Monday, July 17, 2017

In and out of Switzerland and Germany

Lichtenstein
Our problem was now that we thought we had all the problems licked!

Lichtenstein was a nice break from camping and we hit the road again heading towards Freiberg in Germany. Freiberg was a ¾ hour drive away and it’s in a nice area called “the Black Forest” which is a famous scenic area of hills and woods.

The GPS decided to add some confusion to our task and we went thru one little village 3 times! We found ourselves on a one car wide road with tight hairpin turns, in first gear and no sign of any end to it. I had visions of us breaking down again up there and trying to tell somebody where we were.


We found a good spot to make an U turn and went back to the bottom of the hill, set the GPS for toll roads, fastest route and it finally started to take it in a sensible direction.

Don’t think that we just blindly follow the GPS. Barbara has a map book and checks where we are heading. Occasionally she gets into a fight with the GPS and I have to be patient while the 2 of them argue it out. Barbara always wins.

There were no major highways where we were. Our route took us thru 4 countries in 3 hours! Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. There were road works and diversions, towns with multiple stop lights, traffic was heavy. Eventually I gave up and we turned off near the Bodensee in Germany to find a campground.


Busy campground in Hagnau. The Bodensee out there somewhere. That's Switzerland on the far side.

We found one with a vacancy in Hagnau and soon we were camping next to Daniel in his converted fire truck. 
To show how big this is, that's our camper behind it!
He was the center of attention with this and we suggested he hang a box on the side to collect a few Euro’s from all the people asking him questions! It was a 1950 firetruck, behind the driver’s cabin were bench seats for a crew of 9! Behind that where the old [pumps and tanks had been , there was a good size sleeping area and space for his bicycle. I asked how much the huge tires cost thinking they would be really expensive, but they apparently came from old fire department stocks and were dirt cheap. I wonder if we could make them fit the RV back in the States?

Happily setting off again the next morning we found ourselves cruising up a big hill on a 3 lane road when everything went quiet. I thought that engine had quit again but as I slowed I realized it was still running but the accelerator didn’t seem to be connected anymore. I pulled over half onto the grass as there was no shoulder. Trucks and cars were swerving around us and I put on the emergency 4 way flashers. 

A camp store in UK had sold us a “Roadside Emergency Kit” that they told us was compulsory in France and most of Europe. It contained an emergency warning triangle and a yellow jacket. Putting on the jacket I walked back along the road and set up the triangle then called our Emergency Roadside Assistance insurance (RAC) for the second time in 3 days.

Before long a Police car came along and closed the lane we were in. They were very nice but told us we were in danger where we were and they called a tow company to get us out of there.

A regular feature of our trip lately.

Within minutes a mechanic had fixed the problem, this time a vacuum hose had worn thru against a hose clamp. They replaced both of them, and we were set to go. EXCEPT the tow company wasn’t one that the RAC had on their list of providers and it was 3 hours before they got it sorted out.
Assume the position!

I was tempted to stop at Freiburg but it was only about 40 miles away so we decided to head instead for Strasburg in France.

Our daughter Sally had spent a semester at Strasburg University as part of her French language degree. We’d never been there so we decided to give it a try. We found a campground but it was completely full/ They gave us the address of another 20 miles away. The traffic was a nightmare. When we go to the campground there were barriers everywhere and security checkpoints. Hundreds of people were streaming into the gates, What the heck was going on?

Dinner in Erstein France
Well a little look at the calendar revealed it was July 13th. The next day July 14th is Bastille Day in France, the equivalent of Independence Day in the US. The public park in which the campground was set was having their Bastille Day party a day earlier. There were bands, food stands, comedy acts and as a finale a fireworks show.
Beer tent, YEAH!
We had dinner and a few drinks then settled down to watch the bands and fireworks. It was 12.30 before we got to bed.
Bastille Day fireworks
A true adventure which if not for the breakdown we might never have stumbled across.
The old town of Erstein, very picturesque

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