Saturday, 4 August - Day 3: Meerbusch, DE - Xanten-Husen, DE
Today: 99,42 km (61.8 miles)
Trip to date: 289,13 km (179.7miles)
I believe the uncharacteristically warm weather had started getting to me as I got going on this third day. I felt quite sluggish at the start of the day, and it wasn't long at all before I had consumed three liters of water. I paced myself with more rest stops on this hot day. I didn't do that enough yesterday. One of my stops today was for a light lunch of bread and olives and an ice cold, alcohol free Weißbier. It was a nice 45 minutes sitting in the shade, looking over a bend in the river. At this point on the Rhein it was clear the seriousness of this year's drought. The river banks show just how far the water level has receded.
Once again I was forced to the right side of the Rhein. I had just passed the highway bridge spanning the Rhein between Moers, DE and Duisburg, DE when I was met by a couple coming in the other direction. They informed me that the path was closed about 10 km further on due to an out-of-service drawbridge. I sure am glad I got the info from them when I was still close to the bridge that would bring me to the other side.
This diversion, like the last one, was also a pleasant surprise. It was well paved and well away from any roads and traffic. By riding on the right side of the Rhein I also got to transit Wesel, DE. It has a nice market area directly next to the cathedral. On the market square was an Italian ice cream cafe where I had a delicious ice coffee.
Another interesting result of the diversion is that I got to take the bicycle / pedestrian ferry from Bislich, DE to Xanten, DE. This is the same ferry I used two years ago crossing the Rhein on my way to Norway.
The campground was 13 km north of Xanten. I didn't realize it, but there are six small campgrounds there. I ended up first checking at the wrong campground. The young lady who greeted me there gave me directions to the correct campground, but said I was welcome back if they had no place for me.
I rode to the correct campground (only a few hundred meters down the road), but no one was at their reception building. I tried calling their fixed and mobile numbers without any success. So, I rode back to the first campground. Jackpot!
This place does not normally cater to tent campers, but they gave me a quiet spot near the entrance. I had a nice, shady place for my tent, and I had an electrical outlet for charging all my stuff. Best of all, it was the young woman's birthday, and she had just finished a big BBQ party with friends. There was plenty of beer and food left, so she brought me enough food and drink to finish making me ready for the tent and a good night's sleep.
It was forecasted to get down to 16°C that night, so I unpacked my sleeping bag just in case. Up until this point I'd just been using a silk sleeping bag liner.
For someone who lives only 2 km from the NL border, the next day's border crossing seemed like a big deal. Strange.