Friday, July 09, 2010

Day 23: Puch im Hallein to Radstadt

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We left the hotel this time at 8:00am, and returned to the bike path to go along the Tauern bike path once more. Tauern is the name of the big national park in Austria, which encompasses several disjoint section, including the Grossglockner highway, which was our ultimate destination. My goal today was to get to Radstadt, where I had stayed one November in 2008. I had good memories of a family run place there, but it was booked for the Friday. I did find an alternative online, a wellness center which was offering very reasonable rooms at 25 EUR or so a person.

The bike path undulates roughly along the river, occasionally climbing into the local hills to visit a town. Since we had reservations, there was no pressure to take the absolutely fastest route to Radstadt. My intention was to follow my original route back from 2008 and reverse it, but the Garmin Edge 705 Bicycle GPS Navigator that Includes Heart Rate Monitor and Speed/Cadence Sensor (Factory Refurbished) was so slow it could not recover the saved track in a reasonable amount of time.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

We saw beautiful houses on hills, gorgeous wildflowers, tree houses in the bike paths, and a few cyclists on the bike path.

In Golling, the GPS told me to turn off onto highway 152 towards Radstadt. The freeway was indeed signed for Radstadt, and I had never taken this route before, so I decided to do so rather than take Pass Lueg, which was probably an easier climb. The highway follows the Lammer river, and we got to ride on a schizophrenic bike path along it, which couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a paved road or an unpaved dirt trail, and so switched constantly between pavement and dirt. Past Scheffau, the bike path disappeared just before a hill, forcing us to climb up on the road while the river disappeared behind a gorge which we could not see.

It was noon by the time we rolled into Waldhof for a supermarket lunch, and it was warm! Lisa tried to take a nap but between the traffic and the warmth it was a lost cause. Just before Erlfeld, however, the GPS unit directed me onto a hiking trail away from the main road, and it turned out to be a delight, following a sweet little mountain stream in the shade. The hiking trail (which was signed to be permissible to bikes) did not return to the road until Abenau.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

From there, the road descended back to the Lammer river, and we began a series of rolling climbs which ultimately culminated in our losing quite a bit of elevation when we descended to highway 99. Nevertheless, the route was pretty and it was fun, though Lisa was pretty tired towards the end. As we headed along the Enns river, the sights started looking familiar, and I found the Enns river bike path. What I should have done was to follow it all the way to Radstadt, but as I watched the kilometers count down I finally decided to return to the main highway to enter Radstadt on it.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

Wellness Haus Reichelt turns out to be the home of Hannes Reichelt, a much decorated skier who had won several world cups! His mom ran the place while he was out skiing and racing all over the world. He was very famous in Radstadt, so whenever we told people we were staying there they would make a skiing motion with their arms. The place had a pool (an organic one that had no chlorine!), very nice beds, a garden, and exercise room. We were quite impressed for the price.

It was early enough in the day that we had time to go to the post office to buy a SIM card. As we chatted with the clerk who handled the transaction, he told us to get an early start tomorrow because the traffic would be very heavy on a Saturday over Radstadter Tauern (1738m). We asked if 7:30 would be early enough, and he said how about 5:00am or 6:00am. There was no way I could ask Marianne Reichelt to have breakfast that early, so my heart sank.

At a bookstore, I finally found a map that covered the region we were headed into, so I bought it. Lisa also spotted the Motorrad Reisekarten Alpen, a collection of maps covering the entire alps at my favorite scale of 1:300,000, and we took pictures of it so I could look for it in Munich at the end of the trip. It was warm in the afternoon, and we had a meal before walking back to Wellnesshaus Reichelt for an evening swim and another shower. Marianne even provided a wireless internet key for free as part of the room, so I could book a hotel for tomorrow. Given the warning about traffic and the anticipated steepness of the climb, I booked a place in Sankt Michael, at the foot of the Katschberg pass (1641m), which had 15%, 17%, and 21% grades stamped all over it on my map, so we didn't have to do two passes that day.

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