cycling towards Bad Tolz. We ate lunch at Grossweil, which had a restaurant with an attached playground which was great as adults could eat a quiet dinner while the kids worked themselves up an appetite while waiting for lunch to appear.

After lunch, we rode towards Benediktbeuern along the bike path, which quickly degenerated into dirt. Boen fell asleep again just before Benediktbuern , amd I briefly considered staying there. Benediktbuern was on a different train line, and had the problem that it had a 9:50 train to Munich instead of 9:00am train. The difference was significant, because the Bayern ticket had a restricted start time of 9:00am, and I expected the 50 minute difference to be a big deal. So we decided to go on to Bad Tolz.

 I found a couple of hotels, but all of them were far away from the train station. I would later discover that none of the hotels were near the train station simply because of zoning restrictions. I picked one mistakenly thinking it had a pool when all it had was a sauna, something not needed because of the summer temperatures. At least it was only a 40 Euro mistake.
With sunglasses on, nobody can tell that you're sleeping --- except for Mommy!

We arrived, checked in, did the usual routine and then walked over to the local greek restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we walked alongside the Isar river towards downtown. While I'd lived alongside the river in Pullach for a while, I'd never ridden down this far alongside it: river bike paths make for boring rides, and the cycle path there in Pullach was mostly unpaved anyway, so I preferred to take the train and skip that boredom. Bad Tolz was a wealthy town, however, and here the river bike path was paved.

Downtown Bad Tolz was mostly empty on a Monday evening, but the ice cream shop was open, and there was more than one. We walked around and then returned to the hotel. The hotel manager had given me two taxi companies to call for a taxi to take us to the train station the next day. I called the first one via Skype and made an appointment.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

June 22nd: Partnach Gorge

It thunderstormed the night before, but no matter, as we didn't need things to dry overnight for a change! On our way to breakfast, we were treated to the sight of a "cowmute" --- shepherds driving cows to their feeding area through town. These shepherds used mountain bikes instead of walking, but it's all good!

After breakfast in the hotel, we got back onto our bikes loaded with the minimal raingear needed to negotiate the gorge. The ride to the gorge used a different path than what I'd done the previous year, thanks mostly to the switch from Komoot to Google for routing. As far as I'm concerned, I thought komoot did a better job but my wife didn't trust Google and you never argue with a woman about routing.

Riding all the way to the gorge was great, we passed hikers who would have to walk from the parking lot or the bus stop, and they would stare at us, since the triplet was unusual in Germany, as even tandems were rare. We stopped at the entrance where Bowen and Boen got to change shoes and then paid our entrance fee into the thunderous gorge. The year before, high water had rendered the gorge in-traversable, and you could still see the damage from the piles of gravel and other construction detritus clustered around the entrance.

The gorge walk wasn't as wild as the Hollentalklamm, and this being a Sunday foot traffic was continuous but by cycling to the start we'd beaten most of the hikers and so were less disturbed than on previous days. I knew of several routes past the gorge that would be worth hiking, but given that I had Boen and Xiaoqin with me I knew even the most trivial of hikes would turn into a challenge, so suggested the easiest one, which would complete a loop and even had the option of taking a cable car down to avoid completing the hike.

Sure enough, the complaints from Bowen started as soon as we left the gorge and started walking uphill. This wasn't because Bowen was incapable of doing a trivial walk --- this was a kid who was the veteran of multiple back-country camping trips and multi-day walks. The problem was that I was carrying Boen and the inequity of course got to Bowen over the course of the days. This was why I vetoed hiking trips, even though my wife much preferred hiking to cycling. On the bike, the two brothers would sing, play games, and by and large cooperate, but on a hiking trip when I only have a pair of shoulders things would degenerate into bugging daddy for a ride. The ability of children to self-entertain on a tandem or triplet always puts paid to the lies that many parents tell themselves, which is that their children cannot concentrate on anything like cycling for that long. One parent after another would tell me this, and then if/when their child finally got on a triplet with me and Bowen that same child would have no problem riding for more than an hour at a time and having fun to boot! The reality is that while I've yet to meet a child who didn't enjoy riding with their parent, for most dads, riding a tandem with their kid is a huge amount of work, and of course takes away from the me-time that cycling does represent for many parents. It's tough even for me, and I'm as dedicated a cycle tourist as you can find anywhere.

We hiked over the summit to Graseck where we had lunch. Bowen was convinced that he wanted to take the cable car, and no amount of daddy-suasion could talk him out of it. We took the cable car down and came back to the triplet to discover locals looking at it. A couple came up to tell us how wonderful it that we were teaching the kids to travel by bike at such a young age. We told them that the weather was a challenge, and they told us that this was the last day of rain but it was supposed to get super hot after this.

After the hike, we rode back to town for lunch and then I took the kids to the swimming pool again after. I was dismayed to discover that the swimming pool only honored visitor cards once! Fortunately, my wife's card was unused the previous day, so we presented that, and so only had to pay for Bowen to enter, as Boen was free anyway.

This time we were time-limited but it wasn't a problem for the kids. While we were swimming Xiaoqin had shopped for dinner and we could have a relaxing dinner with no rain for a change. After that, we turned in, planning a visit to Bad Tolz the next day which would set us up for a visit to Munich.

Monday, July 22, 2019

June 21st Reutte to Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The year before, Bowen and I had visited Garmisch but the Partnach Gorge was closed. This year, we planned to visit again, and this time I certainly wasn't going to drag Boen and Xiaoqin up to the Hollentalklamm as a backup plan.

When planning the route, I noted that from Reutte to Garmisch, the best bike route was to ride over to the Plansee (which I hadn't seen since my first visit to Austria back in 2003) and then take the dirt path over to the Garmisch valley. I didn't find any documentation, however, on the condition of the trails, or even as to whether it was feasible on a tandem, let alone a triplet carrying panniers.

My concern meant that I started the morning by pumping up the tires of the triplet, it having become noticeably softer since the days when we left the Zurich airport hotel so long ago.

We made it to the border of Reutte before finding a zipline playground and immediately stopped for the kids to play in it. I set a time limit and then after we left we followed the bike path only to discover that the komoot-driven route had been blocked due to construction. At least we found some wild strawberries! Circling around, we found a local who told us to go on the main road, and told us that we'd have to get off and push the bike because it was steep.

Steep it was, at an approximately 12% grade, which necessitated a rest stop about three quarters of the way up, which fortunately had a pullout conveniently situated for the purpose. We never had to push the bike, however, which was a good thing, because while the traffic was fairly light, it would platoon together behind slow moving trucks and RVs, so when traffic did come by it would come by quite heavily.

The descent down to Plansee exceeded our expectations, and the Plansee gave us a beautiful backdrop of mountains in a beautiful morning light. There was still a fair amount of traffic but also enough tranquil spots where we could stop an enjoy the scenery. At the far end of the lake, we stopped for ice cream and to watch the lake cruise stop, let off passengers and take off again. The boat was so slow that we'd overtaken it in the course of our ride.

It was time for us to explore unknown territory as we rode off the pavement onto the hiking trail signed for Garmisch. The first section along the lake was easy and unchallenging, as expected, but after that the trail climbed albeit gently along a river, lulling us into a sense of complacency that all internet reports that it was a mountain bike trail were wildly exaggerated.

At the summit, the trail remained a fire road, but the descent became steep, and mountain bikers with electric motors would marvel at this giant triplet with panniers coming down the mountain. I was slipping and sliding but always felt in control, though I kept thinking that if this got harder I was going to start to be in trouble, but it never did. The GPS track on my watch was misleading, occasionally telling me when I was off-course, but passing cyclists would reassure us that we were on the road to Garmisch. We found one gate which was easily opened, but the final gate to the pavement beyond was locked. Fortunately, a pair of mountain bikers stopped to help us hoist the bike over the tree roots that were guarding the mountain bike entry, which was fortunate because once again Boen refused to get off the bike so I could roll it over the minor obstacle.

Once there, the descent to Garmish was gentle and easy, though traffic once again became intense as we got into town. We got to our hotel, and our rooms were not ready, but we parked our bike and walked over to lunch and ice cream. We explored Garmisch, and I visited the visitor center where I was reassured that the Partnach gorge was open this year and we could bike all the way to the entrance of the gorge. Xiaoqin spotted the Michael Ende park, something I'd missed on previous visit. There was a market open where we bought some hand-made pasta along with the instructions on how to cook it.

By the time we we got back to the hotel room it was available. I took the kids over to the swimming pool. There, Bowen and Boen not only did the slides (it was crowded compared to the last time Bowen and I were there, it being a weekend), but also discovered the joys of the diving boards. By the time we were finished with our swim it was raining heavily. Out came the raingear and we rode over to the grocery store to buy dinner and we got back soaking wet but at least we wouldn't have to leave again. We went to sleep knowing that everything we had would have an entire day to dry, and that the gorge was fun to be in rain or dry.