Molly on the Main

Day 14 - Thursday, June 6

This morning, we left Gasthof Stern in Dorfprozelten around 10 am and rode 44.15 miles to Kleinostheim, a small town between Frankfurt and Aschaffenburg.

Before we went to bed last night, we brought our clothesline in off the balcony and figured out a way to hang it across the room. It was a good thing we did because about an hour later, Steve heard water dripping as someone on the floor above us was watering the flower-boxes on their balcony and the water was dripping down on the balcony outside our room.

I awoke this morning around 5:30 am and said a little prayer for Steve's great uncle Jack, who perished on Omaha Beach 75 years ago today. He and others have been very much on our mind the last couple of days. We watched a few images on TV of the nonagenarian veterans who made the trip to the Normandy beaches to honor and remember their fallen friends. I cannot imagine the stew of emotions they experience when returning to that place.

Around 7 am, we got up and organized our bags before we went downstairs and over to the next building to eat breakfast. Before we started down the stairs, I could hear a cry that at first sounded like a child, but the cry kept going. It was a beautiful cream-colored long-haired cat coming up the stairs toward me, and he was talking to us with a series of long meows. We stopped to pet him, and he was very friendly. When we got to breakfast, we asked the hostess about the kitty and learned that his name is Leo.

After breakfast, we loaded our bags on the bikes and got back on the trail. The weather had turned cool overnight, and a light rain had fallen during the early morning hours. The temperatures were in the upper 50's, so Steve and I both wore our rain jackets for the entire day. The sky was overcast for the whole day, and the temperatures didn't get much higher than 60 degrees. A few times we were caught in a light sprinkle. Steve stopped to add another layer of clothes, which he didn't shed until much later in the day. The cooler temperatures felt good on my legs, which were showing the effects of yesterday's sun.

When we reached Freudenberg, we had a good view of the old castle as we crossed a bridge over the Main. We are still in a region of small forested mountains, with occasional sheer cliffs of red sandstone and at other times with steep slopes planted with vineyards.

As we neared the village of Buergstadt, I looked up to see a large white object moving across the bike path. It was huge - about three stories high and 50 feet long. When we got closer, we could see that it was a large cylinder wrapped in white plastic and being transported on an enormous flatbed truck. The load had just barely enough clearance to go under a conveyor belt running from a nearby sand-mining operation. The truck was delivering the cylinder to a large crane on the banks of the river, which had already loaded three or four identical objects onto a waiting barge.

Two men on the bike trail had stopped, like we did, to watch this operation because it was fascinating. Steve asked them what the cylinder was for, and jokingly, asked if it was for transporting beer. It turns out that this is probably exactly the purpose of the tank. It came from the nearby company of Ziemann Holvrieka, which makes fermentation and storage tanks for use in Europe and overseas (https://www.ziemann-holvrieka.com/en/.)

We paused at Miltenberg to ride into the town and walk around the old part of the city. It is a picturesque place and apparently a popular destination for bus and cruise ship tours. We spent a little less than an hour there, which included a stop at the bank to get more cash and a stop at a bakery to pick up a couple of sandwiches for a trail lunch later on. While we walked around, we saw at least four or five different tour guides leading small groups of people down the street while giving a running monologue of the town's noteworthy features. The town's charm is inviting, but the pitch for the tourists' Euro was apparent. We walked a distance equivalent to about five city blocks and went past two Kaethe Wohlfahrt shops (big purveyor of folksy German souvenirs such as beer mugs, cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers, and Christmas ornaments.)

It was past noon when we left Miltenberg, and we were not yet halfway through the day's route. Shortly after leaving town, we crossed the Main again and rode through Grossheubach. We stopped here on the edge of town at a little picnic table on the banks of the Main and ate our sandwiches. While we lunched, a light rain started to fall, but we stayed dry as along as we were under the trees. When we moved on, the rain had let up a little bit and eventually stopped.

At Erlenbach am Main, we came upon some shipbuilding yards on the opposite side of the river. From the looks of one of the older buildings at one end of the shipyard, the town has been home to this industry for several decades.

Near Grosswallstadt, we spotted a small flock of swans on the river, moving toward a little girl on the bank who was apparently attracting them with some bits of food. I stopped to take a picture and could see that there were small juvenile swans among them.

By mid-afternoon, we were still about 12 miles from our stopping point for the day and in need of coffee. As we made a turn on the trail, we met a man on a tractor-like machine, and he waited for us to pass then continued down the bike trail. We looked back to see that it was a street-sweeper -- for the bike trail.

At Niedernberg, we missed a turn and somehow found ourselves at the door of the Hein bakery, about a quarter-mile off the route. We were needing coffee at this point anyway, so we happily ordered two coffees and a two pieces of streusel cake. That gave us the energy needed to finish the day's ride, which took us across the river again at Achaffenburg, where we passed the massive Schloss Johannisburg and some pretty gardens along the banks of the Main.

We kept going about 3 miles up the trail to our overnight spot at Gasthoff Weisses Ross in Kleinostheim. We checked in, stored our bikes in their garage, made a reservation for dinner at 7 pm and retired to our room to do our laundry and take showers. Our room is located across the street from the hotel reception, and when we came back out to go to dinner, we saw that it had been raining for several minutes. We were glad to have gotten off the trail and tucked away before getting drenched.

Tomorrow is our last day of riding. Our original plan was to ride from here to the Sheraton Hotel at the Frankfurt Airport, but we have revised the plan to make a longer ride to the end of the Main - i.e., the confluence with the Rhine River at Mainz. This adds about 22 miles to our planned route, so we are going to try to get on the bikes a little earlier in the morning.

Leo, a friendly cat at our overnight spot

Breakfast at Gasthof Stern

Freudenberg

The big thing that we saw being moved across our path

The big thing

A sign we saw along the path at Buergstadt

Miltenberg

Miltenberg

Picnic lunch along the Main near Grossheubach

Vineyards near Klingenberg am Main

Shipyards at Erlenbach am Main

Swans

Swans

A bike trail sweeper

Streusel cake from Hain bakery at Niedernberg

Schloss Johannisburg at Aschaffenburg


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