We’re Having A Heatwave (August 24)

Last night’s plan to have the sun greet my tent in the morning worked out perfectly. The fact that I happened to get out of my tent before 7:00 meant I was fortunate enough to see the truly beautiful sunrise that was greeting my tent – and me.

Beautiful start to the day.

Beautiful start to the day.

As anticipated, my tent was a bit wet this morning but certainly not drenched. As such, when the time came to pack up, my formerly not drenched tent was in fact dry.

Today’s basic plan was to continue heading south following the Rhine River. The official name of the route is Rijnfietsroute which, as far as German words go, seems pretty easy to pronounce – not that I’ve had to. And not that I could do so with anything resembling an authentic German sound.

Once again, I didn’t have a set destination in my mind for today’s ride. That said, I am working to get to the town of Mainz for Saturday (for reason’s I’ll get into another day). Based on the distance, that shouldn’t be a problem. As for today, the tentative destination was Düsseldorf. Tentative because when I began today’s ride I didn’t yet have any accommodations booked for tonight – in Düsseldorf or anywhere else. Instead, I figured I’d just head south and hope something would come along.

One of those hopes was a Warm Showers response. I had sent out a couple of requests before leaving the campground with the hope that not only would someone be available to host but that I would find a WiFi connection somewhere along the way so I could check for any potential replies. With the requests sent out, I was free to hit the road … or cycle paths as the case may be.

For the most part, today’s ride was very scenic and easy to navigate. I mean, how hard is it to follow a river? That said, there were a few sections that strayed from the river. Those deviations may have caused some minor confusion from time to time. It’s during those times when I think I’m making “following a river” much more complicated than it needs to be.

So good.  Although, chocolate and hot days can be a bit messy.

So good. But chocolate and hot days can be a bit messy.

The weather continued to be a somewhat significant aspect of my ride along the Rhine. And not in a bad way. Much like yesterday, today was sunny and hot with temperatures in the thirties. It was beautiful. That said, after all my time spent this summer in Scotland’s often cool and very often rainy conditions (not to mention England wasn’t exactly hot although it was significantly drier), I don’t think I’m fully acclimated yet to these very hot temperatures. Hopefully this heat wave will continue so I can do just that.

The only downside to the weather was the wind which was rather unpleasant today. On the upside, the wind finally started to ease up by late afternoon. On the downside, I was on the road in the morning and early afternoon. The result was a much lower average speed than I would like. Yes, that was my big First World Problem of the day.

I don’t remember where exactly I was when I finally found a WiFi connection but, as it happens, it was the only one I needed to find on the day. Andrea and Matthias, Warm Showers hosts near Düsseldorf, were available to host. I now had a destination for the day – Meerbusch.

It's definitely a scenic route.

It’s definitely a scenic route.

The downside to the aforementioned hot weather is that I may have slipped into an old habit – namely, not drinking enough. Okay, I probably haven’t been drinking enough water on the road for much of this tour but the effects are more noticeable when the temperatures rise. In today’s case, for much of the afternoon I actually had a BIT of a headache which I attributed to my lack of hydration. I drank more after that which seemed to keep the headache at a mild level rather than it escalating into “Halifax-level” dehydration (for anyone new to this adventure, there MAY have been a somewhat significant dehydration incident when I cycled into Halifax in 2014).

I arrived at my host’s place shortly after 18:00 and met Andrea and her dog (whose name escapes me at the moment). Andrea was very friendly and welcoming. The dog appeared to WANT to be friendly and welcoming but she’s a rescue dog and particularly wary of strangers – especially men. It’s always tough to see dogs like that. So sad. That said, she was a very cute dog.

Andrea’s husband didn’t arrive until about 21:00 but we had a very nice evening chatting about the usual topics of discussion during a Warm Showers stay – cycling, travel, future plans, politics, and so on. And all the while I made a very conscious effort to drink a lot of water – a strategy that proved very successful. Such a simple strategy. I should try it more often. Oh, and Andrea prepared a great feast of quiche, cheeses, breads, beer, and more. It was great.

As a final note on the day, after 63 days on the road I finally crossed the 2,500 km threshold. It took a lot longer than I would’ve expected to do so but, then again, there have been a lot of non-cycling days during this tour – including long stays in Oban and Kenya. That said, I think things have gone extremely well to this point. Although, as the end of August nears, I’m going to have to come up with a more detailed plan as to how much further I can go. I have a few freelance projects coming up and with WiFi access being not entirely reliable, I may have to return to North America to do said projects. Maybe I’ll work on that tomorrow.

Today’s totals:
Distance travelled: 82.12 km
Ride time: 4:28:59
Average speed: 18.31 km/h (Booooo!)
Maximum speed: 33.66 km/h (also Booooo!)

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