Spring 2021 – On the road in the Netherlands

Spring 2021

Out and on the road with our motorhome, but still in the Netherlands

Front window insulation

The spring of 2021 is cold to cool, except for a few warm days. Temperatures fluctuate around 40 till 46 degrees Fahrenheit and regularly it freezes during the night. It does not prevent us from going out with our motorhome every few weeks. The cold outside poses few problems and the temperature inside the motorhome is very comfortable. After all, the motorhome is equipped with a diesel heater and a propane heater (which functions as a central heating) and of course every night we place our thick insulating blanket in front of our windshield. Because the Corona infection rates are still high (and therefore the hospital beds full with an increasing number of Corona patients) there is still a lock down, the curfew remains and shops and restaurants are still closed. You are not allowed to be on a terrace and getting something from a “non-essential” store is not an option. Not only in our country we have to deal with this, the situation in our neighboring countries is not really better (the lock down measures are often even stricter) and so we have to limit our lust for travel to our own country.

Searching geocaches with our E-bikes

Even though I long to cross the borders and would love to drive directly to the Normandy coast in France, that really has to wait and so we tour in our own small country. Our rhythm consists of two weeks on the road and two weeks at home, where we do our laundry, cleaning our house and look for new routes. But it also gives the opportunity to have a scuba dive every now and then. It’s a good thing that I have a dry suit because of the chilling waters. End of January the water temperature is 40 degrees, but after some weeks the temperature of the seawater rises till 46 degrees. Better to endure, although after a 45 minutes dive, my hands are so icy cold that my dive-buddy has to pull off my fins.

Cleaning our E-bikes

These periods at home also give Dick the opportunity to clean our e-bikes thoroughly. Not an unnecessary luxury because these bikes are so dirty. I am glad that we have a stone floor in our living room because otherwise I would be nervous about Dick’s cleaning sessions, who finds it much too cold, to clean outside.

Our motorhome trips are not really exciting, we regularly stay at the same parking spots and make trips in the area either by bicycle or on foot. Every now and then we stay overnight in the parking lot of a restaurant, such as in Haaksbergen and Rhenen, where we enjoy the Take away menus. Sometimes, for example in Wageningen and Emmen, where the parking place is located on the edge of the center of town, I have to walk 10 minutes to pick up our meal at the restaurant.

Take away diner

Thanks to the invention of a cool bag (or is it my quick hike), our meal arrives always warm at the motorhome.
Anyway, Dick never complaints.
However, the motorhome also has an oven and gas stove, so it often happens that we prepare our evening meal ourselves.
We have to if we don’t want to gain too many Corona pounds.
One of those meals do not really work as planned because when I want to take the quiches out of the oven, I seem to have forgotten the anti-slip mat and so it has completely melted and turned the oven into a kind of stalactite cave.
Because this molten plastic did not end up in our food, we (with some hesitation) still eat our quiches.

Cleaning the oven

I just hope that the haricot verts served with it neutralize any residual microplastics. Anyway, the food tastes good. Dick (who fixes everything I manage to break down) doesn’t’ t have to be bored the following days because before this melted junk is scraped away bit by bit from the oven rack as well as the bottom, we write a couple of days later.

 

Warm jackets during the trip

The rhythm of our motorhome life is simple. Rain or sunshine, wind or snow, we go out, dressed in many layers of clothing (always with our extra rain pants and extra layers of warm underwear) to explore the area and of course look for geocaches. After all, we make our routes based on the latter.
We explore quite a lot of old Dutch towns that I would never have visited without a Lock Down and closed borders, but the geocaches take us regularly to deserted forests or fields.

Sandy roads in the woods

It is a good thing that our e-bikes have wide tires and we already cycled quite a lot on narrow paths, because the slopes are sometimes quite steep, the mountain bike paths are very narrow and the protruding root systems of the trees, everywhere in these forests, demand a lot agility and steering skills, especially when the slope is so steep. We visit several places this spring and despite the prevailing cold temperatures, we still see nature slowly changing and enjoy beautiful blooming cherry trees on our bike rides. Because it is still constantly cold, it is no problem to find places to stay overnight, even in popular parking places such as Bergen op Zoom, Wageningen and Appingedam.
Many people clearly do not want to face the cold yet. Unfortunately, it is not possible to stay in the south-east part of our country, in Sittard.
This pleasant parking spot has been closed since December and given the broken-up terrain, the many sand piles and the hermetically closed gates, it does not seem that there will ever be an opportunity to stay here again. Local residents even mutter that a luxury resort will be built on this spot.
I hope not because Sittard is a good place to stay overnight.

Winter in the Netherlands

Twice we return home earlier than planned, due to announced harsh weather conditions. The first time at the beginning of February, when a cold front ravage our country, which is accompanied by a lot of snowfall and ice growth. After we brought the motorhome to the storage, we wake up in a white world that lasts for more than two weeks. So, it is good that we returned home.

An additional advantage is also that we enjoy geocaching in our own neighborhood. We drive to places where normally we have more difficulty to recover geocaches, namely under bridges.

Lucky to wear a drysuit

Unfortunately, it turns out that those places are not as exposed to the cold as we hoped, because it turns out that I always break through the ice layer on the canals and have to move through the icy water to the geocache.
Fortunately, I am wearing a dry suit and tied to Dick, but it is still scary to sink through an ice floor. Later it turns out that with all that climbing and swimming I am warmer than Dick who is standing on the bridges with his safety rope, where an icy wind is blowing and despite the sun it feels no warmer than 19 degrees Fahrenheit.

Testing our E-bikes

The second time we return home earlier is the beginning of March when a heavy storm ravages our country. As wind force 9 is not really a good combination with a motorhome on the road, it is a wise decision to return. And again, at home we try to find new destinations but also pass on our love for the E-bike to Thomas. And that succeeds because afterwards Thomas also owns this way of transport. We hope he will have great bike trips together with Thecla. At the beginning of April, we are already a week on the road, the weather is very changeable.

 

Camperplace de Huurne in Wierden

At the start of the week, we sit outside at a nice place in Wierden and enjoy temperatures of at least 73 degrees Fahrenheit. After all our experiences with cold weather, I had not counted on such temperatures. The closets are therefore bulging with our winter clothing and extra warm underwear, but luckily some digging still results in one pair of shorts for both Dick and me.

 

Snowing in Sint Oedenrode

Unfortunately, we cannot wear it for long because a few days later, when we are standing in a parking lot next to the center of the town of Sint-Oedenrode, it starts snowing during our walk in the forest and it does not stop anymore so the next morning we find almost 1,5 inches of snow and the streets are slippery.

 

Since these are not really weather conditions where you enjoy touring around on your e-bike, we quickly leave for the town of Bergen op Zoom, which is much more to the west and under the influence of the sea, so in the afternoon there is no longer a trace of a winter landscape to be seen.

Stormy weather at the Binnenschelde lake

 

But there is a storm and the Binnenschelde, next to where the parking lot is situated, changed into a wild sea with rolling waves. But the sun is shining and there is no snow, so we can enjoy cycling in the woods.

It is now end of April, Dick received his first Corona vaccination two weeks ago and after I also got vaccinated on April 25th, we are back on the road with the motorhome. Corona still rules and we cannot cross the borders, so again I made a route through the Netherlands. Dick spent hours in solving the necessary (geocache) puzzles that give us access to the desired hiding coordinates. Although the month of May is approaching, it is still not really warm.

Very occasionally the thermometer touches 68 degrees, but most of the time we have a regular shining sun but also an icy wind so the temperature remains between 46- and 54-degrees Fahrenheit

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