Sunday Morning Aug 8 Stadtprozelten

Written by Jack van Ommen on August 8th, 2010

I am not sure when this will make it on the web site. Of all the countries I have travelled Germany rates as one of the least wireless accessible. About the only public access is in the
the few Turkish cafes where the men play checkers and card games and in the back they have a couple booths with ancient PC’s where they do not let you use your own lap top. In this town they do not even have the Turkish Booths. There is a large camping operated by the marina I am in right now and they have no internet. Practically every marina and camping in Holland and France have wireless available.
So, where is Jack? I did better yesterday than on the first day on the Main when I did only 40 k.m. Friday I got to Erlenbach at KM 101.2, Through 5 locks. I was getting better at the locks, till the last one. I was the only boat in this enormous lock, about 12 x 300 mtr ( 40 x 1000 feet) and the rise is about 18 feet. They started filling the lock before I was properly tied up. Usually there are two large barges ahead of me and they absorb some of this enormous cascade of water that pours in from the front end. It takes a lot more water to fill the lock without these monster barge displacements to fill the lock. So, I am unable to hold the bow into the rush of water and the boat goes sideways in the locks, the mast is longer than the lock is wide. What to do? I ended up giving up on trying to  pull the bow around and cranked the engine up and centered the boat in the lock and kept the boat from bouncing off the walls.
But my trials were not over yet and I should have skipped this Friday all together.
I arrived around 7 p.m. at Erlenbach. A very nice marina and pretty spot. I wanted to get a few groceries and the store in the village was open till 8  o’clock. I took off on my folding bike. When I got to the marina gate it opened automatically but then it also came down hard on my head in the next instant. It threw me off the bike and I it the ground hard and cut my lip, my left hip is sore and I have a few more scratches. But the worst was that it infuriated me why no one warned me or had a sign up. On my way back I showed it again to one of the club members what the gate does to a bicycle. Apparently it works fine on automobiles but there is really no other way to get through with a bike or a motor bike. After I got back from the town I gave the harbor master a piece of my mind but he did not even give me an apology. I look like I was on the losing end of a street fight. After I gathered my self from the ground I took the wrong turn to the town and ended up seeing the store close a minute before I got to it. Then I went to the only internet cafe. The bartender offered to let me use his password to get on the internet. Then I realized that I should have skipped this Friday all together because next my fine HP laptop decided to crash once again. This time it prompts me to reinstall Windows and then it just so happens that the people in Florida who replaced the crashed hard drive just put one of their Windows VISTA versions back on. So, I have nothing to reinstall the software with. And this is the last place in the world to get some help. But I have my old Acer laptop and I backed up the HP laptop only two weeks ago on my external drive.

The weather on Friday was still cloudy and an occasional shower. But this has all changed today. My departure Friday morning was delayed because of a heavy mist but once this burnt off it was a beautiful sunny warm day.
The landscape has changed. I am now going through the higher hills of Hessen, through the forest of Spessart. The river winds in all directions through the valleys. At one time I am heading south and a little later I am heading north east.
I passed a couple of towns I would have loved to be able to explore, Hanau, Afschaffenburg, Freudenberg and Miltenberg. But I am starting to find out that the places for me to stop often are not deep enough for my six foot draft. Most of the marinas are designed to accommodate small power boats. And that was also the reason that I stopped today at 4 pm. at Stadtprozelten at KM 144, because there is nothing where I can fit further away before dark. But it turned out to be a good stop. A charming historic spot. I climbed up to the ruins of the 17th century Henneburg fortification. A great view of the Main river and the Spessart forests. I plan to attend 10.30 mass at the old  Sankt Vitus church.
It is Sunday morning now. It has been raining steadily and I fear that this will mean more adverse current on the Main River.
Well, no church service for me. I found a closed door here at the local church. Turns out the service is held alternately in Stadtprozelten and Dorfprozelten. With my luck this week I ended up at the right pew but the wrong church. Dorfprozelten is too far away to get there on time.

The sun is coming out once again and I’ll be on my way. The marina manager is letting me hook up my external drive to his p.c. I might end up going as far as I can and then stay on anchor for the night.

If I had known the challenges of this trip I might have opted for another route. It is a dream for the eyes the river, old villages and castles, the water fowl, etc. But the same discovery as I had doing my first inland cruise on the Chesapeake Bay in 2007. On the ocean voyages I love the long passages by myself and when ashore I am always meeting fellow travellers with whom we have common grounds. But on the Chesapeake and on the Main I am a strange Duck among the freshwater fowl.  Sharing the experience with someone else would make a big difference. In 2008 I met Lynne on the Chesapeake and we had a great time together later on the Intra Coastal Waterway. Sharing the story with all of you in this blog and getting some of your reactions keep me going and I am certain that I’ll be an experience richer by the time I reach the Black Sea. Yesterday things went much better in the locks. I finally figured out why I could not talk to the tenders on the portable VHF/marifoon. There is a switch for USA and International. Now I ask the tenders to be sure that I am hooked up before they open the sluice gates. The way the locks are set up it actually takes only one person to tend the lines because the posts for the lines are at least over 100 feet from each other so I center the bow and stern line on the same cleat. But it would be nice to have another hand to push of the bow or stern, when needed.

Anyway, if anyone cares to spend part of  the trip with me there are some good deals now on flying to Europe. See, for example,


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jack,

    You probably don’t know how badly I want to go but I doubt that UPS will let me on that short notice. If you can’t find anyone I’ll try if they let me go on a leave of absence.