Day 97: Ibersheim to Mainz, Germany - Grampies on the Go - Again! - CycleBlaze

August 24, 2012

Day 97: Ibersheim to Mainz, Germany

When we found the park/playground where we would wild camp last night, we set up our tent in the covered shelter just because we could. The weather was fine, and there was no reason to think we would actually need shelter. Hah. Within an hour the sky was lit by lightening, though it was too far away for thunder. Shortly after, the rain began. It rained in three or four heavy storms, through the night. Wind too.

By morning it was all over, except that the air was so moist it felt like a shower stall. We had clearly dodged a bullet. Had we not stopped when we did, we would have been out there with our headlights on the path in the storm, and then set up the tent somewhere in the dark and rain. As it was, we were just watching TV, snoozing, and blogging.

As we pedalled today away in good light (we had slept in a bit) we could see the town of Ibersheim, and soon others. Normally the path did not take us into town, but each was a little gem of quaintness. We stopped at a bakery in Hamm early on the route, and then again at Oppenheim. Since Arthur has mentioned in the guestbook a possible dropping off of bakery photos, we snapped a few to hold up the standard. Even small bakeries here continue to be excellent, though exactly how well they compare to those in Vienna is a matter of debate (with myself, mostly).

At the back of Ibersheim, a nice stone wall for making a garden
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In the town of Hamm
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Arthur:The bakery in Hamm
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The bakery in Hamm
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The bakery in Hamm
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The bakery in Hamm
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The news from Worms - something about fighting mosquitoes (or the reverse)
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At the Oppenheim bakery, we were sitting outside, and I went back in to get just one more goodie. I stood at the cash register, which was the only gap in the display case, in order to hand back my coffee cup and plate and put in the request for the supplementary item. The serving lady ignored me for a bit. Being Canadian and being Steve, I just waited. But when another customer came in and got served over the display case, I said “Hey, am I invisible? Don’t I even have on a reflective vest?” The serving lady was confused, and did not seem to know who I was or why I was standing in front of her sales area. However the new customer surveyed the situation and offered two theories: (1) I must be a very quiet person and (2) the vest is confusing – I could be a city worker, or something other than a customer.

So, we got to talk with the new customer (and even got the supplementary goodie). She was Erica, from Mainz, and had come down to pick up her grand daughter from school, to watch over her until Mom got off work. She had lived in Africa, and also spoke French, as well as excellent English. In short, we had a lot in common. So some good can come from being ignored at a bakery counter!

Much as we enjoyed meeting Erica, Dodie was saying today that she is tired of always being approached by people with the Usual Questions, and having to always talk, talk, talk. So she had a crack this afternoon at clamming up, and even giving me a (not so subtle) pinch if she thought I was delaying the parade by talking. So that was one issue we were dealing with as we cycled closer to Mainz.

The second issue was whether to go in to Mainz. We knew it would take a lot of time, including the standard two hours of being lost. Sticking to the bike route, we had a chance of blowing through without hassle. Camping was a controlling factor in this. We passed a camping, about 10 km out from the city, but it looked terrible – really slummy – and was also closed until evening. The next camping we knew about was 10 km past the city, and its against our rules to go backwards. So it looked like the cards were stacked against Mainz, despite the interesting things we knew to be there.

The situation was resolved (more or less all aspects) when a man cycled up beside me and asked not exactly a Usual Question, but “Where are you camping tonight?”. I explained that there was no apparent camping nearby. “Oh, he replied, but I see one right in the city on my map”.

The man was Raphael, from Switzerland, near the Bodensee, and cycling from Basel to Rotterdam. He had just the right conversational ice breaker! And he was right. It turned out Dodie had put a sticker (turn right here, or something) right over the camping symbol, back home.

So now we are sitting at a table at the campground, with Raphael and a family with three kids – all on bikes (one Follow Me). And we are talking about .. the Usual Topics. Tomorrow – Mainz!

Zolly in Ziel. Zolly works at a cafe where almost all cyclists show up after having gone the wrong way 1/2 km back. He has a map and sets them (including us!) straight.
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The three or four way intersection that keeps Zolly "in business"
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The path beyond Ziel - it's good at this point but trouble is ahead
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Dodie talks UQs with a lady on the trail
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An interestingly large fungus
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The gefahr of falling into the water!
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Two of the crappy surfaces we cycled today
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Oncoming touring cyclists!
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One more crappy surface. It's tiring cycling bad surfaces with a loaded bike, small tires, and no suspension.
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Roofing in Oppenheim
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Bakery in Oppenheim
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Bakery in Oppenheim
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In Oppenheim
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Dodie is accosted by two helpful ladies in Nierstein. We were just cycling by and did not even look lost (just then).
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Nierstein
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Nierstein
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Nierstein
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Nierstein
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Into the vines
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Riding the ridges of grapes
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A cyclist shelter among the vines
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A puddle shows the red earth that these grapes grow in.
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The locked gate of the camping we rejected outside of Mainz
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Raphael, saved the situation in multiple ways.
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Maybe these girls will increase our hit count?
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Mainz - has a wide and pleasant waterfront area
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Mainz waterfront
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Mainz - buildings near the Rhine
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Mainz - buildings near the Rhine
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Mainz from across the river
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The picnic table. Later, this family was joined by others and we had a real cyclists' UQ party.
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Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 4,827 km (2,998 miles)

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