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30/09/2011 / Rugg Tomcat

Day 90: Truckin.

Uterect, distance covered 100km ish.

Awoke to heavy dew again, fortunatly the campsite had a long gazeebo covering some public benches so packing up was no problem, this time I took down the inner first and prevented any dampness inside, the package was tight but extra heavy. Assembling the tent the night before I had heard more cracking and so I took the time to examine every pole, and found two more cracks in poles. Bound these with insulating tape as I had the first and hoped they would make it. It was about 10am by the time I properly hit the road.

Zwolle was nothing to write home about and quickly left behind me and the first 30km slipped away most easily, I had eaten tuna for breakfast again (Yeah, takes some doing) and it really seemed to help, I didn’t get the sudden hunger stabs I was used to filling with stroopwaffles or assorted bakery. Stopped for lunch in Amersfort and was caught leaving by the rain. I have a policy at the moment which is to stop under a roof and eat whenever this happens, and as I had just managed to supply myself with milk I sheltered under another modernist office block Te Huir and had a huge bowl of Musli. It was a short lived shower and I was back on the road after half an hour and only 20km from Uterect.

The worst thing about this whole trip has been getting into new cities, going round the centre finding food ect and then not knowing the way out, and so it went with Uterect, dispite having a map. I eventually fought my way through native cunning and with night falling to the western outskirts and I began to get panicy, I saw it happening and could keep on top of it but decided I really had to go for the next camping as the problem was not physical but mental tirednes.

Coming into Voondam{?} there was a big sign saying right for the swimming and camping, then another smaller newer but still official looking sign saying camping of the same name straight on. Bastards. Followed the smaller one but was quickly in the centre and went round a roundabout a few times in a daze. A guy hailed me in dutch, I appologised as usual and he said ‘youre looking for the camping?’ this being the extent of his english. Yes! He directed me down the road I had just passed ‘long, on, on.’ and off I went. This was a long dark road, at least to my mind and after going for some km I had come to the city outskirts and a new cycle sign. I decided to forget it and continue on and was just looking at the map trying to decide the best way to take when two other men stopped to help, they directed me onward but remarked that there was a camping 500m behind me… Woo! They had better english and clearer instructions and I was there. No one up but I camped (without getting the inside damp, but with more cracking noises from the poles) near the other tents, right next to a dyke and the toilet blocks. The familiar eat sleep cycle followed.

25/08/2011 / Rugg Tomcat

Day 89: Great to be Gone

Zwolle, distance covered, about 110km.

Woke up in reasonable time packed up and ate a new breakfast. Tunafish. I know its a bit weird but it was there and it felt right and off we went.

It was as exilerating to be back on unseen roads as it was relaxing to be knowing where I was going when I arrived. Assen soon passed behind me and then it was a 40km run to Mepple and then over toward Zwolle. I was really feeling good and hyped and was committed to riding through the night when I came across a campsite. Night was falling, Id done about ten hours riding, no need to be a hero. Camping was also a marina, like a floating caravan park.

Had bench technology. Ate. Slept.

25/08/2011 / Rugg Tomcat

Day 88: Twice as much for half.

Groningen, distance covered 4km.

This was gonna be my last day here and so I got to the street early but there was mechanical band close to the pitch and so I had to move down to a different part of the square and it really didn’t work. People would hang back and pretend not to watch. I packed wen I couldn’t get a front line of any kind going, or any response from anyone.

This sort of set the theme for the day, I did manage to pull off two more hats later further up the street but they were hard work and for the first time I found mysef really taking the piss out of the crowd, acusing them of having no balls. I even got the feedback ‘charming’ after one show, along with some money of course. Its ok to use provocation, but I don’t really want to go there too much. Not for daytime crowds.

The last show I should never have started, I told myself at the start it wouldn’t work and it didn’t. I finished the day burned out and not-very-rich and decided to sleep before moving on. Another big chili without the chili and then to bed.

25/08/2011 / Rugg Tomcat

Day 87: The Late Show

Groningen, distance covered 8km.

Despite my early night I also managed a long morning and was not at the street until 2.30pm, except that I had forgotten my plank and had to pack up and go straight back to the camping, arrrrgh! This got me quite fired up and I did two shows on the last of the shopping crowd but like the day before something wasn’t right, I got laughs, I got through the shows but turnover was high, participation was difficult to find and hats were small. Had a good time with some students who were obviously up for a laugh and some other nice faces but just, I dunno, something missing. Its probably me. Still, money in the hat, fuel in the legs.

Have discovered this great thing called Kannon, its 11% beer. Amazing, tho i feel a bit like a Jakey drinking it.

25/08/2011 / Rugg Tomcat

Day 86: Stuck in

Groningen, distance covered 4km.

Went to work, pretty early really, was there by 11am, rolled up my sleeves and made a show. Not a great show, but it got to the end, did the same again and was offered beer by society girls by about 1pm. super early, on a Thursday! well I had a soapy one and chatted then went to the park to practice some. After dinner the rain came down and I was asleep before I knew what was going on.

25/08/2011 / Rugg Tomcat

Day 85: Hongry

Groningen, distance covered 8km.

Woke. Stroopwaffles and Beer for breakfast. Little ride to the shops for toilet paper and soap but come back with neither of these and a LOT of food. Shrug and decide I have my priorities mixed up so sit down and EAT. Everything.

The best bit was the chili with no chili, just meat and beans and garlic and tomatoes. was an entire pot full and then four ham sandwiches, a whole packet of crisps, the rest of the stroopwaffles.. you get the idea. I just ate. I then slept, woke up and went for TP and soap again, came back and ate some more. Sleep for the second time came with sunset.

25/08/2011 / Rugg Tomcat

Day 84: Putting the Miles In

Groningen. Distance covered 140km?

Didn’t mean it to be such an epic day but things conspired to get me truly back in the groove. Heavy dew in the morning taught me new points about packing down in wet and then it was off into a cloudy day with little wind and the prospect of some good food at the end of it. Despite the early shower I was in good spirits and things were fairly plain sailing till Leer when i shortcut around the town but then started heading north by accident. Fortunately I figured it out pretty quickly and only lost 4km or so.

Crossing the border by bike was fun, you could tell you were in the Netherands as properly marked cycle lanes appeared again. Win! Steven Segal however was not looking so good. I thought it had been a hard summer but it turns out he was drinking till 3am and making breakfasts at 7am, at wich point I felt much less sorry for him and made him cook meat. World of yum.

Full of my second dinner I went to find the camping at Winschoten. It should have been easy but although I had the right block I went right around it before finding it was closed. I hadda wee sneak in as there were obvious paths in through the bushes but I didn’t fancy the idea of a night there on my own.

Looking at the map there were a couple of other possibilities but I didnt trust the map as it was clearly out of date (same map with closed camping at Neiw Beerta) and it was about 7pm and I was full of food. ‘How far to Gronnigen?’ I asked a stranger. After mispronouncing the name a few more times he finally understood and replied ‘about 40km.’ Doable… especially as I had a big belly full of dinner, OK lets do it!

Turned out to be one of the nicest rides of the tur, the wind had gotten up a bit with the clearing sky but the evening light was just superb and I passed no end of crazy architecture and lovely sunset vistas. There was also a stand of beach trees who’s trunks all bore eyes or fannies, tho I think I was getting a little tired by that point. I was happy tho, the legs were turning by brain knew where I was going so no stress and just fizzing along admiring the skyscape.

Arrived about 11pm at the campsite, most disorganized pitch of tent and cook of food ever. Think I heard a tentpole crack. Don’t care. Sleep.