June 6, 2024 Portland OR

Our flight was delayed two hours, but Delta had sent us an email telling us so we just delayed our departure from the hotel by two hours. Check in was relatively smooth except KLM has a self service check in that was new to us. You load your bag into a machine, answer some questions and place your own tags on the bag. When you are done the machine swallows up your bag. No interaction at all with a human, I am not sure this is progress.

Right on our new time of departure we were off and arrived around 2pm in Portland. Everything at home was as we left it.

This trip we added 5 new countries (Czechia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) to our travels. We also revisited a couple of sites in France and Germany. I think we covered about 5000 (3000ish miles)kilometers in François, I forgot to check our mileage at the beginning.

I am already looking forward to our next trip in the fall.

June 5, 2024 Schiopol NE

Today we slept in a little as we had only one chore to do before dropping François off for the next 3 months. Ton was worried about the weight of our bags so she went thru and took a couple of things out of the bags and left them in François.

About 10 am we headed off to a truck wash that the owner of our storage facility had recommended. We pulled in to a giant bay designed to take a semi-truck and the trailer. 3 guys swarmed François while we sat in a waiting room and drank a cup of coffee. 20 minutes later François was cleaner than he has been in years including the roof. The cost was about €20 more than if we had gone to a self service carwash and I had fed in coins while doing it myself and getting soaked, so I decided it was worth it.

We dropped François at the storage and moved to our airport hotel. Tomorrow we have an early flight to Portland.

June 4, 2024 Achthoven NE

Today was packing and cleaning day in François. Ton does most of the packing and cleaning and I do a lot of sitting around interspersed with some lifting when required.

I always have mixed emotions on these packing days. I am excited to be going home to see friends, and our boys. I look forward to having the space of the whole house, and to have a routine. It is nice to have water close by, and not wonder whether we will have hot water to wash the dishes in. It is also nice to be fully literate when we go shopping.

On the other hand I miss the adventures Ton and I have. I miss how close we are when we travel and the routine of setting up and living in a very small space. I miss the freedom of the road, and the ability to plan our trips on the fly. I miss the new people we meet and the new experiences we find when we are on the road including holding up a package of food and trying to decide if it is pork, beef, or chicken based on the clues we can discern from the packaging. The good news is we have a few more years of travel in us and we will be able to experience a few more trips around Europe and who knows maybe somewhere else.

June 3, 2024 Achthoven, NE

We were off early towards Amsterdam and with light traffic and minimum construction we arrived in the small village of Achthoven near the University town of Leiden around noon.

Our neighbors for tonight.

We are staying in a campground on an old cattle farm. In front of the farm is a large canal with some industrial sites. We are going to spend the next couple of days preparing François for storage. To put it more accurately, I am going to hover around François while Ton does most of the work to prepare François for storage.

A boat going down the canal in front of the campground.

My only contribution was a long hike to a Lidl to get some snacks to take home, and a couple of beers for tomorrow. We did get out for a short walk in the evening when Ton took the pictures for today.

The large house next to us, I couldn’t decide if it was abandoned or still lived in from the road.

June 2, 2024 Munster GE

We planned on going into Munster today, but when we woke up it was cold and grey. We lay around in François the morning and at noon we decided that if we were going into town we had better get moving.

The Market Street in Munster.

We had forgotten how completely Germany shuts down on Sundays. The French have a reputation for taking it easy on Sundays but the Germans have them beat. All of the stores are closed and most of the restaurants are closed until 5pm. Even the breweries are shutdown.

Walking in we saw this sculpture commemorating the reunification of Germany in 1990.

When we got to the center of town the streets were empty, and the only thing open was the church. We were inside the church when I heard some sirens and a lot of engines on the main street. I stuck my head out and saw two motorcycle cops leading a couple of hundred motorcycles down the market street.

Part of the parade of motorcycles celebrating the finale of Motorcycle Week in Munster.

I asked one of the motorcycle cops what was going on and he told me that the parade of motorcycles was the finale to Munster Motorcycle Week. It was a good day as they had the downtown pretty much to themselves. We spent a little bit of time looking for an ATM, Germany does not charge a transaction fee to buy Euros, only the exchange rate. We were going to buy some for our next trip, but it looks like our debit card is suspended. Our bank has ended their 24 hour help line and directs you to their website which is manned by AI which does not understand, my debit card does not work in an ATM. So we finally gave up and went back to the church.

This pot was hanging from one of the columns of the church, we think it is for incense.

While we were in the church I checked the Sunday schedule for the bus and it said the last bus was in 12 minutes, so we cut our visit short and hustled to the bus stop. The time came and went but there was no bus 22, the board showed a bus 11. Ton and I were trying to figure what to do when a young German lady came up and asked us about bus 22. She was also confused that it had not showed up. We were planning alternative ways to get home, and she called her mother to look for a ride, when about 10 minutes late good old bus 22 pulled up and we happily jumped on board. The Germans have something to learn from the Poles about how to run a transit system.

A cool clock in Munster.

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the campground.

June 1, 2024 Munster GE

Woke up early to see Fred and Denise off, and since we were up we decided to get an early start also. As we were saying good by to Fred and Denise we made preliminary plans to meet them somewhere in Europe next year.

We picked Munster as our next stop as it was most of the way to the Netherlands, and Denise gave it good reviews. The drive was relatively busy, and there were a couple of big construction sites, but we still arrived around 1:30. When we pulled in to the campground it was teeming. There were signs welcoming us to the summer fest, so I had already begun mentally thinking about alternative stops. But when I found someone he quickly assigned us a spot and told us to join the festival at 2:30.

We joined this table of Germans, but it turns out one of them was a Scot in disguise.

We headed over about 5pm and got a couple of beers and asked if we could join some Germans at their table. After we had been sitting for a few minutes one of them asked if we were from the UK. When we replied US she said she was a Scot. It turns out she had moved to Germany many years ago and was happily married to a nice German guy. We enjoyed chatting with them but Tons allergies are really bothering her so we had to decline their kind offer to join them for dinner and head back to François for the night.