Federweisser, Verdun, Flanders Fields and the Rhineland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMead11, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I seem to have made it a habit to be in Europe this time of year, October, as I have been doing it for several years now. It makes a nice break in the year, especially since it is still usually hot here in Arizona where I live, yet seriously much cooler there and thus a much more enjoyable riding experience. Coupled with the possibility of seeing some great things along the way, it makes it all a very worthwhile experience despite being such a far trip to make.


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    So my summer here in Arizona was not the best. I was finishing up rehabbing a house when big storms came and blew the roofs off of my father’s business…..meaning I spent the month of July roofing instead of by a lake or beach somewhere. While I did adjust to being outdoors better this year than others, I was still looking at getting some cold air on me as soon as I could, which was a one week vacation in October from work. It was a little earlier this year than the others by a week, but that gave me hope of safer weather as snow has been known to fall within days of my departure in the past.
    My trip usually begins with a long drive from Tucson to Phoenix to catch an early flight, but this time it began close to home, and at Tucson International Airport. I had the joy of meeting several of my students at the airport that morning as they were off on a school trip with our principal to Washington D.C. on a flight just before mine. My students that were there were shocked to see how little I was taking with me….some motorcycle gear and my helmet. I never take clothes back and forth anymore as I just leave them in the luggage of my TransAlp so I do not waste any space. After so many trips of hauling clothes back and forth I realized finally how silly it was.
    They flew off towards the sunrise that I would be going off into in just a few more minutes myself.


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    A short flight and I was in Dallas/Ft. Worth and onto the next plane which I would stay on all the way to Frankfurt. It was one of the worst flights I have ever been on in my life. The seat was small, I could not get comfortable and it was basically misery all the way to Frankfurt. To make it worse, my brand new MP3 player blew up before it even had 15 minutes on it. But I got to Frankfurt okay, got myself out to the sidewalk and managed to find the bus to Hahn Airport. I had never done it this way before, as I usually meet someone at the airport or have rented cars out of Frankfurt, so this was a new experience. It was so much closer to my friends house though, and so it was really worth it to do it this way. 13 Euros and a short ride later I was at Hahn, with perfect timing too, as I noticed my friend Thorsten pulling into the airport at the same time that our bus was arriving. Some of you might know Hahn as it was a big NATO base for over 40 years. Now it is a small international airport (although international is not in it’s name) used mostly by small carriers like RyanAir. It’s a small airport, but it’s apron would let you put a 747 or even an An-124 if you had to. Connected to Frankfurt also, it only a nice little ride to get there.


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  2. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I was totally exhausted, but it felt so good to be in Germany I was managing to stay together pretty good.


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    I was greeted at the house in Kinheim-Kindel by Thorsten&#8217;s family, who are always so kind as to let me use their place as my base of operations for these expeditions. They filled me with coffee, a fine meal and this fabulous Black Forest Cake&#8230;..


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    Mr. Nike the haus-katzen and Freddie the Rabbit got reacquainted &#8230;&#8230;

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    I thought I might even be on the motorcycle later that day&#8230;.but alas&#8230;. I crashed&#8230;&#8230;.with Herr Nike the Cat right next to me.....

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  3. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    When I finally got up, I realized that perhaps there was not going to be much motorcycling today, but I did go out and walk around the village and take some pictures.
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    The village had been whacked by a tremendous hailstorm recently, with pieces of ice the size of baseballs. Roof tiles were smashed, cars ruined….people ran for their lives when it started to come down, ducking for whatever cover they could find. There were some serious injuries…..some of them very serious. Now I was getting to see the remnants. Repairs were still being done on most of the village, though some had managed to get their stuff fixed faster than others.

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    OUCH!!!!!
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  4. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I spent the evening with a flammenkuchen and of course many glasses of Federweißer. Federweißer is one of the wonderful things about being in the Mosel region this time of year. It is a wonderful drink that I have come to really enjoy&#8230;..and am willing to fly to the other side of the world for&#8230;&#8230;well, that and seeing people that are dear friends and getting some motorcycling in.


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  5. IslandMonkey

    IslandMonkey inselaffe

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    Subscribed. I've followed, and in some cases commented on your previous ride reports and I'm looking forward to following this one. I've been to Verdun and Flanders by bike so it will be interesting to see them again from your perspective.
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  6. Colorado Uli

    Colorado Uli Must I? Supporter

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    Man, I grew up in the wine growing parts of the western Black Forest and miss the Federweisser (down there it was called Neuer Suesser, or "the new sweet one") and Flammenkuchen soooooo much. I have to go home now and make some Flammenkuchen. Yummy!

    I also lived in Bitburg for a few years (doing the GI Joe thing) and sure appreciate the pictures of the area.

    Hope you had a great time.

    Thanks for posting.

    PS: My cousin, who still lives in the Black Forest, also has the red TransAlp and it's just clean. Damn, I can't keep a dual sport bike looking nice more than a few month and it's all scratched up and held together with bailing wire.
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  7. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper Supporter

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    Wow made it just in time for Dinner. :clap
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  8. Ozracer

    Ozracer Auspommie

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    Hi Jeff
    Been waiting for this. :clap
    #8
  9. BlueMooN

    BlueMooN n00b

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    Are you still in the Area? if so PM me... I am at Spangdahlem. Maybe we could meet up and maybe hit some curves together.
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  10. Colorado Uli

    Colorado Uli Must I? Supporter

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    Spangdahlem, eh? Man, that one brings back some memories.
    I used to work for the Civil Engineering Squadron there from 1994 to 1998. I worked at the water treatment and production plants as well as the sewage treatment plant (just outside of the base).

    Is Manni still running the cantiena on base?:1drink
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  11. BlueMooN

    BlueMooN n00b

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    I think you are talking about Raimund....Yeah, sadly yes he is still around. I sure wish they would get a new contractor for that place. Last time I was there (some 6months ago) I had to tell him:"I am not your Friend!". Since that is his greeting for everyone.... "What can I get you my friend". :puke1

    I was working at the O'Club during the time you were here. I sure miss those old CE Pig fests! My stepdad works for CE.... back then, up in Housing Maint.
    #11
  12. Colorado Uli

    Colorado Uli Must I? Supporter

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    Of course you're right, it was Raimund. He and his relative, Manni, both worked with me at the sewage/water plants -- same last name.
    And I do remember him always greeting folks like that.
    Mmmmm, CE pig roasts... , now there are some good memories.

    I probably know your stepdad, knew everyone back then.
    #12
  13. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Before I leave on my trip, I have to show you this. This is the battle monument in Kinheim &#8211;Kindel. It lists the names of those lost in the Great War on the plaques on the sides, and then those lost in the Second World War on the bottom of the relief statue. It is right in front of the church at the end of the bridge that crosses the Mosel River.

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  14. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I brought a new jacket with me this trip. I had left my BMW Savanna jacket over at Thorsten&#8217;s for years now, but it was always lacking a bit in the warmth department, although I could layer under it pretty good. In the summer over there, I find the Savanna to be wonderful, but I bought a new jacket for this trip, a Tourmaster Flex jacket, that was so warm I never even have to put a sweatshirt on under it and more often than not it was too warm. I came to love this jacket during the trip and I know it will become my main travel jacket for a while.

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    So, in the morning I packed up the bike and headed out toward my first destination. The most often visited for me and one that I never miss.

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    I left Kindel through Losnich, up to Wittlich (Spangdahlem) and got on the Autobahn headed toward Trier. I hit reserve on the fuel pretty quick, the bike had been sitting a while, but I still had enough gas to make it to Luxembourg. You always want to fill up in Luxembourg. Gas is so much cheaper there than any of its neighbors. Coffee, booze, cigarettes and anything else like that you can think of is cheaper there too. So I got a tank of gas and continued onto the city of Luxembourg and my first stop.

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    It is the Luxembourg American Cemetery in Sandweiler, Luxembourg. This is where the United States has 5076 of her soldiers buried. 101 of them are unknowns, and the names of 371 whose remains were never recovered on inscribed on the stone pylons on each side of the entry area of the cemetery. It is over 50 acres in size and the use of the land has been granted in perpetuity to the American people from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. General George S. Patton is buried here, and it is a pilgrimage for me to visit his grave and pay homage to him and his men.


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  15. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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  16. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Did I mention the cemetery is right next to the airport????

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  17. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I continued southward out of Luxembourg and was soon in France once again. I get a special feeling every time I go in past that sign like I am home again. I have spent about three years of my life altogether in France, and it is so nice to be there every once in a while. I had decided that I was going to head towards Verdun this time on my way to my home away from home in Barisis-Aux-Bois, France. I had gone a little further south last October and hit the St Mihiel American Cemetery and the Butte de Montsec. I had also recently gone to the American cemetery at the Meuse Argonne region and Romagne –Sous-Montfaucon…..so this time I would go through the middle of these two areas, and go right into the battlefields of Verdun. It had been a little while since I had been there.

    My first little break stop was in Buzy, France. There is a small military cemetery there. It was interesting as there were also 52 Russians and 8 Romanians buried there along with the 2770 Frenchmen. This is one of 14 French military cemeteries in the Meuse region. It was raining a bit, and it was windy, but it was a good place to take a break and take some pics.


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  18. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    You can tell when you are getting close to the battlefields of Verdun, the landscape takes on some new features……

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    As you head into the battlefields of Verdun, there is another little monument that most people may not even notice. You have to go down a little dirt road into the woods to find it. It is a common area for people to go for family walks or take the dog out down this road, but just a few hundred meters in you find the marker. A place where 15 Frenchmen and a Belgian were shot at dawn by the Gestapo on August 31, 1944. The mutilated bodies were discovered in the mass grave here in front of the monument in December of 1944.


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  19. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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  20. BayRocket

    BayRocket Adventurer

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    jmead- Great to see you up and running again...another cool trip. Hamm and the Mosel are what I missed with my GPS debacle so it's nice to see the pics.
    #20