Friday, September 29, 2017

Fallen Skater Friend

29-September-2017 - Veghel I grieve the loss of my skating hero and friend Bep Rovers (photo). Sudden, without warning.  I had skated 18 km with her just four weeks ago in Veghel.  Such are the ways of the Lord.  Her mission on earth was complete.  Ours is not yet done.
order of service (Dutch)
remembrance card (Dutch)
remembrance weblog

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Flaeming 2017

Sunday, 24-September-2017 - Werder - This year the Fun-on-Wheels out-of-country trip took us to the Pleistocene hills (photo) of the Fläming Heath in Germany, about 75 km south of Berlin.  Here lies the Flaeming-Skate--230 km of super-smooth skating and cycling paths!  Thanks to Brigitte, Conny, Johan and Maurice for organizing this super skating weekend!  25 skaters and one moped rider. Some were good for 160 km--12 skaters finished the 44th BMW Berlin--Inline-skating Marathon! See links below for photos, clips, and gps-routes by day.



Fun-on-Wheels Flaeming Weekend 2017--Day 5

Sunday, 24-September-2017 - Werder/Veghel - It was still raining, so we took a moment to reflect on the loss of Bep, thanked the organizers and said goodbye.  We stopped for lunch on the way home.  It was a truckers restaurant with classic Cadillac photos.  pics (51)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Flaeming Weekend 2017--Day 4

Saturday, 23-September-2017 - Werder - I woke at 0600 to see Johan and Conny go out the door of our room.  They were all ready to head out with the others for the train station to go Berlin for the inline skate marathon.  When I got to the breakfast table, Frans passed on the sad news of Bep's passing on Friday evening.  I was in shock.  It was a shock for us all.  I couldn't make it to the buffet.  I had to sit down at a table corner and cry my heart out.  I had just skated 18 km with her exactly three weeks ago in Veghel.  This was something I had to accept.  I put my black headband around my arm--it was the least I could do for Bep.  The non-marathon skaters headed out around 0900. We were taking route RK1.  We got to test our climbing and braking skills.  At the 35km point, we split up in two groups:  100km (8 skaters) (photo) and the rest for 52 km (one moped rider, two bicyclists, and three skaters).  What was supposed to be a grass stop turned into a shoulder crash for Adriaan.  Toon and Henriette picked him up at the crash site, and brought him back to the hotel. Then an ambulance took him to the Johanniter-Krankenhaus in Jüterbog.  Brigitte and Maurice kept company with Adriaan at the hospital.  His shoulder wasn't broken, just badly bruised.  Once everyone got back to the hotel, we got cleaned up and went to the Café und Restaurant "Tetzelstuben".  Shortly after we got back to the hotel, the victorious marathon skaters arrived proudly wearing their medallionspics (188)
gps-tracked route part 1
gps-tracked route part 2

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Flaeming Weekend 2017--Day 3

Friday, 22-September-2017 - Werder - Today's skate was a puzzle tour.  After a great breakfast, we were split into four groups to navigate the route and solve various questions along the way.  In Dennewitz, we met a group of very friendly and curious beaver rats (photo).  They were just like the one we saw last summer at ZieZoo in Volkel with Logan and Jakob.  I was in group 4 along with  Adriaan, Clemens, Inge, Jennie, Maria, and Maurice.  Lunch break:  bratwurst and potatoe salad.  We were good for 60km.  After supper, we finished puzzle questions for extra points.  Then the non-marathon skaters discussed the tour options for Saturday. pics (329)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Flaeming Weekend 2017--Day 2

Thursday, 21-September-2017 - Werder/Jüterbog/Hohenseefeld - After getting train tickets for the marathon skaters at the Jüterbog train station (photo), we headed for Hohenseefeld.  Due to all the road construction in the town center, it took us a while to get out of  Jüterbog--like "Hotel California", You can drive out any time you like, but you can never leave.  At Hohenseefeld, we took route RK7.  Smooth asphalt, beautiful countryside.  Lunch break:  bratwurst and potatoe salad--one of my favorite food groups.  We were good for 42 km.  Around 1800, the other skaters started to arrive.  pics (261)
gps-tracked route

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Flaeming Weekend 2017--Day 1

Wednesday, 20-September-2017 - Veghel/Werder - The organizing team went a day early.  I got a ride with Conny, Johan, and Maria.  Marij and my grandson Seth saw me off (photo).  We arrived at our hotel Erlebnishof Jüterbog-Werder at midnight.  Brigitte and Maurice sleepily welcomed us and said goodnight. pics (21)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Belgian Border Inline Skating

Sunday, 6-August-2017 - Oirschot - It was the tenth year that Pieter organized the 100 km vacation (Postel) skating tour--the eighth year for me. The weather and the company couldn't have been better.   We had a lunch break at the 40 km mark, at the Kapellerhof garden restaurant near the Dutch-Belgian border.  After just seven kilometers in Belgium, along the Bocholt-Herentals Canal we stopped at border marker 191--the highest point (44 m) in the North Brabant province (photo).  This year I shared a bike with Pieter.  I lost five weeks of skating while recovering from a fall in June, so I didn't  want to push myself over the limit.  There was some rough pavement during the first legs of the tour.  Helene, Louis, and Johan helped me stay with the group when I fell back.  It was the right decision, but pedaling the bike was harder than skating--I couldn't keep up on bike either.  I took some two aspirin (paracetamol) for my hurting left knee.  At out last rest stop at Café in d'n olie-fant
in Veldhoven, we saw the first minutes of the European Womens Championship game Ned-Den.  We went crazy when Vivianne Miedema scored to make it 1-1, and again when Lieke Martens made it 2-1.  It was 2-2 when we left.  Luckily, we had smooth asphalt for the last 20 km.  Hylco stayed with me until we made it back to Oirschot.  There was cheering with arms int the air just before we got back to Pieter's home--the Netherlands beat Denmark 4-2!  There was a full refrigerator and a deluxe garden hose shower waiting for us when we got back.  A barbecue topped off this perfect day.  Thanks to all tour participants, and especially my helpers and our host and guide Pieter for making this day to remember.  Eleven skaters--good for 100 km. pics (172) route

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Skating Glimpse of the Efteling

Thursday, 27-July-2017 - Heesweijk-Dinther/Kaatsheuvel - This evening, we headed for the Loonse en Drunense Duinen.  At the edge of this National Park we got a glimpse of the Efteling.  This seven-league boot pointed the way.  Nine de Toren Skaters were good for 30 km. pics (41)
gps-tracked route

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jeannette 50

Sunday, 18-June-2017 - Veghel - We met at Jeannette's home to celebrate her 50th birthday.  Twenty-two Fun-on-Wheels skaters were good for 50 km.  What a great day to remember!  pics (106)
gps-tracked route part 1
gps-tracked route part 2

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Warm Evening De Toren Skating

Thursday, 1-June-2017 - Den Bosch - A wonderful sunny evening.  It doesn't get better than this.  I got a replacement bearing today in the mail from Jan van der Hoorn.  I had to clean the other 11 bearings before I headed to de Toren.  On one bearing, the bearing balls got away on me--the first one I spun while rinsing off degreasing cleaning fluid.  It took me 30 min to assemble one bearing!  That was before I watched the two video clips below.  I also put 2-degree wedges between the frames and the skate boots---to make the boots perpendicular to the wheels. I'm really happy with my new skates.  Back at de Toren we told stories and enjoyed the warm evening. Ten skaters and one bicyclist--good for 27 km. pics (104) gps-tracked route
assembling bearings with nylon cage by Jam Skate Addiction (3:52)
assembling bearings with nylon cage by zxcft6yhnji9 (1:09)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day--Remembering and Honoring

Monday, 29-May-2017 - Veghel -  It's 2200 and dark now.  I forgot to fly the Flag today (this photo was taken last year).  It is Memorial Day 2017.  I put it on my calendar.  I talked about it with Marij last night, but I still forgot.  It's not a holiday here.  There's no mention of it in the local news.  My thoughts and feelings for my country are unchanged since last year at this time.  "It's Memorial Day in the United States and for Americans all around the world--we remember and honor all Americans who died while in military service to their country.  We thank all those who have served, and all those still serving...On Memorial Day, I can only feel pride to have served my country to help keep it, and the countries of its allies, free and peaceful..."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Callantsoog-Texel-Medemblik Weekend

Sunday, 21-May-2017 - Callantsoog/Texel/Medemblik - This was a weekend we won't forget.  Thanks to Astrid, Frans, and Jeannette for organizing this year's Fun-on-Wheels "in-country" skating weekend.  26 skaters and two moped riders were good for 120 km!  See links below for photos, clips, and gps-routes by day.

Callantsoog-Texel-Medemblik Skating Weekend--Day 3

Sunday, 21-May-2017 - Medemblik - Today Erik, Gert-Jan, Lisbeth (photo), and Simon from the Radboud Inline Skating Club were our guides. 24 skaters, one moped rider, and one bicyclist--good for 40 km. pics (167)
gps-tracked route

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Callantsoog-Texel-Medemblik Skating Weekend--Day 2

Saturday, 20-May-2017 - Texel - It was a glorious day.  We saw acrobatic seagulls all around the ferry on our way to Texel.  24 skaters and two bicyclists and two moped riders--good for 45 km. pics (291)
gps-tracked route part 1
gps-tracked route part 2
acrobatic seagulls (1:03)
dutch wind on texel (31 sec)
ferry docking at den helder (1:37)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Callantsoog-Texel-Medemblik Skating Weekend--Day 1

Friday, 19-May-2017 - Callantsoog - We ate supper at De Strandtent and saw this amazing sunset.  We also experienced lots of playful seashore foam (video clips).  21 skaters and two moped riders--we were good for 35 km.
pics (253)
gps-tracked route--part 1
gps-tracked route--part 2

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sunny Saturday Skating

Saturday, 6-May-2017 - Veghel - It was sunny and warm.  I first needed to get my skates in order.  My right frame had loosened op during the Thursday evening skate.  It seemed that vibration was causing the problem.  I use wedges to correct pronation, and didn't slide the wedge all the way against the frame mounting screw.  I took this opportunity to rotate my wheels.  I thought of a way to keep the wheels and bearings turning in the same direction to minimize wear.  At the Sligro meeting point I was amazed to see eight skaters:  Annet, Bart, Jacqueline, John, Marleen, Ria, Willy, and me.  Our largest turnout of the year! We headed for Heeswijk-Dinther.  Along the way, we passed a herd of grazing sheep (photo).  We were good for 17 km.  When I got back home, I took a shower and made pizza for supper.  pics (85) gps-tracked route.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

De Toren Evening Skating on Remembrance Day

Thursday, 4-May-2017 - Dinther/Veghel - We were in Veghel as it neared 8 PM.  We stopped and observed two-minutes of silence for those who died who died during World War II, as well as other military conflicts and peace-keeping missions.  Eight skaters--good for 22 km. pics (22) gps-tracked route

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Saturday

Saturday, 29-April-2017 - Veghel - Five skaters today:  Bep, Marleen, Tonnie, Willy, and me.  We headed for Nijnsel via Zijtaart--returned via lovely countryside (photo).  We were good for 17 km. pics (21) gps-tracked route 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Skating

Saturday, 22-April-2017 - Veghel - I adjusted my frames before heading out to the Fun-on-Wheels Sligro meeting point.  It was windy and dry.  It took a while for the clouds to make room to get a view of the clear blue sky they were hiding (photo).  I was the only skater at today.  I headed for Nijnsel so the wind would be at my side and not head-on--I made a counter-clockwise loop.  I was good for 17 km.    pics (72)  gps-tracked route

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Evening De Toren Skating

Thursday, 20-April-2017 - Dinther - We headed to Schijndel this evening.  Saw a beautiful sunset (photo) on the way back.  Nine de Toren skaters--good for 19 km. pics (19) gps-tracked route

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Magnificent Boekel Inline Skating

Tuesday, 18-April-2017 - Boekel - I wasn't sure if it would stay dry this evening so I got my old skates in order, just in case.  It turned out to be a magnificent evening! Got to see an F-16 up close. 16 skaters--good for 17 km. pics (69) gps-tracked route.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday Paaspop Fun-on-Wheels

Saturday, 15-April-2017 - Veghel/Schijndel - It's my youngest grandson Seth's first birthday today!  I got a late start getting ready for skating--I got to the Sligro starting point 15 min late--I was the only one there.  I'm so sorry if anyone got tired of waiting for me.  I headed into the northwesterly wind (3-4 bft) in the direction of Schijndel.  It was pretty slow-going until I got into a wooded area.  I hoped to get a glimpse of the three-day Paaspop (Easterpop) music festival in progress.  I heard music when I got to the crossroad.  I kept following the music.  When I came to this billboard (photo), I knew I was going in the right direction.  Returning homeward, the wind was my friend as I rolled over smooth asphalt along the canal.  On the outskirts of Veghel, I passed some grazing sheep (my best photo of the day).  I was good for 28 km.  pics (109) gps-tracked route.
Paaspop 2017 recap Zaterdag (video clip 2:02)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Skating to the Dungense Brug

Thursday, 13-April-2017 - Dinther - We headed northwest, along the canal and into the wind.  Monique took the lead with a healthy pace.  I couldn't keep up with the others who were better physical shape than I was.  My big wheels couldn't help me out with that.  Luckily, Wim held back and kept me company.  We crossed the canal at the Dungense Brug (bridge) and headed back to Cafe De Toren (photo). Nine De Toren Skaters--good for 24 km.  pics (40) gps-tracked route

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Boekel Tuesday Evening Skating

Tuesday, 11-April-2017 - Boekel - I got to Jan's house just as he was eating his supper.  It our first Tuesday Evening Skate of the year.  Three new skaters joined us this evening, including Anne (photo).  Maarten's brother Nol also joined us, after a 10-year break.  18 skaters--good for 16 km. pics (38) gps-tracked route

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Saturday

Saturday, 8-Apr-2017 - Veghel - A perfect day for skating.  We started out with position and balance exercises that Gisle Tverland taught us in Malmö.  His philosophy is to pass on what you know to other inline skaters--I promised him I would.  Astrid and I were good for 16 km.  pics (39)   gps-tracked route

Thursday, April 6, 2017

De Toren Inline Skating

Thursday, 6-April-2017 - Dinther - I was the first Thursday evening skate of the year.  As always, we gathered at the  Cafe De Toren.  Nine skaters (Bettina, Eric, Hans, Johanna, Magda, Margret, Roos, Wim, and me) were good for 17 km. pics (43) gps-tracked route

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Glorius Day for Inline Skating

Sunday, 2-April-2017 - Veghel/Oss - I needed to skate more, and today was a glorius day for it.  My feet needed to get used to wearing skates again.  I tried to remember how to avoid skating through the center of Nistelrode.  The windmill in Vortenbosch was magnificent!  Once in Oss, I rested my feet.  The outside tendons above my ankles were hurting--I tried taping.  I choose the most direct route home.  In Nistelrode, Tineke recognized me from the other side of the street.  What a nice surprise!  I was glad when I got home and took my skates off.  I was good for 36 km.  pics (113) (gps-tracked-route part-1, part-2

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Rained Out

Saturday, 1-April-2017 - Veghel - I canceled Fun-on-Wheels skating today as a precaution.  The 2 mm of rain that fell this morning in Veghel was very welcome, but for skating later this afternoon, it wasn't good thing.  At 1400, and to my surprise, the roads had dried up, and no more rain was predicted.  I adjusted my frames to the inside, I went to the Sligro parking lot to see if we could have rolled today.  I practiced position and balance, getting used to my new setup, including my superfeet insoles.  It was a good thing that I cancelled, because we got another downpour at 1630.  pics (22)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Tuesday, 28-march_2017 - Veghel/Uden - After my first two times skating in my new Powerslides, I realized that I needed more arch support.  After doing some reaserch and making a call to Arts Sportiek, I headed to Uden on my bike to buy some superfeet. There, I got great help from Richard, the owner.  pics (10) gps-tracked route
superfeet product insight clip (4:09)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels Rondje Dichtbij

Sunday, 26-March-2017 - Veghel - I biked by these beautiful cherry blossoms (photo) on my way to the Sligro meeting point.  I was our first Fun-on-Wheels Sunday tour of the year--Rondje Dichtbij (loop close by).  I got a one-time only kitchen pass from Marij to join along.  Thank you, Marij.  Great skate!  18 skaters, one moped rider, and one bicyclist--good for 25 km.  pics (43)  route

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels First Sligro Saturday Skate

Saturday, 25-March-2017 - Veghel - in Europe, the clock "springs" forward this evening to daylight time (zomertijd).  At home, I first had to get my new Powerslide Marathon 125 skates in order before I used them for the first time.  That included fitting a heel brake (photo).  For Nora and Dorienne, it was their first time outdoors--real beginners.  Experienced Fun-on-Wheels skaters Bep and Ronald (on bike) joined us at the Sligro starting point.  We started out with skating posture and braking.  Then we went to the industrial park across the street to practice.  Two rounds were enough.  The beginners realized they needed to work on their physical condition, as well as skate on their own, before they could take on skating with the group, even at a slow pace. No rush, no worries.  We all had to start somewhere to get where we are at now.  It was 1700 when I said goodbye 'til the next time.  I then headed to Nijnsel to get some training time in for myself.  I was good for 17 km. pics (115) gps-tracked-route

Friday, March 24, 2017

New Skates

Friday, 24-March-2017 - Ter Aar - After my first skate this year, I decided to buy new inline skate boots.  My new rollerblades were too painful.  I didn't see the terrycloth-sock, roll-down option as a permanent solution.  I had done quite a bit of research since the beginning of the year.  I liked Wim's Powerslide Grand Prix boots.  They had an integrated inner and outer boot design.  Since the boots were not sold separately anywhere, I needed to get the frames and wheels as well.  My size--with 125mm wheels--was in stock at Jan van der Hoorn (photo) in Ter Aar.  It was a beautiful sunny day for a drive.  I got great service from a veteran ice and inline skater Bart.  I tried on the Grand Prix--very comfortable, as well as the K2 125--not enough support for me.  I wasn't sure how stable I would be on 125mm wheels; but after rolling around the showroom for 30 mins, I felt confident enough to decide.  I choose the Powerslide Marathon 125, because the buckles were sturdier than the buckles on the Grand Prix, and also because the Marathons had ventilation slots in the bottom of the boot.   pics (52)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Skating to Nistelrode

Sunday, 12-March-2017 - Veghel/Nistelrode - It was warm and sunny.  A perfect day for the first skate of the year.  I used the same setup as last year:  Rollerblade Tempest-C 100 mm, two-deg shims and terry cloth socks rolled down at the top.  My ankles were weak and pronated.  That caused rubbing between the outside of the boot and my outside tendons above the ankles.  Even though these skates were only one year old, I needed to look for replacements with better support.  I was good for 19 km--not bad for the first time out.  pics (51)  gps-tracked route

Saturday, February 4, 2017

“No one is above the law--not even the President.”

Saturday, 4-February-2017 - Veghel/Seattle - After breakfast this morning, I read a Reuters news feed which struck me as significant--more significant than an article about tomorrow's Superbowl LI.  “No one is above the law--not even the president.” - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (photo).  I read further.

Seattle Times Article, 3-Feb-2017
U.S. Courts Video Recorded Hearing State of Washington vs. Donald J. Trump (1:07:35)
Written Temporary Restraining Order Case 2:17-cv-00141-JLR

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Magical Ice Skating Pond

Saturday, 21-January-2017 - Veghel - This morning I babysat Seth while Chris helped Daan lay pavement brick in the front yard underneath the windows.  When I got back to Veghel, I did some grocery shopping.  It was late and the temperature was dropping when I finally got out the door to go ice skating at the Aa-broeken pond.  The sun was almost down, but there were still 40 people on the ice.  Saw Des, Nena, and Niek.  Yes, there were some spots which had melted open (photo), but this magical pond will heal itself in the evening and be ready to delight with super ice tomorrow.  Pics (37)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Magnificent Aa-broeken Ice Skating Pond

Friday, 20-January-2017 - Veghel - After babysitting Seth, I met Mieke in the  EMTÉ supermarket parking lot.  She had been skating and said the ice was now 5 cm thick.  I had to take a look for myself.  There were thirty people on the ice.  I had to quickly go home to get my skates so I could join them.  I skated for an hour, saw a fantastic sunset--tremendous!  pics (82)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Aa-broeken Ice Skating

Thursday, 19-January-2017 - Veghel - The ice was 4 cm thick today...and super smooth.  I wished I had brought my touring skates so I could take advantage of this magnificent long stretch of ice.  I met Astrid who was on the ice since 0900.  pics (32) video clip 34 sec

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Aa-broeken Ice Thickening

Wednesday, 18-January-2017 - Veghel - Colder weather was forecast.  I went to check on the ice at the Aa-broeken skating pond.  I measured 3 cm by eyeball--too thin for skating.  I'll check again tomorrow.  PS.  The fresh molehills I saw on the way home told me more cold was coming. pics (62)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fun-on-Wheels New Year Walk in the Woods

Sunday, 15-January-2017 - Oirschot - Pieter and Jennie once again hosted this year's Fun-on-Wheels New Year Toast at Pieter's home.  We walked in the nearby woods and heather meadows of the Oirschotse Heide. pics (60)