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Railroads, Ghosts and Ruins

This was surely the roadbook most remembered by ALL participants. We (myself and René) included some rare ingredients and some parts never driven before - or afterwards.

- It was held during a full night in July.
- There were 2 old abondoned railroad tunnels
- Participants had to explore an old WW II bunker, hereby balancing over a DEEP ditch to enter and then search all the 3 floors while the hidden number was on the deepest floor in a room kneedeep under water. All this in the absolute dark but with lots of rats running around.
- In another place they had to search old heavily overgrown ruins in a dark forest for the correct number.
But the ultimate test awaited them in the old cemetary...

First and for all who want to drive this one too: I am positively sure it can't be done anymore. At least one of the tunnels has been shut off with a thick brick wall to preserv it as retreat for bats. The rest may or may not be driveable.

We started them in the café at the village of Fingig in southern Luxembourg. About a dozen groups were present at 10 PM when the first took of. The rules had some slight changes. To make sure everyone had to enter all the nasty places we gave them a handful of different sealed pages. The correct number of the next one to open was only acquired when finding the number in the indicated places. To spice it up I included half a dozen fake pages which would send them into obselete places - just for those who ripped them open and tryed to avoid the frightening places.

Since the numbers will long have disappeared by now I give the correct (or so I guess) order. Startpage - page 3 - page 4 - page 8 - page 10 - Schatzkarte - page 2 - page 5 . All the other pages were fakes. The full pages can be found on our members' roadbook pages. Some were made so good they sent those cheating guys almost in orbit. Someone phoned me later and said he broke off when he discovered he was only 150 km from Paris... which was about 200 km from the start.

Page 1 immediately let them to an old abondoned tunnel left over from an industrial railway. The sleepers and rails were removed and the extreme potholes in the gravel were quite a challenge for some. The tunnel was about 600 metres in lenght, quite narrow and it's entrance heavily overgrown with even an occasional fallen tree you had to drive over. The first number was hidden in a hole in the wall. It was impossible to see it without leaving the car and walking through the tunnel. We had the glorious idea to hide a fellow in black clothes in an adjacent cavern and jump out when they least suspected it. Some were scared almost to death by this...

 

Below: In bright sunshine the terrain near the railway line wasn't that difficult as Walter Lömmel shows us in his Daihatsu.

Then you drove out and after 3-4 km came the next tunnel. Much larger this time but not better driveable. After this came a real long stretch of abondoned railway. Hedges had overgrown the track leaving in many places just enough space for a pedestrian. The cars had to push the bushes away for many kilometres.

On the last box of page 8 came the deep bunker. It was a fortification of the famous Maginot Line and quite well preserved. And it was open. All it lacked was the drawbridge over the 5 metres deep ditch separating the entrance from the access path. So we installed a small plank and a rope to hold on. The sign was on the third floor below ground. Believe me, it was a scary place. Old installations hung around and blocked the path, water dripped down everywhere, stairs were slippery ways into the underworld without anything to grab and hold on. The lowest floor was partially submerged in deep, smelly black water. All you could hear were rats whistling and an occasional splash when they decided to take a swim - in the same water you walked in and which slowly got deeper than your boots.

On page 10 you arrived in a dark forest on a very small road. At the end of this page you found a ruin of a strange old house or warehouse. You had to walk with the comopass the path indicated to find the last missing number. Devilish as we were it was almost next to the spot you parked in. A friend who drove this arrived there and found upon departing that his battery had died. So he made the best of this and joined his co-pilot. Luckily she was a nice young lady and not that shy so I assume they weren't too angry abouth this unscheduled breakdown after all. They lived many years togehther after this but that's another story.

Below: It wasn't that easy for bigger cars. Not even for those equipped with 33x12.50 Tyres. Well, here I was in an embarassing situation. The ruts simply were deeper than I thought as I approached in my usual slow driving way. As I floored the pedal it was already too late - but it gave that black Scout a nice brown color. Don't laugh, I pulled myself out with my Tirfor. You might even notice the cable already attached to the front below the big Hella light.

On the next page you had to climb up on pressed straw balls. Sounds easy but isn't as those were more than 2 metres thick and we put the sign up on top of the 4th row.

Then the page ended near an old cemetary. I won't tell where it is though. It looks as it came out of a fairy tale. Crosses in every state and every angle stood around, some hundreds of years old. Small paths wound their way around them. In one corner was an old shed. It looked innocent enough but one side's wall was replaced by steel bars. When you carefully looked inside you found that - somebody stared at you. Or even hundred dead eyes look at you. And even more lie around. Many years ago a warden collected all the human bones in this house. Some people have strange hobbies... They are several 10.000s. The hut is filled up to the roof with bones and skulls, some even residing in small boxes similar to bird houses.

Now imagine this sight. You arrive here after a looong night and some quite unusual places you were forced to explore. Tired you walk over the cemetary in the pitch dark night. Without suspecting much you look into a dark shed - and thousends of deads look at you. While you are still standing in awe and surprise a loud ghostly voice behind your back hurls at the non-existing moon. Wel, I have seen people faint for less. As you'd expect we were hidden behind some old gravestones and listened to what people said to eachother. Those are memories that last a lifetime.

After this the rest was easy. Soon afterwards day rose and found most people at the shore of a lake where they had to either swim or use a small boat to get out for one of the last tasks. Most made did this in good style but one cople of particular sturdy guys managed to sink the boat by their sheer weight. Well, maybe that's the way mother nature tolds us it's time for a diet?

The very last task was riding a horse. Well, THAT one wasn't that easy. Most never had seen such an animal from so close and were quite unfamiliar on how to do this.

All that was left was the price giving and the long drive back home. But, hey, when did YOU spend the last time such a night you can tell your children of?