14. Aug, 2018

Tuesday,14 August - Day 13: Antwerp, BE - Balen, BE

Today:  78,94 km (49.1 miles)
Trip to date:  929,74 km (577.8 miles)

I had an interesting start to today’s leg of this trip. The ferry across the Schelde River to Antwerp city center was free. Geez! Belgium can afford universal healthcare and still have money left over to fund a free pedestrian ferry service. Great!  --  The 14th and last ferry of this trip.

Though this day was extremely overcast, I only rode in the rain today for about 30 minutes. Early in the morning while looking for somewhere for breakfast, I got a couple photos in Antwerp city center, but they aren't so nice due to the dark skies.  Still, I was glad it’s not hot, because you ride pretty exposed next to the canal.  Most of the ride was along side the Albert Canal.

I posted some earlier photos of half-loaded barges on the Rhein where the water level is far below normal. That’s not the case in the canals, so for comparison I got a shot of one barge loaded to within inches of deck level.

I again had a fall just a couple kilometers from the campsite.  I was on a busy street in Balen and needed to make a left turn.  Oncoming traffic was a couple hundred meters away, so I had plenty of time.  I signalled my intentions, and, just before starting my turn into the small side-street some old (must've been at least 66) jerk pulled out right in front of me.  I wasn't going too fast, but to avoid hitting him I had to ditch.  I wound up laying in the opposing traffic lane, and once he pulled further forward I had a white car racing towards me.  There wasn't much time to do anything but wince.  Fortunately he swerved around me, and the next car stopped.  The guy who pulled out in front of me simply drove away.

As far as I could tell I wasn't hurt at all.  No injured knees or hands.  I learned later that evening, however, that my rib now hurt more.  

The campground this day was the best so far. It seemed I was the only tent camper there, and the pitches are far separated from everyone else. There were so many pine needles, it was like pitching my tent on a feather bed. 

There were a number of things nice about this campground.  First, the quality of the tent pitches was terrific.  The campground also had a sport complex with pool, fitness center, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, two bars, an imbiss, and, right next door was a HUGE sailplane field.

I mentioned earlier that I had changed one planned campsite due to a heavy metal festival... We’ll, the day after my arrival at this campground is a Belgian holiday and there is a big motocross competition just next to the campground. It wasn't planned to start until 09:00, so I felt I'd likely be long gone from all the accompanying noise.