Volksmarch column for the July 23, 2009 edition
July 23, 2009
One of the songs in the musical “Oklahoma!” by Rodgers and Hammerstein includes these lyrics:
“The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye,
And it looks like it’s climbing right up to the sky.”
Well, the corn is not that high yet in Europe, but the price of gas is back in that range. We see two good strategies to combat this: Join your local club on a bus trip or look into car pooling.
We have been receiving e-mails from members of the Stuttgart German American Wandering Club announcing its plans to attend a walk and how they are willing to take fellow walkers. The messages name the walk location, the date, what time they are planning to leave from a certain location, how many riders they can accommodate and a means of contacting the driver to confirm your seat.
For example, “I’m going to the Stuttgart walk this Saturday. I’ll meet you at the Patch Barracks Burger King at 9 a.m. for a 9:15 departure. I can take three passengers. Reply to this e-mail or call me at XXXX if you want to join me.”
We think this is an excellent idea, and it brings back memories of when Bob was TDY in Würzburg in 1996 without a car. After racing to get the Thursday-morning volksmarch column in Stars and Stripes, several of us would burn up the telephone lines trying to organize rides for the weekend. It was rare when rides could not be arranged. With the increased use of e-mail today, this process is a lot easier.
We also have ideas on car-pool etiquette that we recommend you observe.
• First, offer the drivers a few euros for gas. If they refuse, at least buy their start card.
• Second, respect the driver’s time for departure. Don’t whine, “But I really want to walk the 20k route,” when the driver only has time for 10 kilometers.
• Last, if you have a car, offer to drive next time and put the message out to your co-walkers.
Car pooling is a win-win situation. It gets people without a car into volksmarching, it saves on gasoline consumption and it frees up parking spaces at the start hall. When was the last time you carpooled?
• • •
Last week we mentioned how several unfortunate factors caused the cancellation of this year’s walk by the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club. We would like to remind you of the tremendous effort that is required to sponsor a walk. It takes hundreds of hours over several months to plan and coordinate the many activities that have to come together seamlessly on walk day.
We mention this because you still have time to help with two big walks coming in the fall. They are two of the most popular walks, not only for Americans but also for the general public, and are two of our personal favorites. We’re talking about the Heidelberg walk in September and the Ramstein Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.
The Heidelberg walk is Sept. 19 and 20. Again this year they will have a beautiful, multicolored mug as the prize. To see how you can help, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help with the Turkey Trot, contact the Ramstein Roadrunners at: email@example.com.
• • •
All of the Frankfurt-Goldstein trails in this weekend’s event go through the Frankfurter Stadtwald (Frankfurt city forest). The Goldsteinschule on Strassburgerstraße is the start location for the six-, 11- and 20-kilometer courses.
To get to the start hall, take the Niederrad exit from A5. If you use the S-bahn, take line 12 to the Waldau stop. Start the shorter walks between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, and 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday.
B-medals from previous walks will be available at the reduced price of 3 euros.
• • •
We bet you didn’t know... that many of the year-round walks in the U.S. are themed. Maybe you’d like to walk in all 50 states, or visit the 51 capitals. Perhaps covered bridges, historical churches, U. S. presidents or Native American culture is more to your liking. These are just a few of the special event walks that require special books for documenting your participation.
These awards are time sensitive, so check www.ava.org, or your copy of The American Wanderer for more information.
• • •
A tip of the hat to the following, who contributed fliers for the weekly chart: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; John and Evelyn Golembe, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, Tim and Luchi Lynch, John and Patty Marsh, “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson, Bob Gambert, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry and Nancy Shawley.
• • •
Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:
• Walkers in the Kaiserslautern, Germany, area should take note that a walk this weekend is in Glan-Münchweiler, located off A62, and not in Münchweiler. Start the 5k, 10k or 20k distances both Saturday and Sunday between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. (finish by 5 p.m.).
• Ramona and Horst Kechelen sent a note stating that the Sachsen, Germany, walk is convenient for those in the Ansbach, Katterbach and Illesheim communities.
• The walk in Bad Rodach, Germany, is convenient for those in the Schweinfurt area.
• The prize at the Fichtenau, Germany, walk is a terracotta sundial for your garden. After this walk, head to Dinkelsbühl and visit this pretty walled city.
From the keyboard of Clark Soeldner in Italy, we read that you might want to arrive early at the walk in Valstagna because parking can be a problem.
Also, if it is raining at the Tramonti di Sopra walk, there will be shorter routes to walk because the mountain trails will be closed.
E-mail volksmarch information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.