Friday, July 20, 2018

Dalfsen to Meppen, Germany

Sunday June 10, 2018, 94 km (58 miles) - Total so far: 256 km (159 miles)

So my host's came home at 9pm. In their defense they never thought I'd make it. They'd had requests before, but the people never showed up. We stayed up until 11 pm chatting. He is a driver so could advise me on roads to take. She is an obesity coach. I know, really, both of them. To be fair there are bad sugars everywhere now and diabetes and hypertension, it's just that I see so many people on bikes. There are old people here on bikes like there are old people in the U.S. using scooters.
About the different paths and signage:

The mistake I made yesterday was wasting my battery by having Google talk to me. Though it helped me get out of Amsterdam, I didn't need that kind of help today, and was able to conserve my battery. Though using zigzag no-name paths sent me down remote areas. I wasliterally in the middle of nowhere. Feitspad was a strip of cement through fields and forests. I saw no one. I peed beside the sheep. I was alone riding on top of the dikes. But when my phone quit I needed straight forward navigation. At some intersections are white signs with red lettering. These tracks parallel roadways but are very quiet. It's how I left Drauton and got to Zwolle.

The first time.

There a woman explained I must go back and go over a bridge. So I backtracked with her and then she explained the lettered bike path system. Geez, I thought, Why wasn't I doing this already? Well, I'll tell you why. I marked down the paths needed, 17, 18, 19, then 70. I immediately lost 19. By this time I was south of Zwolle, and couldn't find anyway to get over a river and highway. I had to go back to Zwolle. At a gas station a cyclist buying cigarettes got me sorted. Yet there was a bridge out. I was about to just get on the busy road when a guy honked. He told me how to get fixed.

I know why the Dutch like the numbered paths. They are truly away from traffic, in the middle of nowhere, but I need signs, kilometers, the name of the next town. A point of reference.

So today I stuck close to the signs with red lettering. Not once today did I get lost. I only checked navigation once. I either left the phone alone or used it to snap photos. I arrived at my campground in Meppen, having followed pleasant roads with no stress. Yet I was bushed when I pulled in. The last 10 KM were ugly.

The campingplatz is only 9.50 Euros. Now I'm truly doing a European tour. Tonight I sleep in Germany, where when I ordered a pizza I said water was fine, and they brought me a pricey bottled water.

follow these signs

last windmill before leaving the Netherlands

last canal before leaving the Netherlands

Welcome to Germany!

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