Day 8: Moos to Mohringen - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

March 26, 2019

Day 8: Moos to Mohringen

Some years ago "someone" developed  a scale for rating breakfasts, mainly the super ones offered in German gaste houses. This is the "jammer" scale, which is calculated solely on the number of different flavoured pots of jam on offer. The top of the scale is a 10 jammer, though higher numbers have occasionally been seen. The idea behind the jammer scale is that the number of jams is highly correlated with the other elements that make up a super breakfast.

When I say that "someone" devised the jammer scale, I am referring to the fact that while I had thought that someone was me, Keith Classen has produced unassailable evidence that his writings on the jammer scale predate mine by at least some months. Even so, I feel a close association with the scale, having used it to rate literally hundreds of hotel breakfasts since.

Of late, though, I have been troubled by the assumption of a close correlation between the jams and the essential other elements. I have run into some really excellent breakfasts with nevertheless jams ratings as low as 3.

This came to mind again this morning at the Gasthaus Schiff. But this was not a case of a low jam rating and a great breakfast. Rather it was an over the top jam rating and a fully great breakfast.  So why the concern with the jammer scale, when today it was working fine?

The answer is that it has been a while since we experienced a 10 rated place, and this just stimulated any and all of my breakfast circuits. 

I have been thinking that rather than rely on jam correlation, why not just tick off the presence or absence of the key elements. Choosing to rate ten elements at one point each would still preserve the 10 point scale we are used to.

Using Gasthaus Schiff as a reference, here are some of the elements we look for:

Yes, the jam count. Honey and Nutella count as jam. Here you see six base jams, honey, nutella, and three additional jam flavours in the packets in a top dish off screen. That's eleven. But the new scale would just ask "lotsa good jam?" - yes/no, 1 point.
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Lots of sliced cheese. This tray was just about to be refilled.
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Good sliced meats. Bacon too - in a heating vessel off screen..
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Soft cheese! (one with peppercorns!)
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Yogurt, preferably in packages and pots. These pots also offered sour cherry sauce, wow.
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Variety of good juices.
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Great rolls and croissants.
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Eggs - boiled, scrambled.
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Coffee machine that brews unlimited lattes, etc. plus hot chocolate.
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As Dodie and I went over the list of breakfast elements - scrawled appropriately on a napkin, we got a bit tangled up in what would be an element worth 1, and whether to award half points. If anyone has time to further this development, go for it. That could mean you, Keith Classen, unless you choose to stick with the outmoded pure jammer method! (Dodie seems to support that, hmmm).

Following the breakfast, I decided to try out the washroom at Gasthaus Schiff. (Yikes, these blogs can touch so many wild topics!). What struck me was the cleanliness of the place. For the life of me I could not find a spec of dust, a water spot, let alone a snippet of stray paper. I felt guilty putting my paper towel in the basket - totally wrecked the ambiance! Walking back to the dining room, I realized the whole place maintained the same standard. Not the slightest thing out of place or appearing to not be brand new. Sheesh.

Gasthaus Schiff in Moos. Our room was in the annex beyond.
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Ok, enough of hotels and breakfasts, let's get going:

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Our day started at a chilly 5.6 degrees, with moderate wind. It never really rose above 10. We had on more or less enough clothes, and could have added more, so can not really complain of being cold, except for hands, which were always freezing despite the long finger gloves.

For a time, near Singen, we followed the Radolfzeller Aach. "Aach" seems to have a meaning like "stream", but we have not figured out if it tends to refer to a certain kind of watercourse.  For the time we followed it, "stream" seems to be a good description. It was moving quite quickly, reflecting our closeness to the source hills.  The streamside path featured a fair number of dogs and dog walkers. The dogs had no interest in us, often preferring to stare at swans in the stream.

From this area we looked up at several rather straight sided hills, topped by ruins. We think the main one is Hohentwiel, which was built on the eroded, extinct volcano in  914. The Wiki article goes on to describe the succession of residents, and the sieges withstood in the 17th century Thirty Years War. The place was destroyed in 1800. Wiki claims this is the biggest ruin in Germany. That would be a big deal, given all the castle ruins along the Rhein.

Hohentweil, we think.
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A closer look
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The cold temperatures combined with the type of terrain we were passing through, to produce the impression of a remote and harsh area. It definitely was pretty, in a low key way. For the whole time did not pass a single cafe, bakery, grocery, or anything like that, although we conceivably could have headed into one of the nearby towns. Rather we had bare, plowed fields, and then forests, often with harvested logs about. The road rose steadily, but slopes were not above 8%. We did climb for what seemed a long time.

Empty road through fields
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We did see our first storks of the trip.
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It's not as if there were no little villages we could have checked out.
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Entering forests as we climbed
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Rock formations seem created by erosion
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Finally we could look back and see the Bodensee
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Our climbing was rewarded as we finally reached the spot designated as the highest point on Eurovelo 6, between the Atlantic and the Black Sea.

At the top! The sign says 862 meters, but our GPS said we reached 901 meters. All pretty pathetic by mountain standards!
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Sue PriceHey! The top is the top! Good for you!
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Obviously the water from this point flows down to the Donau, and so did we. The descents reached 15%, steeper than the other way around. It was not all a joy ride, since some bits were ski jump like - down, then up. Also fairly disconcerting was the fact that we entered a bit of a snow zone. We are supposed to be on vacation to escape the stuff.

Hey, no fair!
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Soon, though we reached an overlook on Tuttlingen, and quickly we were in the city streets.

Tuttlingen looks ok from above.
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The lasts time we were in Tuttlingen, we didn't like it much. But then we had failed to easily find the camp site, and then Dodie fell ill and was stuck in the tent for a day. This time we kind of immediately noticed the more aggressive drivers (compared to "down south"), and though we pedalled through the central square, it just did not seem like much.

Tuttlingen does want us to appreciate its charms, but the map only shows five or six things.

Central Tuttlingen. Apparently Tuttlingen had a major fire in 1803, and was not rebuilt with much imagination.
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The big thing in the picture, of course, is the Donau. Having come up from the south, we were facing the river flowing to our right (east) - makes sense. However we turned left, and followed the super famous Donau Radweg upstream to Mohringen, where our guest house is. In cycling upstream, we were approaching to about 30 km from Donaueschingen, the source of the mighty river. Right at this point, though, it remains a fairly small stream.

The baby Donau
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Just before Mohringen, a sign touted all the town's attraction, which are clustered on Schwartzwald Strasse - bakeries, guest houses - it seemed like a little Mecca. But when we got into the town we found that each and every one of the businesses was closed. Some were just plain not open (like the post office?) and some posted hours like 9-12, or 9-12/5:30-7, or something. Our guest house had caught the same disease, and would not open until 3:30. It was at this time 1:30, and we were freezing!

We cycled aimlessly around a bit, and came to light at a bench by the rathaus. There, we put on all the rest of our clothes, and hunkered down. 

Just for an activity, we checked our tire pressures and found all four to be at 40. They really need to be 60-70. After pumping we then did, we expect to fly down the paths!

The rathaus, Mohringen
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After a bit, I decided to walk up the hill to check out the church. Dodie only later pointed out  that we are now in Baden Wurtenburg, which Protestant, and therefore the churches are almost guaranteed boring. Like this:

The church at Mohringen
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Looking down a Mohringen street
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Laurie MarczakWhere are all the people? and wow - that makes canadian cities look positively disheveled...
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Finally, we drifted up the guest house and eventually got the attention of the little man that runs it. He is actually Italian, and in the evening we got some really excellent wood fired pizza, and spaghetti, in the restaurant part. 

Our guesthouse/restaurant
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A modest but warm room!
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The place and the room are not huge, but we are glad to now be warm. Tomorrow we need to pile on a fair bit of clothes as well, as we set off back past Tuttlingen and east on the historic bikeway.

Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 212 km (132 miles)

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Sharon PledgerI am enjoying your blogs very much and wonder how Dodie's new knees are doing on the trip? She is giving me hope and inspiration, as being a cycling traveler myself along with my hubby, we are going to be land locked in Ontario this spring to fall since I am scheduled for a new hip and knee. But oh the cycling trips we hope to do after! These blogs keep me going! Wish Dodie all the best and thanks Steve for all the time and work you do to keep these blogs coming. Cheers to you both! Sharon
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2 months ago
Suzanne GibsonYou did a good job on such a chilly and windy day. Hope it warms up for you soon. We had similar weather in Munich and 25 km was enough for me.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Sharon PledgerDodie here. Wonderful to hear from you Sharon. It has been such a joy to be able to once again cycle and walk almost pain free. It has been almost 3 months since the 2nd knee was done, and I know it will be even better as time goes on. Wishing you all the best with your surgeries. Glad you are following along with us. Dodie
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Suzanne GibsonActually, 25km was plenty for us also but the hotel was still almost 25km away so we had no choice but to carry on. Thank goodness for determination, ebikes and warm clothing.
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2 months ago
Kathleen ClassenOh how I enjoyed today’s blog. We are looking forward to our departure in April and loving following you now and when we are on the trail as well. We have had an amazing evening tonight at home celebrating our future daughter in law officially receiving her permanent residency in Canada. She had to participate in the celebration through FaceTime. Aren’t we so fortunate to look forward to ten jammer breakfasts in the Spring and an Australian wedding in the Fall and a new and beloved member of the family? Keep the wonderful blog posts coming.
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2 months ago
Keith ClassenHi Steve - Great to see you guys finally on the road again after Dodie’s challenges. Really enjoying your postings and looking forward to getting over there at the end of April. Okay...regarding the Jammer scale. This idea first came to me on our first bike trip to Europe when we were travelling up the Mosel. As i recall the original 10 jammer was an amazing “over the top” breakfast at a winery we were staying at. What stood out was that, in addition to an absolutely amazing spread, there were actually 10 varieties of jams provided... thus a “10 jammer”. A simple scale I thought to rate breakfasts. I think you and I are on the same page! In my mind there is no need to actually provide 10 jams to be a “10 jammer”. As you realize its all very subjective. The way I might approach it is by asking... okay this breakfast has everything one might possibly desire but what is it that it might lack ..... no croissants possibly might warrant a deduction of .5, providing only 2 flavors of yogurt a further deduction, limited meat or bread selection another deduction and certainly a limited variety of jams (or packaged jams) a further deduction. But I suspect, for you , the provision of tortes would likely warrant a generous plus adjustment to the scale depending of course .... on the quality.

Enjoy your ride! And the tortes!
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2 months ago
Sue PriceAs I sit reading your blog and seeing everyone else (Andersons and Klassens) either on the road or almost on the road, Jim is busily planning our many routes for the upcoming van/bike tour - I feel like we are the last little birds stuck in the nest up here! Soon soon we will once again be on the road, but it sure makes the time pass when we get to follow along with you. Thanks for keeping us going! Dodie, you are quite simply amazing! Hope the weather gets warmer soon and you both continue to enjoy the freedom of being out on the road!
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2 months ago
Marvin PaxmanHeh, Sue, we are still here as well (Mill Bay). We are so busy with reno's and yard work since we moved here (in Sept) that I don't think we will get anywhere farther away than Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah this year. Erika is still full time at Camosun college so our window is still a little narrow for the time being. Thank goodness the grampies are such an interesting read
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2 months ago