From UM to UER- Melzow to Grambin (100/19,159ks, 260m)

(written by Dave)

Today we rode from UM to UER.  At least that’s what the state name abbreviations on our map say.  We are not sure what the full names are but we probably couldn’t pronounce them correctly anyway (jump in here at any point Inge – our resident German speaking reader).  Other than riding states with seemly indecisive names, we had a good day.  No broken bike parts and no short-cuts that turned into sandy slogs.

We rode a mix of bike paths and roads.  There was not much traffic so when we were on the road it was easy riding.  Some of the roads were not listed as bike routes but they still had the nice separate bike path anyway.  Because the paths tend to meander, cross driveways and can be bumpy, riding them costs a few kph on our speed.  You can almost feel the motorists getting upset when they overtake you on the road when there is a separate path just off the pavement.  The problem is that sometimes you don’t notice the start and often they put guardrails between the two – making it impossible to cross over when you miss the bike path start.  Very few folks actually honk so the vibe we get when on the road is probably more imaginary than real.

There were lots of windmills today again.  I keep stopping for photos. Nancy is now well and truly at the point of asking “don’t you have lots of windmill photos already?”  I know that they are all basically the same but they always look so graceful and they are never surrounded by the same countryside.  Though here in eastern Germany, the scenery really doesn’t change that much.  It is flat and has field after field of corn, wheat and sunflower crops.  There are some small villages but it is pretty much one giant farm.  We know where Germany gets most of their food – it comes from the east.

Back to the windmills.  I got to thinking about them today and did some more reading.  The first point to note is that they are actually not windmills.  Windmills are technically only used to drive machinery, such as grain mills or water pumps.  When a windmill is used to generate power it is called a wind turbine.  So we’ve been passing row after row of wind turbines, not windmills.

Cyclists tend enter areas of wind turbines with trepidation.  Of course wind turbines mean wind and unless it is behind you, or mostly behind you, wind is never fun for a bicycle.  Wind turbines are designed to point into the wind and a cyclist never likes to look up and see the back side of a wind turbine.  Looking up and seeing blades, on the other hand, means a happy cyclist.  Today, at least in the morning, most of the turbines were not moving and they were all pointing in seemingly random directions.  This means that there was almost no wind and that the last wind to pass was pretty random.  Not as good as a tailwind, but still pretty good from a cyclist’s perspective.  As the day progressed, we started seeing more and more turbines facing our direction – with this came headwinds.

All this talk of talk of windmills and wind turbines got me to thinking.  The newer machines have massive blades and big turbines.  For them to work optimally, they need to point blades into the wind.  The wind vane that tops an old barn uses the wind to change directions windward.  I figured that these massive wind turbines would need a very strong wind to turn them.  So I looked this up as well.  Sure enough, the newer, bigger turbines have wind sensors and small motors to re-direct them.  They have to steal a little power to generate efficiently.

Other than lots of conversation about windmills and turbines, we had a quiet day.  We stopped for morning tea in Prenzow and lunch in Pasewalk.  Pasewalk was most interesting as we visited an old church and a very interesting servo.  At the servo, I spotted and photographed the most interesting toilet seat of the entire trip.  The seat had a little motion sensor that detected when you waved your hand in front of it.  At this point a small section of the back of the seat slid forward and lowered a cleaning device.  As the seat itself is oval, I thought that the little piece would circle the seat but was then surprised to see seat rotate.  There was some form of gear on the seat that made it move forward and back as the oval passed under the cleaner.  If that’s all too confusing, watch the four photos in the slide show below.  You can see the motion.  Ingenious!  A country that does this to servo toilet seats should easily get reliable internet service – you’d think.

We had a bit of trouble getting settled here in Grambin.  There were a couple comp grounds but neither of them had power.  We’ve drained the kindle, camera and phone so we needed power.  We have ended up in a bungalow by the sea.  It is quite the place.  For sure it was built during communist times and more than likely it housed workers or maybe soldiers.   It has a fresh coating of nice cheery blue paint but it wasn’t probably wasn’t always this cheery.  We have been walking around calling each other comrade since we arrived.  I hope that they have removed all of the listening devices.

We have to get the ferry to Sweden on Sunday.  So we have two days to ride 55k to the ferry port.  We’ve had great weather this week but that appears to be ending with rain on the way.  One day out of six with rain when you are this far north is ok by our books.  We may not feel the same way if it gets too wet but right now we are just happy that we only had wind to deal with throughout the week.

We’ll try to post this now but it will likely have to wait until we get access to wi-fi again.

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3 thoughts on “From UM to UER- Melzow to Grambin (100/19,159ks, 260m)

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