Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lommel Skating Weekend--Day 3

Sunday, 7-September-2014 - Lommel - I was back on skates.  Today, Jos took us to Leopoldsburg via the inland harbor (photo).  The route took us very close to Eksel, a village where we lived for three years, also the place where my daughter Rosan was born.  Like the previous two days we returned along the cemetery--we skated in respectful silence.  After saying thank you to Jos, we loaded our gear and headed for home.  We were good for 30 km.  pics (166) route (Jos)

Fun-on-Wheels Lommel Weekend

Sunday, 07-Sep-2014 - Lommel - This was a weekend we won't forget.  Thanks to Ria and John for organizing this year's Fun-on-Wheels "out-of-country" skating weekend. Special thanks to our guide Jos Bosman of All-Inline vzw  who showed us beautiful countryside so close to home. See links below for photos, clips, and gps-routes by day.  Twenty-four skaters and two moped riders were good for 132 km.
day 1
day 2
day 3 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lommel Skating Weekend--Day 2

Saturday, 6-September-2015 - Lommel - I'm glad I chose to ride my mountain bike today--I wouldn't have made on skates, only seven weeks after emergency surgery.  Today, Jos  took us through the center of Lommel (photo) before exploring the countryside, which also took a loop through the Netherlands.  This evening we put the grill over the barbecue pit.  We were good for 70 km.  pics (159) route (jos)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lommel Skating Weekend--Day 1

Friday, 5-September-2014 - Lommel - We arrived at our home for the weekend:  Huis Over Grenzen Lommel (House Across Borders Lommel), a German youth hostile located on the Lommel German War Cemetery (photo). Our first tour took us through Stevensvennen.  After a nice meal at a nearby French fry takeout restaurant, we walked back to the hostile and sat around a campfire in the barbecue pit.  We were good for 33 km.
pics (199)
route day 1 (jos)
gps-tracked route part 2 (dale) 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Awatrekking Off to the UK

Tuesday, 26-August-2014 - Eindhoven - I got up at 0530 and made coffee.  Marij and I drove Whitney and Abbie to Eindhoven Airport.  They were off to London Stansted Airport.  We will never forget this wonderful visit with Whitney, and our two newly-adopted nieces Abbie and Alivia.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Awatrekking2014 in Rotterdam

Monday, 25-August-2014 - Rotterdam - We started our tour of Rotterdam at the Hotel New York.  There we had a fancy and delicious lunch.  We took a water taxi to get to the other side of the Maas (Meuse) River where the Spido Sightseeing boat dock was located.  A 75-min exciting boat ride (photo) took us right next to giant ships and dock cranes.  We saw the magnificent Rotterdam skyline from the water.  We fell silent next to Ossip Zadkine's "Destroyed City"

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Awatrekking2014 Driving Stick-shift

Sunday, 24-August-2014 - Veghel - Marit and Chris made breakfast for us.  Back at home we listened to Steve's Wednesday sermon.  That evening, I found an empty parking lot, and I gave Abbie her first stick-shift driving lesson (photo).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Awatrekking2014 Windmill Bicycling

Saturday, 23-August-2014 - Dinther - After breakfast, we made lunch and headed on bicycle to the nearby Kilsdonkse Windmill.  There, miller André van Esch (at left on photo) gave us very interesting and in-depth tour of the only combined water and wind-driven oil and grain windmill in the Netherlands.  We continued on to the building site of Chris and Marit's new home.  Chris joined us at the nearby Heeswijk Castle.  We visited Chris and Marit's temporary house nearby.  After repairing Abbie's flat tire and returning home, we drove with Marij to Frank and Marjo's home in nearby Uden.  There was this year's Marc's Bar BQ Volleyball Team barbecue.  Koen and Rosan joined us there.
 gps-tracked route part 2
gps-tracked route part 3

Friday, August 22, 2014

Awatrekking2014 Goes Amsterdam

Friday, 22-August-2014 - Veghel - Chris and Marit joined us for a pancake breakfast, before awatrekking2014 headed for Schiphol.  Abbie helped fold in the beaten egg whites (photo).  Alivia had to return to Illinois for school.  She is going to be a great teacher.  After saying goodbye, Chris took Abbie and Whitney to Amsterdam.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

AWA Trekking 2014 Arrives in the Netherlands

Thursday, 21-August-2014, Veghel - My niece Whitney and her two friends Abbie and Alivia (awatrekking2014) arrived today in Veghel by bus.  The first stop of their European adventure was three weeks earlier in Madrid.  Chris and Rosan joined us for supper.  Marit came after getting off from work.  We were busy teaching Chris and Rosan how to play euchre.  Yes, it took me this long to indoctrinate two of my children in this part of their German-American heritage.

Monday, August 4, 2014

In Memoriam--Has van Cuijk

Monday, 4-August-2014, Veghel - Rosan called us with the sad news that Koen's father, Has, had passed away as a result of a heart attack. “Keep on running!" was his motto.  May he keep on running in our memories.
In Memoriam--Has van Cuijk
nr 44
the sun will rise again

Saturday, July 26, 2014

MH17--Fourth Recovery Transport Arrives in the Netherlands

Saturday, 26-July-2014 - Eindhoven - For the fourth day in a row, two recovery transport aircraft arrived at Eindhoven Air Base.  I witnessed the silence on live national television as, one-by-one, the remains of 38 MH17-victims were with awesome and reverent ceremonial honor and respect received on Dutch soil.   I grieve along with their families.
mh17_recovery_transport_nr4_sat_26-jul--38 victims (9 pics)
mh17_recovery_transport_nr3_fri_25-jul--75 victims (15 pics)
mh17_recovery_transport_nr2_thu_24-jul--74 victims (19 pics)
mh17_recovery_national_mourning_transport_nr1_wed_23-jul--40 victims (2 pics)

Monday, July 7, 2014


Monday, 7-July-2014 - East China Sea - Photo of Neoguri heading for China and Japan.
Photo ISS Astronaut Reid Wiseman
Current status:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, 4-July-2014 - Veghel - Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Early Weiss Family 4th of July Barbecue

Thursday, 3-July-2014 - Veghel - (Almost) everyone here had to work tomorrow, so we had the Weiss Family 4th of July Barbecue today.  Marij had to work late, so we started without her. pics (28)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fun-on-Wheels De Boesj Weekend

Sunday, 29-Jun-2014 - Koningsbosch - This was a weekend we won't forget.  Thanks to Pieter en Jennie for organizing this year's Fun-on-Wheels "in-country" skating weekend. See links below for photos, clips, and gps-routes by day.
day 1
day 2
day 3  
report (Dutch)

De Boesj Skating Weekend--Day 3

Sunday, 29-June-2014 - Koningsbosch -
fow_de_boesj_2014_day03_sun_29-jun (391)
gps-tracked route--part 2 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Longest Day Skate

Saturday, 21-June-2014 - Veghel - First a little cool and cloudy, but then the sun came out, and my long sleeves came off.  I was eager to test my new skate alignment. I had just received my second set of 2-Deg shims earlier this morning in the mail from Skate-Dump. Smooth roads, grazing dairy cattle, and knee-high corn. On this longest day of the year.  I thought of Omni skate friends Alle and Jurgen, who today with 70 other inline skaters were on their way to set a Guinness World Record for the Dutch Kidney Foundation--goal:  skate 350 kilometers in 24 hours in a group, without sleeping!  Respect for these super sportsmen.  One Fun-on-Wheels skater--good for 22 km. pics (82) gps-tracked route
RIJM2014 Rondje ijsselmeer markermeer (around the lakes) 20-06-2014 clip (5:34)
rijm2014 photos 20-21-juni-2014 (135)
Flevoland News Report (2:06)
Stories After the Finish  by Participants (Dutch--copy and paste in Google Translate for English)

Inline Skate Alignment

Saturday, 21-June-2014 - Veghel - I think my skates are aligned right for me now (see road test link).  When I first bought these skates three years ago, I was afraid to adjust the frames.  Now, I know it's what you need to do before you leave the store. Standing straight over your wheels makes a world of difference.  When skating, I'd see some skaters standing straight, and some pronated (ankles angled inwards), especially when tired at the end of a tour (that was me, too).  Here is an example of poor alignment.  Here is what to do about it. pics (50)

Inline Skate Alignment Road Test (34 sec)

Bill Beggs Correcting Pronation
Bill Beggs, Australian Inline Skating Coach
Speed skater Alex aus München alignment tutorial (2016) (6:19)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Overcast De Toren Skating

Thursday, 19-June-2014 - Dinther - The sky was overcast and threatening, but our bearings stayed dry. We stopped in Schijndel for an ice cream break.  I looked up to see the transparent roof (photo) of the Glass Farmhouse.  The sun came out as we skated into Dinther.  Six skaters--good for 22 km. pics (68)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Boekel Inline Skating

Tuesday, 17-June-2014 - Boekel - It was great weather for skating.  I passed this high-clearance tractor (photo) as I entered Boekel.  After our ice-tea break at Erica in Sint Hubert and just outside of Venhorst we saw a buzzard Buteo buteo. I tried a couple of times to hang with the fast group of skaters, but it didn't last long.  15 skaters--good for 34 km. pics (125 ) gps-tracked route
 buzzard sighting (24 sec--last two sec)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Omni Skating in Brabant

Saturday, 14-June-2014 - Oirschot - Thanks to Pieter and Jennie for making this happen.  Thanks to 23 Fun-on-Wheels and Omni skaters for a great day of skating--we were good for 62 km. pics (334) vendel clip (38 sec) gps-tracked route part 2, gps-tracked route part 3 
group photo

Thursday, June 5, 2014

De Toren Skaters Go Den Bosch

Thursday, 5-June-2014 - Den Bosch - It had rained during the day--it was still wet in various places.  We decided to carpool to Den Bosch.  We parked near the Dungense Brug. We were treated with this sunset when we returned.  Six de Toren skaters--good for 30.5 km  pics (107) gps-tracked route (thanks, wim)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Skating Maashorst

Tuesday, 3-June-2014 - Nistelrode - I couldn't go skating this evening, and rain was predicted for the next couple of days, so I headed out on my own.  I was looking for a way around Nistelrode.  I found myself at the edge of the Masshorst Nature Reserve.  I was good for 24 km. pics (39) gps-tracked route

Monday, June 2, 2014

Marc's Bar BQ Volleyball--Time to Eat

Monday, 2-June-2014 - Uden - We gathered at Marc's Bar BQ for friendship and a delicious meal, as well as admire our 3rd place trophy.  pics (13)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vat-oe-fiets goes Maashorst

Thursday, 29-May-2014 - Veghel - It's Hemelvaart (Ascension Day).  Chris had a baseball game, so I went this year on my own.  Vat-oe-fiets (Grab your bike) is Veghel's yearly bike tour.  Funds go to missionary work.  Every year is a delightful surprise.  Saw familiar faces.  This year the route took us into the Maashorst Nature Reserve (photo).  I rode an extra 10 km, because I missed the turnoff at Route 66.  I was good for 64 km.  pics  (141)
gps-tracked route part 1
gps-tracked route part 2

post 1 fanfare band (26 sec)
family bicycling (17 sec)
vorstenbosch windmill windlust (32 sec)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Late Memorial Day

Wednesday, 28-May-2014 - Veghel - Memorial Day was on Monday.  Those who gave their life for the cause of freedom deserve to be remembered.
President Obama's address and Arlington National Cemetery, 27-May-2014 (16:04)
full text
"...The fallen patriots we memorialize today gave their last full measure of devotion.  Not so we might mourn them, though we do.  Not so that our nation might honor their sacrifice, although it does.  They gave their lives so that we might live ours -- so that a daughter might grow up to pursue her dreams; so that a wife might be able to live a long life, free and secure; so that a mother might raise her family in a land of peace and freedom.  Everything that we hold precious in this country was made possible by Americans who gave their all.  And because of them, our nation is stronger, safer, and will always remain a shining beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. 
May God bless the fallen and all those who serve.  May God watch over their families.  And may God continue to bless the United States of America." 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Missed Memorial Day

Tuesday, 27-May-2014 - Veghel - I was embarrassed to realize that I missed Memorial Day yesterday--no flag, no moments of silence and reflection.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Skating Fun for Two

Saturday, 24-May-2014 - Veghel - Astrid and I were good for 17 km. Wind in our faces, blue sky, white clouds, colorful flowers.  What a great skate! pics (58) gps-tracked route

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Skeet Shooting in Boekel

Sunday, 18-May-2014 - Boekel - Today we went to six-time Olympian Eric Swinkels Shooting Range.  This was my first-ever visit to a skeet range. I was overwelmed with the professional range and instruction.  The "rabbit" station really got me excited.  Boyhood memories of December rabbit hunting in Michigan with my Uncle Paul rushed through me.  I got a 20-gauge single-shot Stevens for my 13th birthday (and Christmas) present. Paul always said, "One shot is all you need.  If it takes more than one shot to shoot an animal, you don't deserve it."  Guus was our shooting instructor for today.  We all used the same 12-guage over-and-under Baretta with 7.5 steel shot.  Chris took this picture of me--he also took the first place medal. Seven Marc's Bar BQ Volleyball players--good for 175 shells, 110 hits.  pics (198)
video clip by hans dG (24 sec)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fun-on-Wheels Saturday Skating

Saturday, 17-May-2014 - Veghel - Astrid and I rode our bikes to the Sligro meeting point. Tonnie joined us.  We wanted to see the new bicycle bridge across the Zuid-Willemsvaart canal (photo).  At one point Astrid and Tonnie landed in the grassy shoulder next to the bicycle path. I had just fallen over a stick.  That left a nasty scrape.  All in all it was good skating.  We were good for 16 km. Pics (31) gps-tracked route--part 2

Thursday, May 15, 2014

De Toren Skaters Back in Action

Thursday, 15-May-2014 - Dinther - Ad drove by happily announcing he was a grandfather, and that everyone was healthy and doing okay.  It was three weeks since our last skate.  We headed for Uden.  We stopped at the new Van der Valk Hotel for our coffee break.  We took a short tour of the hotel before heading back to Dinther.  Saw a fantastic sunset.  Eight De Toren skaters--good for 30 km. pics (85)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Wednesday, 14-May-2014 - Den Bosch - It's Katherine's birthday today!  Marij and I went to the Dutch international flower and plant exhibition, the Floralën.  In addition to the many displays, we got to see the last 15 min of the Dutch Flower Arrangement Championship. Twelve professional florists competed.  They had one hour to create their masterpiece.  Dini Holtrop (34) was this year's winner (photo).  When I saw them work, I thought of Katherine and Therese. After the exibition, we had dinner at Grand Cafe Silva Ducis Pizzeria near the St Jan Cathedral. pics (260)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday Evening Skating in Boekel

Tuesday, 13-May-2014 - Boekel - As I was making supper, I realized, that after eight days, the rain had stopped, the sun was shining, and the street was dry.  I quickly checked the weather forecast--no rain until tonight.  It was 10 days since I had my skates on.  Hes joined us for the first time to see what it was like.  At the 6 km-point Jan and Hes headed back to the starting point.  Twelve road kilometers on inline hockey skates is pretty darn good.  Well done, Hes!  The other 10 skaters--were good for at least 20 km--five took an extra loop. pics (54)
gps-tracked route--part 2

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dutch Liberation Day

Monday, 5-May-2014 - It's Dutch Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) today.   flag pics (12)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Remembrance Day

Sunday, 4-May-2014 - 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.  This year, Marij joined other Veghel citizens at the Airbourne Monument to remember. Pics (27)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Front Yard Blossoms

Tuesday, 25-March-2014 - Veghel - This was my view from the kitchen. 
blossoms (4)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rosan 30

Monday, 24-March-2014 - Veghel - Rosan turned 30 today.  I made banana bread for the occasion.   Koen's parents Mieke and Has invited us over for supper.
banana bread (22)

Spoorven Reflections

Monday, 24-March-2014 - Veghel - Sunshine, blue sky, white clouds, and water.  pics (6)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Backyard Flowers

Sunday, 23-February-2014 - Veghel - Our backyard flowers were out in full force. pics (11)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fun-on-Wheels Skaters Start New Year with Walk in Oirschot

Sunday, 12-January-2014 - Oirschot - Pieter hosted this year's Fun-on-Wheels New Year Toast at his home.  Some of us skated in his temporarily empty industrial storage building, but most of us walked in the nearby woods and meadows.  We were good for 7 km. pics (48)

walking route
Oirschot dialect by Pieter Smits (Orskots)
oirschot-postel-oirschot skating by Pieter Smits (Dutch)