August 14 – Ranggen to Brunnen, Germany (115 km, 70 miles)

August 14 Route Map

After yesterday’s nearly all-day rain, today was great. There were some low clouds hanging over the Inn Valley, but you could see that the clouds were thin, with blue sky above – and no rain. Just what I had hoped for. In fact, it turned out to be dry all day long, despite the fact that dark clouds were developing in the direction of my destination as I neared it later in the day.

At 8:00 am, I left Martin Kendler’s house in Ranggen and headed off to the northwest, back into Germany. Today’s goal was to reach the Neuschwanstein Castle, which is the classic German castle that you see in travel brochures and literature. Before I left, Martin’s mother loaded me up with sandwiches, chocolate, a bottle of orange juice, and a big can of beer. Good thing too, because I needed all of it. My route took me west along the Inn River for about 30 kilometers and then turned north, up and over Fern Pass. I began the climb at 9:45 am and reached the top at 1:00 pm. I sure hope I don’t have to travel another road like that one – not because of the topography, but because of all the traffic on it. The road over Fern Pass is one of the few main north/south passes through the mountains between Germany and Austria. Like most city to city roads, it had no shoulder to ride on, just a couple of inches to the right of the white line, which made it challenging to stay out of the way of the traffic – and there was a LOT of traffic. It was nearly non-stop, and this being a sunny Saturday during a generally cloudy and rainy summer here, it seemed like everyone in Austria was taking a drive up Fern Pass.

After reaching the top of Fern Pass, a quick descent down the north side took me to near the base of the Zugspitse, the highest mountain in Germany. I considered taking the aerial tramway to the summit visitor center, but the top of the mountain was clouded over. I’ve seen the inside of a lot of clouds so I scrapped that plan and continued on toward the castle. I reached Neuschwanstein at 4:30 pm and discovered that the last tour of the day was at 5:00 pm – not enough time for me to find a parking place for the bike, secure my gear, and purchase a tour pass, so I figured I’d search out a campground nearby and get settled for the night. Campingplatz Brunnen was only 4 kilometers away and I arrived there at 5:30 pm. Got the tent up, had a shower, and had dinner.

Tomorrow’s destination is Andy Muelegger’s house in Durach, Germany.

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