|Thursday, August 17
Xanten to Zutphen
5 hrs 2 mins
It was another damp night from the ground up. I spread my tent fly out hoping that it might dry up a bit before I squeeze into a roll. I head to the washrooms to leave some more German bread behind.
The sky is cloudy. It looks like rain for the day. Three days ago, after a warm sunny day in Koln, I had sent a message to Cor about maybe extending my tour for a day. I wanted him to plot a route from Xantem to the west about 80 kms and follow that with a return to Zutphen on Friday with equal mileage. When he had sent them to me the weather forecast was good. Next time I looked it wasn’t. I believed the second forecast. It was coming to pass. It meant that today I was heading for home in the rain.
I made my first stop in Marrienbaum and had a coffee at a small street side bakery. The attendent commented to me that it looks like rain. The wet spots on my rain jacket concurred.
I quickly drank my coffee and got back into the light rain.
My duty for the day was to keep west and north in the heading slot of my Garmin screen. And I did good. I got to Emmerich without too much trouble. I crossed the Rhine for the final time and headed north.
I had done my own Knooppunts trail the previous evening. I had the app on my phone and plotted out a route. I then wrote out the Knoops I had to follow onto a sheet of paper, wrapped it in clear tape and taped it to my handlebar bag. Just inside Emmerich I found a Knooppunt to get me started.
The trouble with the Knooppunt is that they wander; into small towns, around nature areas, through farms. It was starting to rain in earnest, wandering is not what I wanted to do. I pulled out my phone and looked for secondary highways I could follow. And I did.
There can be a zen like mind state when one cycles. You are aware of your surroundings and yet not conscious of it. I had one of those experiences as I cycled along a highway. It was in forest, the pathway was smooth, I was going uphill. I remembered this section from my first day. It occurred after I had stopped at a Broos restaurant. So as I pedaled up the hill I knew that the restaurant would be there. It was. It was also a Knooppunt that I could use after my coffee and sandwich.
I followed the Knoops till the rain piled on again. I started following the secondary highways. I came across a highway sign that acknowledged a truck route to Zutphen. I figured there would be a sign further along the highway that gave me the direct route to Zutphen. Thus I started to wander. I end up going to far west and have to backtrack. Then I find myself too far east. I connect up to a highway that would take me home except it is under construction and I have to do some more wandering in the rain.
Slowly I zero in on my approach to Zutphen. I come across a Knooppunt that was on the tail end of my list. I follow it and get to Zutphen. It seemed I had done a lot of back and forth riding on this day. Yet the mileage checked out to be similar to my first day. I remember I did a lot of threading that day too.
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