When you have the penthouse room, with a sundeck, in a nice apartment in a lovely part of Amsterdam... and good coffee, good company, and a baby who can make even a grump like me laugh... it is pretty hard to convince yourself to put everything you own in a couple of bags, and hit the road on a folding bicycle.
Around 10:00 I ran out of excuses for postponement.
Cathleen took my picture as I got ready to head off. Based on her advice, I changed plans a bit... instead of cycling to Amsterdam Centraal to catch train, I went to Amsterdam Zuid. And miracle of miracles, I didn't get lost! Cathleen's directions were spot on: "turn left, go straight, turn right when you hit the big street, take third exit from the roundabout (and don't worry, bicycles have the right of way), go straight for a while, hink left, turn right, then keep going till you see the trains".
I puzzled out the ticket machine at station -- it rejected every card in my wallet, would only take change, so I bought a lemonade and got 18 Euros in coins to feed the beast. Then I tackled a flight of about 50 steps to get up to the platform.
The rack-mount arrangement I designed for the case on the back of bike works beautifully on the road: case stays in place like it was glued. But I never considered what might happen if you tilt the bike at a 45 degree angle to schlep it up stairs. What happens is simple: it slips out like it was greased, and slides down the stairs like an Olympic luge! Two ladies at the bottom thought it was a disaster at first, then realized no harm done, had a good laugh, and carried it back up to me. Kudos to Haliburton, they make a heck of a case -- not even a dent.
Easy trip by train to Arnhem.
At Arnhem, had a light lunch (Dutch specialty: grilled cheese sandwich), then began the ride-in-the-country stage. Beautiful ride, hit the edge of town just a few hundreds yards from station, then an almost instant transition to tiny bike paths through the woods. VERY happy with the GPS system, it is brilliant. Even with the "knooppunt" network of signage, it is still easy to miss signs and get lost. I'm pretty confident that, sans GPS, I would be sleeping tonight under a bush somewhere in the forest. With the GPS I only got lost once or twice, and easily got back on course.
Staying tonight at a B&B in Hoge Vulewe park, near Kroller-Muller museum (tomorrow's treat).
One thing, though. I made every effort to pack light, but even so it feels like I am carrying an anvil on the bike. Some of this stuff has got to go. Will sort it out tomorrow and see what I can do without. Tomorrow is Queen's Day, and apparently flea markets reign -- so I may be setting up a little stand by side of the road. Thought about a pricing solution to move this stuff fast. Might take this approach: "5 Euros for the first pound of stuff you buy, 3 Euros for the next pound, third pound free, and if you take a full 4 pounds, I pay you. Special 50% discount if any item needs laundering."
Had a nice dinner, now off to bed.