Hitting the road again, September 2020
Although we just returned from a nice trip through Germany with our motorhome, I am already looking for a next tour. Mid-September our diary has a few days without appointments and there is a Cito (Cache in Trash out) clean up day at the Kaarster See in Germany, so we also have a destination.
The next days I sit behind the laptop to convert our available days into a route to drive.
It works well, also because we want to go back to Appingedam in the northern part of our country, so quickly I can present Dick a nice route, with a high geocache content. Actually, Dick never study intensively my proposals.
He looks at them for a moment and mumbles something, so I’m never quite sure or Dick wants to leave again, but he (almost) never grumbles about my love of travel and travel plans, so it will be fine.
Early morning on Saturday, September 12th, we pick up the motorhome from the storage. When we arrive the motorhome is still in the storage because a new employee cannot start the engine. Dick takes a quick look and finds out that this is caused by the power interrupter switch and when he turns this switch, the engine of the motorhome runs directly and it can be driven outside.
When we arrive at home, we can park in the parking lot, thanks to one of our neighbors who wants to move his car. The rest of the day we are busy loading stuff, clothing, books and drinks and making our bed. Dick also manufactures a support in the storage of the motorhome so our new camping table can be placed there.
Our plan is to leave on Monday morning, but Sunday September 13th , after a pleasant day with nieces in Papendrecht, I return home at 5.15 pm. It’s still daylight so we leave now. Dick already loaded the last stuff we have to take with us, so I can board the motorhome and within 10 minutes we are on our way to Varsseveld.
It is still busy on the road, partly caused by the beautiful weather this weekend, but also because roads are closed due to roadwork, so everyone has to make a detour, but at 7.30 pm we arrive in Varsseveld.
There is only one motorhome in the parking lot, so we can stay here. It is significantly cooler now the sun is gone, so when we hear that there is still a possibility to have dinner at restaurant Enzovoort and tables inside are available, we take a seat and enjoy the spareribs, again all you can eat.
The next time I deny “all you can eat” because after two ribs I am already full.
But every time we have dinner in this restaurant the quality of the food is good.
Under a clear starry sky, we walk back to the motorhome and sleep well.
After a delicious breakfast with fresh croissants on Monday morning, we drive to the outdoor shop Obelink where we look around and buy bidons. We have forgotten to take them and with the current temperatures cycling around without drinking water is not really wise.
At 1.30 pm we arrive in Appingedam where we occupy the last available spot. You still notice that people in Corona time do not really leave the country and prefer to stay close by. Besides we still live with Corona so some places in Europe are impassable. We take quite a long time to level our motorhome because this free spot is on a slope. And I agree with Dick that the motorhome should be levelled because it really does not make you happy to stay in an inclined motorhome.
But finally, the motorhome is levelled with the wooden levelers made by Dick. At times like this I wish to have hydraulic levelers.
We drink coffee and then walk into the old town of Appingedam. Two previous times we walked here it was considerably colder but now we enjoy the shining sun and the steel-blue sky. We stroll through the narrow streets and see canals with houses and overhanging kitchens (special to this town).
We walk 3.5 miles before going back. We sit outside in the sun for a while, watch the arriving and departing buses at this bus station and eat toasts with French cheese. As soon as the sun disappears behind the houses, it cools down and we go inside. We have eaten so much toast that we are no longer hungry and the food bought at the supermarket stays in the fridges. We only drink a coffee before going to bed.
Tuesday after breakfast, with fresh bread rolls, we take our bikes to cycle around. There is a nice cycling and geocache tour from the neighboring city of Delftzijl. This route will takes us through the Groningen landscape.
We ride partly behind the dike, partly over the dike, from where we have a beautiful view of the enormous water surface of the river Eems.
There is no wind and the water is so wide that the German bank on the other side is not visible. It is getting warmer and it is good that we can have drinks and ice cream at farms.
We enjoy the different geocaches we find along the way. There are so many geocaches that we cannot find all hidden caches so we have a good reason to return to this northern part of the country.
After 7 hours of cycling and 22 miles we are back at the motorhome. Despite the fact that it is almost 5.30 pm, it is still 81 degrees Fahrenheit so we relax outside and replenish our lack of moisture. In the evening I buy schnitzels (porc meat German art) with chips and salad in the snack bar next to the bus station. But it is a lot of food, so it is good that in the evening I have to walk back and forth over the bus-parking 8 times with watering cans to refill our clean water tank. Till late in the evening it stays warm outside, and again we sleep with all windows wide open.
After dumping our gray and black water on Wednesday morning, September 16th, we leave Appingedam. Other motorhomes are waiting to take our place. We drive on narrow back roads to the border with Germany where armed police officers guard the border. A strange sight, because in the European Union is free movement of people and goods, but it’s Corona time and nothing is strange anymore. We are not stopped but are allowed to continue our drive.
Just before one pm we arrive in the town of Hagen in the Teutoburgerwald. Again the parking is busy with motorhomes but, there is still a place where we can park. Outside in the warm sun we drink a cup of coffee and then we walk to the center of town. I thought this was a historic town, but we don’t see much of it and we don’t really find it a special town.
But we decided to walk around so we take a leisurely stroll through the streets, look around at a cozy market, with a mouth mask because everyone wears it, and take a seat on a terrace of a bakery where we cannot ignore the good-looking cakes.
On the way back to the motorhome we look for a few more caches in the area. One geocache is very nice, a safe in the ground under a thick steel lid, filled with old European money and of course on the grounds of a bank building.
We do not know or the bank also likes people searching around here in the evening and at night. After a 3.5 miles walk, we are back at the motorhome. Although the sun is still shining, a cold wind is blowing now so we stay inside.
Dick cooks delicious food in the evening. Besides some leftover chips (from our copious meal yesterday) we have spinach, egg and meatballs. Really a feast.
On Thursday, September 17th, we don’t wake up until 8.30 am. We always sleep long and deeply when travelling in our motorhome.
Of course, like every morning, I walk into town to get fresh bread. Only when I am close by, after a 10-minute walk, I realize that I have forgotten my mouth mask. That means that I am not allowed to enter the bakery. How sickening.
At the door of the bakery I pull the collar of my sweater over my mouth and ask or I can come inside. Fortunately, it’s allowed. Walking so is a bit inconvenient, because with one hand I keep the collar over my mouth and with the other hand I have to pull my wallet to pay. That clumsy behavior leads to a curious look from another customer, so I am glad when I can walk back to the motorhome with fresh rolls. We enjoy a delicious breakfast.
The next few days we will not have places to dump our gray and black water nor water taps on the parking areas, so before leaving we fill up with clean water and dump our gray and black water. Then we drive through the sun-drenched landscape. Unfortunately, it is no longer as warm as the past few days due to a cold wind. Our destination is the town of Gladbeck, but when we arrive at the enclosed spot in the middle of the forest, we see that we are too long for the spots on the sunny side. In addition, the “Platz wart” (terrain guard) does not allow us to stand where we want and actually we can only have a place on a grass strip in the shade. But we don’t like that place so we leave.
We are now in the industrial Ruhr area and drive through an “Umwelt zone” where only cars with a green Umwelt sticker are allowed. That means that older cars cannot drive in this area but we can. The town of Oberhausen is our second stop. Here is a huge parking lot between sports stadiums. Again, we are not really thrilled with the place (it’s really windy here) so after looking around we hit the road again and drive to Mülheim an der Ruhr.
It takes a bit more effort to get here due to a huge fire in the area. Traffic jam is everywhere, huge clouds of smoke are to be seen and it doesn’t smell good outside, but after half an hour we arrive at the parking near the river Ruhr. We both have the feeling that we have been here before. We have to check that at home in one of the many journals in which we write our travels. When the motorhome is parked, we walk to the Rewe supermarket around the corner.
It is really necessary to do some shopping. But when all food is put away, we finally can walk to the center of the town of Mülheim. It is a nice walk that takes us partly along the river Ruhr.
Of course, we look for some geocaches along the way and enjoy the warm weather. The center has a beautiful church with a tall tower but it is almost 6 pm so we want to return to the motorhome. Despite the attractive restaurants everywhere, we do not go out for dinner and again Dick prepares our food. After these 4 miles long walk, the beans and meatballs tastes good.
We both have thrilling books, Dick reads: “the Jury” by John Grisham and I read the German book “der Pferdeflüsterer” (Horse Whisperer) by Nicolas Evans, so the rest of the evening flies by.
We do notice that autumn is approaching because when we get up on Friday September 18th it is quite cool, but during the day the temperature warms up quickly and we put on our shorts. This time I buy German carrot bread so Dick immediately tells me he is not a rabbit. But the bread doesn’t taste bad and is better than the mustard bread from our previous trip.
At 9.30 am we leave Mülheim and drive on the autobahn towards Düsseldorf. At the Ikea store is a place where we can park, but this parking lot in front of the entrance is not really attractive, so we drive on to Liedberg with a parking lot in the middle of fields, on the edge of this old town.
It is only 11 am so we have plenty of time to look around the area and get our bikes. Of course, we first ride up the slope to the old town of Liedberg. It is picturesque and has narrow streets, beautiful old houses, an old tower and impressive castle. But the town of Korschenbroich further up the road is also nice to wander through and we cannot resist a lovely, sun-drenched terrace right in the center nor the lure of a huge ice cream.
After 5 hours of cycling around we are back at the motorhome and sit outside in the sun for a few hours. It is 83 degrees and because we stay high on a hilltop, we can follow the Tour de France over the radio. While I read my book, Dick has to log the 16 found geocaches on the laptop. Yes, one of us has to work.
At 7 pm when the sun disappears behind the horizon it cools down and we go inside. We only eat some toast with French cheese and yogurt. That’s what happens when you enjoy a huge ice cream at 3pm. The parking lot is now completely deserted and it is quiet here.
The alarm clock calls at 7 am on Saturday morning and after showering we immediately leave and drive to the parking lot at the Kaarster See. Although it’s a huge parking, the bulk of it is closed with huge boulders so we want to arrive early to be sure of a parking place. After Dick parked the motorhome, at this time there are only two other cars, we first have breakfast before looking around.
At 10 am the organizer of the CITO arrives and we help (with 6 feet distance and wearing a facemask) to set up the tent and soon afterwards the first participants in the cleanup day arrive.
After we have registered our names and address details (on Corona sheets of the municipality and in the logbook of Geocaching) we get garbage bags, gloves and tongs and we fan out over the huge parking lot and along the shores of the lake. There is a lot of garbage. I am more for the big waste and am overjoyed when I discover some large air mattresses in the bushes, Dick also looks for cigarette butts and soon has a bottle full of them. We brought rain gear and boots, but they can stay in the motorhome because the weather is beautiful. Although it’s still morning the temperature is already 83 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun shines in a steel blue sky. We change into shorts and a T-shirt and continue searching for waste.
Around 1 pm the 40 participants collected so much waste and garbage that the area is clean again and after some talking, we leave the Kaarster See.
We like to stay in Oedt, but the parking here is overcrowded so we drive on to the city of Kamp Lintfort.
Here in the parking of the swimming pool is enough place. As the weather is still good and warm, we walk through a beautiful park with stately trees to the center of town. It is busy but there is enough space to keep distance and we enjoy the beautiful weather. We get some food in the supermarket and after a few hours walk back to the motorhome where we sit inside because it is cooling down considerably. It will come as no surprise to anyone that we go early to our bed and sleep like marmots.
Sunday September 20th, we get up at 8 am. Outside it is still cool, only 59 degrees, but there is no wind and the sky is steel blue. Unfortunately, there is still no place in Oedt, so we leave Germany and drive to the city of Bakel in the Netherlands. Here we park the motorhome in an empty parking lot near a sports hall. Of course, we unload our e-bikes and start a cycle tour. We ride through meadows, forests and fields.
Geocaches bring us to the “Bospark Bakel”, a 35 hectares park with trees, lots of hiking trails and surprising corners. Next to a forest with many, many gnomes, there is a railway emplacement with toy trains, which can be heard from afar by the honking of trains and of course there is also a nice chapel in the middle of the forest. As always we burn a candle.
To find all caches in this park a puzzle has to be solved. Dick is always good at this and works at it while sitting on a bench in the woods. When he completes the puzzle, we can fill in the missing data using clues from other geocaches. This park is a good place to ride around and we enjoy it immensely. We are back at the motorhome at 5.30 pm after a good 15 mile ride. Nearby is a Greek eatery where I buy food. It looks delicious but the meat is tough and not tasty so most of this meal ends up in the trash. We will never buy food here again.
It is unbelievable cause it’s really Autumn, but Monday September 21st the weather is beautiful again and the sun shines in a steel blue sky. We have breakfast with our carrot bread (still good to eat) and then drive to the town of Zaltbommel.
Here, at the edge of town, is a nice parking with large, wide spaces close to the center.
Because we arrive at 10 am we still have a choice of free spots, but soon the remaining spots are full and not only a dilapidated Polish caravan is parked on the motorhome spot, but also a very old motorhome forces itself between our motorhome and this caravan, so little remains of our spacious spot.
We are not the only ones attracted by the beautiful weather, also many day trippers (all elderly people) arrive in great numbers with their car and lift their e-bikes from the bicycle rack.
A little later we understand the influx of this gray wave on electric bicycles because cycling on this dike with a magnificent view of the river Waal is beautiful.
On the computer we printed a map with geocaches and we spend the rest of the day searching for them. We only stop once during our 5 hours of cycling to have an ice cream on a terrace.
Of course we also drive around in the town of Zaltbommel, which turns out to be unexpected interesting. Next to old fortifications near the river, there are nice narrow streets with old houses and above all you can see the large, blunt tower of the church in Zaltbommel, which is narrated in songs. After a trip of 23 miles we are back at the motorhome where we stay in the sun, of course reading a book. This is one place we will certainly return to.
On Tuesday, September 22nd , we first enjoy fresh croissants before we drive back home. Again we can park in the parking lot behind our house and start unloading the motorhome. We want to unload as much stuff as possible because tomorrow we will bring the motorhome to our dealer in Nederweert. After a few hours our job is done and we can clean the motorhome inside and outside. That’s not a bad job because it is still warm and the sun shines brightly.