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Mad dash

Monday 13 October 2003
Path > Borsheid (Luxembourg) to Bonn via Diekirch (Luxembourg) Echtenach Trier (Germany) Hahn Frankfurt airport in Germany

It had been a good weekend doing touristy things and seeing the sights.

After a very German experience, replacing the speedo cable on Saturday morning, Mary and I had hopped a train to Cologne for an evening of wandering around and checking out the various bars and beer halls.

Then, despite being asked to work on a Sunday morning, we'd managed to get away and cruise around Luxembourg in the afternoon. Flowing roads and sunshine made the riding great, but there was still a hint of the coming winter in the air.

We toured a little before finding a hotel tucked out of the way beside a river and decided that was it.

The XJ complained a little this morning when we were ready to go. It is totally my own fault for not replacing the choke cable after it broke many months ago, but it hasn't seemed to need it. This morning was another story...

Sitting outside all night, there was the hint of frost on the seat. I knew that I had to ?catch' the first fire of the engine, otherwise the XJ would be hard to start. I didn't, and was then frustrated by the fact that it wouldn't fire.

Without all of my normal gear on the bike, it was a little easier to push, and the slight downhill gave me some assistance on the way down, but also made it harder to get back to the top when the bike didn't fire.

Sure, I could have had the tank off, trying to fix what I assumed was a broke choke cable, but I persisted with the pushing and demonstrated my lack of fitness in the brisk morning air.

Still wearing my jacket, I had the unique, sauna-like experience as my breath made little clouds in the air as I wiped the sweat from my brow.

Rewarding my best efforts, the XJ900 finally struggled into life and we set off to explore from north to south.

Luxembourg is an interesting place. It is so small and compact, but has such a contrast of scenery. Riding along the top of the range as we headed towards Belgium gave an extraordinary view of grazing pastures, far into the distance.

With Mary flying out in the afternoon, I decided that my knowledge of the local area was good enough to direct us to Frankfurt airport and we set off.

As with many of my experiments with navigation, we soon found ourselves heading in the wrong direction on the motorway. We were heading north towards Cologne, instead of east towards Frankfurt. A quick U-turn had us heading back for Trier, which only provided more confusion as the signs for the motorway dried up.

Some more confused riding later, we eventually retraced our steps and found the motorway heading north.

Seeing a sign for Hahn, I figured that I could wing it from there. I'd previously flown into Hahn airport (or Frankfurt Hahn as Ryan Air called it) and had caught the bus to Frankfurt. It had taken less than an hour, so I thought that we couldn't be that far away if we made our way across to Hahn.

Things were looking familiar when we stopped for fuel before Hahn and the directions given from the attendant were encouraging. We didn't have that far to go to the motorway and then it wasn't too far.

We were on schedule for a stop at some motorway services before the airport and the ride, although longer than I'd figured, was nearly over.

Cruising passed Hahn airport, we made our way to the 61 and then headed south.

Neither of us thought that we'd missed an exit or taken a wrong turn, but when the sign came up indicating the Frankfurt was still nearly an hour away I knew it was time to open the throttle!

Time was now becoming critical as the XJ accelerated up to 100mph. We started passing cars at a steady rate and I hoped that Mary was relaxed and OK on the back of the bike.

I spotted a turnoff to the airport and changed across three or four lanes at over 110mph to make it. I could see jets circling in the skies above, which had to mean that we were close.

The afternoon of riding had been a lot longer than either of us had thought, but I dropped Mary off at the airport with less than an hour before her flight. It was way less than we'd both thought and considering that we could have been caught in a stau at anytime along the way, was cutting it way to fine.

I dropped her off and gently rode the 150km back to Bonn to prepare for the trip tomorrow to Magny Cours and the final round of World Superbike.

The weekend had been a welcome break to racetracks.

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Copyright © Rob Mader 2000, Journal date Monday 13 October 2003