Day 7: Bad Sackingen to Basel

Day 7: Bad Sackingen to Basel

Yesterday we rode 45.19km from Bad Sackingen, Germany to Basel, Switzerland.

There were fewer hills than previous days so the distance felt shorter. Mila and Jette both held up well, but I think we are all a bit fatigued after 7 days on the road with no rest. It felt like a long slow day, as we made lots of stops. I had one mechanical issue and Jette took a tumble.

The plan was to pass through Basel and find a campground in France, but we decided, quite wisely I think, to find a hotel in Basel. We found a nice one in the middle of town with a comfortable bed and fast internet. Both are well-appreciated luxuries, and two hotel nights in a row is quite a treat!

I’ve dowloaded photos and videos from the cameras, and will try to get some posts written for the days that we have missed. When I do, I will back date the posts so they are published on the blog on the date they might actually have been if we had had the power/internet/time/energy, and they will appear in the blog in the “proper” order. Here’s the first one: Night Train to Lindau.

So, we began our day yesterday in Bad Sackingen with a huge breakfast at the hotel. Our hotel was a nice one in the middle of town and on the river. We had a fantastic view of the famous covered bridge, which happens to be the longest wooden covered bridge in Europe. It was built in 1272! It was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times and the current version dates from 1700.

Our hotel in Bad Sackingen

Our hotel in Bad Sackingen

The famous covered bridge

The famous covered bridge

View from the hotel balcony

View from the hotel balcony

The night before we enjoyed a stroll around town and dinner on the old plaza just in front of our hotel.

Dinner in Bad Sackingen

Dinner in Bad Sackingen

ice cream cone

ice cream cone

Bad Sackingen

Bad Sackingen

Great old window

Great old window

Math homework

Math homework

Pasta of course

Pasta of course

Bad Sackingen

Bad Sackingen

Pretty old town

Pretty old town

Bad Sackingen

Bad Sackingen

 

Loaded and ready to roll

Loaded and ready to roll

So with full tummies, we said goodbye to Bad Sackingen and hit the road. We crossed back into Stein on the South side of the river and followed the D8 route in Switzerland. the route had us on a busy two lane highway as we came out of Stein, so it was a pleasant relief when got out of town and into the forests.

Since the beginning of the trip, we’ve been noting and discussing the changing nature of the landscape, the river, settlement patterns, agriculture, land use and culture. Somehow it seems easier to see these changes as we travel on bikes. The landscape around is is not a motion picture blur like it is on a train or in an automobile. We see it passing slowly and feel the mountains and hills, smell the fresh plowed fields, feel the cool shade of the forests and even taste it in the water.

The route from Bad Sackingen was decidedly less picturesque than days before. The beautiful mountain scenery is past. The terraced hillsides of fruit orchards and vineyards have been replaced with industrial agriculture and more livestock. That’s not to say it is ugly or unpleasant, it’s just different. We did enjoy many shady forest trails.

Interesting rural architecture

Interesting rural architecture

More corn fields

More corn fields

Fun in the forest

Fun in the forest

Paved trail

Paved trail

Through the forest

Through the forest

Enjoying the shade of the forest

Enjoying the shade of the forest

Forest road between Bad Sackingen and Basel

Forest road between Bad Sackingen and Basel

On one of the forest trails, I made a u-turn to the left, then looped back a bit to the right to straighten out. The right turn was too acute and trailer tow bar hit my rear wheel. The trailer is quite heavy and the force of the bump knocked by rear wheel out of alignment, with the tire touching the chainstay of the frame.

Rear wheel touching the chainstay

Rear wheel touching the chainstay

I grabbed a few tools from the trailer, and in about 5 minutes had the wheel re-centered and we were back on our way.

Roadside repair

Roadside repair

We stopped at a great playground at a park beside the river for a little fun. There was a zombie attack and Jette had to escape to the tower.

Awesome playground

Awesome playground

Trampoline fun

Trampoline fun

Zombie attack

Zombie attack

Trampolines

Trampolines

Shortly afterwards we stopped in ancient Rome and had lunch in a 2,000 year old theater. Really.

We were in Augusta Raurica, the Roman settlement built around 15 B.C.

2,000 years old!

2,000 years old!

Augusta Raurica Theater

Augusta Raurica Theater

Cartwheels on stage

Cartwheels on stage

Lunch in the Roman theater

Lunch in the Roman theater

The steps and seats of the theater

The steps and seats of the theater

Theater entrance

Theater entrance

The theater has been excavated and the remaining, original structures preserved. Modern stone replaces what was lost to time, and the theater is still in use. It is a beautiful spot!

On the outskirts of Basel we decided that we would find a hotel in Basel. It was getting late and we were too tired to make it on to France and a campground.

Taking a break on the outskirts of Basel

Taking a break on the outskirts of Basel

After so many days in the quiet countryside, coming into the city felt like culture shock. We found a hotel in center city, but not before Jette caught her front wheel in a crack between the bike lane and gutter pan of the curb and took a tumble. Scraped knee.

Jette took a tumble

Jette took a tumble

Scraped knee

Scraped knee

We made our way through town and to a very nice hotel. Showered, found a grocery store, munched on dinner in our room, and crashed. We were tired!

Up the hill in Basel

Up the hill in Basel

Bike parking at the hotel

Bike parking at the hotel

Hotel room window

Hotel room window

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

Another view

Another view

Walking to the grocery store

Walking to the grocery store

Hugs

Hugs

Finding dinner

Finding dinner

Basel

Basel

Basel at night

Basel at night

Another night shot

Another night shot

OK, Im’m out of time. Have to get out bags packed and on the bikes for today!

Night Train to Lindau

After a month in Amsterdam, Mila’s broken arm has healed enough that we are giving the Eurovelo 15 Cycle Route another shot. We’re taking the train to Lindau, about 100km from where she broke her arm in Chur, to give it another go. Our visas expire and we have a flight out of Europe on Sept. 27th, so we will have to cover more kilometers per day than we originally planned. We also have a new bicycle trailer to help carry our load. We’ll be traveling for some months after our bicycle trip, so we are carrying more stuff that one might normally carry on a bicycle tour like this.

This post is backdated. I’m actually writing and posting this from Basel on our 8th day back on the road. Trying to catch up on blog posts now that we have power and internet.

New bicycle trailer

Mila is healing quickly and we are planning to get back on our bikes to tackle the Rhine at the end of the month. We have train tickets to Bregenz, Austria which is just past Chur – where Mila broke her arm.

Bregenz

We will then make another attempt at cycling to the mouth of the Rhine at the North Sea. The catch is that we will have to do it much more quickly than we originally planned. The original idea was to make it a slow and leisurely ride with not too many kilometers (miles) per day, and the time to stop and enjoy the interesting places that we might find along the way. Regrettably the EU will only allow us to stay 90 days out of any 180 days. This means that we have to be out of the EU (actually the Schengen Countries) by the 28th of September. That gives us about one month to git ‘er done.

To help address the issues of way-too-much-stuff and overloaded bikes, we’ve bought a trailer.

Dutch trains don’t allow trailers, but this one is designed with that in mind. The wheels and the tow bar pop off and the trailer instantly becomes a big duffel bag. With some luck we can get it onto the trains.

As with everything there are tradeoffs, but hopefully the benefits of getting a bunch of junk off our bikes and onto the trailer will outweigh the costs. The pros and cons of trailers are endlessly debated and there are stalwarts in both camps. I won’t rehash them here, but if you are interested, here is one guy’s detailed analysis and a quick Google search will reveal about a million more.

Most importantly, having the trailer will allow us to shift a bunch of our load off of Mila’s bike for less stress on her arm and improved bike handling and safety. It will also shift much of the load on my bike from the frame to the trailer, which will also greatly improve the handling of my bike. I just hope the rear triangle of the frame is strong enough to handle the loaded trailer! That risk comes along with my stubbornness/madness of wanting to do the trip with the simplest “regular” bikes and not a bunch of specialized touring gear. That would be too easy, LOL!