After yesterday’s crowing alarm, my subconscious must have been preparing for the onslaught again this morning, as I woke up early. But there was silence, was it possible that the rooster was having a lie in because it was Sunday? What a cheek!
Well we weren’t, and we were packed up and on the road before 9am. The morning was already warm and we quickly divested ourselves of our gilets as the sun was hot on our backs. We retraced our tracks back to the old centre of Amersfoort and then beyond and found ourselves in the Deer Park, where the trees kept us cool and shaded from the sun’s glare. Being a Sunday, the woods were busy with cyclists, walkers, runners and horse riders to be circumnavigated, and we had a selfish pang of nostalgia for the times when other people were few and far between (i.e. at work or school).
We decided to stop for a break a bit before 11am as we estimated that we would run out of tree cover and possible rest stop opportunities. However, as seems to be the way, when you don’t need a bench or picnic table, you pass numerous. When you are looking for one they are elusive. We ended, after scanning the area thoroughly this time, once again, opting for a fallen log, however this one had smooth curves and was an excellent perch.
The previous evening we had been discussing our onward journey, with thoughts no longer to where the fancy took us, but ensuring that we coordinate with the departure of our ferry given that we were entering our last week. I felt a slight melancholy at the realisation that we were already two thirds of the way through our time here. Today, our route took us via Utrecht, a lovely city where we had stopped in unusual accommodation last year for a couple of days to sit out inclement weather. (Weathering the Storm 12.07.2017). We recalled the lovely canals, Miffy traffic lights and how pleasant the journey had been out of the city. Then though, we were on our last day of our trip, but today we still have a week to go, and that comparison dispelled the melancholy. We still have a whole week of new horizons!
Travelling onwards along canal sides and municipal parks, we left behind the conurbation and the navigation of other traffic became less frenetic. As the back seat of the tandem, or Stoker to give it the proper title; I am tasked with navigation duties, and Mr V, or the Captain, is in control of the helm. As I have mentioned previously, we make use of a couple of navigation apps, but despite us being in such close proximity, there still are from time to time some misunderstandings. I am a competent navigator, but fall down a little on muddling my left and right in the split second. I know which way we have to go, but what comes out of my mouth does not always correspond correctly. Mr V has therefore got used to being poked in the corresponding side of the ribs that we need to turn, usually preceded by an “Oh!Oh!Oh!” When we are in towns with little reaction time. However, as he has the responsibility for ensuring our safety, he sometimes misses my subtle cues. This can lead to frustrations (usually mine) and having to backtrack or u-turn. Not easy given Talula’s length and weight. He is ever patient though, mostly.
We had a short ferry crossing over the Lek River, and then after passing through the pretty town of Vianen, we were out in the countryside under the full blaze of the sun, and man it was hot. Whilst peddling, you tend to create your own wind to a certain extent, but as soon as you stop to check signs that have been overshot, it is stifling. We did travel for some distance alongside a wide canal and I had hoped that the proximity to the water would cool the air. But no it did not and I found myself glancing covetously at the path across the other side with it’s row of shade giving trees.
There were some long straight stretches between junctions in the latter part of the route and we picked up our rhythm and pushed along at a fast rate covering the kilometres quickly. So quickly in fact that we passed by most of the camping options earmarked the day before. Fortunately there was one last one a mere 15 minutes away so we set to. Now when we are in full swing peddling through the day, the hours tick by quickly and we are usually astonished when checking the time. At the end of the day though, especially when one so hot and sticky, 15 minutes seems to drag interminably.
At last we made it to a mini camping site at Noordeloos. The owner was at church when we arrived, but a friendly fellow camper said to just pitch where we want and sort it out in the morning. Spent by the efforts of today, we quickly set up the tent and had a reviving shower before a relaxing evening with a picturesque view, watching rabbits hopping about and the soft twit-whoo of an owl somewhere in the distance. Before doing it all again tomorrow. Only this time we are heading to the coast and cooler air. We hope.