I got to Charlotte airport about three hours before the departure so that I would have plenty of time to deal with any problems that arose. None did, so I had checked my luggage, the bike in a bike box and a duffel containing three panniers, two of which were half empty, and my handlebar bag. I made the mistake of putting the sleeping bag, which wouldn't fit in the duffel bag, in the bike box on top of some other stuff on my rear rack. Here is what the rear of the box looked like when it got to Munich. Actually, this was the bottom of the box when it arrived and the rear of my bike was hanging out of the hole! The sleeping bag was gone and the rear light had come off. One of its four rechargeable batteries was on the floor by the ripped box and the light body was still in the box with the bike.
The British Airways (BA) lady here says to buy a new sleeping bar and then ask BA in Charlotte to reimburse me. The only problem is that tomorrow, when I am headed into Munich, is a holiday so the stores will be closed. Maybe I can buy a sleeping bag in Erding? There is a sporting goods store downtown which might have one
The flight, other than its mildly traumatic ending, went very smoothly. Essentially every thing happened as expected. The flights was on time, the service was good, the price was good, and the food was good. No complaints except for some !#$@!# baggage handler in London. Here is a picture of the waiting area at Heathrow for flights going to Europe.
At the Munich Airport, I visited with several bicyclists who were riding out of the airport. I had plenty of time to visit since I had to wait half a hour to talk with the airline rep about my damaged luggage. One was a man from near Oxford who was heading down into the Alps to ride passes for the next two weeks. The other was an American couple here for a longer tour, mostly in Austria. All three bikes arrived without damage.
My bike wasn't damaged so, after dealing with the lost sleeping bag, I put everything back together and rode out of the airport. I followed the yellow signs for Erding, which was only a little traumatic in the construction area near the airport. When I saw a bike path down a slight embankment, I walked my bike down and rode in peace for the next 10 km. I wasn't sure it was going to Erding, but it went in the right direction and it was peaceful, pretty riding. The area northwest of Munich is flat, and the riding was very easy. The weather was cloudy and a few drops of rain hit me as I rode, but it felt very good to be on my bike again.
As I approached Erding, traffic got pretty heavy and, in Erding it was a pain to ride on the road. I got off to let a big truck pass and to look at my mapping software. The BA lady had recommended that I ride farther south, but I couldn't find the place she recommened, so I decided I should stop in Erding. The fact that it was starting to rain helped me make that decision < grin>.
I stopped at a butcher shop to ask for help finding a place to stay, but the folk there didn't speak any English and we weren't able to communicate. Then I sood by my bike on the sidewalk, asking people if they spoke English. A fellow came by on a bike - a middle aged man carrying a long board slung on his back - and, although he couldn't speak English, managed to figure out what I needed - das zimmer frei - and, leaving his board by the butcher shop, led me to the Haus-Nina a few blocks away. Nice people, reasonable rate (40 Euro), and a beautiful place.
I needed cash, so they told me where to find an ATM downtown. Downtown streets are cobblestone and it had been raining. Wet cobblestones are slippery! The bank was closed, requiring me to use my card to get in to the ATM (Geldautomat) machine, and I couldn't figure out how to do it. I went in a nearby shop, but the lady there, although she was happy to let me use my Visa card, didn't know how to help me get to the ATM. I went back the bank and got another customer to let me in. Then I bought some supper and headed back to my room.
Today I'm planning to riding to Dacau and, possibly, Munich. Hopefully I'll have bike paths most of the way. My stomach is a bit upset from the local diet - bread, cheese, and sausage - and I'm groggy from jet lag, but it is a beautiful day out there!