Saturday, December 21, 2013

Remembering Lockerbie

Saturday, 21-December-2013 - Veghel - It's the shortest day of the year.  Today's news reminded me that twenty five years ago Lawanda Thomas was on her way to Michigan to be with her mother on Christmas, and to proudly show off her two-month old son Jonathan. They were in seat 32K on Pan Am Flight 103.  We had met only two weeks earlier.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Shirts for De Toren Skaters

Thursday, 7-November-2013 - Dinther - We gathered at Cafe De Toren for a group photo (taken by Job de Wert) in our new shirts (thanks Jeroen), and for a great meal.  Hieke was on hand to interview us for the local newspaper de Mooi Bernhezer Krantpics (18)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Omni Mountain Biking

Sunday, 3-November-2013 - Biezenmortel - Chris and I joined 60 Omni skaters for a 25km mountain bike ride around the Loonse en Drunense Duinen (Loonse and Drunense Dunes) National Park. Six Fun-on-Wheels skaters chose to hike.  Thanks to everyone for making this a great day to remember!  pics (70)
route with video

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Remembering When Kennedy Was Shot

Friday, 22-November-1963 - Bay City – It was shortly after 13:30 PM in 5th-hour biology class with Mr McKinney.  I was a 13-year-old freshman (photo) at T.L. Handy High School in Bay City, Michigan.  I was an A-student, the oldest of six children.  I was a county boy and enjoyed farm work.  We had unexpectedly lost our healthy mother two years earlier, two weeks after routine surgery.  This made me grow up in a hurry.  I was working hard to become the starting catcher on my baseball team; and at school, I was on my way to becoming an engineer.  My future was bright, despite threat of nuclear war.  We had a president who successfully stood up to Soviet aggressors. Our school principal Mr Noell came on the public address system with an announcement:  "President Kennedy has just been shot in Dallas."  We were all in shock.  Mr Mckinney dropped his jaw and held his cheek with one hand, immobilized.  We then listened in disbelief and denial to the live radio broadcast.  He was buried three days later, on my birthday.

Note:  I wrote this after reading in the newspaper this morning that the Brabants Dagblad is looking for readers who will share their memories.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Skate Bearing Cleaning, Again

Friday, 26-July-2013 - Ronald had a tightened wheel he couldn't get loose, so I took it home to see what I could do.  We skated on some wet pavement last night, so I also needed at least to clean off the sand on the outside.  The wheels weren't peeping last night, so I didn't pull the bearings out right away.  This morning when I saw all the sand on the wheels (photo), and after hearing some rumbles, I wanted to see how the bearings looked inside.  pics (52)
spin test--pre-clean (2:04)
removing and installing bearings in wheel (2:36)
installing wheels in skate frame and spin test--post-clean and lube (6:38)
left skate spin test--post-clean and lube (2:27)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Toren Skaters Go Herperduin

Thursday, 25-July-2013 - Nistelrode - On my way to Dinther, I saw some isolated rain clouds. Ronald was putting on his gear as I pulled in to park.. We carpooled to Nistelrode, the starting point of this evenings skate tour.  We headed for the Herperduin Nature Area. The pavement was wet so we took it easy.  We took a coffeebreak at the Heische Tip. The way back took us throught the Maashorst Nature Reserve (photo).  It was 25 Deg C when we got back to the Toren. 11 skaters--good for 30 km. pics (81)  gps-tracked-route part 2
de toren skaters (0:23)
heische tip music evening (0:20)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Life for "Non-serviceable" Type Skate Bearings

Wednesday, 24-July-2013 - Veghel - I wasn't satisfied with my bearing cleaning job yesterday--a lot of grit was still trapped in the bearings.  After some research, I came up with a method to get my "non-serviceable" bearings (see note) clean using a 10 percent-solution of the  limonene-based degreaser Dasty in water.  This is a temporary method until I have my own supply of environment-friendly home-made citrus cleaner.  I first had to remove the second bearing shield. I then installed serviceable bearing shields from another set of bearings on one side of my cleaned bearings. Before I got started on the bearings, I finished cutting the grass (I had started yesterday evening after skating--I was expecting rain today).  The mower blade had loosened up a bit, causing a distressing knocking sound, like the piston getting ready to break through the engine head. I then cleaned the dried sand from my skates and gave my wheels a bath.  Later in the afternoon, I stopped by 't Vincentje Re-cycling Thrift Shop and De-Wit Sporting Goods, before installing my freshly-cleaned bearings. pics (58)

Note 1:  Many bearings have metallic shields, which are not made to be removed.
New Life for Non-serviceable Type Skate Bearings (1:21)
serviceable type bearing shield removal  (1:33)
non-serviceable type bearing shield removal (2:45)
bearing shield and seal removal_ratvision (2:09)
bearing cleaning_ratvision (7:36)
home-made citrus cleaner 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Evening Inline Skating with Sam

Tuesday, 23-July-2013 - Boekel - Sam, marathon ice skater with STG Hoorn,  joined us this evening.  He's on vacation with his grandparents.  Our tour got cut short due to unexpected rain. Had to clean my bearings when I got home. Seven skaters--good for 20 km pics (48)
gps-tracked route part 2

Monday, July 22, 2013

Uden Kermis is Tops

Monday, 22-July-2013 - Uden -Joke picked us up at 2000 and we headed to the Uden Kermis (fun fair). We walked around enjoying the activity, music, and lights, and the people having fun.  We sat down at a terrace next to wonderful salsa music dancing and thrilling rides.  As it got darker, the lights reminded me of Las Vegas (photo). pics (124)
salsa dancing (0:23)
riding the booster (7:14)
riding the transformer (3:00)
flying jump (3:45)
spinning coaster (0:15)
mouse village (0:26)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Toren Skaters Return to Dunes

Thursday, 18-July-2013 - We once again headed for the Rustende Jager to start our evening tour through the dunes. The route took us through Kaatsheuvel (photo). Nice warm weather.  Eight skaters--good for 30 km. pics (76)
gps-tracked route

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fun-on-Wheels Bienenstich

Sunday, 14-July-2013 - Grathem - Brigitte and Maurice were our hosts and guides today's Fun-on-Wheels tour.  We stopped for our coffee break in Thorn.  It was my first time for bienenstich (photo) (literally translated: bee sting) vlaai (Limburg pie). 19 skaters and one solex rider--good for 37 km. pics (201) gps-tracked route

Thursday, July 11, 2013

De Toren Inline Skating

Thursday, 11-July-2013 - Den Bosch - After meeting in Dinther, we carpooled to Den Bosch near the Provinciehuis (provincial goverment heaquarters).  We headed for Esch (photo). Nine skaters--good for 37 km. pics (78)
gps-tracked route

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Zeven Eiken Eifel Tour

Wednesday, 10-July-2013 - Veghel/Monschau - Marij and I were the last ones to get on the Ghielen tour bus at 0630.  We and 30 other members Zeven Eiken Community Center were on our way to the Eifel. To get to Monchau, we crossed the Rursee (Ruhr Lake) (photo) and met the bus on the other side.  What a great day!  pics (440)
monchau glass craftsman (10 sec)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Evening Boekel Inline Skating

Tuesday, 9-July-2013 - Boekel - We headed for Elsendorp.  10 skaters--good for 32 km. pics (94)
gps-tracked route part 2

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Eten en Skaten

Saturday, 6-July-2013 - Oirschot - It's a yearly tradition:  Eten en Skaten (eating and inline skating, pronunced 8-ten 'n skate-ten) with host and guide Pieter.  It was warm and sunny--perfect skating weather.  Alice, Ashwin, Bart, Bob, Coby, Conny, Frans, Helen, Henriëtte, Jenny, Karin, Manuela, Marcella, Peter,  Pieter, Ria, Toon, Wil, and me--18 skaters and one solex rider--we were good for 57 km. pics (316)
gps-tracked route part 1
vendelen to Brabant by Guus Meeuwis (4:13)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July

Thursday, 4-July-2013 - Veghel - It's Independence Day in the United States. Here in the Netherlands, it's time for the Weiss Family 4th of July Backyard Barbecue.  Marij joined us after working at the weekly market in Berghem.  pics (35)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday Evening Skating and Newborn Calves

Tuesday, 2-July-2013 - Boekel - We took our coffee break at the inn de Brabantse Kluis. There, we saw newborn calves (photo taken by Bart van der Heiden) at the adjacent dairy farm.  10 skaters--good for 30 km. pics (54)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Canada Day

Monday- 1-July-2013 - Veghel/Amherst - It's Canada Day--thinking of our Canadian family and friends.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Zeven Eiken Dance Evening

Saturday, 29-June-2013 - Veghel - The music played by the Good the Bad and the Ugly (photo) was good and the Zeven Eiken community center was full. pics 14

Gülser-Mosel-Skaters in Brabant

Saturday, 29-June-2013 - Oirschot - In 2009,  the Gülser-Mosel-Skaters were the guides for a Fun-on-wheels weekend tour of the Lorelei countryside near Koblenz.  Now, Gülser-Mosel-Skaters Anja (photo), Heike, Helmut, Jan, Peter, Sonja, and Sophie were here to enjoy a weekend of skating in Brabant. Along with Fun-on-Wheels skaters Astrid, Bart, Conny, Maria, Mieke, Pieter, Tonnie and me, we all met in Oirschot at our guide Pieter's home. There, we were treated with coffee, Oirschot cookies, and a flag-waving drill demonstration (vendelen in Dutch, also called vendelzwaaien). Thanks to all, especially Pieter, for a wonderful day together. 15 skaters--good for 70 km. pics (239)  vendelen 16-june-2012 (6:42)
gps-tracked route (extra 17 km sitting in car on the way home) 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

De Toren Skaters Sand Dune Skating

Thursday, 27-June-2013 - It was three weeks since I last skated in Dinther.  We met at de Toren and drove to De Rustende Jager situated at the edge of the Loonse en Drunense Duinen (Loonse and Drunense Dunes) National Park the starting point of this evenings inline skate tour. During the day, the area is bustling with activity.  This evening, we had it almost to ourselves. Six skaters--good for 30 km. pics (34)
gps-tracked route part 2

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Evening Inline Skating

Tuesday, 25-June-2013 - Boekel - The sun came out as we got closer to Boekel--a great evening to skate! 12 skaters--good for 30 km.  pics (57)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Veghel in Sneakers

Sunday, 23-June-2013 - The weather was threatening, but we met at Sligro meeting point for today's tour in support of Veghel in Sneakers (Veghel op Gympies). It's a bi-annual event wear Veghel sport clubs present themselves. I saw the familiar faces of Kempo Hu Quan. Fun-on-Wheels also showed off. 11 skaters and one solex rider--good for 25 km. pics (109)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Warm Evening for Skating

Tuesday, 18-June-2013 - Boekel - It was 30 Deg Celcius when we started our evening skate from Boekel! We stopped in  ’t Oventje (photo) for a "coffebreak."  Our usual stop Cafe’t Oventje was closed, but neighbors Masja and Johan invited us to take a break in their backyard. We were treated with soft drinks and watermelon.  What gracious hospitality! 14 skaters--good for 30 km.  (pics 49)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Flea Market

Sunday, 16-June-2013 - Veghel - Marij and I got up at 0500.  I had loaded up the cars yesterday evening. It was time for the Veghel Vaderdag Vlooienmarkt (Father's Day Flea Market). We saw familiar faces and met some new people, like John from Toronto.  There was also a new attraction:  the charming Hoog Nodig (Got to Go Now) ladies and their lovely-decorated toilet trailer (photo). Shortly after noon, the Patrouille de France waved goodbye to the Netherlands on their way to L’Armada de la liberté (The Sails of Freedom) in Rouen. pics (102)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Flying Display Day 2

Saturday, 15-June-2013 - Volkel Air Base - We got a short but heavy shower of rain in the morning.  Chris picked me up at noon, and we headed for Volkel. The traffic was backed up at the villlage of Volkel near the air base.  We saw "Stitch" the Dutch Solo pilot taking his F-16 through it's paces under dark clouds above Swiss Sense before riding our bikes to the main entrance. When we got to the airfield, the air was clear and sky was blue--a great day for an air show.  Today, we stood near the Frecce Tricolori as they taxied to the runway the leader. the solo pilot Captain Fabio Capodanno (photo) waved as he rolled by.  150,000 people came to see the action today!  pics (919)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Luchtmachtdagen 2013

Friday, 14-June-2013 - Volkel Air Base - This year, the Luchtmachtdagen (Dutch Air Force Days) are being held at Volkel Air Base--250,000 people are expected to attend over two days (14 and 15-June)!.  As I was parking my bike, I got a glimpse of the the Red Arrows arriving over the tree tops. Frecce Tricolori, Patrouille de France (photo) were also impressive. Actually, I was impressed with the entire flying display.  Thanks to the Volkel team and all the participants for a great day!
pics (985)
NL F-16 Solo Display (19 sec) 
Frecce Tricolori (91 sec)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dinther Skating

Thursday, 6-June-2013 - Dinther - Sunny and warm.  Ten skaters--good for 30 km. pics (66)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Boekel Skating

Tuesday, 4-June-2013 - Boekel - Warm and sunny.  Had a coffee break in Odiliapeel 13 skaters--good for 25 km. pics (32)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Skating in National Park Sand Dunes

Sunday, 2-June-2013 - Veghel/De Moer- After a short night's sleep, I woke up to a glorious sunny day.  I had a good breakfast, and I made a good lunch before heading back to De Moer.  The farmhouse was spic and span when I got there.  after a group photo, we headed for the Nationaal Park De Loonse en Drunense Duinen (photo).  Nineteen skaters, one bicyclist, and one solex rider--good for 42 km.  It was a super Fun-on-Wheels weekend!  pics (202)
gps-tracked route (partial) 

Oldies Back on Stage 2013

Sunday, 2-June-2013 - Veghel - After I got back from de Moer, I took a short power nap. Marij and I got to Oldies Back on Stage at the Blauwe Kei in time to see Square with Addy van den Krommenacker (photo).  What a great show! Then we listened to El Cid and Otis Redding in the form of the Louis Windzak Soulband.  We got home around 0100. pics (31)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Skating to Heusden

Saturday, 1-June-2013 - Heusden - After a good night's rest and a healthy breakfast at de Korte Hoef camping farmhouse, we headed for Heusden. 22 skaters, one bicyclist, and two solex rider--good for 65 km.  After a quick shower, I headed back to Veghel.  Marij and I had tickets for Oldies Back on Stagepics (263)  gps-tracked route part 2

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Evening Skating in Tilburg

Friday, 31-May-2013 - Tilburg - After supper at 't Maoske, we headed for the Friday Early Evenin' Skate Tilburg (FEEST) meeting point near 013 (photo).  It was my first time there.  The blockers were super!  130 skaters--good for 25 km. pics (112) gps-tracked route
clip 1 (28 sec) 
clip 2 (27 sec)
clip 3 (24 sec)

De Moer Skate Weekend--Day 1

Friday, 31-May-2013 - Veghel/de Moer -  I picked up Astrid and Bep and we headed for de Moer.  We met the other Fun-on-Wheels skaters at the soccer field parking lot.  16 skaters, one bicyclist, and one solex rider--good for 30 km. pics (185)
gps-tracked route  windy skating clip (22 sec)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Monday, 27-May-2013 - Veghel - It's Memorial Day today in the United States.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Omni Sand Dune Skating

Saturday, 25-May-2013 - Alphen aan de Rijn/Noordwijkerhout - The Omni Skaters from Alphen aan de Rijn invited Fun-on-Wheels for a tour which took us through the sand dunes between Wassenaar and Katwijk aan Zee--it was my first time to behold this wondrous landscape. I was already getting tired and cramped muscles (adductor magnus) before we made the climb to the dunes. "Drink water, keep moving." Marleen had become my personal coach. We fell behind. Lizette waited with me while Marleen got help. I couldn't find a stretch that worked.  An Omni rescue train--two skaters pulling me, and two skaters pushing--came and got me out of the dunes and joined up with the rest. The last 20 km I got help from Alle, Jurgen, Edwin, and a few other Omni skaters.  Great weather, smooth route, great company, great teamwork! Thanks to all for a wonderful day I'll not forget.  36 skaters and one bicyclist--good for 72 km. my pics (258)   gps-tracked route (thanks marleen)  video by Fred (4:55)  omni pics (68)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Vat-Oe-Fiets 2013

Thursday, 9-May-2013 - Veghel - It's an Ascension Day (Hemelvaartsdag) tradition for Chris and me:  the Vat-Oe-Fiets (Grab your Bike) bicycle tour.  Glorious weather.  We saw familiar faces along the way.  We were good for 56 km.  pics (132)
gps-tracked route part 1
gps-tracked route part 2

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Circus Herman Renz Comes to Veghel

Wednesday, 8-May-2013 - Veghel - Marij and I rode our bikes to a meadow on the outskirts of Veghel.  The Circus Herman Renz had come to town.  It was my first time to see a circus live.  Steers, goats and geese  have replaced lions, tigers and elephants, but the thrill and laughter remained.  Highly-trained horses, likable clowns, daring acrobats, skilled jugglers, a live orchestra, and a well-disciplined support crew.  We were children again. pics (208)
Skyline News clip (4:35)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dutch Liberation Day

5-May-2013 - It's Dutch Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) today.   flag pics (27)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Remembrance Day

Saturday, 4-May-2013 - Veghel - Freedom isn't free.  The Dutch Flag is flying at half-mast today to remember that.  At 2000, everyone in the Netherlands observed two minutes of silence. I was impressed with the words of former Dutch Chief of Staff General (Ret) Peter van Ulm.
speech Peter van Uhm (Dutch)
speech Peter van Uhm (English translation)
 remembering  pics (18)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

De Toren Skating

Thursday, 2-May-2013 - We headed for Schijndel and an ice cream cone.  Ten skaters--good for 22 km.  pics (48)
gps-tracked route

Faithful to the Royal Family of Orange

Thursday, 2-May-2013 - Veghel - Marij and I went to the exhibition "Trouw aan Oranje" (Faithful to the Royal Family of Orange) hosted by the Veghel Historical Society. Many of the 5000 items donated by Mrs van den Broek-Relou were on display.  pics (76)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

King Willem-Alexander

Tuesday, 30-April-2013 - Amsterdam - This morning, Queen Beatrix abdicated the Dutch throne to Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander (photo).  Before I flew the Dutch flag with royal banner, I briefly hoisted the Canadian flag to show my joy with the birth of my second grandchild Jakob. pics (254)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Jakob is Born

Monday, 29-April-2013 - Amherst - Katherine woke up at 0300 and had some lucky charms for an early breakfast. At 0600, she was ready to go to the hospital.  Nanny Riley came to watch over Logan and help Emilie off to school.  Katherine and Aaron got to the hospital at 0700, and Jakob Christopher Douglas Riley (photo by wes) was born at 0835. Eight pounds and one half ounce (3648 grams), 22 inches (56 cm) long.  Jakob and Katherine are doing fine.  Aaron called us with the great news about 90 min later.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Fun-on-Wheels

Saturday, 27-April-2013 - Veghel - We headed for the Kilsdonkse Molen.  Three Fun-on-Wheels skaters--good for 21 km. pics (28)
route part 1  gps-tracked route part 2

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Evening Skating--Kissing Pavement

Thursday, 25-April-2013 - Den Bosch - After meeting at Cafe de Toren, we drove to the Dungense Brug to start our tour for this evening.  I didn't see a piece of broken off branch, tripped, and hit the asphalt with my face (photo).  Luckily, no teeth were broken.  Super skating evening, despite my fall.  Eight skaters-good for 17.5 km. pics (60)
gps-tracked route.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Oss Cardinals Baseball

Sunday, 21-April-2013 - Oss - Watched Chris (78) play baseball with the Oss Cardinals Heren-2 (Mens-2) against the Boxmeer Royals.  Marit joined me around the third inning.  It ended in a 10-10 tie game after nine innings, according to Dutch rules. Pics (137)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday Evening with De Toren Skaters

Thursday, 18-April-2013 - Dinther - It was my first time skating in Dinther this year.  We meet at Cafe De Toren and headed in the direction the wind was coming from (Schijndel).  Eight skaters--good for 18km. pics (47) gps-tracked route

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Evening Skate Boekel

Tuesday, 16-April-2013 - Boekel - No rain on the radar, but it was sprinkling when I left home headed for Boekel.  It was our first Tuesday evening skate.  Just an hour to help everyone get used to skating again.  Fifteen skaters--good for 16 km. Had a magnificent sunset on the way home. pics (43) gps-tracked route