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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

The day everyone has been waiting for is here: It’s Thanksgiving, and that means it’s time for the Ramstein Roadrunner’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. If you have the day off, there is no better place to be than Volksmarching in the Ramstein area.

Thanksgiving might be an American holiday, but starting the day off with a brisk walk through the forests and fields to build up the metabolism and then having a bratwurst and a cold beverage to hold you until turkey time sounds like a great way to spice up the holiday with a touch of German culture. Take the opportunity to log a few extra kilometers and spend some quality time on the trail with family and friends.

The event begins in Ramstein village at the intersection of Jahnstrasse and Landstuhler Strasse. The easiest way to reach the TV 03 Turnhalle is to take the road connecting the towns of Landstuhl and Ramstein, heading toward Ramstein. The Turnhalle is on the left, less than half a kilometer from the little traffic circle near the Shell gas station.

The 5- and 10-kilometer trails start between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; the finish time is 3 p.m. Please finish by that time so club members and other volunteers can quickly clean the hall and get home to their Thanksgiving meals. This year’s souvenir is a foot-high nutcracker. Choose between a soldier and a prince.

If you can’t make it to the walk but want some information about the Roadrunners, check out the Web site www.ava.org/clubs/ramsteinroadrunners/home.htm.

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Veterans Day after-action report: I (Bob) drove to Bütgen- bach, Belgium, and despite the rain and fog, enjoyed a very nice walk. The route took me along Lake Bütgenbach and across a dam. I kept thinking of one of our favorite sayings: “I bet this is pretty … when the sun is out!”

By 11 a.m. I had finished the walk and, after a brief stop at the “Big Red One” monument near Büllingen, was in the nearby town of Krinkelt. I visited the memorials to the 2nd and 99th infantry divisions who fought nearby during the Battle of the Bulge. Even with the rain coming down, there were several men there using a special cleaning solution to clean and polish the stone monuments.

I read about the 99th ID in Bill Warnock’s book “The Dead of Winter.” During the past two decades, Warnock and a team of workers have located several men from the 99th who had been killed during the battle and whose bodies had not been recovered.

The weather had become too nasty to try to walk through the woods looking for old foxholes and fighting positions in an effort to get an appreciation of the terrain where they fought, but now I am familiar with the area and look forward to another visit.

My trip home took me along the dragon’s teeth of the Siegfried Line and past the beautiful old town of Monschau, Germany.

Drop me an e-mail if you want more information on Warnock’s book.

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After a three-year hiatus, the Wanderfreunde Bischofsdhron club has added a Saturday evening torch walk to its weekend Volksmarch in Morbach-Bischofsdhron, Germany. The 5k Fackelwanderung (torch walk) starts between 4 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday. There is also a Saturday marathon event starting between 7 and 8:30 a.m.

For you regular day-time Volksmarchers, there are 5-, 10- and 21-kilometer routes both Saturday and Sunday. Start the 5k route between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., the 10k route between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the 21k route between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. You must finish each day by 5 p.m. There will be live music on Saturday evening.

There is conflicting information on the location of the start hall. The flier lists the Baldenauhalle in Morbach, while the DVV Web site puts the start at the Gemeindehaus in Bischofsdhron. The two towns are pretty close together, so just watch for the signs.

Other torch walks in Germany this weekend are in Mönchen- gladbach, Offenburg-Fessenbach and Gundelfingen-Donau. A small crocheted pillow cover is your souvenir at Gundelfingen- Donau. As with all torch walks, carry a flashlight if you don’t feel like playing with fire — plus, you never can tell when they might run out of torches for sale.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

¶ The walk in Bunde, Netherlands, starts at 8 a.m., but the flier does not give a final possible start time or an overall finish time. This walk is close enough to the Oirsbeek walk that it would be easy to do two walks in one day. We’d recommend hitting the Bunde walk when it opens and then heading to Oirsbeek since its hours are listed.

¶ You can get a flashlight with a built-in tool kit at the Volksmarch in Aulendorf, Germany. The 6-, 10- and 15-kilometer marches begin both days from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (finish by 4 p.m.). After your walk, relax in the local Thermalbad, for a reduced price, with your valid start card.

¶ The members of the Wanderfreunde Ensdorf e.V., Germany, host their 29th Volksmarch this Saturday and Sunday. An elk wearing Christmas attire and holding a teddy bear is the prize for walking the 5- or 10-kilometer trails. Start the courses from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to noon Sunday. Finish time for both days is 4 p.m.

¶ The flier for the walks in Holz/Saar claims there are new trails this year.

¶ This year’s walk in Wiesenfeld, Germany, is on Sunday only.

¶ The prize for the walk in Tiefenbach is a “Vliestasche.” We translate that as a “fleece pocket,” but are not sure what that is. It might be worth doing the walk just to find out.

¶ If you’re heading for Denmark this weekend, stop and do the walk in Breklum, Germany. It is near Flensburg and the Danish border.

Please e-mail Volksmarch schedule information for any country to two.walkers@ yahoo.com. By conventional mail, send brochures (in date order if possible) to: Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.


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