Tour of the Alps 2020 – Monday July 13th

Altstätten — Rankweil — Furkajoch — Schnepfegg — Schönenbach — Sibratsgfäll — Rohrmoossattel — Sonthofen (125.8 km, 2703hm)

Furkajoch selfie

The day started fine and it was somewhat warm already early in the day. I went down to the same crossing I recently made over the Rhein river when the bridge was being rebuilt, but luckily the work was finished now. Then in Austria I went up the shortest way through Götzis to the road that goes to Rankweil over Therenberg (hard to follow even with a GPS device, but I made it after a few short stops).

I got on the correct way up through Muntlix to the start of the climb up to Furkajoch (1758m), but decided I needed a coffee before taking off up there so went down in Rankweil (470m) and eventually found a less good café in the centre. Then I was off with close to 1300hm to climb. I remembered from my only previous visit to Furkajoch in 2004 that the side down to Rankweil appeared like the harder climb (so it is) and felt I needed to climb this one properly again from the west and I also was looking less happy than in any other photo ever in my only photo up there (a selfie). So time to try and a look a bit more happy at the same place, hence the photo (which shows I was rather tired when I eventually got up and was also catching up with another rider).


Furkajoch

Thought I should have a sausage at the top as I was not sure when I would stop again. Got it slightly cheaper as I had forgotten to get euros enough and they do not always take cards here. It was a bit chilly up here so I hurried on (was sitting here as there were least wind here and the place was not open for sitting inside this season).


Furkajoch

Soon had to stop for the lovely views down the east side. It is one of the nicest passes in this area of Austria!


Furkajoch

More niece views and lots of high mountains ahead here.


Furkajoch

A last looking back up to Furkajoch.


Furkajoch

The view ahead from the same place as above.


Faschinajoch

Taking left at the first fork, but stopped to take a photo up to Faschinajoch (1487m) (that I only climbed up this side on in 2004). I then continued down to Au and got some money. Found no obvious place to stop at to buy something and did not really anything now, so continued down back west again, but only until the next asphalted turn-off north to Schnepfegg (891m) – a nice very little pass over to Oberdorf (Bizau) (705m).


Schnepfegg

At Schnepfegg here.


Schönenbach

Then I went up to Schönenbach as I had spotted a possible short-cut road over to Germany. This would be a very smart way to cycle to Germany from Au and it is nice and paved well up to Schönenbach/Hänsleregg (1048m) – Hänsleregg seems to correspond to the pass here, or it is later on from where I took this photo looking back near the end of the asphalt.


Schönenbach

Looking ahead the road looked great here, but that only lasted like 100-200m here. After a while the road turned rather bad and it was just a little too bad to cycle on with a road bike, so I started to walk instead as it would be faster than going back and around.


Schönenbach

It was nice here and the weather was great, but I could cycle only very little along the whole gravelled stretch here. It looks fairly good in the photo here, but it was just too much small stones so it made no sense trying to cycle with a road bike and the chance of getting a flat was simply a bit too big, so I walked. Think I cycled a few metres here, but it got worse again. Unfortunately it took much longer to walk than I had anticipated – really wish they would pave this stretch, but guess there are those who do not like that. I walked for 1hour 25mins.


Rohrmoossattel

It was then asphalted down to a river and up to Sibratsgfäll, where I tried to find an open café, shop or restaurant, but nothing was open here or on the way to Germany. I continued on the very nice and undulating little road to Aibelealpe and the Rohrmoossattel/Wasserscheide (1120m). First the border was crossed at a curious place in the woods, but it was just to continue, but a bit later the road was regulated for motor traffic and not sure through traffic is allowed for all. It then got a little steep, but not for so long, but there had been a descent to the border earlier. Here I am at the highest point on the long saddle looking back.


Rohrmoossattel

Perfect new asphalt here and now looking ahead with the mountains to the right marking the border to Austria and this is the very most southern passage in this area of Germany.


Rohrmoossattel

Nice views down from Rohrmoos and one can see the mountains across from Oberstdorf and here the highest paved asphalted road in Germany goes to Nebelhorm. I had planned to go there this evening, but it was starting to get late. It was just over 18 already and even if I in theory could have gotten up and just down to a first hotel, it looked a bit uncertain to me now and I was worried about lodging and the place half-way up to Nebelhorn did not get good reviews, but might have been a good place anyway. I fairly quickly decided to skip my plans on going up the feared Nebelhorn partly as I learned that it was close to impossible to climb with a road bike for a fairly long stretch at the steepest place (gravel-filled broken concrete and too steep). I had walked enough this day already – that was the main reason for skipping Nebelhorn this time.

I tried to ask for lodging early on as I had seen when searching beforehand that the area was rather expensive, but it was fully booked at the first places, so I just continued to Obermaiselstein where it looked like I could find something. Went in to a restaurant to ask and thinking maybe I should eat first, but was told to visit the tourist centre to ask first for lodging – never go to them as they are always closed when I comes around and usually of no help anyway, but went there, but it was already closed, I think, so continued on as the area looked overflowing with tourists. Down in Fischen I found nothing worthwhile and continued and asked at two more places, but without luck. I continued to Sonthhofen, which is a city and I have been there before and surely they should have something. I had to circle around that city for 30 minutes or more asking people and at hotels until I finally found the last hotel and probably the only one not fully booked. I would have thought there was a problem for tourism in these corona times, but there could not possibly be more people around here at any time really. It was a little shabby, but got something to eat and the price was fair. I would not have that much problem finding a lodging until the last night again though.



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