8-13SEP2004 I made my way to Germany by a circuitous route and arrived late in Karlsruhe...one of the gateways to the Black Forest. I tried to contact Melanie, a fellow passenger on a dive boat in Australia, but, no luck.
I got the last bed at the local hostel and set my course for Kassel. It was quite a distance and as night was falling I decided to make up some time by taking the autobahn. Usually I ride the small, winding back roads, but, after dark, I can make better time on the main road.
So, I was cruising at 130km/hr on a six lane superhighway when (surprise!) my headlight goes out. It was only a few seconds of darkness but it seemed longer. My high beam still worked so I moved to the right lane and blinded some unfortunate truck drivers. It seemed that TBGS was getting tired because also that night the fuel connection came loose and I stalled. Time for some tlc.
And, that's just what TBGS and I got in Kassel. I met Kai and Sandra at a campground in Leba, Poland and they invited me to visit. Kai is and engineer with Daimler-Chrysler and a big fan of the KLR650.
Kai and I (mostly Kai) spent most of the day going over TBGS. We replaced the headlight, cleaned the filters, and topped off the battery. Kai had a large pile of KLR parts including an almost new rear tire. He generously gave me the rear tire as mine was starting to wear out. To make the exchange easy we just swapped the whole rear wheel. Then we engineered a repair on the fuel system ..that is, we used a plastic tie to make sure the fitting stayed together.
That night we visited the castle of Herkules after we had a few beers. We drank our beers at a pub that had seats inside of giant copper brewing vats. Just as we approached the castle, the lights went out for the night. It was spooky.
The next day we visited Herkules again. This time Kai and Sandra's good friends Gunther and Marina and their twin sons Bjorn and Timo went with us. We were in luck because every Sunday at 14:30 water is released from the top and flows through a course of fountains, aqueducts, and waterfalls to the bottom of the hill. My favorite was the water-powered trumpets. As the water began to flow the trumpets started to sound and got louder and louder.
Along the way we met two young Japanese tourists, Michiko and Akiko, and we showed them the way down to the Schloss.
It was a very pleasant afternoon and it was fun to watch the twins cavort around.
Kassel is a beautiful city and my visit with Kai and Sandra was a great break from the loneliness of the road. Sandra will be a mother soon and I think she'll be a great one. She already mothers her parrot, garlic.