It is a sad day since we have to leave Scotland. Even with all the bad weather it was stunning and one of the few places we really hope to come back to. We rode south and east to Newcastle trying to avoid the main highways.
We arrived for the ferry at 2 pm. Even though check in was from 230 to 415 there were already 15 bikes ahead of us and lots of other vehicles too.
Here they load about 10 bikes at a time and there were over 40 today. The crew assigns you a spot and there are lots of tie downs available. Unlike all the other boats we have been on here you strap down your own bike. They have lash points on the deck and a cable lash running the length of the wall. You then gather all your gear and head upstairs.
The ferry leaves at 5 pm and arrives at 830 am just outside of Amsterdam. You can not book on this ferry without a cabin, which is so much better than the Isle of Man ferry where there are so few it is impossible to get one. We had brought on food, but went up to the deck in the sun to enjoy some beer and cider with the other bikers. We were very lucky and had a calm crossing and a good nights sleep.
Also unlike the other ferries where they opened the access to the car deck and the ferry doors at the same time (mayhem insures), here they gave you plenty of time to unlash the bike and get your gear stowed before the mad rush to unload. After unloading the bikes were all directed to split the lanes of cars and trucks waiting at immigration and from here we all merged in small groups at the front of the line. You show your passport to the officer and are waved thru. Just outside the gate were our friends Bart and Renate to greet us. We had first met them in Ushuaia at the end of their trip from Alaska and then in Porvenier and Porto Natales Chile.
The SPOT map for the Netherlands!
They took us on a short tour of the beaches and for a traditional Dutch apple pie.
The afternoon we took the bus and train into the city for a tour of the Amsterdam Sights. This included the “girls” in the windows of the Red light district, the cheese and flower markets, the canals, and other icons.
“Art” in Amsterdam. You have to pay 5 Euros and then get into bed with the actress. You don’t say a word, you look them in the eye, and they tell you private story. When they are done they say goodbye and you get out!
Bike storage at the subway!
We finished the evening off at the brewery built in a church!
Today we did a tour all day south of the city, but Bart only used the dykes. We made a pit stop to get Dan’s new tire installed.
We stopped at a local farm to buy white asparagus for dinner!!
Stocking up on cheese and sausage for the trip to Iceland!
We drove south and east today to Oss, where the headquarters of Revitt is located. The marketing and design staff greeted us. We had an extensive tour and then an opportunity to see what they are working on for 2016 and 2017. It was really cool to see how interested the design team was in what we had to say about the gear and what we loved about it and what suggestions we had for small changes.
We then backtracked a bit and scooted around Amsterdam to stop in just north to see a few more windmills. This involved a bit of off road on the dykes. Then we continued north to the Afsluitdijk, which is a 31 km long causeway that now separates the North Sea from the lake it created. This was also the first test site for the 130-km/hr speed limits in the Netherlands. Riding further north we reached the north coast of Holland and the campground at Lauwersoog after 428 km. This is a pretty nice campground on the shore of a lake, but it is pretty cold here still for a swim.