Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rider on the Storm

Yesterday, Thursday evening I had a meeting of the NKB coaching committee in Nieuwegein near Utrecht. I 'conveniently' combined this with getting some lent-out sea kayaks back to Nico in Wageningen. Two days en-route from Texel, Den Helder, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rijswijk (overnight), Utrecht to Wageningen. Very fuel and mileage efficient. Wednesday was a long days' travelling rendezvous. Highway traffic in the Netherlands has become a nightmare. Many years ago I had become 'numb' of the then 'heavy' traffic. But I am no longer used to this 'exploded' increase in traffic. I am amazed by the very long delays that people appear to have gotten used to (even out of rush-hours). The delays are now so common that traffic-jams are only called out on the radio when they are 'unusual'. So an hour delay might not even be called-out because it is common on a route. I missed my evening meal yesterday, because the hour that I had planned for it before the meeting was spent crawling on the highway. Coffee and soft drink filled the void. Friday was spent in Wageningen checking and repairing the Romany and Explorer sea kayaks of the Wageningen kayak club; two of the most heavily used club boats. While Nico and I finished work on the boats a heavy thunderstorm passed over Wageningen and we saw a big plume of black smoke coming off the roof a student apartment building close-by Nico's place. Guessing the cause, either lightning or tar roofing work gone astray, or a combination of both. Three loud explosions, later contributed to exploding gas cylinders. No people got hurt, we later learned and the students of the top floor are homeless for a week or so. Next off course the whole of Wageningen is a traffic mess because of road closures near the fire scene, taking me a long time to get on the highway again and then into the evening rush hour traffic worsened by the frequent thunderstorms and downpours. Back to Rijswijk, unloading/loading, continuing to Den Helder. Now it is only the downpours that overtake me in the heavy traffic. Finally making the last ferry to Texel. I actually got the very last available, close-by, car parking spot. Very unexpectedly when one knows that this is the evening before the Round Texel Catamaran race and the radio mentioning ferry waiting lines earlier... Loading up with french fries at the ferry terminal cafeteria. The downpours even follow the ferry, slowly greying the blue western skies, drowning a sinking yellow sun.

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