David & Pam Schiel and David & Sharon Redl Storm Germany!

David and Pam Schiel, and David and Sharon Redl share a tall German beer and (bottom) enjoy a Rhine River cruise. Photo provided by David & Pam Schiel.

David and Pam Schiel, and David and Sharon Redl share a tall German beer. Photo by David & Pam Schiel.

Planning started in May 2011 when I decided to call various Space-A departure points to get a rough schedule on weekly flights. We chose Air Mobility Command points at Baltimore-Washington International, MD; Dover AFB, DE; and McGuire AFB, NJ. We signed up at all locations at the start of the 60-day window giving us some priority.

Due to the possibility we could fly Space-A back to any location, we decided to rent a car and drive to the east coast.

On Sept. 3, we headed for Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, for the first night at $39 for a double.

Next we drove to Ft Meade, MD, and stayed at $64 per night. Initially we went to BWI because of the Patriot Flights to Ramstein AB, Germany, but no flights were going for three days.

The next choice for Sept. 5 was McGuire AFB where we stayed a night for $39 at the All American Inn. We tried the next day for Space-A but there was no Cat VI space available. Our last choice was to try Dover AFB. The flights to Germany were filled with higher priorities categories. There were flights to Rota NAS, Spain; Aviano AB, Italy; and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.

There was one flight with 71 seats for Moron AB, Spain, so we decided, what the heck, at least we will get to Europe.

On Sept. 7, we flew to Moron AB, on a KC-10 with 24 seats, the rest was cargo. Seats were airline style so not too bad for the seven-hour flight. No windows and the two ladies have claustrophobic issues. We flew all night (not much sleep) and arrived at 1130. When the hatch opened, all I could see was desert all around. Moron is a fly-through base and quite small. We stayed on base at Hotel Frontera for $35 per night, early to sleep. There were no flights leaving Moron and car rentals must be returned to base so we took a bus the next day to Seville, Spain, an early evening flight to Paris on Iberia Air and the subway to the train station so we could catch an ICE train to Kaiserslauten (K-town), Germany.

op: David and Sharon Redl and (bottom) David and Pam Schiel pose for a photo in front of a German sunset. Photo by David and Pam Schiel.

Top: David and Sharon Redl and (bottom) David and Pam Schiel pose for a photo in front of a German sunset. Photo by David and Pam Schiel.

We just missed a train to K-town and the next one was in the AM the next day. We roamed around the train station until it closed at 0100 to reopen at 0600. The Holiday Inn across the street was $210 a night and we said, no, it was not in our plans so we walked around for awhile.

When we were still inside the station we met a couple that were also waiting for a train. She was from Romania and he was from Hungary. We found an all-night café across the street and went in. Cost to sit was to order something every two hours, so we each had a small Coke ($8 per Coke).

Overall, it would have been almost as cheap to get one room for all of us and sleep on the floor. At least it would have been warm and dry.

Sept 9, 0704: We boarded the train for K-town. We tried to sleep but it did not work. We were so tired we did not even enjoy the scenery. We arrived at 1130 and picked up our rental Chrysler minivan with automatic transmission and a diesel engine—great on both counts. We stayed the night in K-town at Hotel Pirsch for $110 including breakfast. That night we had our first German meal complete with bier (beer). We each got a half order but it was so much a quarter order would have been plenty.

The next leg of our trip was to Bastogne, Belguim, with the intent to see the museum and battlegrounds areas of the Battle of the Bulge but the museum was closed for renovation. (It reopened in 2012.) The only battle area we had time to see was the monument dedicated to the 501st Parachute Regiment immortalized by the movie “The Band of Brothers”.

Then we drove to Bacharach, Germany, and spent Sept. 10 and 11 at Inn Malerwinkle for $83 per night (cash only). We enjoyed walking around the cobblestone streets and exploring the open shops.

One of the boats that tour the Rhine River. Photo by David and Pam Schiel.

One of the boats that tour the Rhine River. Photo by David and Pam Schiel.

Sept. 11: We took a boat ride to tour the famous Rhine River and all the castles along the river. Many castles were converted to restaurants and/or hotels. This was the only day we had RAIN and lots of it.

Sept. 12 and 13: We stayed at Spangdahlem AB for $39 per night.

Sept. 14: We drove to Trier the oldest city in Germany. We rode the trolley car around to see the sites. Then, as usual walked around looking at the shops. We decided to drive to Neunkirchen where we had lunch and a beer at the Hooters restaurant.

We spent the night of Sept. 14 in the Kristall Inn at Vilseck Army Base for $74. Sept. 15 we drove south stopping in Regensburg.

Next was a stop at Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp. Very humbling.

Then we drove to Munich to enjoy Oktoberfest where I finally got the chance to use my German by ordering beer and food.

On Sept 16 we drove to the Eagles Nest at Bertchgarden in southeast Germany where Adolf Hitler had his retreat perched on a hilltop overlooking some of the most scenic valleys in Germany and Austria.

When we returned to Munich, we drove to the city center. Due to Oktoberfest it was so crowded we had trouble getting around in our minivan. We did manage to find a parking place close to Hard Rock Café and bought a few shirts. The line was too long to wait to get into the dining room for a beer. We found a very German and colorful restaurant a few blocks away and ate there. Not much of the English language spoken here.

We spent three nights at Holiday Inn in southeast Munich. Breakfast each morning was at McDonalds, three blocks away.

Sept. 17 was Oktoberfest day. No area parking so we took a train. Very easy to figure it out.

A German Oktoberfest parade. Photo by David & Pam Schiel.

A German Oktoberfest parade. Photo by David & Pam Schiel.

Oktoberfest was highlighted by a parade of floats sponsored by all the breweries that had beer halls set up at Oktoberfest. It was very colorful. We tried to get into one of the beer halls but it was so crowded and smoky. We