I know very well that these are conditions any serious bike tourer should be ready to face. I had, however, hoped that I'd get away without having to do so on my first day on the road. At the least it would have been great if I'd had the time to learn how to navigate efficiently in the German countryside. I've taken a couple of detours, stopped at a couple of gas stations to ask for the best route. My Michelin road map is really not up to the task after all. And the rain and wind didn't exactly make it easier to concentrate on reading road signs. Luckily the absolute majority of the cars that passed me made an effort to make my life as easy as possible.
Leaving Neukloster, armed with the advice I got from a HEM station on the outskirts of town, I pushed on towards Bad Kleinen and Schwerin. As the rain showed no sign of letting up, and the winds steadily drained my newfound strength, I made the final decision to make Schwerin my destination of the day. No sense in expending myself completely, I would only waste energy I need to keep going the days ahead, whatever the weather. I also realised I would have to sleep indoors to preserve my health as well as make sure my equipment is sufficiently dry tomorrow. Riding for four and a half hours in the rain and then sleeping in a tent could end my tour prematurely, and I fully intend to finish what I've started. My decision was further cemented when I took a light fall after loosing grip when I crossed some railroad tracks made incredibly slippery by the rain. I'm fine (really, mom) and the only damage to the bike was a couple of new scratches on the left pedal and the front light bracket that came off. Adapting the Plan to the conditions and knowing my limitations are lessons I've learned before.
Which is why I'm writing this from another comfortable bed, watching Baywatch dubbed into German (Knight Rider was on earlier :). I've spent 25€ on a cosy double room the size of the main room in my apartment. The bathroom is just across the hallway and I have access to a kitchen. Should I feel the urge to spend just a little more, the pub downstairs is said to serve a mean breakfast. The gasthaus is owned by an old couple, and I've felt more than welcome since I first rang the doorbell. They were anxious to hear about my tour, but more importantly for me, I was allowed to bring my bike into the room, never mind the carpet.
I won't make it to Hannover tomorrow, Uelzen seems more realistic. I'll just go along with how I feel in the morning, and what the weather has in store for me.
The day in numbers: 89,88 km, 4h36m29s, 19,50 kmh avg, 39,5 kmh max.
Tour total: 111,74 km