An interesting bump on the Lahn Valley as seen from L3048
I rode more of the Lahn valley today and about half of my riding was on the Lahn Radweg. I'm in Kirchhain tonight, a small town about eight miles west of Marburg an der Lan. Kirchhain is near the Lahn, on a section where the Lahn, which had been heading north east through Marburg, heads southeast for a while. Tomorrow I'll try to follow it southeast. The road is B62, which, north of Kirchhain, does not allow bicycles. I think it does south of here, and/or there may be a radweg on the Lahn. I had originally routed through Marburg, but ended up not going there because the road I ended up at after I lost the Lahn Radweg about a dozen mile south of Marburg is an expressway which doesn't allow bikes. I could have backtracked and taken another road to Marburg, but it was much easier, and much shorter, to take L3048 directly to Kirchhain which was my days destination.
Looking back down the Lahn at Limburg's Dom and old bridge
Leaving Limburg was easy, I just headed east from my hotel and followed the railroad tracks to Eschofen. I stopped there at a bakery for bread and snacks, then rode toward Ennerich. Before I reach that small town, I saw a radweg heading off towards the Lahn. I followed it, ending up across the river from Dehrn, then I followed another closed road - bikes, horse, and foot traffic only - which took me back to the other side of Ennerich. This was highly inefficient - I rode half a dozen miles on dirt in order to avoid one mile on a nice road, but fun. I had no information, other than my compass, about where the bike path or the closed road was going, just faith that they would go somewhere from where I could get back to my route. When I got back to the paved road, L3020, I followed it to Runkel and then on to Weilburg. I had debated which route to use between Runkle and Weilburg - they both looked hilly - and I fell back to following the signs. I rode L3020 between Runkle and Weilburg. It is very hilly, climbing at least 300 meters, most of the climbing on long grades >= 10%. It is also great bicycling through beautiful woods and rolling (some of it steeply rolling) country above the river valley. I don't know if the other way, which goes on the other side of the river, has less climbing, but it has to have less steep climbing!
Steep climbing after Runkle
Into the woods
When I got near Wielburg, I saw a road heading north to Waldhausen and, checking my mapping software, decided to route through Lohnberg rather than Weilburg. It worked, albeit with some more steep climbing, and I got back on L3020 in Lohnberg. Shortly thereafter, L3020 goes away and B49 continues along the Lahn. B49 is an expressway and no place for a bicycle. At the start of B49 I could see an old, bicycle friendly road, it even had a sign to that effect on L3020, but I had a heck of a time getting to the road. Looking at my mapping software, it seems that you should go past the end of 3020 - it becomes 3044 - and then turn right onto the old road, Vor der Pfann. From B49, I saw some bicyclists heading under a bridge at the start of B49, and then I found a way to get down to the creek on the other side. It was not obvious how to get there and, when I found the way, it looked like it might violated my principle of no return:" don't go there if you can't get back!" I went there - down a steep dirt incline - and got to the old road. Next time I'll ride on on 3020 looking for the less challenging way!
The sign - looks good!
The route - can I get back up?
The road - nice!
It wasn't long after that that I saw my first of many radweg tourists and knew I had found a way to the Lahn Radweg. I stopped, while the road was still a road, at a picnic site setup for a solo rider (!) and ate my goodies from the bakery and the some of my bread. The bread was the best I've found since France. Then I rode on to find the first of many signs that directed me to the Lahn (and other) Radweg(s). I followed radweg signs from then until I couldn't find them anymore about forty miles later.
The first sign
A typical section
A section along the expressway
A section with flowers
Dirt road section
Some of the Lahn Radweg runs along the river, but more of it runs alongside the expressway, usually down an embankment with plants blocking the view, the wind blast, and most of the noise, and some of it runs by the railroad or just off in the valley by itself. It was not fast riding partly because I often had to search for signs and think to decide which way to go at many intersections. Sometimes, I just had to guess. Thanks to the signing system - I think they sign every radweg that connects to the Lahn radweg as the Lahn Radweg - and the fact that it all runs down a valley where you can, usually, see the sides, I managed to keep finding the Lahn Radweg for forty miles. I knew I had lost it when the dirt road I thought was the radweg, climbed steeply for 50 m vertical, something the river radweg don't do. Shortly after that my road sort of dead ended at an interesting set of dwellings (fake castle and tee-pee next door to each other!). I back tracked a little and took another dirt road heading south which, less than a mile later, ended at a paved road going north-south. I headed north, saw signs for Marburg, and thought things would work out, but those signs directed me to the expressway where it intersects L3048. Since L3048 went to my planned destination, I just rode on on L3048.
L3048 headed north-east - nice riding!
When I first considered routing across between the two part of the Lahn rather than along the river, I worried that it might be really hilly. L3048 was less hilly that any other road I rode today. It was more hilly than the radwegs, but almost anything is hillier than a river radweg! The lanes were wide and the traffic, mostly cars with an occasional big truck, was light. What climbing there was - less than 100m in fifteen miles - was gentle and the countryside was scenic. There was this one interesting hill sticking up near the south-east flowing leg of the Lahn, but otherwise, it was just gently rolling country.
Because of the shortened route, I got to Kirchhain about 4:15. I looked for a hotel, found three, but none opened till 4:30. I rode around town a bit - interesting - and checked my routing out of town, before I finally got into a hotel. Then there was a language problem and a problem with the rate - about double what it should have been for this kind of room - and the nice lady helping me let the steel garage door hit me when I was putting my bike in the garage, adding yet another wound to my battered head!
It was not an auspicious start to the evening, but it got better when I went down for supper. Her husband, the owner who speaks English pretty well, apologized for the head wound and adjusted the rate to the lowest I've had in Germany. Supper was good and my room, although simple and sharing the bathroom (WC and shower) with other rooms is actually well set up for my primary evening activity, creating these web pages.