Today was the first of our two long slabbing days to cross from close to the south of France all the way up to the north German coast. It was going to be brutal, but in theory doable. The first day featured a 650 kilometer ride starting out with a descent down our local hairpins, then a mini-motorway section over to a highway that would take us in to Albertville. It was a weekday and rush-hour traffic was present in some areas near the beginning, but no one seemed to need to go to Albertville. After that we headed north into Switzerland with Geneva as our first landmark, followed by Lausanne. Each Swiss city has its own associated lake, and now the highway ran one or two hundred meters above Lake Lausanne along the north side. We had a fine view to the Alps including Mont Blanc in the distance on the far side, and it was to be our last.
From here it was a hard day at work. Switzerland’s roads were filled with traffic, and despite the strict, camera-enforced speed limits everyone was seeking to eke out the smallest advantage. In addition there were frequent tunnels thrown into the mix, which were claustrophobia-inducing as they boomed and echoed with the sounds of our own engines.
When we finally got in to Germany we did not find our hoped-for open autobahn, but rather a truck-choked pair of lanes where we alternately sat in slow logjams and then ducked out of the way of fast-flying traffic. Not fun at all. Apparently the term “autobahn” still applied only in eastern Germany; here in the west railroad transport had never been invested in to the same extent and we were left with “truckbahns” along which automobiles squeezed when they could find room. Motorcycles had to fill the chinks in the chinks, and we would have much rather not been there at all, but we never could have covered the necessary distance on B roads in the time available.
Finally at the end of the day we got off the highway and had some brief enjoyable riding on narrow winding roads up into the Black Forest, which had been running on the hills 20-30 kilometers off the right side of the highway the whole time.
We ended up at the Waldhotel Forellenhof (Trout Inn Woodland Hotel).
This was a first class hotel in all respects. Beer in the lounge areas, spacious rooms with original layouts, and a delightful garden restaurant whose house wine was a solid Riesling that outshone what you’d get from the wine list most of the time anywhere else. Every dish from opening soup to the end was a taste experience just on a higher level than ordinarily encountered.
All this, and running just above the hotel was the road we’d taken here, route B500, famous within Germany as a great motorcycling road within the Black Forest. We had rode a full day away from the Alpine roads and our companions and our roadside biker hotels, but now we found ourselves still at home.