As is usual when camping, early rising is unavoidable. Though it had been chilly early in the morning, by about 6am we could feel the warmth of the sun already on the tent. Mind you, even if we were minded to sleep in, the resident rooster put paid to that; though small, he was an insistent and loud crower! Opening up the tent we were soon met with his curious ladies, ever on the lookout for a tasty tidbit, they hung around whilst we made our preparations and had breakfast. Their persistence paid off as they were rewarded with a handful of oats, and within moments there was not a scrap left.
Our lovely host came to bid us adieu and we set off again on the LF14, conveniently just outside his gate. We have come to the conclusion that the extensive fietsroute that we have become familiar with, is the working highways of the cycle network, getting you from A to B in the most direct route possible. These are generally pleasant enough, but can entail exposed cycling around vast fields, which in the baking afternoon sun, can be exhausting. The LF routes are more long distance and though encompassing some of the fietsroute paths, they tend to take one via the prettier way. We have therefore decided that we are going to utilise them as much as possible. Last year, we only travelled along the LF1 on our way north, as we did this time also, but the inland routes are quite extensive and seem to tour the points of interest. The LF 14 and 16 travelled the same paths for the majority of the morning, travelling through woodland, as the need to dismount for a while became more insistent, we felt sure that there would be a nice picnic table to stop at for coffee, and though we kept saying “just along here a bit”, finally we gave up and pulled into a clearing and utilised a not completely uncomfortable log. We did get some strange looks and nods from passing cyclists. As we were packing up, we spotted just across the way a nicely secluded picnic table. Heigh-ho!
As we travelled on after our coffee break, the LFs separated and we followed the 16 or as it is called the Vecht Valley Route. Referring to google translate, we were told that this meant the Fighting Valley – mistakenly thinking that this maybe from points of interest of battles past, we later found out that the Vecht is actually the name of the river occupying the ‘valley’.
We reached the city of Ommen just in time to be serenaded by their very pretty clock chimes as we rode along the riverbank. It makes quite a change travelling alongside a river in Holland, as one becomes accustomed to the straight angular routes along the man made tidy canal-sides.
As I have mentioned before, we have found the assistance of mapping and tracking apps to be invaluable. The other day Mr V laughed as I asked a lost looking family if the were ok or needed some assistance. They were Dutch; so did not.
Today though, we came to the aid of an older Belgian gentleman cyclist who was dependent entirely on paper maps. The Ranger once again saved the day setting him on course, and Mr V mocked no more.
Later we happened upon an observation tower just inside the woods aside the river, and giving our legs a rest from peddling, we ascended the stairway taking us above the tree line, where puffing and panting, we could survey the visa for miles.
Heading southwest we had thought that we would find a campsite where it would be worth spending a couple of nights to allow for some exploration of the area. As we neared the city of Zwolle which also seems to have the star shaped moat similar to Coevorden; remnants of ancient battlements, we again referred to google for a suitable campsite. One was found with good reviews just outside the city on a peaceful farm, so we headed there, over the busy bridge across the IJssel, making friends with the second tandemers today.
It is the cheapest campsite so far at €11, the facilities are clean but basic but as the site is filling up, with only one working shower, this is no two nighter. Consultation of google maps and View Ranger have us decided on moving onward to Amersfoort tomorrow via the National Park De Hope Veluwe, which we visited briefly last year and happened upon a cyclist cafe in the woods that served excellent coffee and apple cake. Mr V has been pouring over the maps to see if we can ‘chance’ upon it again!