July 18: The day started out easy enough. Good roads, good speeds. Then we stopped to change drivers, telling the others to run on and we would catch up. So now we are speeding along at 65mph, maybe more, when we saw a pretty young woman at the side of the road waving frantically at us. It was not the “young women of the daytime” we saw along the road outside of Moscow and then again outside of Prague, with heels that were higher than skirts were long, but our own Tatiana. Seems the rest of the group had decided to stop for gas and lunch and she was left to flag us down.
Now the first problem was she was just beyond the exit which meant by the time we stopped we had to back up on the autobahn to make the exit. Not something I’d recommend when speeds are either 130kmh or no speed limits at all. OK, this maneuver done, Ed climbed into the back and Tatiana in the front. All is well, she told us they were just down the road at a gas station. However, when we got to a T, she wasn’t sure if they had gone right or left. We selected left, found a gas station but not our cars. A few maneuvers and phone calls later they were found. Of course they all thought we were the ones lost!
But back to the car, with Ed in the back, Tatiana in the front, and me driving, I heard a noise that I had not heard before. Ed thought it was stones hitting the underside of the car and I thought it was in was due to the rearranged luggage in the back (to make room for Ed). Neither of us said anything to the other. Then suddenly the car jerked, we all heard a big bang, and the back tire was sliding rather than turning. I immediately thought it was a blow-out. We have not had any tire problems, but Jack has had three and Jerry has ruined two and Clay has had one. It was our turn for sure. Not so, we got out to change it, we discovered something quite unusual. Our seatbelts do not retract and when Tatiana got in, the seatbelt was left outside the door. It had been hitting the side of the car and finally got caught under the rear tire. Nothing was damaged. Not the tire and not the seatbelt-other than the plastic cover over the buckle! We were back on our way to lunch in 2 mintues, laughing and relieved we did not have to use the one spare we have. (I earlier reported that one spare tire and rim was left in Kazakhstan.)
Now the end of the day. We arrived Munich for a tour of the Deutsches Museum (owned by Siemens, you know the name) which houses one of the best antique car collections including the German Protos that ran in the Great Race 1908.
This car arrived Paris first, but the Thomas Flyer was declared the winner after the race committee penalized the Protos for riding on a train car and not making the trip to Alaska.
Of even more significance to Ed, was the 1886 Benz, the first gasoline powered car ever. He was really moved, never expecting to see this car in his lifetime. And this is the very first one ever made, having been purchased from Benz for this private collection in 1906. It has a vertical crankshaft, like a lawnmower because Benz thought the force produced by a horizontal crankshaft would tip a car over.
Now to end the day we went to a beer garden for dinner, met Kelly, Max and Kevin, three young people who had just met each other tripping around Europe. Good to see young people still doing this. Reminds me of the 70s and 80s. Then to the Hofbrauhaus, the most famous beer garden in Munich. We drank liters beers and listened to a real German umpha band! It doesn’t get much better than that! Best of all, Baron Von Siemens went with us.
Tomorrow, Zurich and on the way, a stop in Dachau, surely to be an emotional day.
Jan and Ed