It’s raining again as we pack up and leave the Wilder Mann. I find a Golf plastered with the worst of America’s VW scene offerings – impolite stickers. I want to scrape the rear window, but there are passes to ride…. We head back to the same Shell station and this adds 293.1kms, for a total of 1509.2km traveled. Retracing our steps to Landeck, this time we head north and pick up the 171 through Imst. We turn off onto the 186 to Öztal and then onto the L237, the route over the Kühtaisattel.
The ascent does not disappoint at all. Küh is German for cow. There are… more cows. When we arrive at the top, the sun peeks through for a few precious moments. Clearly a ski resort only town, Kühtai is mostly closed. We are able to get stickers and postcards, but find nowhere to warm up or grab a hot tea. On the way down, we spy a longhorn, watching us patiently. The descent along the L13 includes a 1.2km stretch of 16% grade, the steepest we have seen in Austria.
We connect to the 171 with the L11. From the 171, we pick up the 189 and cross the Holzleitensattel. Then, onto the 179, steadily proceeding northwest. Traffic increases, but not significantly at first.
The Fernpass nearly does us in. Packed with holiday and commercial traffic, it is slow and miserable. The rain is increasing steadily and we are getting very wet. My experience with GoreTex leads to a few tricks that keep me somewhat drier than my partner, but either way, we stop at top of the Fernpass to warm up and eat up.
After a bit of rest, we soldier on through the heavy rain. I leave about fifteen minutes before my partner as I am starting to get stiff and want to avoid a repeat of Stelvio. The avalanche galleries in Lermoos offer some respite, and on exiting, even a bit of sun. I pick up the 198 in Reutte and the 199 in Weißenbach. There are no markers for the Engpass, and the Gaichtpass has only a sign for the nearby bar. I do find one of the many warning signs to remind riders to slow down – this one says “give your guardian angel a chance”. The 199 becomes the B308 in Germany and leads to Oberjoch. At Oberjoch, the pass is drawfed by the ski town nearby. After a mixup sending me up the B310 and A7 to Kempten, we meet as planned in Sonthofen and find refuge at the Gasthof zum Löwen.