Our Airbnb in Ludwigshafen am Rhein was great. It was spacious and comfortable. We slept well and it was hard to get motivated to leave, but today was the day we’d meet Matt and his family near Frankfurt, so that was the motivation needed.

We left a little after 8 a.m. and started to make our way out of the bigger city. Right away a gentleman rode up behind us, figured out where we were going, and offered to guide us through town to the trail we needed to be on. He spoke great English. He is also a biker who goes on long tours like this, and right away he recognized our routing software. He stuck with us until we were safely out of town. He also looked closely at our route on the map for the next few days and gave it a seal of approval and a few pointers. On each of our trips we encounter wonderful people like him, Manfred, whom we refer to as our bike angels – people who go out of their way to help us. It is always a reminder that we can make a difference by simply noticing someone in need and helping. We wish we had taken a picture with him.

Manfred had warned us of some construction and sure enough it was right where he said it would be. We kind of mismanaged the situation with traffic and ended up losing a good water bottle in the process as Natalie jumped off the bike to push and then had to hurriedly jump back on as traffic started coming toward us. All the traffic had been stopped for a light, so it wasn’t a dangerous situation, we just annoyed a lot of drivers. I’m always amazed at how much harder it is to think under pressure.

The highlight of the day, week, and trip was linking up with Matt and Jessica and family as they were driving from Frankfurt to Bitburg after a week of vacationing with Jessica’s parents. It was so good to see them, and Natalie was especially happy to hug her little brother. Their children are growing so fast. We look forward to making it to their house on Friday to spend the weekend with them and then do a two-day tour with William, Matt, and Jessica next week.

They gave us smoothies and trail mix which seemed to power the next 6 hours of our ride (really it was just the happiness of being with them).

Our ride today was along the Rhein, but for the most part our trail was positioned such that we couldn’t see it. However, the countryside was beautiful and we mostly could ride in bike trails.

We stopped and talked to someone who had ridden thousands of miles with a recumbent trike and a tow-behind camper, hauling his dog. It is a crazy setup. Here is his YouTube video showing it: https://youtu.be/45ACbXG1IxM 

The weather was favorable again (cloud cover much of the day and not as hot as it had been in Strasbourg), but our progress was slow. Much of the day we were in bigger towns and cities, and although we almost always had separate bike lanes, that kind of riding had a different feel. It is definitely interesting to see all the various places, however! As we got closer to the day’s destination, we could see more of the Rhein. It’s amazing to see the huge barges and even some small cruise ships. We also rode through many vineyards again. And we are beginning to see more and more old castles and forts. In early evening, we ate a simple meal of fries and a salad right where our trail left the Rhein. It wasn’t great, but our Airbnb is in a town with no grocery stores and only one restaurant.

We biked up the first mile of the few big uphill miles (which await us tomorrow) and found our Airbnb in a small, quaint, old village named Oberheimbach. The rest of the climb must wait until tomorrow. We are in a beautiful house built in the 1500s. Yes, 1500s. The woman who owns it invited us to park our bike inside in the hallway. She stocked her kitchen with enough food that we could have skipped our disappointing dinner and eaten here.

We showered and cleaned up, snacked a bit, and drank a lot of water, juice, and chocolate soy milk. (We bought a few drinks at a store about 10 miles before our Airbnb which Natalie carried in a backpack on her stomach for an hour.)

We are grateful, happy, and recovering. Tomorrow is our big climb day. We are excited to get it behind us.

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