Wednesday, July 9, 2014
12:13 – Still raining. Should I dare to get out of the tent?

I kept hoping the weather would get better, but here I was, after one day and a half of staying in the same place, still in my tent, in the middle of what now became a mud pool.

I must say, the tent withstood heroically considering the weather, but some water went in… from both the ceiling and the floor. My long trousers, that I had near me in the tent, were now soaking wet, my sleeping bag was also half way wet (although I was still warm inside and couldn’t feel the wetness)… yeah … it  looked nasty!

I saw only two possible options: either get wet sitting in the tent or get wet pedaling forward! I choose to face the weather and get soaked pedaling.

I packed everything as fast as possible. The tent, full of water as it was, just got wrapped and strapped on top of my trailer along with the tarp and then I was out of that place! Don’t ask about mileage or caches… I left without worrying about them. I just wanted to get as far as possible, as fast as possible.

 

At some point I stopped under a bridge, the only dry place available, to catch a breath, eat and consult the map… but something strange happened. I saw someone on the other side of the street that kinda looked like me: in the middle of (apparently) nowhere, kinda searching for something, looking at his phone than going into a forest near the bridge…. That guy looked like a geocacher! The other available option would have been that he needed to pee and the forest was the best chance to do that :)).
While waiting for the man to return, in order to ask him if he really was a geocacher, I turned on my phone to search for the cache myself. Yeap, there was one near! After he returned we talked a bit (in a poor English, as usual here) then I went to search for the cache myself. It was a really nice cache, a TB Hotel, handcrafted, a beautiful idea 🙂 I am really glad I met that guy, because otherwise I wouldn’t have found the cache. Because of the rain my mind was off geocaching but this made get back on track!

 

I was on my way to Wesel. Since my regular bike pants were really dirty, I was wearing the very uncomfortable black pants…  The good thing was that they dry off fast due of my movement, and also they don’t hold much water, so even in the rain I didn’t feel any discomfort from the wetness.

 

I manage to win some ground, despite the rain, but I had no writing paper on the handlebar so I couldn’t really keep a accurate time-frame for the day, as I usually do. I do know that around 16:44 I was finding a new cache:

16:48 – finding GC1J00E

Almost three hours later I was reaching the lovely city of Kevelaer. I was beginning to miss the sun because during the last two days I had no chance to charge my batteries. Thus, I was in search of some kind of power source.. Any kind of outdoor power socket would have been great. I was looking for a gas station or shops that usually have those kind of sockets… What I was about to find was much much better.
This city was for me like an oasis in the desert 🙂 because I found a lovely charging station with 8 free access power sockets. It was designed for electric bikes, but since it had normal EU sockets, I could charge my devices with no problem.
Standing there I came up with the idea to search for WiFi, although my hopes were close to 0, considering the fact that I haven’t found free WiFi anywhere else since I left Flensburg (day 2).
Couldn’t believe my eyes of the miracle: Kevelaer has free WiFi, and exactly there, where I had the power sockets! Oh happy day!! Oh my dear and lovely Kevelaer, I love you!

 

While standing there to wait for the batteries to charge, I took advantage of the weather to also take some photos of me and my gear. ( I can’t really take photos in the rain because I only have my phone and not a waterproof camera )

 

Standing there I could check my email account and refresh all the caches in my list. I also talked to Vlad, Andrei’s friend who will be hosting me in Netherlands. I told him that if by any chance I get to his place tonight, it would be awfully late, and since I don’t want to disturb at such an hour, it’s best to come by his place the next day, at 18:00, after he finishes work , just like we had planned. He informed me that it’s a game night so he’s going to bed late.
In the same time I decided to search for his address on my GPS and that is how I realized he actually does not live in Eindhoven, but 15 km from the city… Since internet was not a problem here (thank you Kevelaer) I used Google Maps to estimate the distance from me to him. According to it I should arrive at my destination at about 22:45. That is actually a reasonable hour but never, and I mean never, the time estimations made by Google maps are what happens in real life. I knew I would arrive much later.

 

I was again facing a dilemma. Stay here and finish charging my devices then go, or start now and try to get as fast as possible to Netherlands…. Sleeping was out of the question anyway because, as you must remember,  everything was wet: my tent, my sleeping bag, the canvas… the nature around me… everything. So, no sleep! Pedaling on!

 

Using Google Maps as my guide I rushed to Netherlands… It really sucks battery life from my phone, but I needed it. I must admit I love the fact that I can close and open the screen with only one press of a button, unlike my gps app which requires unlocking the screen before showing the map. With Google Maps, the screen gets locked but the navigation stays on top, so you only need to draw your pattern only if you exit the navigator.

 

And so, guided by Google I found myself pedaling through the night. You have no idea (and in fact neither do I) on what crazy roads it took me…  Off-road pedaling while pulling a trailer, through the pitch dark forest, with only a headlamp to light the way… oh yeah, that’s an adventure!!

 

Again, just like my passing from Denmark to Germany, I have no idea when I crossed into Netherlands. I only know that at about 21:00 hours I received the network operator text message informing me about the roaming prices… so I was definitely in a different country at that point.

 

And so, following Google Maps I pedaled in the night until … .. oh well, what do you know? The day ended with me still riding the bike and so I have to jump to the next post 🙂

Why stay at home when the road is so beautiful?