When I write this, it is Sunday and I am in Arcen, Limburg at the Reception (good wifi-signal) of campsite "Klein Vink". On Thursday I started my trip with a fully loaded Mango with the idea to check the tracks I had mapped out in ridewithgps.com for the EuroTour2013. As usual when I do not have the discipling force of a group ride, I started late, way too late. It was not until 11.30AM before I set out to my destination: campsite de Paasheuvel, but since I skipped the velomobilebuilders in Dronten I could win some time. The track that I mapped looked like this: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1566205 and I stayed pretty close to it: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/212372761
Not only the tracks were to be tested, but also the campsites. The "Paasheuvel" had looked promising on the Internet and it sure has plenty capacity in a nice setting. The requirements to be met are higher than that though: some 100people in tents and a few vehicles and all will need to charge their batteries, GPS, smartphone and whatever. On top of that it would be very nice to have access to wifi, so blogs can be updated, photos uploaded and maybe even a little movie can be put on YouTube. Upon my arrival at 6PM I had an extensive chat about this with the staff. They had several suggestions that I checked out the next morning.
The next morning.... I woke up late and made a long stroll around the campsite to see the possibilities. I saw only one field that was just perfect: the Ligweide behind the pond. Yes, there is even a pond that we can dip in right after pitching the tents (or before). This field has plenty space, the SAG vehicles can also be there and there are power outlets. (Note: we will need the special three pinned converter for campers and caravans). We maybe can "borrow" some electricity from the standard European outlets in the nearby washroom. Wifi is not free and may not be strong enough at the field itself, but it is available. (I did not take the wifi option, because I could not think of much use for it at the time).
As to be expected I got away late again 10:30AM The mapped track: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1563685 The distance was about the same, but.... today was hot, burning sun all day and I had to climb. "What?", you might say, "you're still in the Netherlands, what climbing of significance can that be?". It's true that we do not have mountains and most of the Netherlands is flat, but there are some "glacial tills" or "moraines" that were pushed up during several Ice Ages. The first one "de Veluwe" was unavoidable and besides, it is simply nice riding through moors and forests. The second one between Nijmegen and Germany along the river "Waal" (part of the Rhine) we could go around and maybe we will when somebody comes up with a better route. I chose to again take a route that was the nicest in my view along the "Zeven Heuvelen Weg" (seven hills road) and the river Maas. I would have enjoyed it even more when it hadn't been so blazingly hot. I stopped several times for a place in the shade or at an ice cream parlor to give my body time to cool down. I could sometimes feel a heat stroke closing in, but the pauzes, together with a lot of drinking and spraying myself wet with water from the spray bottle prevented that from happening. My average was disgracefully low, but anyway, I simply did not go to Beyss in Straelen at the same day and stopped at te campsite near Arcen (Klein Vink) that I had picked beforehand. So instead of 160km I did around 130km and arrived at about 6PM. This big campsite is quite ok and it has many facilities, like supermarket, restaurant, Spa and swimming inside and outside, (and you can even have a dialysis for your kidney) but it's also quite expensive while the place for tents on a hilltop (a steep challenge) between trees is nice, but has no power. The price for wifi is extraordinary high :-( Signal strength is excellent throughout the site it seems.
After I installed myself, I learned from others campers that the next day would be even hotter, so here I am at 3:15PM, sitting with my laptop below two blowers at the Reception instead of pushing on and landing at a hospital ;-) Next will be a place in the shade at the waterfront and sit this day out. Phew, it's hot!