Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day 69--Heinenoord Tunnel...Check, and...Check Again!

When I was planning my route across Holland, I had two things I wanted to see/do. Today, I did the first one. Before I get to that excitement, there were a few other interesting things today.

First I had to return to LF 2a. Once that was accomplished, I followed it all the way to Rotterdam. I passed a number of windmills.
Here's a nice one.
This one was actually turning!

I came to an intersection where the LF 2a sign said to go up and over this bridge. So I did that, but on the other side, there was no sign saying which way to turn. Usually, if there is no sign, that means to continue straight. I went straight, but it was wrong. However, I rode along the Olympic Rowing Center Course. It's about 2000m long. Here's a photo of a boat in action.
Years ago I rowed in 8-oared shells on Lake Washington for a couple of months one summer.

After getting to the end of the rowing course, and not seeing any bike directional signs, I turned around and went back to the last sign. On the way, I saw several bikes on one of the other options. When I got back, I hadn't missed a sign, there just wasn't one. Logically, I chose to go the way I had seen the other bikes going. Also, I could see Rotterdam in the distance, so I knew I had to head that way (the route along the rowing course also headed toward Rotterdam...for awhile).

I finally saw another sign for LF 2a. I went up and over a bridge over one of the many canals. On the other side was a family of three kids, mom, and dad. Everyone had panniers on their bikes. I stopped to talk to them because I thought it was great these kids (I'm guessing all under 10) were bike touring. Mom said they were going to Grandma's. They had two more days to go, and had been riding for 3 weeks! I told the parents I wished I had been touring when my boys were young. I asked if I could take a photo.
Pretty cool family!

I came into the outskirts of Rotterdam shortly after leaving the biking family. Since I had not been able to see Amsterdam, I had decided to see Rotterdam (exchanging one "dam" for another). Holland being the land of biking awesomeness, I just flollowed the signs to the "Centrum". I went to the Tourist Info Center. I was able to get a great map with all the bike routes from Rotterdam to Venlo. 

From there I wanted to eat some lunch. I went out to the street, looked to my right, and what did I see? Subway, of course! Since I hadn't checked off a Holland Subway yet, I went there for some lunch. I was not overly impressed. No spinach, avocado, or even shredded cheese. But, it's done. No need for anymore Holland Subways.

After lunch I rode to the Euromast. It's a big tower thing.
I'm sure, for a price, one can go up in it. 

From there, I followed my new map to the Nieuw Maas. It's a pretty big river. There were several ships ploughing their way through. There were some very interesting buildings on the other side.

One would definately have to pick the right elevator!

I rode over the bridge to the other side.
Of course, a totally separate path for bikes.

Now I was heading to the Heinenoord Tunnel. Just on the other side of the bridge, I saw the first sign for the tunnel (they make it so easy!).
All I had to do was follow the signs!

I made it to the tunnel. At first it was a little confusing because the only thing working to get down to the tunnel was the escalator (the elevator wasn't working). I don't think Betsy would do so well on an escalator. But, then I saw some bikes coming from the road below. I went back and found how they got to the tunnel. There are actually two tunnels. One for bikes, and the other for things like tractors and motorcycles. Bikes can't go in the other tunnel. But that road, led to the other tunnel. I started to go through it, but a worker guy told me to go through an opening in a fence to get to the bike tunnel. 
Tractor tunnel.
Bike tunnel!
It was way cool...literally! When I came out the other side, my glasses fogged up.
See, you should be able to go up the elevator, but both elevators at each end were not working.

I came out the other side and headed toward the town of Heinenoord. There was a camping place there. Except, when I got there (I had the address and everything), there was no such camping place. I stopped and got some groceries anyway. 

I decided to just head the way I would be going tomorrow, which meant going back through the tunnel. As I was approaching the tunnel, I saw an info map on one of the other bike routes. I went and had a look. It showed a camping place not far on the same side of the river. I followed the bike path, but again, no camping place. However, I saw a camping store. I was able to get a real repair coupling for my tent (now two more sections can break and I'll be ready!), and I asked them if there was camping nearby. The only one they could think of was back across the river. That was okay, as I would be going that way anyway. So, I went back to the tunnel, and went through it again (still pretty awesome)! 

I stayed near the river and found myself on the route I need for tomorrow. There were even bike signs to the camping place! 

So, I accomplished one of my objectives for cycling in Holland...twice in one day!

A Question/Observation

Biking in Holland has been everything everyone said it would be. Great cycling infrastructure, and very flat! However, I was talking with the Dutch couple that I camped with last night. They were surprised to hear I had biked in Ireland. The husband's parents live in Galway. When I asked if they had ever cycled in Ireland, they no, they would never cycle in Ireland! Too many hills, and too dangerous! That got me thinking. I wonder if there are many Dutch who cycle in Holland, but won't go elsewhere because the cycling infrastructure of many other countries (especially Ireland and Great Britain--not even to mention the US!) is not as developed as in The Netherlands? I know there are Dutch who cycle the world, but what about the average Dutch cyclist? I can see where they could not want to cycle where there is not the same infrastructure. They seldom have to cycle with cars. To have to contend with traffic could be frightening, I suppose. So, even though the cycling here is fabulous, there is that one possible downside for the Dutch. For me, however, it's awesome!

Here's a parting shot for today.
This is what they call "cattle guards". I like "wild roosters" better.

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