Why did we go to Europe in the summer? What car is that ?

Well….because it is not as hot and humid as in Cincinnati.
Whomever said so needs to be keel hauled, whipped, accused of being fake news.
Yesterday and today it was hotter than in Cincinnati. 86F in Cincy and 93F (33C) in Zaandam with an expected 99F (37C) in Arcen where Marius lives.

So after waking up, we made the already hot trek to Action, looking for an inflatable kid pool. We found one at €3.50 and a shelf closer to the checkout a little bigger one, who just would fit on the back deck for €6.45.

At the barge I had to clear the back decl of my painting stuff, I started painting the fold up shelf I got yesterday from the local welder, and use the battery operated blower to blow up the sides. Connected both hoses and turned the cold water feed on….and as kids happy with our toy we dropped our feet in, to exclamations of joy joy joy

And yes I did let my R/C controlled alligator head out for a swim in it 🙂

In the afternoon Max and Aafi came by to pick me up. Max bought a 2nd car, but it had to be picked up in Friesland, and since max has no drivers license, he ‘volunteered’ grandpa, as he calls me.
When they picked me up the were waiting with the hood of the Chevy Monza opened. Max had repainted the whole care in mat black, used in chimneys. With a nice phoenix painted on the hood. Seems the 93F was too much for the little car to keep the cooling at the normal temperature. While driving to the highway, windows wide ope, the engine temperature got even warmer, hovering around 200F. I suggested to turn on the defrost, to take some heat away. Both looked a bit funny, but did it and saw the temperature gauge crawl lower.
So there we drove for a tad over 1 1/2 hr, with the defrost on high, since-ing the hairs of my legs. See now why chef’s never have to shave their legs!

After some searching around close to Urk, Max finally relented and called the seller to ask for directions. Max, with his typical Italian flair had been yelling to look for number 11, which we saw nowhere. (Max’s verion…..We could not find number 11 because watt and half watt, Aafi and me, in the front took the wrong road ;). But yeah i was to stubborn to calling the guy. First look for it yourself .and we spaghetti munsers are good in yelling 🙂 ).
A bumpy potholed gravel road led to the sellers garage. More like a ride to…OK we are ending up surrounded by Russian mobsters at the end fo the road, who will sell our organs right there to the highest bidder. Well it was kinda scary, since after meeting the seller it came to attention that he was a tin foil hat person. Covid-19 is a ploy to allow governments to track us and inject a tracer. Luckily I was able to keep my mouth sealed

When Max saw his future car, he got excited like a 5 year old, with daddies Amex card, in a candy store. there it was a nice red Ruska Regina. Ruska built a series of cars based on a VW Buggy frame. The Ruska Regina is like a facsimile of a Morgan. It was especially fun for max, because these were built 4 houses away from where he used to live in Amsterdam.

I was going to drive the Regina back to their barge. After transferring the title we set off, and then not even 100 feet later the Chevy Nova got a flat. There was NO spare, so the ANWB ( AAA for the Americans ) was called, and in typical Italian fashion Max was yelling and cursing the whole time when navigating the press this and that button menu. When he got through, we learned it would take 40 minutes before help would arrive. Because the Regina is based on a VW frame, and the engine has a ton of hours, the best speed was 60 – 80 Km/hr ( 35-50 mph). It is a great sunny weather touring car, but not perfect for a 1 1/2 hr trek along the afsluitdijk. (Which was built to keep the water from Mexico out, according to Greg Shapiro in his “America First, The Netherlands second video“)
So here I am ready to set off, all dapper with my hat, which was quickly tossed to the floor so it would not blow out.

The car drove like a charm, but it was clear it is a ‘fun’ car, slow speeds so your stuff does not fly out. Quite hard to get into when you are over 6 ft. The radio and tach were in the dash, but no wires to it. Quite fun to be waved at by many other drivers, tumbs up a lot, seeing a British BMW speed by you, then braking slowing down until next to me again, shouting “great car” and speeding off again. I have to borrow it one afternoon to take Deb to the beach.

The sun is peeking and the Senseo is hissing and “fugget about it”

Yes it was 06:00 in the morning, the sun is peeking just over the horizon, there is barely any wind, and the Senseo is hissing. The handy invention of Philips, which after making an entry in the US market got dis[laced by Kurig and Nespresso. Beging Rave …..Philips has made some remarkable inventions, like theCD/ DVD, Betamax etc but they really really lack in consumer marketing….end rave….
The Senseo1 is a great machine to pop in a single serve coffee pod, and get not boiling hot coffee.

The Senseo running on the batteries, using 1500 watts when the sun is barely energizing us.

Enjoing a wake up drink in the shade

The Victron Venus, showing us the state of our energy. Since last night we used 5% of our energy, and the sun just started to recharge us. we have 1040 Watt of solar panels, which during the day gives us up to 870 watt of solar to recharge the batteries. NO we do NOT use shore power. Daniel has programmed our new inverters to only grab shore power if we go below 80% of charge. We are usually back to 100% charge around noon, we also run the washer dryer, vacuum cleaner and power tools on it. During our 2 week quarantine, we have had the SOC ( State of Charge) go down to 89% once, but we did had a lot of overcast and rain.

Because of the nice weather we needed to get our feet wet, so the beach was the decision. Had to first fill the car. Kinda funny, in the USA you pre-pay for your gas or you have to insert a credit card, before you can start filling up your car. You usually also see some signs that if you dare to drive away w/o paying they will take your license etc. This at a price of about $2/ Gallon ( or about 0.45 Euro/ liter).
Now in The Netherlands you drive up, fill up, then go inside to pay, this at a price of around 1.50 Euro/liter. A tad over 3 times the price in the US. Wonder now why there are no gas guzzling ‘yank tanks’ driving around in Europe ?

So after filling up, on our way to Wijk bij Zee, a leisurely drive along the Noordzee kanaal. But then….lots of cars slowly moving. We see the large grass field being used as an overflow parking lot, but by some miracle we could get to the real parking lot, to see it is packed, full, and a few cars slowly driving around like sharks in the water looking for prey. After driving around we give up and decide to go north to Egmond aan Zee, driving through the villages, we see a few back roads leading to the beach, but are being met each time with a traffic jam. Finally in Egmond aan Zee we end up….behind another traffic jam. Trying a back road we end up on the square there seeing an even bigger jam with delivery trucks for the local restaurants. In the mean time the temperature was steadily rising, forcing us to turn on the A/C and giving up on the beach. Later that day the did closed the roads to the beach off, to keep congestion and crowding at bay.

While driving to find a lunch place, Deb realized I had taken her to Uitgeest. After some driving around we found a parking place and stopped at Bistro Het Stokpaardje . The place we have been many times with Daniel, when he had Oving 1 parked there under the bridge. Deb remarked that they do great fun stuff with Tuna Sandwiches, I had a broodje Kroket.

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

So last year today was one of the hottest days in history, around 39C (102F), bridges had to be sprayed with water in order to keep the expansion under control and let them function.

We have not experienced it this trip. The temp has hovered around mid 60’s to mid 70’s, so we are not missing the hot and humid Ohio weather.

The popular buienradar gives a slightly different view, but but seems Friday is a nice beach day, and this week no rain so…painting, we might have to turn on the Heat in the AM though with a wake up temp of 50F !!

To wear or not to wear, that is the question

So this is our 2nd day in Zaandam, and it the wind died down to a very gentle breeze. Sitting on the back is delightful now in the sun.

We did do grocery shopping yesterday at Albert Heyn. Deb started off wearing a mask, but after about 2 city blocks she saw nobody was wearing one, so Deb removed it. People walk around each other with a nice distance, or wait until you are passed. The big shopping street, Gedempte Gracht, has signs on the ground, suggesting which way the flow of pedestrian should go.

walking direction
With the bridge crossing they even added a divider

Pedestrians keeping a good distance. Not seen anybody commenting on us wearing a mask. So much nicer than back in Ohio.
Went to Blokker, yes put on a mask before entering. Mine has the text “Alles Kits?” ( all ok ? ) . The entrance and exit are clearly marked and everything is one way. Hand sanitizer available at entrance and exit. Bought a handmixer there, so I can continue to make Cauliflower Mash, and minimize carbs. Then continued to Albert Heyn, only the self scan registers are open, and yes when you paid, you get the choice of a ‘full’ receipt’ or a ‘short one’ which have a bar code on it, opening the exit gate.

Walked passed the T-mobile store, and they just have the door open but roped off, because all employees are helping a person. Great way of controlling!

T-mobile. Filled to capacity

So the gist is, people wear a mask when they can not keep distance and nobody made it political. I am sure we will encounter one Karen during our stay here.

Au revoir, the first lines and auwie

So it was an early morning. A final breakfast in bed for Megan, and for Peggy in the wheel house.

And yes I did play the Bye Bye MP3, creating chuckles. .
Side note…..As a horn I bought a 2 * 20 Watt MP3 player, so I have different sounds for different occasions.  A selection of sounds are available by request . Just as it is fun to play the sweeper MP3 in the morning in the marina…

Quickly a stop at the store, where Megan bought all the Stoop wafels, and a bunch of jars of Mustard to take home.  Yes Tom you will get a jar of Zaandam Mustard, prepared in the local original mill along the canal and a big bag of Dutch Licorice.  We made the trek to the Railway station  with all 4 suitcases, and hopped on the train to the airport to catch the Thalys to Paris.  There was the usual rush to get in, and to make things more complicated there were some travellers who did not had a pre-assigned seat so they sat on the fold out seat in the small entrance way, and yes their luggage was nearly blocking the entrance.  So I just showed it back to them so everybody could just get in, but it was packed.

 

Back to the barge, to meet Lindy, who was going to start the “hatch art”.  Last year Deb decided we needed to spruce up the big hatch on the barge with some more art.  So together with Lindy they came up with ……..Jan boot kleur vb-3.jpg

The hatch has to be cleaned and the drawing started, unfortunately the cloud cover vanished, as you can imagine the steel deck became hot enough to fry an egg on it.  We placed the white sun screen cover over it and Lindy kept on drawing.  After 4 hours of work , she had to go home, to finish on a later day.

 

In the mean time I was finishing up my switch panel with covers, but boy is it hard to properly route the wood for the hinges.   Luckily Roy will use this as a template and make a really good looking one.

This way the switches are out of sight, and divided in two groups, a general daily use group like, 24V lights, USB wall chargers,  fresh water, bilge pumps, apero alarm  etc, and the second group is cruising.  Thus the Victron Venus, navigation lights etc. Once the panels are opened there will be a form where I can slide the Ipad in for navigation etc.

IMG_3282.JPG

 

And even though I wrote the safety instructions, it does not mean I always follow them ( since “I am Invincible” as the villain in one of the James Bond movies shouts out).  I did stubbed my little toe against the front deck hatch. Did not seemed

too bad,  an hour later I put on sucks and shoes to walk Lindy back to the railway station, get back and unveil the my foot and voila…a nice  auwie.

 

Sunday …Beach, Paint and Tapas

The sun was bright and early, the carillion ( church bells) kept playing it would be a great day to go cruising……..nope…it was going to be the beach ……

So I drove Peggy and Megan to Wijk aan Zee and was told I could pick them up 4 hours later.  Megan took Peggy to the seashell, so she could hear distant sounds.  I dashed back and started the 2nd layer op pain on the port side.

IMG_3233.JPG

 

Also did some more cleanup, worked on the switch control panel, and picked up the girls.

After some rest they wanted to go eat Tapa’s .  It was quickly calculated that the all you can eat is cheaper than a la carte.  With English Menu’s Megan and Peggy ordered the first round of tapa’s.  Megan absolutely wanted to make pictures of every dish…..but…she was so hungry that once most was gone she realized the dishes were empty and no photo’s

When Peggy mentioned ketchup, Megan needed to remind Peggy that the dips for the Patatas was NOT Ketchup!And that service is more relaxed, no need to rush dinner

IMG_4410.JPG

Megan also captured my looks when Peggy asked for Ketchup again.

 

.  For dessert Megan wanted Creme Brulee, but there were two version..so what to do ……well I took away that choice and ordered both .

IMG_3238

When the bill came, there was the ‘fight’ over who would be paying, and I also checked the bill…   I did waved the waitress down and did thanked her for also including my imaginary friend on the bill ( 4 persons unlimited Tapa’s) .  But since my imaginary friend had not eaten we should not have to pay for him plus she forgot to charge for some drinks.  She felt quite embarrassed, and told we should not pay for the forgotten drinks . …a nice bonus, so she earned a 5 Euro tip……….Tips in holland are very generous IF a customer rounds it of to the full Euro. !

Walking back we saw that Daniel just pulled up to deliver the circle saw I needed. Introductions were made and Daniel grabbed quickly a beer from the fridge.   In the mean time Peggy got quite relaxed…    and NO Daniel is NOT rubbing her feet

 

IMG_3239.JPG

Yes dear the heat is on….what in June?

Well it is after the summer solstice, so even though summer just started, the weather seems to want to jump towards the end of the year already, as if it does not want to have hollidays….

Yes it was a bit chilly this morning 15 C ( or 59 F for non metric readers) .   Outside it was 13C   (55F) so yes I did turn on the heat for a little to get the temperature to 19 C (66 F)

 

 


IMG_3057.PNG

So yes it is nice to have heating in the boat, just to take the chill of in the morning

 

IMG_3058.PNG

Follow the electrons

Remember we had the big storms in January ( see Yes dear we do have storms in Holland) .  Right around that time the Venus warned me that the shore power was AWOL.  Well no Biggy was my reaction, the batteries are full , 800 AH 24V batteries ( yes Mastervolt, because I could get them really really cheap.) . so that is 25.44 * 800 = 20.35 KWH.  That would keep the bilge pump and Venus going long enough.

So mid March a friend goes to Jan-Kees,  they had a terrible flight, well they did book United!  Had no luggage and then NO 220V.   So some frantic texting ,  I suggested to look to the shore power , shore breaker, shore cable, breakers.   Well after a lot of work , they found out it was only the 220V primary outlet breaker who kept tripping.  Unfortunately, the shore breaker flips just before the panel breaker, so the harbor master was called a few times.   All what had to be done, was, uncouple shore power and test it while on inverting.  they exchanged breakers on the panel, but the problem persisted.   Perhaps some condensation water.  They gave up, did not wanted to listen to advise, because they knew how it all worked, and stayed on Jan-Kees without 220V for a month.

Then 3 weeks a Dutch friend goes to Jan-Kees, to do some cycling in the area.  Marius was in the same research department as me in the 1980’s so I knew he would find the problem.  We discussed it could be the Fridge or the outside light or outside motion light.   When I got a notification of the Victron Venus that there was no shore power, I knew Marius was testing.  the first thing he did was turn the outside motion light off, and VOILA…..Electrons were coming out of outlets. the Fridge got a shiver, and got cold.   Marius went outside and inspected the light and yes during the storm it must have shorted.  That is what you get with a cheap Chinese Led Motion sensor light in the mast.

lamp

Yes dear we do have storms in Holland

This was one of the wettest and coldest New years periods we have had in Holland for many years.  2 or 3 years ago, the Daffodils were blooming on Jan 3rd.

The boat weathered the first storm very well.  The second one, which became a code Orange it survived also very well.  Only ‘damage’ were the bike were moved by the wind, luckily they were securely attached to the railing, so they did not went into the water.  (Unlike the lock keys with Lew dropped when he visited.  Instead of using the designated keys with the floater, he used the emergency keys, and yes they went into the water, for a more peaceful and quiet life)

bike1 .

 

 

Before

 

fiets .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second storm was quite violent, trucks blown of the road, roofs separating from buildings.

 

 

 

Sleep lost, conditioning, bribery paid of more, beach walk,

Monday August 14

“wake-up  wake-up” .  what ..I am dreaming so nice. it is 1 am and the water pump keeps cycling.  Bloody hell, water running, well just turn the pump off, and we wil deal with it later.  Naturally, getting back to sleep is hard,  thoughts are running through my mind, like….the water line is ruptured..need to remove the wall panels,  which could mean taking the radiators down, or moving the sofa.   After breakfast I turn the pump on and we listen for water gushing.  Deb hears it in the engine room, and yes, we find a hose clipped of the T made by the HVAC guy, I fasten it and we continue.

water_leak

I go to the wood place, across the marine and order some wood.  They come out and say ‘have a great day’ .   Hmmmm so giving . case of beer each time we go to the boat, does have perks…….discounted and free wood.

Later that day  our peace is are rudely interrupted by the local swans, demanding they need to be fed through the kitchen window.   A daily task Deb gladly performs, and reminds her if the night on the etang at Rogney le Sept Ecluses, where she hand fed the swans.

 

Because the sink was draining slowly, it shared a bottom hull through with the shower, I made an additional hull through, just for the sink.  It involves, drilling a small pilot hole, to make sure we are under the ‘stoot rand’ (bumper), then drilling the correct hole size. sticking a stick through it, stepping on the small stoor rand and pushing the outside part of the hull through over the stick in the hole.  Without the stick being there, it would be very likely to have the brass piece fall in the water.

We went to the beach, had a walk and some food.