Castles Everywhere

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The Rhine River valley has scenery that doesn’t quit with castles every few miles, churches, wonderful towns, the river, trains, and every few minutes there’s a river barge or cruise boat going by.  We drove the Rhine going from Mainz almost to Koblenz and mostly on the right side which I think has the best views.  It is tempting to drive both sides because there’s so much to see.
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There is no shortage of campgrounds or parking for campers along the river.  There are many, many more campers on the road in Europe than in the US and so it’s not necessary to drive far to find a place for the night.  We wanted to stay the night in Bacharach but were on the wrong side of the river so we went to a ferry crossing but were over the maximum height allowed.  We then had our eyes set on another place and managed to cross the Rhine further up the road.  However, that Stellplatz had turned itself into a campground with triple the rates and we plowed on.
We wanted to also see the Mosel River but didn’t want to go through Koblenz so took a short cut over the hills.  As you can see, these hills are pretty steep and almost straight up at times.  After driving a fair distance, we were only 2 1/2 miles from the Mosel when a sign said no vehicles over 6 meters could go further because of a 16% grade and very sharp switchbacks.  In fact there were drawings showing oversized vehicles hanging off the edge.  Tulip is 7.13 meters.  We sat there a while thinking the situation over and Steve was all for taking the plunge thinking maybe they were exaggerating the 6 meter limit.  Remember when we came off a high mesa in Utah last fall with steep switchbacks?  This was much, much hairier.  Tulip barely made it around each of about 10 switchbacks that were also extremely steep.  We passed some tough looking motorcyclists stopped along the way and they stared at Tulip and the road with their mouths hung open.   We lived but I think signs like that one won’t be ignored again.
As soon as we got to the bottom we saw a sign for free camper parking in the little town of Alken.  We would have stayed more than one night but needed water and there was none here.  Alken is the cutest little town but I have no pictures from our walk there because I left the camera’s memory card in the PC.  After we parked we noticed this castle above us. 

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