Monday, May 31, 2010

Bunnik - Apeldoorn

Went through an area that was marked on the map with lots of castles and did not see one. I did not search for them just hoped to see them from the road or a sign to them. I did spent a couple of hours catching up with email. Need to stop spending so much time at McDonalds. But it is too tempting not to stop and check email when passing one. End early at Apeldoorn Hostel.
54.9 mile 6:05 hr / max speed 23.0 avg moving speed 9.0 stopped time 4:43 349 ft total ascent. (Clear and sunny first thing in the morning. By the time I packed it was cold and cloudy with some mist throughout the day. Evening weather cleared.)
Love & kisses

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Breda woods - Bunnik

I got a dawn start in the rain.  Gear packed a little wet.  At mile 45 found food.  Note almost everything is closed on Sunday need to stock up on Saturday.  As it rained I went for distance and did not stop to smell the tulips.  Did 94.2 miles and should report it as kilometers as 152k sounds even more impressive.  In the same frame of mind I wonder why we have not gone back to using stones to measure weight since saying 10 stone sounds less than 140 lbs.  There is a lot of room between numbers.  So uses stones the next time you are discussing your weight and you will feel better. 
Only 94.2 mile  9:53 hr /  max speed 22.8 avg moving speed 9.5 stopped time 3:34 1403 ft total ascent. (Rain and western wind 20 all day.  At the end ride to bring me smiles there was horizontal rain with a strong head wind helmet was needed for the rain)
Love & kisses

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bergen op Zoom – Breda

Decided to have an easy day and catch up with my friend Cinderella. Found in Breda there is indoor parking garages for bikes that are free with attendants. It has been a few years since I saw her last (see beginning of the blog). She just got home after three years of travels. She told of running into an American in northern Pakistan. He was solid Christian with a sword. Authorities took his gun away, but were ok with him having a sword. With this large sword and three bladed knife he was heading for the valley where he knew where Ben lived. He wanted to do the lords work and harm Ben. Five days later he returned much lighter as he did not take water and he was very dehydrated. So yes we have people out there looking for Ben. We talked late into the evening. So when I arrived at the campground I was going to use, it was closed. So I found a bit of woods to camp in.
64.3 mile 8:00 hr / max speed 66.4?? avg moving speed 8.00 stopped time 7:14 220 ft total ascent. (Wind from the west again and rain in the evening)
Love & kisses

Friday, May 28, 2010

Antwerp - Bergen op Zoom

I am going to use the number system today to find my way.  You just go from number to number following the signs to the next number.  There is no real order to the numbers. Simple yea! Leaving Antwerp I found an elevator and ½ mile tunnel to bike under the river.  On the other side ran across a bike shop that provided me with a tail light replacement bracket for free.  Light just broke off as I was riding down a road the day before.  As I was now on the wrong side of the river but had fun getting here I decide to return.  There was another tunnel.  The elevator was broken so I needed to take the fully loaded bike down the escalator.  It was a long escalator and if something went wrong, it was going to be bad.  Some one told me to stand on the same step as the front tire.  I went for it and there was a second escalator down and that worked out ok also.   Good brakes and standing on the step with the front tire works.  Found that I bypassed several numbers on my list, and this continued to happen a number of times during the day.  I took the route through the docks.  15 miles from Antwerp I left the shipping container canyons.  The docks did have a truck stop and I found a map of Holland.  This is my first paper map of a county since Briton.  Then it was on to wooded bike paths.  Crossed into Netherland/Holland and found room at the hostel in Bergen op Zoom.  I like any town with zoom in the name. 
45 mile Thought I wrote down the stats (Cloudy with strong winds from the west)
Love & kisses

Where is Steve

Still working to catchup on updates, but here is my current location.  Lost some of the tracks between locations, but I just figure out I could do this.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ghent – Antwerp

Next morning got a slow start as breakfast starts at 9. The owners are not morning people. I was off to Antwerp given verbal directions again to how to find my way. Not the most direct route, but a nice ride for 70 miles along a river. Did get off the route once where the river converged with another and started heading up what appeared to be a off ramp to a main highway. Got a bit horn action at me and finger waving. I decided to back off and found a hill by an overpass to climb up finding a bike path again. They run a number of ferries for bikes and pedestrians to cross the river nearer to Antwerp. They are free of course. The hostel at Antwerp had room.
Riding in Belgium is great. Bike paths are everywhere. You can ride either side of the street. On one way streets bikes can go both directions. At circles there is a bike lane and the cars give you the right of way. Cars expect you to lunge out in front of them so they are always stopping to let me go. At traffic lights the bikes move to the front and block the cars so that we can go first. Belgians keep saying Netherlands is even better for biking with bike highways between towns and they seem jealous of it. Bikes rule here.
77.4 mile 8:12 hr / max speed 39.2?? avg moving speed ? stopped time 2:00 537 ft total ascent. (Partly cloudy with rain in the afternoon)
Love & kisses

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bruges – Ghent

The next day I was feeling much more awake.  I got directions to Ghent.  In heading out town saw a group of tourist standing in line to get into a chocolate shop.  Across the street there were three more chocolate shops and one caught my eye had chocolate boobies in the window.  With closer inspection found a full selection of body parts.  I did not buy anything as the chocolate would have just melted in my hand.  With a couple of turns I should be heading out of town.  I stopped to take pictures of the bike covered parking.  Then I found I was passing the chocolate shops again and the tourist were still waiting to all get into the chocolate shop.  Went straight a bit more and I found the canal leading to Ghent.  Nice ride along the canal, with it raining all day.  In Ghent found wet cobble stones do not let my bike stay upright.  The knee will heal and one friend says women like scars.  I went for the hostel on a boat as it was still raining.  They had vegetarian map for the town’s restaurants.  I went for the vegi buffet as it was highly recommended.  It was very large selection and good.
39.9 mile  4:51 hr /  max speed 19.3 avg moving speed ? stopped time 3:16 298 ft total ascent. (Rain and cool)
Love & kisses

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Field Camp – Bruges

In the morning at 5 I was up with fog giving visibility of only 50 feet. By the time I got to the road again could see a half a mile. I did not want one of the tractors with 8 foot tires not to see me. In one town stopped for a nice bike sculpture. It was around 10 and there was a café across the street so I went for food. Inside I found a dozen people having beer and cigarettes and no food. I moved on as the beer looked to light for me. I push on and made it to Burges early in the afternoon. The hostel had a room and I crashed. It seems quite pleasant having Dutch ladies passing me. Just need to get them use to me drafting.
Only 33.9 mile 4:40 hr / max speed 17.9 avg moving speed ? stopped time 7:43 298 ft total ascent. (Cold wet fog needing all jackets in the morning and then light rain)
Love & kisses

Monday, May 24, 2010

White Cliffs to Field

I was up at dawn and as this was a popular area and headed up to Deal castle to give that a quick view.  Town of Deal announced it was ticketing bikes for any petty violation such as going the wrong way on a one way street.  I felt unwelcome.  So I headed back to Dover and toured their secret war time tunnels of Dover Castle.  They kept talking about great success that the withdrawal from Dunkirk was.  It was interesting that they failed to note why they need to withdrawal.  The French and British forces outnumber the invading force in the area.  The French forces that were rescued were quickly returned to France where few were able to return to fighting before France surrendered.  Yes Dunkirk was a success but why did it need to happen. Leadership??  They saved the French, so that within weeks they would be out of the war and working for Germany as laborers.  70 years later history should not be edited to produce propaganda. 
At the main fortress did there presentation on what they called one of Britons greatest kings Henry II.  He came from France was basically a good land grabber.  Disagreements with his children and wife had the family shrub trimmed some more. 
The Castle had a trebuchet and a small red smart car near by.  I am sure with the heights of the castle over town the car could be launched into the bay over the houses below.  I had to let that idea pass as it was guarded.
Then I head to Dover do some internet research on Dunkirk and onward.  I could not find any hostels in the area.  But there were campsites listed.  So I was off to Dunkirk.  Arrived at Dunkirk at 8 pm and was one of the first off the ferry.  Need to run with the trucks and car for the first mile with boulders lining the side of the road to ensure I would be dead if something went wrong.  Finally found a side road and a map at a bus stop.  The map was no use as I did know where I was on it.  So I started heading east and a little north.  Ran across a park I could have found a good discrete spot to camp, but I decide to push on as there was still a little light.  I thought I should be east or in Dunkirk, but I kept seeing signs pointing the way to Dunkirk in the direction I was heading.  Found that all the gas stations area completely self service with no one running the stations and could not find any stores open.  This led me not to find any maps for sale.  Did have some street names for the where the nearest camp site was.  Found the center of Dunkirk and then the camp site.  Camp site takes people in only from 3 to 6 pm.  I push on to the other sites.  It is late and found none are open.  So I ride on.  At around midnight I cross the French frontier into Belgium.  It was hard to tell where the border was.  I kept pushing on and around 3 am I found myself waking up while cycling.  As there was canal on the edge of the road I thought it was a bad thing since I did know how long I was cycling while not conscious.  Shortly I found a bike path through some fields.  A little way down the path found some nice grass on the side of the path and collapse there. 
65.5 mile  8:56 hr /  max speed 28.7 avg moving  speed ? stopped time 11:41 1110 ft total ascent. (Some clouds in Briton and as night wore on cold fog came up)
Love & kisses

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Woods – Cliffs

I headed off to Bodium Castle. With my early start I got there at 8 and it did not open till 10:30. Did some bike tuning and tightened all the bolts I took off the bike to get it into the box. Castle had some nice views from the top. After that I headed for Rye with the last two miles down grassy fields. Small castle there and then headed up the coast to Dover. Had fun playing squid in bumper to bumper beach traffic as I went down the middle. Brought back my San Francisco bike messenger days. On the beach the English need SPF 100 as it was a lobster fest. Leaving Folkestone the back bike rack fell off part of the mount. Not sure what made it go the bouncing down grassy fields, cobblestone roads of Rye, speed bumps, or TSA. I did not check those bolts as I did not need to remove the back rack to ship. Twenty minutes later it was back together. Got to Dover near sunset and could not find the hostel so I checked the internet. Dover Hostel as I had caught the name earlier in passing was in London. I headed out of town and there is no forest around. On the cliffs of Dover I found no trees, but I did find a good spot that required no tent. Been using the classic book Rogue Male (1939) for travel and camping tips. It provides great methods when travel rough in Briton and other methods when feeling a bit banged up while touring Germany.

Only 71.7 mile 9:53 hr / max speed 22.8 avg moving speed 9.5 stopped time 3:34 1403 ft total ascent. (Rain and western wind 20 all day. At the end ride to bring me smiles there was horizontal rain with a strong head wind)
Love & kisses

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Alfriston to ???

Got an early started in the morning with a quick look at the long man of Wilmington.  He was built by early Britons buy removing the grass and dirt off the chalk below.  Then off to Michelham Priory.  Got there a bit early and the sites run bankers hours and wonder why they are not getting visitors.  There displays were into Thomas Becket who had a habit of pissing off the king.  One evening the king in a drunken rage, "yelled who will rid me of Thomas Becket.  Four knights thought this was not a bad idea and went off and did him in.  Unarmed Becket was found at his normal cathedral far from this Priory. The knights may have be drunk also as it took a good bit of hacking on the Becket's head to finish him off with there swords.

Then off to Pevensey Castle to review Britons defenses.  It was ruinous and weapon limited.  There was a good amount of ammo it we took it by surprise and so we could arm the trebuchet (French for high tech catapult).  Of course Briton has just had regime change so my work is done here.  Need to bring to Brussels the fine methods that Bolivia has shown the world in administration change.   

Then I was off to the town of Battle where the battle of Hastings took place 1066.  It was a battle between Willy the conqueror and Harold.  I do not need to say more, but I will.  This battle between cousins reduced the family shrub a bit more.  The Willy's Normans sucker the British to break line and chase them.  Then came in with archers at the end of the day and broke the British line.  Harold got in the way of an arrow which finished him off.  Willy sort of felt bad about winning and built an Abbey at the top of the battle field.  The battlefield was like many others I have seen with a grassy field with a hill.

 I went in search of an official campground.  I did not arrive between 3 and 7 PM.  From all of the signs that said no on the door and no signs how to pay and enter I moved on.  As it was growing dark and a woods near I headed for it.  There is no wild camping allowed in England and care is needed to ensure no one will see me camping.  Found a discreet entrance into the forest with the only sign saying welcome.  Setting up camp is best done after dark and in the dark.  Site was found easily that the bike could get to and I was up with first light to avoid birder running across me.  As I packet notice I was being watched.  The boar did not approach, but circled.  Other shots did not come out in the early morning light.


54.2 mile  7:25hr /  max speed 28,4 avg moving speed 7.3 stopped time 6:54 2676 ft total ascent.
Love & kisses

Friday, May 21, 2010

Truleigh Hostel to Alfriston Hostel

GPS maps show me in the English Channel currently.  The person who put up bike route signs had a sense of humor as when the road forks the little marker is put between the roads and then pointing to the space between them and not placing any other signs in the area.  Here another helpful map showing where I am and places I would like to see, but no routes to get to them from where I am.

I do not understand how I miss the route with this much information.  I am proud of my speed when I pass other bike riders, even when they are eighty and using a breathing tube to get his oxygen.  Ok on second look he was using a Zimmer frame not a bike.  He did give me a run for the money but I passed him.  Had a seventy year old guy show off his bike to me in front of a store.  I pulled out first and headed up a hill he quickly caught up to me and passed me.  Need to get one of those electric motors for my bike. 
I zipped off a nice hill to the coast.  Found the coastal bike trail several times as it kept wondering away.  I rode along the coast most of the day seeing Brighton and other sea side resort towns.  Yes you can have a shed on the beach.  I did not stay long and the gravel did not attract me.  I stopped in at the famous Pier.  This only encouraged me on.  Then I was able to pass the beach train as I was cruising.  Then there was a fork in the road and the train passed me as I stood there scratching my head.  The road then was up on top cliffs for most of the rest of the day.  This gave nice views 

32.9 + 2 mile  4.08 hr / max speed 24.3 avg moving speed 7.9 stopped time 3:35 913 ft total ascent. (A few hills and a little head wind at times)  GPS stopped before the hostel (+2 estimate)
Love & kisses

Two more updates

Yes I am allive and moving on a bike.
Love & kisses

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tanner hatch hostel to Truleigh hostel

I was feeling slow heading up hill a mile first thing in the morning.  I was not ready to do many hills today.  So after the first town I head for the highest point in south east England Leigh hill.  There was haze so not much a view.  Later as I was stocking up at Tesco Superstore and another cycles at the bike rake told me of a old rail road bed turned to trail that had little traffic.  So I went for it and after 5 miles I was going the right way down the trail towards the coast.  Thankfully I did run into that map of the route showing me that the other way was the right direction.  Good news is the hostel tonight was at the top of a good size hill.  So I will have an easier start in the morning going down hill for a couple of miles for warm up.  Found another use for McDonald's that also does not involve food.  Free wireless internet and clean toilets with seats what more does a traveler need than a different menu.
45.8 mile  5.54 hr max speed 30.1 avg moving speed 7.8 stopped time 3:20 1890 ft total ascent. (A little steeper hills)
Love & Kisses

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heathrow to Tanner Hatch Hostel

British airway baggage tracking web site was useless as it only reported it was still tracking 24 hours after reporting the bike missing.  Called and they reported the bike was on the plane.   Wonder about Hyde Park as I had two hours then back to the airport.  Baggage arrivals are behind British customs.  I got around them with all my gear in tow.  All I can say is that it did involved Krispy Kreams and I did not have any.  British Airways customer service did confirm again that my bike was on the plane and now noted it had been delayed for two hours.  The plane had departed earlier than when I called them in the morning, but they did not feel the need to tell me knowing I was going to pick it up at the airport.  I should have had a Krispy Kream.  Bike arrived and had it together by 3:30.  Was tempted to just leave the box un attended to thank them, but was good an had a janitor take it away.  At 3:30 I head out and just went south.  Ten miles south pulled out the google maps directions to the hostel.  I was 3 mile west of the coarse I should be on.  Got on the course that google directed.  It immediately directed me on to a private road past warning signs for residents only.  I made it through the estates with out private security spotting me.  Then it directed me through a golf course and almost on the other side I found the way blocked by buildings.  New that I was not going to do a Steve McQueen and jump the fences with this loaded bike.  I worked my way back around the golf coarse.  Six miles later I was back on track.  A few more miles and was at the location shown by google maps to be the hostel.  It was a park with a gate and entrance fee during the day and no sign of a hostel.  I ask some passing ladies where the hostel was.   They knew where it was.  The eight ladies on mountain bikes for the next hour took me up dirt roads and trails to where the hostel road was with a sign.  As I headed down the road to the hostel in the dark I ran into a lady who was the warden of the hostel and had all ready closed for the evening.  She decided to let me in and walked back down the half mile back to the hostel.  The gods were good to me.
34 mile in 4 hr  26.3 Max speed /stop time 2:31 min 1097 ft total ascent
New GPS gives me all sorts of data.  The mapping feature is great ( currently the only city it shows is London as a dot and I get the outline of England).
Love & Kisses

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trapped in London

Arrived in London, but my bike did not.  British Airways customer service ??? was a loosing battle from the start as told the lady I have no phone and do not know were I am staying.  She then asked mobile number again.  After asking a dozen times for the manager she finally gets one.  With more work they finally tell me that it was scanned in Denver and no further.  There online baggage service has no information and does not show the phone and address I have tried to add.  So I am stuck in London for now.  Off to buy a jacket(see earlier post)
Love and kisses

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trip Begins

The trip has begun.  Just finished and mailed the insurance paperwork for the repairs at 6pm in boulder $17,000 and the isurance has paid only 7000 so far.  Plane leaves at 8.  Taking the fast toll way I find they no longer collect tolls at the booth, but will send me a bill.  I wonder if there is a fine for not paying the toll for five months.  As I arrive at the long term parking I notice the name of the road is Gun Club.  Nice that there is shooting next to the airport.  As I wait to check the gear I find out the flight yesterday was canceled, so it will be a full flight.  At the counter the clerk throws away the boarding pass that took 20 minute to get last night.  Clerk says he is giving me a better seat and it was true.  I got a bigger seat than economy and had the only empty seat next to me.  Now if they would let me use the duct tape on the kid two rows up.  Just turned up the music.  Sitting here noticed the coat hook on the seat in front of me.  Not used to seeing coat hooks on the seats I am use to.  I have a jacket so I should try that.  Then I remember putting the jacket behind the truck seat (Steve A. can confirm that next week).  Hope it is warm in London.  The Argentine wine has arrived and life is good.
Love & kisses

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another trip

I am off in a week for London.  From there I will follow the Viking back to their strong hold amongst the fiords.  If I have no luck finding the Swedish ski team, I will head south.  I may take a Gaul tour of Rome.  In October I need to be back in London to fly home.   Simple plan and I am just short guide books and maps currently.  Thanks all your suggestions.  I did like the idea of retracing Hannibal's route through the Alps as my bike is like an elephant.   I will be updating the blog once again as I wonder. 
As it seems to be snowing here every other day my training on the bicycle has not been as good as last years.  So I will be doing some of my training on the trip to get up to speed.   So the lack of bicycle training and planning should lead to a good adventure.
Love & Kisses