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
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:
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
We did go into Sydney two days to have a look around.
Monika's new haircut (and color)
We each got a haircut yesterday.
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
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
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.
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Monika (upper left) in the water