Alps - Day 21 : The finale
It was cold in the morning. The sky was clear and the sun was shining, except on the spot where we were camping. We were glad it was the last day of the trip. Today would be tough. We still had more than 180 km to go, while we had already cycled 400 km in the last two days.
Our bikes and the field in the morning glory
At the beginning of the day I wasn't that tired. The route was nearly flat. We followed bicycle paths that ran parallel to big roads. We made good progress. By 11 o'clock we were both exhausted. We could now count down the kilometers until we were home instead of the days. Just before Euskirchen we saw a railroad barrier going down. I told Bram, 'I am curious how many trains will pass this time'. Bram said, 'probably only one because I don't need to pee'. A few seconds later, a small train with just four carts passed. By the time we arrived the track had opened again.
We passed through Düren. We bought some berries, which we had to pay per box instead of per weight. We made sure ours was as full as possible. On the border of Düren we reached a large road on which bikes were not allowed. We backtracked a bit and followed the bicycle path adjacent to it. One of the cars slowed down and the driver started shouting, 'come on, broom broom, go go'. He was pretty weird.
Right before Geilenkirchen we followed another bicycle path, there was yet another detour. Suddenly the road went in a completely wrong direction. We cycled straight through a grass field to return to the large road and arrived at a construction site. They were building a new roundabout. We carried our bikes down the hill and continued cycling over the big road. After the next exit we arrived in Geilenkirchen where we had some ice cream. The berries we had bought had turned to purée.
The part from Heinsberg to Roermond was very tough, especially because we were so tired. The cycling itself wasn't very hard and our legs felt fine. It was more the lack of sleep and rest. When we finally arrived in the Netherlands we hoped the bicycle paths would be indicated clearly.
In Roermond, we ate the by now classic '40 kilometer before we get home fries'. They were tasty. We also took pictures of the beards we had grown after not shaving for three weeks. Razors would be way too heavy to carry and besides we had been too busy cycling to shave.
This picture was better
Using the super-macro setting you can see I had grown a beard.
If we ended up making a 12 km detour we would end up cycling 600 km in 3 days. Then this vacation's total distance would also be over than 3400 km. Taking detours went well. From Roermond to Weert, we had to search a bit. Weert is always horrible to get through. In its center, we found a map using which we made it to Budel. The advantage of that was that we didn't need to cycle the part from Leende to Valkenswaard. We both have cycled that section too many times while being utterly destroyed. It is the last part of the Diekirch - Valkenswaard cycling race we cycled each year. This time our last kilometers took us through the forest near the Achelse Kluis abbey. After precisely 3400 km it was time for a photo—a kilometer before we had already reached the 600 km in 3 days milestone.
3400 kilometers in 21 days !!
Here we reached 3400 kilometers.
Then we were suddenly in my home town Valkenswaard. Just a little further, and I would be home. Bram needed to cycle an extra 7 km to Westerhoven. I had already cycled those on day 1.
Finally, we were home and could be warm, sleep, eat properly, and rest.
Distance cycled : 197 km.