The following morning before checking out of our Hotel we had a good look at the map when we decided we could reduce the distance significantly to Pistany, our next race meeting in Czechoslovakia, if we drove directly South to the Czech border and avoided going via the West/East German border crossing we had used when entering East Germany. As both East Germany and Czechoslovakia were on the same side of the Iron Curtain, we did not think we would encounter any difficulties in crossing from one to the other.
Arriving at the border in the late afternoon, the East German border police made it very clear that we could not cross and that we could only leave East Germany through the same crossing by which we entered. They even warned us that we could be arrested for failing to take the direct route from the border to and from Bautzen! After 2 or 3 hours of waiting and telephone calls to their Superiors, they decided to let us go and we turned around and headed back in the direction of Bautzen.
A few miles on we stopped at a garage for a break when we explained our predicament to the garage owner who was quite friendly and spoke good english. After checking that his staff and other customers were otherwise occupied, he explained that there was an unmarked and unmanned crossing point on the boarder some 15 miles away and he sketched out a map on a small piece of paper indicating how to get there. He assured us that once across we would have no difficulties with the Czech border police, even if they saw us crossing the border!
As crossing the border at this point was going to save us a lot of time and petrol we decided to take a chance and set off in the direction of the secret crossing point as indicated on the scribbled map. Half an hour later we left the road and headed off into the forest down what appeared to be no more than a farm track and a fire break between the trees when suddenly we saw the wire fencing and the border in front of us. We could not see any guards and were about to lift the single unlocked pole blocking our way when we saw the notices both sides of our track indicating (in german and Czechoslovakian) that we were in a military zone and what made us freeze was the unmistakable sign that there were land mines in the area!
Our friendly garage owner had not mentioned anything about land mines! so not being sure if we had taken the right turning off into the forest we very slowly backtracked all the way to the main road and did not stop again until we reached Bautzen.