A Ride In The Park

“Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.” – George Carlin

Last Saturday morning found me, as it often does, out for a ride in the country.  This time, the ride took me into the Dutch national park (or De Meinweg as the locals call it), north of Susterseel.  Click here to view the route.

The day started out sunny but cool. Fall is definitely in the air.  The “old timers” cars were out enjoying the day:

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I tend to ride on a mix of numbered bike paths, cycletracks, and country roads. Cycle tracks are physically separated paths for bikes. Over here, pedestrians and small scooters can also use them.

Here’s a typical example. Almost all two-lane highways have a track on one side of the road. Many have tracks on both sides.

The house owner creates concrete sculptures.  The tree casting the shadow in the picture is home to several of them:  A family of owls, a mama cat and her kitten.  Tree sculptures like this are common here.  Don’t know how many times I rode by this one before I finally saw it!

Follow the rest of the ride after the break.

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Outside the town of Eckt is a convent; I’m not sure what order.  Maybe someone can tell from the habit of the nun in the background.

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Though WWII ended 65 years ago, the memories are ever present.  On the grounds of the convent is this memorial to the bomber crews who risked all to liberate people they did not even know.  The plaque reads:

“In fond remembrance of the aircrews of the allied forces who fought for our freedom from 1940 to 1945 and crashed in this community.”

“They flew for an eternal unthreatened safety.  For them who did not make it back to the home base…”

Man, this gives me chills just writing those words.  Here’s to Americas fighting forces; may we and our children never have the hell of war brought to our shores.

The ride continued north past Posterholt, to Vlodropt, where the road passes over the Roer River.

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Finally, I arrived at De Meinweg.  Not sure what’s up with the image of a diamondback rattle snake on the sign; as far as I know, there are no rattlers in Europe.  Makes it fun for the kiddies though.

The road gained altitude, winding through the hardwood forest, finally leveling out on a plateau.  The park is similar to a large state park back in the states.

On the outskirts of the park is a small farming community.  One of the more charming aspects of this part of Europe is seeing the occasional horse-drawn carriage.

This particular carriage appears to be fairly modern, with cast wheels.  Beautiful hoarse, beautiful countryside, and room for passengers.  Pack a picnic and let’s go!

Clouds were beginning to gather and with them the possibility of rain.  I decided to kick it up a notch and get back home.  Off to Niederkrutchen, Wassenberg, and on to Heinsberg.  Take the road to Waldfeucht, cut across the fields to Koningsbosch, then follow the highway back home.  A dry finish to an excellent adventure.

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Filed under general interest, road bike, touring

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