Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mountain Biking in Erp

Sunday, 30-December-2007 - Erp - Got up early to go mountain biking with Chris and Richard in the nearby villiage of Erp. I met Chris at his place at 0900. Richard would meet us at the starting point. After signing in, I heard someone say that there were 800 riders today. Chris and Richard took the 40 km route; I took the 30 km. Shortly after the halfway point, I decided to call it good and head for home. This was my second official trail ride. I was happy to make it this far. I knew I needed to get in better shape--ride more often--to make it to the finish. Chris and Richard were just finishing when I called in. We met for an after photo, and then we said goodbye to Richard (he lives in nearby Keldonk). Chris and I continued on to Veghel to first wash the mud off our bikes. I dropped Chris off back at his place. Marij was happy to see me when I got back home.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Message

Saturday, 22-December-2007 - Veghel - I just updated my home page to include this year's family newsletter. Wishing you a blessed Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

Fun on Ice

Saturday, 22-December-2007 - Veghel - Yesterday was the shortest day of the year. I've been watching the weather forecast all week, so I knew I could go skating outdoors today right here in Veghel at the Aa-Broeken, a meadow which is flooded to create a wonderful frozen pond. I rode my bike along a magically frozen path. It was only a kilometer away, but I kept stopping to take pictures of this wonderful sight. I wore a helmet, because I didn't want to get another concussion (like the one I got while snowboarding last winter). I tried my cross-country skates, but even after all my in-line skating this past year, my ankles were too unsteady, so after about five rounds I switched to my hockey skates. There, that was better. Now I can have some fun--it was great! I think it was 11 years ago that I went skating here--memories of skating throughout my lifetime came back to me. My father taught me how to skate when I was five years old.

Frosty Morning before Skating

Saturday, 22-December-2007 - Veghel - Here's what it looked like this morning. What a magical world outside!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Coming of Winter Frost

Friday, 21-December-2007 - Tilburg - I saw and felt it getting colder and colder during the past week. Ten days ago, I knew this was coming--large mole hills were pushing up around the grounds at Standard Aero. Already then, I was hoping to go skating this year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Standard Aero Christmas Party

Saturday, 15-December-2007 - Berkel-Enshot - Went to the annual Standard Aero BV Christmas Party. This year, it was held at the hotel de Druiventros My wife, Marij, couldn't make it so I took my youngest daughter, Rosan, instead. The food was delicious. I had a good time, and I saw a lot of people having a good time, too.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Getting Ready for Christmas

Saturday, 8-December-2007 - Veghel - I dug our Christmas tree out of the back yard and got it setup in the living room. It's the third year of service for this tree. I also got the lights up outside. It's the first year for the tree out front, a Norway spruce, picea abies The one last year was ten years old and got to be seven meters tall. I hated to cut it down, especially with the CO2 problem we're having, but that species can grow to be 50 meters tall--too big for our small patch of ground in front of the house. I did, however, keep the cones for planting the seeds later.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Birthday Flea Market

Sunday, 25-November-2007 - Veghel - It's my birthday today. I spent the day with Marij at a local flea market in Veghel. She had a table where she sold things she collected from here and there.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Arrival of Saint Nicholas

Sunday, 18-November-2007 -Veghel - I was a skatepiet (a Saint Nicholas black pete helper on skates) this year--one of eight volunteers from the Fun on Wheels skate club. What a great experience! There were 185 zwartepieten (black petes) this year. It took four boats to bring Sinterklaas and all of his helpers us all the way from Spain to the harbor in Veghel. The links explain the Dutch tradition. Thanks to Vicky for taking the pictures.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trail Riding in Alphen

Sunday, 11-November-2007 - Alphen - It has been raining hard off and on for the past week. Hard winds and rain woke me up during the night. I had my alarm set for 0600. I was ready for my first official trail ride (I went with the Fun on Wheels group in January). I checked the weather radar. It looked like it was going to stop raining around 1000. Chris checked in. He wasn't looking forward to a lot of mud and rain, so he passed. I got Jurien, a Standard Aero colleague, on the phone. He was going to be there with at least one other rider. That was good enough for me. It took me about an hour to drive to the starting point. I started after the others, and was going to meet them at the resting point. I followed the 25 km route. Most of the others went for 45 km. I met Jerry and Gordon, two more Standard Aero colleagues, along the way. I had a hard time getting up the slippery hills during the first part of the trial, but after a while I got the hang of it. I made sure to eat and drink enough--it was hard work. The sky cleared up, and the sun showed itself which made the ride a lot nicer. I decided to cut the ride short and head back to the starting point in Alphen using the hardened bicycle path. I was satisfied to get a taste of riding under extreme conditions. I saw Jerry again at the bike washing spot before I headed back for home.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mountain Bike

Saturday, 03-november-2007 - Erp - Ever since my first ride on a mountain bike with Chris this past January (see home page), getting my own mountain bike has been on my list. Well, today was the day. I went to Empella in the nearby village of Erp to pick one out. When I got home, I took it out for a short ride. My neighbor, Johan, took a before shot, and his daughter, Vera, took the after pic. Chris came over a little later to check it out. His bike just got out of the shop. His frame broke, and he had to wait for more than two months to get a new one. Next Sunday, we're going to Alphen, North-Brabant for a ride through the woods.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Birthday

Sunday, 28-October-2007 - Veghel - We had a nice family get-together dinner to celebrate Marij's upcoming birthday which is on Halloween. Katherine and Martin came over from Hellevoetsluis to join the rest of us who live in Veghel: Chris and Monique, Marij, Rosan and me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Skating to Schijndel

Saturday, 20-October-2007 - Schijndel- It's getting cooler now, but still very nice for skating. Before I went to the Sligro meeting point, Rob and Chris came over--an Aston Martin test drive. We had ten people today. The sun came through for most of the skate. Ine had to leave quickly before the group photo was taken. The sun was almost down before I made it home.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Skating the Boxtel Three Cities Tour

Sunday, 14-Oct-2007 - Boxtel - We had great sunny weather for skating today. Thirteen skaters were good for 24 km.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Skate to Keldonk

Saturday, 13-Oct-2007 - Keldonk - There were five of us today. It was a nice short skate to Keldonk and back to the Sligro meeting point. Bart wanted to get back in time to see the Dutch national team play Romania.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Blauw Geel '38 Honors Members

Monday, 08-October-2007 - Veghel - Among others, my nephew Gilbert Vrijhof was honored as 25-year member of the Blauw Geel '38 soccer club . His great-grandfather, Jan Vrijhof, was a founding member in 1916. Back then, the club was known as Olympia.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

München and Achterhoek After-skate Party

Sunday, 07-Oct-2007 - Dinther - Seven members of the Heythuysen skating club joined us for an after-skate party. And what do we do at an after-skate party? Skate, of course. We had super sunny weather. Twentythree skaters were good for 28 km.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Saturday, 06-Oct-2007 - Veghel - It was nice skating weather, but I stayed home to do some yardwork.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Windsurfing Trials

Sunday, 30-September-2007 - Langenboom - I wanted to go windsurfing at least once this year. After all, it was one of my New Year's resolutions. There wasn't much wind, but I wanted to find out how my new board reacted with me on it. I figured out how to rig the sail, and I went out for about an hour. It was a test of balance. When the wind did pick up, the board took right off. I was delighted. The old board can now be officially retired.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New Windsurfing Gear

Saturday, 29-September-2007- Alphen - After work on Friday, I went to Mark's brother-in-law, Corné, to see his windsurfing set he had for sale. There, I met Mark's sister, Desirée, and Desirée and Corne's children. The windsurfing gear looked good, so I bought it. My old board had served me well for the past 13 years, but it was wearing out. I picked up my new board on Saturday morning, hoping to go windsurfing that afternoon. I was a rainy day so we weren't skating. On my way home, I bought a helmet for water sports. After my head injury earlier in the year, I didn't want to get hit on the head with a mast. It kept on raining, so I just checked out my new gear.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Car Repair

Sunday, 23-September-2007 - Veghel - Spent Saturday and Sunday fixing Marij's Ford Escort. I thought I did a pretty good job.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Fun on Wheels in Elsendorp

Sunday, 16-September-2007 - Elsendorp, NL - My shoulder was hurting from yesterday's basketball game. I needed to get it loosened up, and I didn't want to drive my car this weekend, so I hopped on my bike and rode to the Keldonk meeting point. Great weather, great skating--40 km. I must admit that I got spoiled last weekend, skating on all those smooth paths and roads. Jan and Coby gave me a lift home after I noticed my rear tire was bulging out of the rim. After a nice shower, I did some yardwork. We had Chinese food for supper. When I picked it up, I walked through the annual Veghel Kermis (carnival) attractions.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

35 Years Rush Basketball in Uden

Saturday, 15-September-2007 - Uden - I was getting ready to go skating when I read Larry's e-mail: basketball game starts at 1630 today. It was a veteran exhibition game: former American Air Force players against Dutch Rush veterans. I cancelled skating; I couldn't miss this, even from the bench. Larry Brewington had been getting the guys ready for this game for the past three months. Even though I hadn't played basketball in ten years, and hadn't made any of the practice sessions, I had to go. I had to get a good warmup so I wouldn't break anything, so I jumped on my bike and headed for Uden. I better tape up my right ankle. When I got to the sport hall, I heard Larry's voice and hooked up with the reast of the team. We were all ready to do this, and we did. It was a great game. We won 64-58. After the game, we had time to talk about old times while enjoying a great barbecue provided by our Rush hosts.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fun on Wheels Skating Weekend in the Achterhoek

Zondag, 9-September-2007 - Lievelde, NL - The Fun on Wheels group went for a three-day skating weekend in the Achterhoek, a corner of the Netherlands near the German border. We stayed at a camping farm.

Day 1, Friday, 7-sep - 54 km tour starting at Eibergen, NL.

Day 2, Saturday, 8-sep - 62 km tour starting at Zwillbrock, DE.

Day 3, Sunday, 9-sep - 43.2 km tour starting at Lievelde, NL

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Marc's Bar BQ Volleyball

Wednesday, 5-September-2007 - Uden, NL - Inspired by our new photographer, Tom van Alebeek, and by the absence of our team captain, Ron Hendriks, we played to a 3-0 victory. Thanks to all of our fans who cheered us on.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Marij on Vacation

Tuesday, 4-September-2007 - Hellevoetsluis, NL - Drove Marij to Hellevoetsluis today to be with Katherine for a few days--finally on vacation. Couldn't resist taking pictures of the clouds.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Driving Weather

Monday, 3-September-2007 - Tilburg, NL - It's my sister Jane's birthday today. Took some pics while driving to and from work today.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

50 Kilometers at Beneden-Leeuwen

Sunday, 2-September-2007 - Beneden-Leeuwen, NL - Got up at 0630 to get ready. The weather radar showed a rain cloud moving quickly and heading in the direction of our tour. Met Tonnie at the carpool meeting place around 0830. We arrived at the sporthall around 0915. There we met Ronald, Wim, Willem and Maureen. The start was at 1000. It started to rain right before we headed over to the starting point. Met Karen from last year's tour. The first 10 km took the energy right out of me--skating right into the wind. Got passed by a long boarder and by Erik, a wheelchair athlete. At the first aid post in Maasbommel, I got my toe bandaged. I took a lift with the safety vehicle to get closer to the skaters in front of me. Around the 20 km point, I took another lift. Erik took a spil right in front of us in a left-hand turn going up the dike. I got out of the truck and started skating. Around the halfway point at the dike monument, I decided to quit. My back was hurting, and I just didn't have any energy left. While I was waiting, Erik came by. I again got in the truck, but only for a few minutes. After the safety crew said they'd be following Erik al the way to the finish, I knew I had a new mission to complete. I got out and stayed with Erik the rest of the way. Well done, Erik! You're a true champion.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Saturday Fun on Wheels

Saturday, 1-September-2007 - Veghel - Got up around 0930. Chatted with Rosan. Read the newspaper Looked outside at the sky and the weather radar. Got myself psyched up for the 50 km skating tour tomorrow at Beneden-Leeuwen Replaced my skate brake pad (thanks again Marlyn), and headed over to the Sligro meeting point. We had seven skaters today: Mieke, Bep, Jan, Tonnie, Bart, Ans, and me. We headed along the Zuid Willemsvaart canal in the direction of Boerdonk. It started out cloudy, but the sun came through about halfway along.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Marc's Bar BQ Volleyball

Wednesday, 29-August-2007 - Uden, NL - We played the first game of the new season--ten men strong, including Guillaume, injured, yet faithful volleyball buddy.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Fun on Wheels

Saturday, 25-August-2007 - Veghel - Slept in today until 0930. Haven't been getting enough sleep since I got back from vacation. I need to get to bed around 2200, instead of 2400, in order to jump out of bed at 0600. Still need to fully unpack and put the suitcases away. I usually have Saturday mornings to myself. Marij gets up at 0530 on Saturdays to start work at 0600. I won't see her until after 1800 when she gets back from the Helmond market. Rosan usually works the late shift at MacDonalds, so she doesn't get up 'til around noon. Around 1545, I biked over to the Sligro meeting point to go skating with the Fun on Wheels group.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Das Leben der Anderen

Sunday, 19-August-2007 - 's-Hertogenbosch, NL - Marij and I went to see the movie, Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), at the Verkadefabriek, a factory turned into movie theater This film won an oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film of the Year 2007.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Boekel Electro World Skating Tour--12th Edition

Saturday, 18-August-2007 - Boekel, NL - Got up at 0700 to get ready. My skates were still in my suitcase. Ronald picked me up around 0900. I signed up for 40 km. Great weather, great tour!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Day After Vacation

Monday, 13-August-2007 - Veghel, NL Now it's back to the old routine. Let's start with a real cup of (Dutch) coffee.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

On Vacation

Saturday, 14-July-2007 - Ann Arbor, MI - I'm on vacation. See Dale's Summer Vacation link.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

07-07-07 Live Earth

Saturday, 07-July-2007 - Rothera Point, Adelaide Island, Antartica - Live Earth performance. After breakfast, and mowing the lawn, I watched TV for a bit to get the feeling. Many people in the Netherlands and elsewhere around the world really want to do something to help save the Earth. Many more still need to get the message. What did you do today?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Fun on Wheels Sunday

Sunday, 1-July-2007 - Oss - Got up at 0715 to go skating. Checked the weather radar. With a little luck we'll stay dry today. Ate a good breakfast, and made sandwiches for along the way. Rode my bike to the carpool meeting point. Tineke planned the route today. She lives in this area and does a lot of bike riding and skating on her own. It was a super tour! Ten skaters and one moped rider, Toon--good for 41 km. Thanks to Toon for pulling me along part of the way.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Afternoon Fun on Wheels

Saturday, 30-June-2007 - Boerdonk - I was watching the weather radar and looking at the sky to see if it was going to stay dry enough to go skating with the Fun-on-Wheels group. I hopped on my bike and made it to the Sligro meeting place just before the group took off at 1630. They decided to wait a couple of minutes for me to put on my skates. It's a rule that we always leave on time. We had seven skaters--good for 20 km.

Along My Jogging Route

Saturday, 30-June-2007 - Veghel - Slept in 'til 0930 today. Thought about eating a whole bag of corn chips last evening while watching a movie (sorry, Rosan), so I wanted to work that off before eating breakfast. I looked oustide at the weather, stretched, and started jogging in the direction of Vorstenbosch. After only a kilometer, I felt my left knee hurting, so I turned back. Then I remembered that I hadn't seen the sheep down the road in a while, so I decided to take is easy and continue to Vorstenbosch. Passed a nice corn field and took a picture for my brother-in-law, Steve.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Morning Skating

Sunday, 24-June-2007 - Nieuwkuijk - I was able to get up at 07:00 AM to go skating with the Fun-on-Wheels group. There were nine of us--good for 25 km.

Getting Ready for Barbecue

Saturday, 23-June-2007 - Veghel - After breakfast, I went to Corlange to get two new tires for the Nissan. It was threatening to rain, but I got the grass cut just in time. then I went to the town center for an errand. There, I stopped to watch people setup for Veghel Night Live, an open-air music event. Now, I was ready for the annual Waidring (Steinplatte Unsere Alm) barbecue at Jacky and Jacques' house in Zeeland-Oventje. Had a great time. Got to bed at 02:15 AM.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Father's Day Trip to Hellevoetsluis

Tuesday, 19-June-2007 - Hellevoetsluis - On Sunday, drove with Katherine back to Hellevoetsluis (1 hr 45 min). Ended up staying a couple of extra days. Took bus, metro, train, and car back to Veghel (4 hrs). Marij picked me up in Den Bosch. When I got home I opened my Father's Days gifts.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Katherine's Weekend in Veghel

Sunday, 17-June-2007 - Veghel - Katherine came to Veghel this weekend. We went bicycling to Floris and Tamara in Heeswijk-Dinther. Tamara rode with us to the Dier & Tuin Weide (animal garden meadow) where Tamara is a volunteer.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Morning Skating

Sunday, 10-June-2007 - Wijchen - Met at the carpool spot in Veghel at 0840 and headed for the wooded recreation area Berendonck in Wijchen , near Nijmegen. Eleven Fun on Wheels skaters--good for 25 km. This was my first Sunday skate of the year. It was super!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Troggs in Veghel

Saturday, 9-June-2007 - Veghel - Went with Marij, Rosan, and Natalie to the Oldies Back on Stage in Veghel. This year, the Troggs were special guest performers. This is a recurring event every two years since 1995. Marij and I have been to every one.

Friday, June 8, 2007

On the Roof

Friday, 8-June-2007 - Veghel - Went on the roof to repair a waterproof lead-joint which came loose in a storm last January.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Painting Outside Woodwork

Thursday, 7-June-2007 - Veghel - Took this week off to do chores around the house, including painting the outside woodwork.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Weekend in Hellevoetsluis

Sunday, 03-June-2007 -Hellevoetsluis - Drove to Hellevoetsluis on Friday--one hour and 45 min. Had a great visit with my daughter, Katherine, and her long-standing boyfriend, Martin. After I arrived, Katherine and I had nice chili con carne meal while watching the documentary, March of the Penguins, narrated by Urbanus, a famous Belgian actor. After I took a nap, we went to a local bar, Barbiertje Listened to a real good '60s rock and roll coverband, the Scandals --got in about 0200. On Satuday, we went bicycling and skating along the Haringvliet waterway with neighbor Ian. In between, had chats with neighbors, Aad, Kitty, Alain, and Kayleigh. Took a lot of pics (110).
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