Monday, 07.05.2018 - Let's go

Today is finally here! We pick up our rental motorhome at Mi-Mobile in Remshalden to start our journey into the unknown. Instead of 4 pm we are allowed to get it already at noon. Of course this is very convenient for us because we imagine that we can already use the day extensively for the journey to our first tour destination. Since the weather forecast for northern Germany was not very encouraging, we changed the plan for the route at short notice. Instead of going to the Baltic Sea, the first stop on the agenda is now Trier, followed by Bonn and Essen. This should be possible within seven days. Even if many travel blogs state that travelling with a motorhome is rather leisurely and usually takes longer than planned.

I am already curious whether everything works out well. Can the large vehicle get through anywhere? Will we leave a path of destruction with the long overhang at the first turn? Are we going to have problems with the pitches? After all, we didn't reserve anything and just want to travel without a real plan. How long will the water supply last on board and can we really live in the motorhome for a week? Or will we be fed up and book a hotel room instead after two days?

This time my luggage is much bigger than Claudi's. While she can fit all her belongings into a hiking backpack, I have to pack my suitcase. We want to take our complete luggage with us and take the S-Bahn to Remshalden to be able to start directly from there. This saves us the trouble of having to go home again afterwards to load the motorhome. In addition to laundry for all weather conditions, we also pack some food. Noodles, toast, coffee, drinking water, power bars etc. Who knows when and where we'll get something to eat for the first time. At least we don't have to worry about the dishes and the bedding: we rented this directly with it.

The sun shines and it feels like 30°C – the perfect holiday weather for us! When we arrive at the rental we first have to fill in some paperwork, then we get the ignition key and two keys for the storage hatches. Our motorhome is a brand new Eura Mobil Profila RS 695 HB with just 300km on the odometer. As newcomers we get a detailed introduction. Where are the fuses, how do you operate the on-board control panel, how do you refill fresh water and how to get rid of the dirty water and other things? In the end we are omniscient, nothing can happen to us anymore. We only forget to ask how to determine the water supply level. But thanks to the mobile Internet, we also find that out quickly (theres a display for that on the control panel). When we turn the ignition key and drive off it is almost 2 pm. The introduction took almost two hours, crazy!

During our ride with the S-Bahn I had already googled for the nearest supermarket. There is a Lidl near the rental, so we drive to its parking lot. We put all our stuff in the closet and cupboards and buy some necessary things we could not take with us. As we leave the parking lot again it is already 3:30 pm.

On the Lidl parking lot
On the Lidl parking lot

In the back of the motorhome we hear rumbling and crashing noises. No wonder – after all, we have all kinds of stuff in there now. We drive on the B29 to Stuttgart, in order to get from there to the motorway - but it turns out to be a stupid idea. Shortly before Stuttgart we meet the end of the traffic jam, from there we only progress at walking pace. Such a traffic jam is still no fun in a motorhome, but in my opinion it is far more relaxed to endure than in a car. You sit higher up in comfortable armchairs and maintain a good overview. Two meters behind you' ll find the fridge with cool drinks. And just in case, you' re driving a toilet around! What could possibly go wrong? Claudi's pissed, though. It hadn't been her suggestion to go on a motorhome vacation anyway. It took careful persuasion in advance from my side to make this journey possible. And the rush-hour traffic now is not helping to brighten her mood.

As we make another turn we hear the rumbling noise again. Claudi looks around from her seat and discovers that a drawer is open in the kitchen. Did we forget to lock it? A typical beginner's mistake! Since we have to stop again anyway, Claudi can get up briefly and close the drawer. But it reopens immediately. What's going on?

The drawer seems to hang a little too low, which is why the lock does not engage properly. We solve the problem by putting a towel under the drawer. This presses it upwards and the bolt engages again.

After about an hour and a half we finally passed through Stuttgart and are on the motorway. There is still a lot of traffic, but at least we are making much faster progress again. Slowly the suspicion grows in us that we won't make it to Trier this evening. But for now, let's stay on course and see how this develops. When not going uphill, the Fiat Ducato 130 hp Multijet can reach a pleasant driving speed of 100 to 120 km/h. Uphill, however, you can clearly feel the weight of the vehicle. Depending on the gradient it is possible that you only crawl around at 80km/h. The background noise while driving is quite pleasant and quieter than I had feared. Unfortunately, listening to music on the car radio is no fun, because the speakers sound really pathetic. For voice output and audiobooks the sound quality should at least still be sufficient.

At Sinsheim we are bored by the motorway and decide to travel across the countryside on country roads. The feeling that we won't make it to Trier has now evolved to a certainty. Maybe we'll find something interesting along the way. But before, we do another short break on a Lidl parking lot. There is not much going on and we can park well with our huge vehicle. Meanwhile hunger has spread and we are considering whether we should get something to eat or whether we should continue to drive on good luck, in the hope that we pass a nice restaurant or inviting takeaway. We decide for the latter and only buy a few drinks for on the journey at Lidl.

We arrive at the next village, Dühren, when Claudi spots a nice looking restaurant: the Ratsstube. Within walking distance we leave the motorhome on a sports field parking lot. While we inspect the menu the big shock strikes: "Closed today" is written on a piece of paper at the front door. Claudi's face darkens and I don't feel like laughing either. We are so hungry and were so looking forward to getting somethign to eat. Also the menu sounds really good. Just as we are turning around to leave, the door suddenly opens and a woman invites us in. The restaurant is open, there are even a few other guests present. Apparently the plan to leave the restaurant closed on this day was abandoned - but the sign remains hanging. As the weather continues to be really nice we take a seat outside. We treat ourselves to some very good asparagus dishes and a warm apple turnover for dessert. Life is good again, and Claudi's opinion about this way of travelling has improved slightly. I estimate it to be at a neutral level now.

The Ratsstube restaurant
The Ratsstube restaurant

It's not very late, so we're moving on. On the country road we skilfully overtake a scooter driver. It should remain our first and only overtaking manoeuvre with this huge vehicle. Just to be sure I check if the scooter rider can still be seen on the road after the overtaking manoeuvre. One or two hours later - it is already dark - we reach Speyer and see the illuminated cathedral in the distance. Looks cool, let's have a quick look at it. Strangely enough, we end up on another Lidl parking lot. Since the shop is already closed we can leave the vehicle there and set off on foot to the cathedral. Of course we can't get in at this late time, but we didn't expect that either. Afterwards we walk through the pedestrian zone and decide to come back sometime during the day. Although it is already late it is still very warm and actually perfect to stop for a drink somewhere. But instead we decide to drive a few kilometres further in the direction of Trier, so that we can arrive there early the next day.

Speyer Cathedral at night
Speyer Cathedral at night

The next hour's drive is unspectacular, and we are slowly getting tired. Time to find a place to sleep! We drive through a smaller village looking for a suitable parking space, but unfortunately the search turns out to be quite difficult. Only guests are allowed to park on the baths' parking lot, there does not seem to be a sports field anywhere and also the residential areas are already packed. We could spend the night in the industrial area, but it's not very inviting. Besides, Claudi has no desire to be woken up at 6 o'clock in the morning by truck rumble. She's got a point! We end up taking a look in the pitch guide and realize that there is one very close, at the Ohmbach reservoir. So let's get there! Hopefully there'll be one more spot left for us.

We drive a few kilometres and then turn into a small road that looks like it led into a forest. It's pitch-black, hopefully we're on the right track here! After a few meters we reach a barrier. Could this be the pitch? Nothing else can be seen and the barrier is open. We drive through and find ourselves in the middle of a campsite. Of course, this was not what we expected and we are surprised that it is so easy to drive in here at night. We hope that our turning manoeuvre won't wake up half the place and leave again. There we discover the pitch nearby, behind bushes and almost without illumination. No wonder we missed it on the way in. In addition, the place is completely orphaned. But apparently it's open and so we park under a few trees in the back corner. We are dog-tired as we get into bed and fall asleep immediately.

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