05-Jun-2004 -- After a busy week in university, I descided to plan a bike-trip to a confluence on the week-end. 51°N 10°E was the next unvisited point for me in the region, 74,5 km bee-line distant from Ilmenau, so I thought it's possible to have a round trip to the point and back in one day with the bicycle.
I started in the morning at quarter past six, clouded sky, some rain, less then 10°C - perhaps not the best day for a cycling trip about 200 kilometers, but I tried to have some fun. After cycling the first two and a half hours in rain, I started to doubt on my plan and thought about a way back by train - nevertheless, I would like to reach the confluence even in that rainy conditions.
Passing Eisenach, I arrived in Hörschel, the starting point of 'Rennsteig', the famous walking path over the 'Thüringer Wald'. Still 20 km bee-line from the confluence in Hörschel, I continued, crossed the 'Autobahn' and got a new rain shower on the last ten kilometers.
Finally I arrived on the parking behind Blankenbach, the confluence on a hill 350 meters in front of me. Unfortunately the rain didn't stop and I realized, that the point was in the middle of a huge rape field. I started to cross the field, walking in a tractor lane, but with all the rape flowers around me, some were about 1,50 m high(!), I was quickly completely wet and yellow by the leafs. I easily found the confluence, got directly all "Zeros" because of perfect signal strength, celebrated the arrival and took some pictures.
Back at the bicycle, I tried to dry myself a bit, ate something and started to cycle back home. I didn't like to take the train at that moment, so I continued my bike-trip on the southern side of the 'Thüringer Wald'. On the following kilometers, I found some funny town-names, like 'Waldfisch', 'Gumpelstadt', 'Schweina' or 'Schnellbach'. In the afternoon and after many kilometers on streets going up and down all the time, I finally climbed up the mountain to Oberhof over the 'Rennsteig', where I arrived in clouds and continued the last few kilometers over Schmücke back to Ilmenau; I was back after 14:30 hours on tour.
All in all a very nice cycling-trip over 228,5 kilometers, 2700 meters climbing up the hills and mountains and temperatures around 8-12°C. The way was like a half-round trip of the 'Thüringer Wald', passing the end in the north-west. Unfortunately I had rain for about 150 kilometers, but that couldn't stop me to cycle all the distance in bike-shorts...