Today was the day in this epic father-son odyssey that the boy became a man, that the weak, diffident, whiny, insecure weakling metamorphosed if not into a full man then at least into something with a visible pair of balls. And I think Woodrow may have grown a bit today as well.
I was feeling a bit of pain from Finger Blogging Syndrome, but that was nothing compared to my advanced case of Rotten Toeliosis, the result of too many days in the same rancid footwear. [Parental discretion advised for the following imagery.]
Anticipating huge rain all day we left the youth hostel prison at six sharp after a quick snack of black bread and warm milk, and began what would be an unforgettable day of riding.
Things went great right from the start, as in right downhill all the way back to Wutha. We turned onto the bike path for what would be our first stop, in Gotha.
“They’ll have awesome breakfasts and coffee at the station,” I assured Woodrow, who was skeptical and hungry, a bad combo.
“The last time you were really confident I almost died.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“The first day I asked why we weren’t using helmets and you said because we would be going so slow.”
“On the descent into Limburg we were passing cars at 70kph.”
There is a huge infrastructure of bike routes throughout the state of Thuringen, a combination of bike paths and side streets that are very well signed and that take you through countless beautiful small towns, through woods, and along rivers and creeks.
We saw so much of the old DDR, buildings essentially unaltered and cobbled roads unchanged from the bad old days of communism. The down side to the bike routes is that they can be up to double the length of normal roads, which sucks when you’re tired.
All the way to Gotha and Erfurt it was essentially downhill with a whipping tailwind. We had terrible food at Joey’s Pizza in Erfurt (who could have guessed?) and totally missed the hip part of town filled with bistros and sidewalk cafes.
However, the rain refused to fall, and when Woodrow gave me the I’m-exhausted-can-take-the-train face, I ignored it and we set out for the final leg of our trip to Weimar.
We knocked out the final segment on nothing but fumes, and collapsed in the town square. “Where’s our hotel?”
“Uh, just up the road a little.”
“Up the road ten miles like last time?” Woodrow asked.
“No, just a couple.” We slogged out if town uphill all the way as storm clouds gathered. We missed the gigantic hostel and blindly pounded up the mountain. When I realized the mistake three miles later Woodrow smiled with his characteristic good humor. “At least we get to go downhil!”
We bombed it just ahead of the raindrops and upon entering our room Woodrow shouted, “Look, Dad! The toilet, shower, and beds are all in one room!”
We did a little happy dance, then we did laundry, and then we were done.