September 4, 2000 - Luxembourg

Took the train from Bremen to Luxembourg yesterday to rejoin the group. No problem with the bikes. For a small transport fee, we get an assigned slot in a special rail car with space for about 20 or so bikes, with seats in the same car. A very good arrangement.

The old town of Luxembourg sits down in a gorge, we didn't go down there. Most of the newer town is up on a plateau above from where I took this photo:
<h3>Sept 29 2000 - Cairns Australia
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Old town of Luxembourg

Sept. 7, The Netherlands

Long ride up the coast of Holland. A nice route along the dikes keeping the sea out of the polders. Today at least we had a tail wind as opposed to the headwind all day yesterday. It is of course easy to predict which way the wind will blow as its usually from the west in this part of Europe. Of course this did was not a factor in designing the route here. A bunch of riders went ahead from Luxembourg to the coast of Belgium and rode with the wind up a nice bike route up the coast. Since we just came back form a week off in Bremen again, we were in the riding mode to save money.

After a hard day with over 6000 feet of climbing, Monika checked her records and found she had only biked 4 days in August because of time we took off, along with her finding 4 different dentists to finally get a root canal taken care of. I had only done 6 days. This is a record low. We are still trying to plan for Asia, whether we want to do all the riding and endure the "support" which in many ways is more of a burden than support, or ditch the bikes for awhile and go around with a backpack.

Sept. 10, The Netherlands

Here we are for our five off days in "Amsterdam", I use the quotes because we are not really in Amsterdam, instead we are inconveniently located in Nordwijkerhoot. Some distance away. You have to take 2 buses and a train to get to Amsterdam, and they stop running late at night so it is difficult for us to go tango there, which I've been planning on for months.

We did see the second installment of the video the film crew has been producing last night and got updated plans for the rest of the trip. Basically we are just parked here until we can airlift out to Australia. We spent 1 day in a campground
5 K from here (in light rain), then waited around until noon to ride 5K to this hotel which is rather nice for 2 days, then go back to the campground for 2 days then back here for 1 day, then a bus to Koln for a day and then a 22 hour flight to
Australia stopping to refuel in Sri Lanka. When we get to Australia we will have to sit in the plane for awhile (did I mention its a 22 hour flight). They plan to let 40 to 50 at a time out of the plane to go through customs. So we effectively get two
nights accommodations (called beds) in the airplane.

Keukenhof Gardens
cut flower pavilion in Keukenhof Gardens

Sept 11, we rode about 5 K from camp to the Keukenhof gardens near here. They close down in about a week, but everything is still in bloom now. The gardens are huge, with whole areas devoted to each type of flower. There are also numerous fountains and sculptures. The cut flower pavilion was the most impressive
display of cut flowers I have ever seen, the photo only shows a small fraction of it. All of the flowers are absolutely fresh and must be replaced daily judging by the condition.

Sept 12, we took the bus and train into Amsterdam and found a place to stay for the night, rather than spend a night in the campground again. Found a convenient spot with a cafe to dance our last tango of the trip just around the corner.

Sept 12 2000 - Noordwijkerhoot Netherlands

Since TKA is air freighting their "support" gear by a separate freight shipment to Australia, they finally thinned out some stuff, like these two crates of toilet paper from Costco they have been carrying around since day one!

TKA toilet paper
      finally abandoned
TKA toilet paper finally abandoned

It is laughable to consider how many times it has been loaded on planes and trucks up until know. I'd hate to guess what the price per roll would be if you include the transport charges. It brings to mind the word "kakistocracy" I gleaned
from another riders site which means a "Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens".

Sept 15 2000 - Cologne (Koln) Germany

Actually the couples (us included) had a double room 40 kilometers outside of Cologne for a day while we wait for our late night flight to Australia. We took
the train into Cologne to do some last minute chores (mail some stuff, and some shopping) before we leave Europe.

Cathederal in Cologne
Cathedral in Cologne

The cathedral in the background was over 600 years in the making. It was an early Christian pilgrimage site and contains the shrine of the three magi (although
their relics are apparently not there, at least now).

Sept 19 2000 - Goldburn Australia

During yesterdays ride from Canberra we had to battle strong headwinds much of the way, otherwise it would have been rather easy.

Kangaroo sign
Kangaroo sign

Sept. 21, 2000 - Wollongong Australia

Here we are in Wollongong, which was always advertised as Sydney. Actually it is over 80 kilometers to the south. You can take a train from the university dorm we are staying in to Sydney (Olympics are going on), but I'm not sure how long it takes yet. We Landed 4 days ago in Canberra, after 22 hours on the plane from Koln Germany, with an hour off to stretch our legs in Sri Lanka while the plane refueled. After landing at an airbase that is not normally used for international flights (this was the first time a DC-10 had landed at this rather small
field), we sat another 3 hours on the plane as they only allowed 40 people at a time to disembark and go through customs. Then another couple of hours to load our stuff into the trucks and prepare our bikes to ride again and ride to the "unique" motel that had 12 bunks to a room. We only had 7 in the room the first
day and 5 the next because the others made their own plans. The 19th, we rode through a stiff wind to Goldburn, then the next day was 100+ miles to here (Wollongong). We actually cut off about 37 kilometers by hopping on a bus after about 50K, which ended up being free! It was still 133 kilometer ride even so. I've seen about a dozen dead kangaroos (road-kill) but no live ones yet. Some other riders though saw a herd (mob?) of about 50 near Canberra.

Many people made plans to go to Sydney for the Olympics, when they suddenly posted that we had to be here the 3rd day of our stay to load our bags and bikes on a truck at an unspecified hour, or find someone to do it for you. By the next morning they had at least specified the hour. The logistics of this trip never take into consideration the convenience of the riders, which by the way the organizers do not consider to be customers! We miss the gear trucks with the individual lockers. Now every day for the rest of the trip we have to throw our stuff on a rental truck. Bags get piled to the ceiling.

Next Monday we fly to Townsville. Monika and I are planning to stay an extra day there then go to Cairns, where we have booked a 3 day dive trip on the reef. A few days later we fly to Japan.

We've decided to keep the bikes with us through Asia, since the latest itinerary (as of sept 9) looks much more reasonable.

Monika found she only rode the bike 4 days in August, and it looks like September will be 6 days. It seems like more.

We have a stack of "lonely planet" guide books which we are studying to prepare for the rest of the venue. We have to readjust to the driving habits of Australia, while on the road. We were kind of spoiled in Scandinavia and Holland and Germany, where there are bike lanes everywhere and the drivers actually give way to the cyclists. Here you have to keep in mind this is the country the "mad max - road warrior" movie came from. (Its pretty much the way they drive in the US, except on the other side of the road).

Sept 19 2000 - Sydney Australia

The train ride from Wollongong into Sydney takes about 2 hours each way. It runs pretty well considering how many people are moving each day in and out of
Sydney to watch the Olympics. We've just been watching it on TV here.
We did go into Sydney two days to have a look around.

Monika's new haircut
Monika's new haircut (and color)
We each got a haircut yesterday.

Dan Monika and
      Dagmar in Sydney.
Dan Monika and Dagmar in Sydney.
We did meet with a young German friend we know from Portland who is now in this part of the world. The Sydney opera house and harbor bridge show in the background.

Sept 25 2000 - Townsville Australia

We don't have the individual gear lockers for the remainder of the trip, so everything gets loaded on and off a truck like this everyday. Its hard on your stuff, especially if it ends up on the bottom.

gear trucks
New gear trucks

Sept 26 2000 - Magnetic Island Australia

We are off route until Cairns. Took the ferry to magnetic island for a day. Its nice and peaceful here. The owner of the accommodation where we stayed feeds
the lorakeets every morning. They are strikingly colorful (and noisy).
Rainbow Lorakeets
Rainbow Lorakeets

The next day we took the bus to Cairns. Took the wheels and pedals off the bikes and turned the handlebars to take them as bus baggage (for an extra charge).
Bungied the front wheel to the frame, but when they shoved the bikes in the baggage compartment, the cranks turned into the spokes and where jammed tight when we arrived. Had to replace a spoke on my wheel, and retrue both mine and Monika's.

Sept 29 2000 - Cairns Australia

We had a three day dive trip on the Great Barrier Reef booked out of Cairns. The ride out to the reef is about 50 kilometers from here and I got a bit sea sick on the way out setting up the dive gear and stowing our stuff in our cabin while the 25 Meter boat was underway.

I didn't actually barf until I was underwater. In total I think I ejected 4 meals. So I only did 2 of the 11 possible dives with scuba, and free dove on 2 others.

The trip was an otherwise enjoyable diversion, but the diving was a bit rushed, and most of the dives come right after a meal which I find a bit uncomfortable.

Monika (upper left) in the water

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