June 15 – Torgau to Kloden
The thunder rumbled and the lightning flashed and the rain pelted down. That, thankfully, all happened during the night and when the day dawned, it was cloudy but fine and hot and muggy after the storm. We collected the all important laundry from reception, where it was waiting for us in a basket, washed, dried and folded and then we could pack the bikes and be on our way.
We rode through the centre of Torgau to have a look at the town, which seemed to have a nice square and more lovely buildings and then we pedalled off towards the cycle path and the route markers.
We were on another traffic free path, which is always fabulous and we pedalled along in the warmth of the morning, with flat farmland around us. No river, but a nice ride with the roofs of villages in the distance.
As we pedalled along, we hit our next milestone. Our 2000th kilometre. I couldn’t even say where it happened, because it was kind of in the middle of nowhere, but somewhere out of Torgau, the odometer clicked over 2000.
On we went, the path was nice and flat and we were cruising along at 20 km/h. Then we turned a corner and suddenly we had wind. The one challenge that arises, on otherwise fabulous flat paths, is wind. Across the flat landscape, it picks up pace and slams into an unsuspecting cyclist. To me, that wind just feels like, WHAM! It slams in front of me and instantly, 10 km/h is knocked off my pace right there. Without wind, on a flat path, my forward progress looks like this:
When the wind hits, that pedalling suddenly looks like this:
p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l… p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l… p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l… p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l… p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l… p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l… p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l… p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…p-e-d-a-l…
The gears go down, the legs push down, the head goes down and everything slows down. Thankfully, we did turn a few more corners and got some tail winds as well, which was fantastic. Then the gears could go up and the legs could turn and we cruised along again, clocking up the k’s.
It was really warming up and the super sun was blazing down again. We spotted a table under a shelter, beside the path and took the opportunity for elevenses. We were both really chugging the drinks today and our water bottles could have been used to make me a cup of tea, because the water certainly wasn’t cold anymore. As we sat, we said hello to the passers-by who included half a dozen horses with either adults riding or kids being led along on the path. The kids said “Hallo” to us, we said “Hallo” to each of them, the adults gave their “Hallo” and we all contributed to the chorus of greetings.
The landscape continued to deliver flat and green and brown. It was what I imagined a prairie to be. Flat to the horizon and all we could see was wheat or corn. We rode beside wheat, then we rode beside corn, then we had corn on one side and wheat on the other, then we turned a corner and had wheat in front of us, then around another corner and corn behind us. It just went on and on and on for pretty much the whole day, those two crops and a flat vista. It may have been a bit samey on the scenery front, but I was enjoying it. I liked the traffic free path, I always like being able to see little towns and villages in the distance, we passed the occasional cyclist to greet and it was just an enjoyable pedal in the countryside. We even passed a row of cherry trees. We’ve seen cherry trees every now and again beside the path, but here we had about 500m of them lining the path, with the ever present wheat and corn behind them.
We knew we were heading into areas with little in the way of shops and supplies, so we stopped at our last available town before we crossed the river, to stock up. With tomorrow being everything-closed-Sunday, we needed food for two days, so we called into a supermarket, I went in and filled a basket, then Steve went in and added to the stocks. I filled a backpack with the supplies, adding to the few essentials we’d picked up in Torgau before we left, as emergency supplies in case we couldn’t find anything along the way and strapped the backpack on top of the already loaded bike. We set off, I adjusted to the extra load with a few “weight wobbles”, got into the flow again and we were off to the ferry at Pretzsch.
We were just in time for another crossing, so we rode the bikes straight on, to join the other cyclists and one car and we slowly and silently inched our way across the river. We aren’t too sure exactly how that ferry worked. It didn’t use an engine and it wasn’t a chain ferry. It seemed to be using the current of the river to take it across, while it was anchored up the bank. Almost like an aquatic pendulum, with the ferry moving across the water on the arc of the “swing”, using the flow of the water to push it across. However it worked, it was quiet and I hadn’t even realised we were moving until we were half way across.
A final pedal through the “prairie” again, with corn and wheat as our landscape and we arrived at the only campsite in the area. In fact it’s one of the only places of any kind in the area. Kloden is a tiny little town, one of those that seems to sit in the middle of nowhere, more like a neighbourhood than a town. We are camping in another spot the seems to be providing space for camping as an add-on to the primary purpose of the site. Like the swimming pool having a space for camping the other day, here we are kind of in the backyard of a hotel. It’s nice and quiet and we’re on grass under the trees, although it took a while for us to get to that particular spot. Steve is a “pitch whisperer” and whenever we arrive somewhere to camp, he begins his inspection of the location to find the best spot to pitch the tent. He walks up and down and back and forth and I never quite know what he’s looking for, but whatever it is, it’s a ritual that has, on occasion, taken as much as 45 minutes! Today was a fairly quick decision and just a walk up the site and back and then up again, before he identified the prime location and we pitched the Nylon Palace on the optimum spot, relative to sun/shade ratio for afternoon and morning, or whatever the inspection criteria were and finally, we had arrived.
Today was another nice ride. We saw a nice town, the sun shone, we had quiet paths, the scenery wasn’t immensely picturesque, but still nice countryside to look at, we saw friendly people, we hit a milestone, so all in all, another top day in the bag.
I don’t know if Germany does prairies, but I’m declaring we rode across the prairie today. We were on two wheels, but Ma and Pa and that wagon could have come rattling across the horizon and they would have fitted right in. We’re not quite sleeping in a Little House on the Prairie tonight, but a little tent under the trees, beside the wheat field will do just fine. Just fine.
Distance ridden: 50.6 km
Time in the saddle: 3 hours 9 minutes
Weather: sunny, hot, windy, 30C – amazing!
Time taken for inspection by “pitch whisperer”: 10 minutes