Breakfast at the Kessels: various slices of bread, appelstroop (a thick, viscous black jam made of apples), ham, weak coffee. I joined the son and daughter, who speaks impeccable New Zealand English. She had to get to Venlo, an hour's train ride north, to get to her ANWB gig. Tjeu was up too but took his coffee (and roll-up smoke) in the garden. Not a morning person I guess. The young couple told me they'd expect to see a lot of Germans up in Venlo today, who come to shop an an outlet mall there. "Sounds like New Jersey," I said.
I said goodbye without taking the customary photo of my host. It didn't feel right. Anyway Mia and Tjeu were great hosts, welcoming but kindly unobtrusive. Mia told me she's more of a walker than a cyclist, which seems typical. That generation of Dutch are great walkers.
(note: original date of this entry: June 8, 2013)
Then the route skirts the Groote Peel opposite vast tracts of crops. The country road that is here the LF-7b is lined with chirping shade trees all the way. The day is perfect.
|Rondje Peel en Maas - Day 2|
The ANWB guide says the route goes 10 km through recent-growth forest here. At first the trail is a slender slab of asphalt. Then it crosses a road (pt 97 -> 96) and it turns into a broader sandy path opening on patches of heath with little blue lakes. This is the Strabrechtsche Heide. Only occasional cyclists spotted here (even on a Saturday), those of the elderly couple matching Batavuses variety. Definitely a highlight.
|The Strabrechtsche heath has plenty of idyllic lakes.|
I should emerge at Mierlo, a significant town, then another lengthy bit east. An all-day journey. Fine.
|Crossroads: LF-7 meets LF-13|
There are about six of these guys sitting in various aspects that say "I don't give a fuck." They drink beer. A kid on a moped drives up and chats. The owner seems like a friendly old biker with braided beard. He brings me a coffee.
It's around 5:30. Many mosquitos annoy as I take a last picnic break before the final stretch south to Meijel. I think I can make it there inside of two hours, barring distractions. This stretch of forest, east of Asten (the Dennen-Dijkse Bossen), is truly uninhabited. Not a single fietser in sight on a delightfully sunny breezy late afternoon. Continued ...