Category Archives: Netherlands

Houston to Den Haag, Tuesday, 18 September 2012, Day 106

onward and forward

Well folks that is it for a while. Angela took me to the airport and I am now sitting on my couch back at home in the Netherlands trying to digest what I have just achieved.

Canada so that’s Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Colombia and The Yukon

United States of America so that’s Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York State, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana

+-32,00km so that is about 300km a day for 106 days

Coldest 2 degrees centigrade

Hottest 47 degrees centigrade

Loads of other statistics to many to list here, I am a numbers geek but for me it was not about the numbers what it was it all about well that is the question? People ask me why I am doing this and to be honest the best response I can come with is because I can. It will take a better wordsmith than me to put it into words the real reason and what I am really getting out of doing this so the response because I can will have to do for now who knows all may be revealed in part 2 of Phillys big trip coming soon in a Cinema near you in October 2012 this time the star is a yellow Suzuki DL650A Registration MZ-XZ-03 that will be attempting to complete this epic Journey featuring;

Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cost Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Oh yes and there also will be a chubby fellow on the back hanging on for dear life wondering what he is doing there!

But first some serious R & R to recharge me batteries and then as per my motto onward and forward!

Den Haag Tuesday, 19 September 2012 to Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bit of Culture in Den Haag

So I have been back in the Netherlands for a month. When I arrived back I had a load of good intentions and plans to do loads of stuff and see loads of people. Well we all know about plans and how fickle they can be 🙂 so I spent the first couple of weeks back sleeping I guess I am more tired than I thought I was truth be told I was absolutely cream crackered so those hours I spent catching up with my sleep was an absolutely most. The last couple of weeks I was slightly more active but not by much and a final mad rush during the last week as I had put everything of that needed to do until then and they where turning out to take up more time than I originally intended oh well I can do some of these activities on the road thanks to the wonder that is the internet.

Couple of things that I did during the last month:

  • I closed things out with my old employer Shell I think this is all done and dusted and the redundancy monies is all in my account so let the slagging of Shell commence 🙂 I will no longer be defending there honour.
  • I went to the Koln Motorcycle show 4 hours there and 4 hours back on the train slightly disappointed with the whole thing as I have been wanting to go there for years but either missed it or I was working so no real excuses this time so of I went but what I did not realise was that it was a Trades show where the public where allowed to visit but there was nobody selling anything and on the whole very sterile with loads of Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese factories stands selling widgets and very specific motorcycle components which I did not find in the least bit interesting oh well I can at least cross this one of my bucket list.
  • A day out with the VVE  (The flat where I live home owners association) to the old town hall in The Hague with a nice lunch afterwards
  • Leiden Ontzet (3 October festival in a town near me) lashing of alcohol and catching up with folks I only ever seem to meet up with once a year at this festival as well meeting up with the usual suspects.
  • A couple of good nights round my parents house putting a serious dent in my old mans good wine collection hic!
  • Many a good night out catching up with friends over a beer or two.
  • Sorting out my finances can I really afford Phillys Big Trip part 2 it just dawned on me I have no money coming in any more, which is scary!
  • Loads of work on my computer filing and sorting photos, maps,  a new operating system and creating a completely interactive new blog.
  • A day at the US embassy sorting out visas to get back into the States I now have a 10 year visa! In a passport that only has 2 years left on it.
  • I promised myself that I would seriously work on my condition and fitness levels while I was back as I had let this slide whilst I was on the road. Well I did bugger all so guess I am going to suffer when I hit the road again as it’s a lot easier doing what I am doing when you have a reasonable level of fitness which I did before I left last time so it is going to hurt for the first couple of days.
  • —————-etc.

And loads more that I cannot readily recall all in all glad I went back as I needed the break and opportunity to recharge my batteries and the fact that is was cold and wet for 4 weeks was just an added bonus as I was getting a bit sick and tired of being hot and sweaty all of the time and I do enjoy the cold and wet for a change.

Den Haag to Houston, Thursday, 18 October 2012, Day 107

Large Steak mmmm lekker

Up at 5am to catch a plane back to US the trains are not running between Leiden and Schiphol due to maintenance work so a bit of detour around Harlem to get to the Airport.A bit of hassle checking in which I was expecting as I did not have a return ticket and the airlines get a bit nervous if they think they will have to pay if I am refused entry into the US but I flash me new 10 year visa and everyone is happy so that day spent at the US embassy definatley worth it.

John was there to meet me in Houston so back to his place ASAP we pulled the bike out of the garage and then straight of to http://www.stubbscycles.com as the plan was to get it serviced there and to change a whole lot of the consumables such as new tyres front and back, new disc pads front, new chain and sprockets and a full service.

The bike had been sitting for a month so we had a bit of a moment when it did not want to start straight away and she was a bit rough once it did get started so some serious TLC is needed me thinks and that is what she was going to get.

Pulling the bike out of the garage.

It was good to be back on the bike again crossing Houston however I was starting to flag a bit as it had already been a long day for me. We got their well before they had to shut so we went through the list of things that needed doing with Nef added all the discounts which we missed last time and then with that all that sorted me and John headed to the Ginger Man pub for a couple of beers.

Then back to Johns via the butchers where we brought 3 huge steaks which was going to be tonight suppers and as they where so large breakfast as well. These where barbequed on tricky barbeque/oven thingy that John and Angela have in the garden so an excellent meal catching up with John and Angela and finally we called it quits at about 11pm ish Houston time as for me it was a lot later and I had been going since 5am NL time so I was a tired little bear.

Big steaks lekker!

Buenos Aires to Den Haag via Istanbul Friday, 12 April 2013 to Sunday, 14 April 2013 Day 283 to Day 285

It is 30 October 2017 and its about time I finished this story before I forget entirely and I did commit to completing this so I really should bring this blog home  🙂

I woke up to horrendous screaming sound outside which went on for a while but then it stopped as quickly as it had started so I rolled over and tried to get some more sleep as I did not have to be anywhere until my plane left at 2300 this evening.

I woke up again and I saw Negrita the cat out of the corner of my eye eating from her bowl and it look like she had a bit of red wire caught on her tale that she may need some help removing.

It turned out the screaming I heard earlier was Negrita she had been attacked by something and somehow got her tail caught in something, which had stripped her tail down to bone, which looked to me like a strip of red wire! It was if like someone had taken some wire strippers to the end her tale! YUK!

Javier and Sandra took of that morning to take Negrita to the vet and I spent the morning sorting my kit. I had decided to dump a lot of kit and I should be travelling light but as mentioned before I am a hoarder and I find it difficult to throw stuff away or leave anything so of course I brought back loads of crap that was neither any use nor ornament.

My plane this evening was not until 2300 so in theory I did not have to be at the airport until 2100 so I had loads of time to kill but as you know I am paranoid about being late so I was itching to leave.

Javier and Sandra had returned from the Vet and we ordered lunch to be delivered which is a tradition here at Moto Dakar and I had ordered my last Lomito sandwich and with all the folks who were staying at Moto Dakar we had lunch in the back yard.

Talking to Adam and he tells me has more than 6,000 e-books that he had downloaded (illegally!) from the Internet and would I like a copy. It’s the end of my trip but hey why not you can never get enough reading material for my Kindle so a huge data transfer was the next exercise for the day.S

This seemed to take for ever and I was getting nervous as I needed to get to the airport (I still had loads of time spare but my being late paranoia of missing my plane was setting in) I Finally uploaded 6,469 books so plenty of reading material for the coming years!

Said goodbye to everyone then headed to the station it is about 2PM so way to early but I wanted to get moving.

I got the local train to Buenos Aires Central, as I knew I could get an airport bus from there. That was the theory!

Got to the main station of Buenos Aires and as I walked outside it was total chaos. It is normally very busy outside the station but today it was bedlam traffic in total gridlock and loads of folks on the street. Something is happening here but as yet I have no idea what it is. I make my way to the bus station treading my way through the stationery traffic I get there and I head for the ticket office and in my best Spanish I ask “one ticket to the airport por favour”. I get some response, which I could not comprehend or maybe I could, but my brain just didn’t want to accept the answer. It turned out all the main roads around Buenos Aires were being blocked and there was a huge general strike taking place. This explained the gridlock I had witnessed outside but it did not answer the question on how on earth am I going to get to the airport with all main roads being blocked in that direction and no one knew when the roads would be clear.

It was suggested I get a taxi cab as they may be able to find a route not using the main routes and I could get to the airport that way and there was to be no buses running anytime soon or today.

So I headed back into the gridlock traffic with this new plan in mind but the rest of the folks at the bus station where also using this plan and the traffic was not moving outside and very few taxis to be seen and they had the monopoly currently so this could be an expensive endeavour even if I could find an available taxi.

I went to a large hotel opposite the station and there was free taxi there I had a chat with the driver about getting to the airport he said it was possible but will take a long time I had been joined by another English Guy who was also desperate to get to the airport and we did a deal as there was no other real options and we trickled into the gridlock traffic travelling at a snails pace as the traffic was going nowhere fast. We passed the bus station and we picked up two more passenger two girls who also needed to catch a plane and we set of in the direction of the airport avoiding the main roads but as was everyone else we were not getting anywhere fast.

It was fun trip chatting to my fellow passengers playing games and generally killing time as the taxi crawled through the traffic to the airport.

I cannot remember the names of my fellow passengers but a pleasant company they were all a bit more stressed than I was as there planes were a lot earlier than mine.

We got to the airport at about 2100 my fellow passengers said goodbye rushed of to catch their planes after splitting the bill and I walked casually to the check in as I was bang on time for mine (Smug smile and happy that my paranoia about being late for train/bus/plane had kicked in as if I had left later with the view that nothing would go wrong I would have missed my plane)

Plane left Buenos Aires at 2300 so time for a McDonalds for my diner and then to the plane. We landed in Sao Paulo Brazil at 0200 to pick up more passengers and then on to Istanbul Turkey I am slowly heading in the direction of home well sort of.

Arrived in Istanbul Turkey at 2135 in the evening I have no idea what time it is in my body and my flight for Amsterdam does not leave until 0820 the following day so consider heading into Istanbul for the night or getting a Hotel here at the Airport for the night but I did not like either options so find a bench and crash for a kip and then spend the rest of the evening roaming the airport watching the clock slowly move towards my departure time.

A short flight to Amsterdam arriving at 1100 and I was back in the Netherlands. Good flight thanks to Turkish Airlines reasonable price it was cold compared to Argentina and I got the train back to The Hague and I presumed the position on my leather couch reflecting not only on this chaotic trip back from Argentina but also on the last year and what I had done. Wow 🙂

 

 

Amsterdam to Pick up Daisy Tuesday, 23 April 2013 Day 286

I had put Daisy on the plane on the 9th April and I was worried, as I had not heard anything of her whereabouts so I called the Freight forwarder at Schiphol.

Daisy it seems was there and had arrived over the weekend and I needed to pick her up ASAP or I will incur a daily storage fee.

I am bit pissed of with this response as I had expected them to call me when she arrived and it was just fortunate that I rang them rather than waiting.

So I called my old man and asked if he could give me a lift to Schiphol tomorrow as I expected we would need to drive around a lot to get through the hoops needed to get Daisy landed officially the Netherlands

First port of call was to the Dutch freight forwarder Menzies they want EUR 81.29 for their part and they were located at Schiphol Rijk on the far side of the airport so fortunate for me that I have a driver (My old man).

Fill in the paperwork pay the fee and then it’s off to customs. They are located in the airport itself so we drive there and join the row of Japanese tourist queuing to get their VAT back. Fill in the forms a share relevant paper work with customs no charges just paper filling exercise.

Back to Schiphol Rijk to collect Daisy. If you remember when I left Daisy at Buenos Aires airport I had great day with the loaders strapping Daisy to the palate shrink wrapping her and doing all that was need to get her prepared to get ready and free access everywhere were we working. In contrast in the Netherland we were unpleasantly told to get the f$%£ out of the warehouse and our goods will be delivered at a particular door so we made our way to that door and waited. A grumpy guy with a forklift dumped Daisy on the loading bay still on the palette and without saying anything left us.

So Daisy was back all we needed to do was get her of the palette and fortunately I had brought some tools and there was two of us so quite an easy job.

Whilst we were getting Daisy of the palette I noticed that one of the pannier and the Top Box had been damaged. When they had strapped down Daisy the panniers where to close to the bike so they had dented them. So I went of to find somebody in the warehouse to report this again told we not allowed in! However after explaining what we wanted told to go back to the door and they would send someone over (right set of miserable bastards)

 

My old man and me finished getting Daisy of the Palette and dumping all the rubbish we felt like leaving everything we did not need lying around there as the folks had been so unpleasant but we tidied up and left it as we found it do not want to make it worse for future folks passing through here 🙂 Eventually a security guard showed up about the damage he took some picture and we filled in a damage report and finally I was on my way.

First very slowly to the nearest petrol station as there was no air pressure in the tyres as they had been let down as part of loading process, and I needed to fill up with petrol.

Said Thanks and goodbye to my old man for helping me out with and then a nice drive back to the Hague on Daisy strange to be riding Europe as it been nearly a year ago when I set of to Zeebrugge to send Daisy to the other side of the world with 3,018 km on the odometer. I arrived back in The Hague with 69,914 km on the clock 🙂

Not quite as shiney as a year previously 🙂

Its 4 and half years later when I am writing this and Daisy is still going strong with 127,500km on the clock looking forward to our next trip together 🙂

So how much did it cost to get Daisy back to The Hague from Buenos Aires?

Dakar Moto Fee 100 USD

Freight British Airways 10,700 ARS

Menzies Fee 81.29 EUR

So what is that in real money? About 1,800 EUR

However do you remember I made a saving of USD 500 by trading on the unofficial blue market from USD to ARS and remember those dents in the panniers and top box I eventually got EUR 1,160 damages cost back from British Airways so in short I think I broke even on the shipping 🙂

Daisy today still going strong today with 127,000 km on the clock still using the damaged panniers just hammered the dents out 🙂

Daisy’s Milestones

10,000km Canada between Russell and Saskatoon

20,000km Canada between Whistler and Vancouver

30,000km United States of America between Waynesboro and Troutville

40,000km Costa Rica between Arenal and Turrialba

50,000km Chile between Valparaiso and Santiago

60,000km Argentina between Cordoba and Tafi del Vale

70,000km Norway

80,000km United Kingdom

90,000km Ireland

100.000km Netherlands

110,000km Northern Ireland

120,000km United Kingdom

130,000km ???? who knows 🙂