Rinse and repeat. That was the motto for today. Get up early, ride hard, push through all of Austria and arrive in Würzburg at Flo’s dad’s place in the evening.
From Budapest, Vienna is just 150km away so when we reached the Austrian capital, it was time for our first coffee stop. Not wanting to get into the city traffic, we had it at a motorway fuel station along with the obligatory Mozart chocolate. It had been raining since we crossed into Austria and it didn’t look like it would stop any time soon so I put on all of my rain gear now, Flo was still wearing his from yesterday’s rain.
It only got worse. All through Austria, it was pourring down with rain. While the suits kept us dry, our gloves were soaked through leading to cold hands and our boots were simply carry-on puddles. During a roadside lunch break at Burger King’s, we emptied our boots out, at least.
All this rain led to the probably most dangerous situation of the whole trip. It was gushing down, making it hard to see much and the Austrian traffic people deemed it appropriate to paint a giant white arrow for direction right into a corner. Only the right lane turned but the next lane over was also ornated with an arrow pointing straight ahead…in a corner. Rain and paint are the deadliest combination of things for a motorcyclist. The rear tire gave way and slide which brought the bike to wooble dangerously before the tire had grip again. Lucky us that we didn’t fall going 130 km/h on a motorway.
The border between Austria and Germany is practically non-existent. We were waved through without a glimpse into our passports and weren’t even able to stop at the “Welcome to the Federal Republic of Germany” sign as there was simply no place to stop. Still wanting to get a “back in Germany” photo, we stopped at the next rest area. As soon as we had crossed over to Germany, the rain had stopped. Still, we didn’t quite get our celebratory photo as Flo discovered bright green cooling liquid on Rocinante’s side; we had a leaking radiator.
The next fuel station was not too far away. They even sold liquid that is supposed to fix small leaks. All you have to do is pour it in and keep the motor going for 15 to 20 mins so that it can harden. As soon as the engine went on, cooling liquid was gushing all over the place. This motorbike was going nowhere until the radiator was fixed. Out of money and out of time, this would mean the end of our trip. No riding into Frankfurt, celebrating our achievement. What a bitter disappointment. Flo was desperate.
So first, we called the ADAC. There was nothing more we could try at the fuel station so we might as well hope that they send a mechanic. They didn’t. They sent a towing truck for a car. He was competent nonetheless and we had Rocinante securely on the truck in no time. The workshop we were towed to was awesome but they didn’t have good news for us: The replacement would only be here at the end of the week and it would cost us 500 euros. Impossible. We have neither the time nor the money for it. Completely deflated, we asked about a botch job. Due to German law, the workshop is unable to provide anything like that. You could sue the workshop and no one would take that risk. However, one of the staff people gave us the hint that we, ourselves, could ask someone to fuse the holes and put the radiator back in. This way, the workshop would be not liable and we have at least the chance to ride to Frankfurt. They were even able to point us to a mechanic for radiators of all sorts. Flo called him and he agreed to see us at 8am tomorrow morning to take a look at the radiator and try to fuse it.
Tomorrow morning. At least, there was hope again. All we had to do now was get a rental car as the mechanic was 25km away from Passau. Oh, and a place to spend the night which wouldn’t cost 50 Euros. We checked everything online but 50 euros was the cheapest we could find. So we concentrated on finding a rental car and got lucky. There was a special offer: 33 euros for one day and 300km. If everything else failed, we would sleep in the car. As Passau turned out to be too expensive for us, we started driving towards the mechanic. The GPS showed a camp ground on the way and maybe it would be less than 50 euros.
The camp ground turned out to be amazing. 12 euros for a night for two people; exactly what we needed for one night. Super-duper tired, we put up the tent one last time. Tomorrow would tell us if we can arrive in Frankfurt on two wheels or if we have to resort to four wheels instead.