This is only what I remeber of The Netherlands and quickly wrote
down during the trip. I'm sure I've missed some details here and
there. Sorry! It's chronological, mostly.
Veldhoven and Burgh
The first test trip! The weather man had promised a day full of rain, rain and
maybe a little more rain. I don't mind rain. It's a good test for all of the
I had to make a quick stop at the Toy Store first. The bike didn't have much
compressed pixy dust left on the brake pads, so those had to be replaced
beforehand. A few days before most of the needed stuff was already fitted, but
the brake pads I needed were out of stock. While I was waiting for the
mechanic to do his magic, I met a customer who told me about his
daughter. Don't know why, but he did. Riding motorcycles since her 18th
birthday, quit school to start her own IT shop. Happily married. (d'oh)
Interesting fellow nonetheless.
It sounded like the weather man was right. The heavens produced an amount of
water giving even the average river a run for its money. Throughout
Noord-Brabant the rain continued. I was mentally preparing for a drenched
visit to the beach. The moment I crossed the bridge into Zeeland the clouds
parted, the rain stopped and the sun threw its happy heating death ray down
onto my person. Blue skies and dry roads as far as the eye could see. And a
storm. Don't forget the storm. Even though the pictures are pretty nice, the
wind wasn't. Those brand new Heidenau rubbers were put to the test properly,
working to keep the bike from being blown away. The everything but aerodynamic
top box didn't help either. The Bags Connection tank bag lost its waterproof
cover somewhere. I haven't seen it being torn of, but it was gone at a certain
point. Now I have to waterproof some of the electronics inside of the tank
bag, because I'm not getting a replacement tank bag just because of Bad
Before I left I had given myself a destination. I watch cooking
shows. There. I said it. Hairy
Bikers is one of those shows. During their last season, the "bakeation",
they visited Burgh. What a coincidence. A little bakery is what they were
after. And especially the famous local product "bolus". It's kind of like a
wet doughnut with loads of sugar and cinnamon. I think. It's tasty, that's for
sure. It sure doesn't look tasty.
The bakery wasn't that hard to find. After eating a bunch of those sugary
bundles of joy I went to the beach. The beach where I used to play as a
child. Nothing changed, really. Somehow I didn't feel like playing
anymore. Maybe it's because the Alp wasn't allowed on the beach.
The way home was extremely uneventful. No rain, either. I did decide that I
need a new pair of motorcycle pants. The knee pads started pressing into my
knee caps after roughly 300 km. When I got home my knees were both decorated
with a dark, painful bruise. I knew about this, but never really thought about
it. Repeating a trip like this every day for a month is going to be
unbearable if I don't fix this.
All in all this test trip has had the results I was hoping for.
Time to test the new riding gear! I bought a new pair of pants just a few days
before. A new jacket as well. Pretty cheap stuff, too. The decision to go
cheap might get back to bite me on the long run. Don't know yet.
As usual, I failed to do the right preparations in time. Like programming the
GPS with the route I wanted to take. In retrospect I'm glad I didn't. The
Garmin guided me through some of the most interesting roads in the area. It
ended up being a little over 700 km in 12 hours.
From Eindhoven it sent me to the German border at Gennep, through Kleve and
Emmerich to Doetinchem. I love the German roads. Spacious, sane and
interesting to ride. Crossed the river Rhein at Emmerich. Even though this
little piece of Germany is surrounded by Dutch borders, the difference between
the two countries couldn't be more apparent. City layout, architecture, cars,
clothing and the people in general were all slightly different.
Continuing up north, the Dutch region of De Achterhoek was next. It used to
be a huge forest, of which only a small part has been left standing. The bits
and pieces that do remain are pretty nice, though. The last ice age has left
hills scattered across the landscape, making roads a little less boring than
usual in the Netherlands. I followed the river IJssel from Zutphen, Deventer
and all the way up to Zwolle. Because of a closed road I had to make a detour
The only possible detour, avoiding the main A28 highway, was right through the
Dutch bible belt. Luckily only the northern most tip of it. This is the kind
of place where people don't just look at you funny for riding a motorcycle on
a Sunday. Luckily it was Monday, and all they could do was look at me
funny. Everyone was dressed in black, so I kind of blended in. Maybe that's
one of the reasons I'm still alive. There was this old farmer in Staphorst,
cutting grass with a scythe, waving the thing at me while I passed by. I hope
he only meant it as a friendly gesture.
After leaving the bible belt far behind me, I was almost at the Frisian
border. The province of Friesland is flat. Really flat. Some interesting
scenery, lots of lakes and boring roads. The scenery kind of made up for
that. I raced through Friesland, passing Drachten and approaching my half-way
point Leeuwarden at German speeds. Apparently, some of the Frisian provincial
roads have been made into highways without changing the road's name. The
Garmin didn't know, can't blame him.
Leeuwarden is small. I really didn't know it was that small. It's pretty much
a miniature Utrecht with much nicer people. Of course that's an
over-generalization, but you get the point. After 3 hours or so of exploring
the city and meeting some of its people it was time to go home.
Apart from the occasional near-accident the trip home was uneventful. The
Garmin chose some other (nicer) roads this time, and completely avoided the
detour and the bible belt. I've got no idea how it did that. I'm glad I
ditched the TomTom.
While the first half of the trip was only occasionally plagued by rain, the
second half was wet. It thoroughly tested the new gear, and it held up like a
charm. Even the external pockets of the jacket were completely dry inside. Now
I can only hope this stuff can cope with the heat just as well. The inner
lining of the jacket kind of sounds like a garbage bag. It would explain the
waterproofness of the thing, but doesn't bide well for the hot days.
Leaving The Country
Packing is difficult. Leaving things out is the key. I really didn't want to
ride around with yet another dry bag strapped to the bike. Everything had to
fit in the panniers and top box. And it did! Even things like a shovel,
camping gear and a fully stocked first aid kit.
The day has finally arrived. Today's the day I leave for the journey I've been
preparing for the past few months. Pretty exciting, although I have to admit
some second thoughts did crop up. Is it alright to do this all by myself? Will
the bike survive? What if I crash? What if...?
It's too late now. I just had to do it. Early in the morning, at 7 am-ish, I
went for it. Pointed the GPS to Husum, Germany and started riding. It didn't
take long before I hit the first patch of roadwork. The planners thought of
every possible detour, except one towards Germany. Because, let's be honest,
who would want to go there anyway, right? So let's ask the GPS for a
detour. It should be able to calculate one.
Twenty minutes later it was done calculating. Twenty. Fucking. Minutes. It
must have been a glitch or something, so I pressed on. Towards Germany it is!
A few kilometers later, more roadwork. No feasible detours. Let's give mister
Garmin another chance. Again, twenty minutes later, it came up with an
answer. It sent me through (quite fun) dusty forest sand roads I didn't even
know existed right into another closed off section of road. There was a
sign. Eindhoven 30 km. What? I'm riding for over two hours and I'm only 30
kilometers from home? The temperature started rising as well. But wait a
minute. I'm from here. I was born and raised in this region. I don't need a
stupid GPS to tell me the way to Germany. An hour later I found myself well
into Germany when the GPS picked up on the route