Before I continue – I knew I had taken a picture of that petrol forecourt and the bum burner ride. The reason I couldn't find them was that for some daft reason the pics were not in the correct order either on the phone or the camera.
Firstly, the barriers were a complete joke. I had a look at them. Made of flimsy plastic, they wouldn't have stopped even me on a roller ploughing through them. I was just amazed because in all my travels, stopping in thousands of petrol stations in dozens of countries, this was a first.
Secondly, here is the bum burner. This is not the one that turned my arse into a rubber impregnated version of Kentucky fried chicken, but very similar. It shows you the sheer lunacy of attempting to go down such a thing at full whack without braking AND then actually standing up and running down it!
Looking at the picture, it is obvious I am out of sync by 24 hours. This is actually taken just over the border. The flags are Bavaria and Germany and the monster is called 'Bobbahn'. Not that it makes any difference to the story...
Day 27. Sunday 24th August - Continued
As usual the distance planned and the distance covered didn't add up as equal. I had enough of this nonsense and as the gauge again hovered at 'empty', I swung into a petrol station. I parked up and went straight inside to see if they had hot coffee. I was a shivering wreck. Until I warmed up there was no way I was going to attempt put a hose into the tank. I could see me shaking so much I would land up spraying everywhere.
What you have to understand is that you can't just stick the nozzle in and pump away. The first time I tried this just after purchasing (now, gritting teeth, when I rewrite this entire journey I will explain how come I landed up with it) the roller. The tank is a fraction over five litres. So what happens is the automatic shut off stops after two and a bit. So what you have to do is keep the nozzle out of the tank and pour it in till it starts overflowing everywhere. At this point, getting the cap back on is tricky because when you click it in, more petrol is sprayed onto your arms and face, thus having a fag put on delay for a while.
Using the coffee as hand warmers, after two I stopped resembling a human tuning fork and asked the bored babe behind the desk not if she was horny but where was Horni.
“About 800 metres down the hill.”
Okay, still, since I was here I might as well and now cursing, stripped for the umpteenth time the roller down, filled up, loaded up and putted through the town. I had looked up on the internet exactly where the camp site was (turn right just before the bridge), but after the last experience I wouldn't have been surprised if I would spend another tank of juice wandering around fruitlessly.
But lo and behold – there was a sign! Praise the lord, and after a very bumpy click, parked up at reception just as... yeah, it started to rain. Sheltering under the porch, eventually some bird in her forties rocks up, opens up and I book in. I pass over my photocopy of the passport. She is happy with that. (I doubt she will be happy in a day or two when the police turn up – hah-hah), and I spot two blankets sitting on a couch.
I ask her in English (this was the weirdest thing. I am just five clicks from the German border and she preferred to talk English, and very well actually), if I could borrow them for the night because otherwise she would have to call for a hearse in the morning. I was starving and asked where the next supermarket was. I was told they were closed. That was odd it - was only 5.30pm. But, luckily there was a pub come restaurant on the camp site.
Fine. So I sat under the porch smoking away and hoping the wet stuff stops long enough for me to pitch the bitch of a tent with the broken rod. Eventually it does and shivering again, wander into the so called pub. What a bloody disaster. It was open air. Covered - as in a roof, but open to the elements as howling winds, more rain lashing around and so little lighting I went almost blind trying to read my book as I supped on a cheap pint.
Clientèle were minimum. I had reached a rather interesting part in the book 'The Classic Slum', where it explained that my ancestor’s from my mother's side would stone, burn, beat up and trash the small shops of the Jewish immigrants from my father's side. Really cheer up stuff as I shiver away and force feed myself the wonderful cuisine of deep (stinking) fat cooked freedom fries and microwaved 'schnitzel'.
There was no way I could put a cheer into me so crawled into the soaking pit, fully clothed, wrapped the blankets around me and lulled myself to sleep with my teeth chattering an old lullaby from days long gone by – 'Rise 'o voices of Rhodesia'.
Day 28. Monday 25th August.
What a pisser. Everything was soaking. The poor 'old' roller with no name looked a mess. All the stickers had leaked. Almost none were recognisable. She was dirty and dripped water everywhere.
I sighed. In theory, bar another bizarre incident, we would be home today. As a Rhodesian, I am not into the Chinese very much, not that it stops me buying their stuff. A bit like the Jews hating the Germans but drive Mercs and Porsches. That little machine had not let me down. It was even clever enough to warn me that she needed oil – and soon.
It wasn't raining. But the tent was soaked and considering its spine was snapped, I thought of dumping it – but, if something went wrong (sod's law), I gambled that it was better to strap the soaking stuff onto my now very weary horse. Enough is enough.
I had thought of spending a couple of days checking out Passau, but with the Boss hinting that it was time to stop farting around and rock up for work, I planned the shortest way home. So I hit the road after returning the blankets. Oddly, some bloke in a camper van thought it great fun to inform me that he was amazed I was alive as the night temperature had dropped to 0.7 C. Cool hey! Hardcore Rhodie!
Well, within ten minutes I was at the 'border'. Oh-oh. Besides the usual el-cheepo smokes and booze shop on the Czech side, this was a nothing. There was a new building of 70% empty shops, and a restaurant announcing 'Under New Management'. I looked at my watch. I needed to kill an hour before I crossed. So with the last of my Czech dosh, I reluctantly ate some micro waved (still cold in the middle) spare ribs and concluded that since I was the only punter, they would be closing shop soon; shifted the rest on tobacco, and at exactly 12.30 pm, taking a mother of all breaths – I crossed the border...
If I was to be stopped – all hell would break lose. (To be continued.)