The “Love Route“ ! – September 2015

Sunday, September 20th, 2015 – Prague, Czech Republic to Würzburg, Germany

We had decided that we could probably do all we wanted to in about four days, which meant staying away for three nights.

Because we needed to “start“ in Würzburg, it was necessary to first get there.

I travel quite regularly to Nuremberg, so I was well aware that there was not too much of great interest between Prague and Würzburg. For this reason, we elected for quite a late start. It was early afternoon when we packed our belongings, most of which seemed to be electrical stuff like chargers and so on, into our saddlebags. I typed the address of our Würzburg hotel into the SatNav and off we went.

It was a Sunday afternoon. The weather was warm, but not hot and we easily crossed the city to the motorway. From the beginning of the motorway to the border is almost exactly 150 km, so at our usual highway speed of 100 kph it is no surprise that the journey to the border took about an hour and a half.

As I said, I have travelled that way too many times to be enthralled by what I pass, but the countryside is quite pleasant. Fields roll into woods as the way heads towards the hills that fringe the border and, if you know where to look, it is possible to spot the odd castle here and there. Otherwise it is not really remarkable at all.

My intention was to fill up with petrol at the border. This would have had the effect of giving Lucie a rest (and cigarette break !) as we had never been so far from home before. In theory, it would also have allowed us to make the rest of the journey in a single hop. I was also aware that, once over the border, there was then a long stretch with no services at all. But, whenever you make a plan, Fate conspires to break it and this time was no exception. There was some kind of “incident“ (we never found out what) happening at the last service area and ingress was barred by a Police vehicle with its blue-lights flashing. More Police could be seen on the forecourt as we passed by.

So, straight away the first potential problem arose. I am a “belt and braces“ kind of person and I seldom let my fuel tank, whose remaining capacity is indicated by five blue lights and a red warning one, get to the “two blue lights“ stage. As we had approached the services, I had just dropped to those two. To be frank, I had no real idea as to how far I could go on a full tank of petrol. In our thousands of kilometres of “local“ perambulations, it had never been an issue.

Sure enough, within 10 km of passing the services, the light dropped again. Not by a single blue light – but by the remaining two blue ones in the same instant. A red light began to glare balefully up at me and I knew that we were at least 45 kilometres from the nearest, easily found pump. We do have a helmet-to-helmet intercom, but I decided not to confide this fact to Lucie at that point.

Did I mention Fate ? At that point, She (I have always seen Fate as a woman) decided to stir the mix a bit further. Admittedly we were crossing some mountains, well, high hills at any rate, but the clear blue sky suddenly disappeared and it began to rain. Not a drenching downpour, I admit, but my legs got pretty wet fairly fast as we chugged along. The moisture seemed to make the little red light under my left eye somehow more menacing. I like German drivers. Their manners are almost invariably good and they do not menace you by getting too close. They do drive very fast though and, as they are aware of you, they expect you to be aware of them and drive accordingly As a consequence, a high level of concentration is required and so it was some time before I noticed that the little red light was now flashing. That was ominous – particularly as I had no idea when that “stage“ had begun and we were still at least 20 km from some petrol. I think it is fair to say that I was holding my breath. I felt truly relieved when the Oberpfalzer-Wald service station appeared on the horizon and the distance I might end up having to push the bike became easily assessable. In the event, we were still chugging happily when I stopped at the pump – only to discover that the tank only needed 13 litres to fill it. H-D states the tank capacity as 18 litres. I had been worrying for nothing. Nice accuracy, Mr Fuel Gauge !

We drank a coffee and dried off a bit before continuing on.

It had stopped raining, but it had turned rather cold. We were still quite high up, but the temperature did not seem to rise again as we went down the incline towards Nuremberg and made the turn west. In fact, it was so chilly that, despite the fact that we did not really have very far to go, we made an unscheduled stop about halfway between Nuremberg and Würzburg. At least the coffee on a German autobahn is drinkable !

Thanks to the SatNav, we found our hotel in Würzburg, the Strauss, fairly easily.

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It was not a really welcoming evening and Würzburg on a Sunday is not a place to be if you want to have any fun. Or, for that matter, any food. We could not find a restaurant we liked anywhere near our hotel but we were finally able to find a bar doing a variety of small, Tapas style, dishes. It was simple enough, we just kept ordering new things until we were full up !