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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

June 17th: Lindau to Grunenbach

We woke up early and left for a cafe breakfast so as to not disturb the guests (and more importantly, the owner, who was watching our kids like a hawk). We returned, brush our teeth and packed as quietly as we could, and then left. The night before, I'd plotted a route to find the start of the Bodensee to Konigsee bike path. While komoot had the entire bike path plotted, there was also no way to load the whole thing, and the tourist board that had established the komoot route had broken it into so many little sections that we would probably finish more than one a day, so I opted for just following the signs.

What was even worse was that the stage terminus set by the tourist board were all obscure little towns with very little lodging. I had no idea how they expected us to use the stages, but I figured I'd figure everything out along the way. It was Monday and I didn't expected competition for lodging anywhere along the route.

The problem with riding away from the Bodensee, of course, was that every direction was up, except for the direction we'd came from. There was one easy direction, which was to head up towards Chur with a tailwind in the afternoon, but the year before, on the train from Lindau to Garmisch, the scenery looked pretty enough to justify a ride, and I decided that the Bodensee to Konigsee bike route was worth trying, not being so flat as to be boring, as well as taking us to Fussen and Bad Tolz. I didn't intend to follow the route slavishly, since Bowen wanted to go to Garmisch, and our final destination was Salzburg, not the Konigsee, but it would be a guide and approximation and assure us that regardless we would have a bike route marked out.

Of course, not half a kilometer from where we discovered the start of the route, we'd already encountered a detour, though this one was marked very well and wasn't onerous. We stopped at a fruit stand, our memories fresh of the amazing fruit the day before, but the fruit this time wasn't nearly as good. We climbed over a couple of hills with plenty of other cyclists about, all clearly following the same bike path, and then at one point saw another cyclist turn around. It turned out that the bike route signs had peter'd out, in the fashion of many German long distance bike path markings. At the next intersection, all of us stopped and scanned our maps to see the best way to regain the route, and it looked like it was an easy correction at the first town with any feasible lodging. It would be weird lodging, being run by a church, so we opted to keep going.

At the next playground in Hergatz, we stopped to refill our water bottles, let Bowen and Boen play, and try to find something to eat. To our surprise, nearly everything around us was closed! Even the water fountain that had enticed us to stop had “kein trinkwasser” on it! Riding on, I stopped by a house and asked if there was a supermarket nearby, and the owners replied, “No, the nearest place is quite far away. This is not a good place for shopping.” I asked for water and they obliged, and gave us 3 apples as well.

At Eglofs, we found a fruit stand, and I asked the fruit stand owner and she explained, that this being a Monday, nearly everything was closed as a holiday! This included the hotel that was clearly listed on as being open, and it being hot, I didn't want to climb to the top of the hill to verify. We kept riding on the bike route, riding a mix of dirt and pavement including an ominous omen --- a roadkilled hedge hog. Upon passing by a campground, we stopped just in case they had a grocery store in the fashion of many American campgrounds, but no luck. The folks at the campground told us that there was a pizza place at Gestratz over that was opened on Mondays, however.

We rode there and got there at 1:30pm. Despite it being opened, the waiter told us that the kitchen was closed. I was pretty pissed. I looked at and saw that Grunenbach, the next town over, had a guesthouse that was opened. It was only 5km, but was over a climb that had the dreaded “14% grade” listed on the arrow pointing in the direction. I booked it, and we committed to climbing in the afternoon heat.

Fortunately, 5km doesn't take forever, even on the tandem, and in 40 minutes we were standing at the front door. The hostess of the guesthouse was gracious and friendly, even calling a nearby restaurant to see if they would open for us, but everyone else was too cooked to even consider leaving the hotel. I took Xiaoqin's ebike and rode over to the net town where a bakery was open. There I bought the dregs of the day's lunch and desserts, some milk and drinks, and rode back. Unfortunately, the kickstand on the ebike had lost a bolt on the way there and was no longer usable. I examined the kickstand and determined that I didn't have a bolt that was a suitable replacement. Worse, I didn't even have a suitable wrench to tighten the remaining bolt or to remove it so we could stow it without it rattling all over the place.

We ate everything, and then went out for dinner at the local Indian place, which had a somewhat strange facsimile of Indian food as I knew it at the Bay Area. The gracious hostess told us how to find the local playground. There, I examined our options after this horribly challenging day. The next town was big enough to have a bike shop that could repair the kickstand. There was also a swimming pool that had water-slides, something Bowen discovered that he loved last year in Garmisch, but it would also make for a very short day, but folks might want one. However, Immenstadt was on the other side of the Grosser Alpsee, and the route description indicated that it was an easy, mostly flat ride, and we would get to see Grosser Alpsee. Regardless, it would be a climb over from Grunenbach to Oberstaufen, so I figured we'd decide when we got there.
We slept well that night, all having been quite tired from the unexpected challenges the day had placed before us.

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