Köln to Duisburg, Germany: Cycling Day 12

Today started off a bit ominously with L waking me because he was scared of the thunder. Thunder and lightning with the rain pouring down. Not the best way to wake up on a biking day.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/img_4299.mov

Thankfully by 9ish it had mostly stopped. It did a brief dump on us after we got the bikes outside. Of course 🤷🏻‍♀️ but then we were one our way. 40+ miles to Duisburg.

We did some town and some country riding today once we got out of Köln. Then we hit the semi truck portion of our ride.

We were with these guys for quite a while and it was loud. However I was so thankful to be on a bike path and not sharing the road with them like we did in Hawaii.

Always time for a playground break. Then the school kids went on recess and we were overrun.

Another playground stop of course.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/img_4917.mov

Followed by some amazing handmade pasta for lunch!

Only Ty would pull this!

I don’t think she sleep but she looks so cute!

Which path to choose?

Tunnel fun

Selfie!

We got to our apartment late afternoon and it is glorious! The host has thought of everything and he welcomed us personally. We played a bit at a playground across the street before getting some groceries for breakfast. Then we walked to the restaurant that our host also owns. Dinner was so good! I was trying to get a family selfie but my arm wasn’t quite long enough. When I finally saw what Ty was doing I was crying laughing!

Apparently he can take the dinner photos from now on. 😂

Back home now. The kids are asleep and the blog is up to date! We only have one more day of riding the EuroVelo 15 trail tomorrow. Can’t believe this adventure is nearing its end. We’re already talking about what trail we should tackle next!

Bonn to Köln, Germany: Cycling Day 11

Since Ty has learned to work the credit cards and their benefits he’s managed to get us both Dimond Hilton status. This allowed us to get breakfast for free at the hotel. Otherwise it’s like $30 per person and we’re way too cheap to spend that! 😆

Oh my goodness this was maybe the most amazing hotel breakfast spread we have ever seen! There was a cereal station, typical American breakfast cooked food station, European sliced meats and olives station, a fruit station, multiple coffee stations, a tea station, a juicer, and a mimosa bar! It was overwhelming how much was available. I wanted to stay for hours just to try and sample it all. I was in love the moment I saw they offered honey comb.

Also who wants to install a fresh butter machine in their kitchen?!

We managed to stay about an hour and a half which is probably one of our longest breakfasts with kids. We also walked out with several yogurts, muffins, and croissants in our hands for later. 😂

The kids and Ty went swimming for a while after breakfast. I decided to just enjoy the show.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/img_4831.movhttps://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/img_4836.movhttps://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/img_4838.mov

L freaked me out with his first backflip. I restricted him to just forward jumps after that. I think this kid needs to be on a dive team.

After swimming we went back up to the room and got packed up. Our ride to Köln was only 24 miles so it felt wonderfully easy.

We also included a playground stop, as expected.

We then went through this industrial area for a while. Definitely not the picturesque fields and towns we’re used to.

Then this guy came down the road in some sort of electric, enclosed, rascal car-thing. It was hilariously tiny and slow! I just had to take a video but didn’t want to talk too loudly since he had his window open.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/img_4857.mov

Yep we ended up passing him and leaving him in our dust! 😄

Köln is a big city! It was fun to ride through till right before our apartment. It was rush hour and on a narrow road with bikes and cars everywhere. It got a bit crazy.

We were so happy to get to our apartment. It has a grocery store right around the corner. But the internet wasn’t working. We just kept getting an error message. Ty finally contacted the host and they knew it wasn’t working but didn’t tell us. 😠 That in addition to a few other irritants made this our least favorite stay.

But we were able to walk a few blocks to a yummy pasta dinner. The kids were over the moon since they got toys with their meals.

Then back to the apartment for everyone to pass out!

Strasbourg, France to Karlsruhe, Germany: Cycling Day 7

Same as it ever was, we got up, had some breakfast, and loaded up our bikes. ☺️ R’s cough was sounding particularly bad this morning, so she took the first shift in the chariot.

We rode out of Strasbourg and into the countryside. It was a pretty uneventful but long day on the bikes. Over 50 some miles of riding.

See all the white stuff on the trail. The cotton trees are shedding. It’s a mess when it gets in your eyes and sticks to a sweaty face.

We did have our first and hopefully last tip over today. R took the tumble like a champ! The issue was a small side trail to that went around a barrier. It was too narrow for the chariot.

Then Ty got a bit too bold on this one. But thankfully it was just his bike that tumbled this time. I think Ty forgot how much weight he was pulling. 😄

Beautiful flat trails today.

Crossing from France into Germany.

Immediately stopping at the strawberry stand because they’re so yummy here!

Lunch today was Chinese food, and I hit up the dollar store (I think). I bought R a new shirt and some shorts. I had messed up and only packed her one t shirt. But hey we’ve made it work for over a week now!

Back on the road. L managed to take a nap this afternoon. I have no idea how kids sleep like this!

Dinner was the food court of the nearby mall. Followed by grocery shopping for breakfast and gelato, of course! It looked too good to pass up.

The kids are in bed but no one is sleeping. 🙄 Ty and I are wiped after today though and we get to do it again tomorrow. So we’re happy to go to bed early.

Strasbourg, France: Adventure Day

This was our first apartment with actual curtains. So I was hoping we’d sleep in a bit. But up at our usual 6:30am 🙄

We lazed around a bit then headed out the door about 8ish. Our plan was to walk around and enjoy the city before attending mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg.

The walk along the canal was incredible. We saw baby ducklings and a baby swan.

We were walking up to the church and the bells started to chime. The church is already to breathtaking. This just made it seem magical.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/img_4040.mov

There’s so much history here it was a wonderful experience to enjoy mass in French. Even if we understood none of it! The kids and Ty did pretty well with that. R even got selected to help bring up the donations. She was so excited and nervous!

We weren’t allowed to take any photos inside. Also we had planned on climbing the spire but learned it’s closed for the next six months. Bummer when stuff like that happens.

After mass it was so crowded around the church. It is the big thing to see in Strasbourg. The kids did enjoy this bubble guy though.

We walked around some more just enjoying the beauty of this town.

We may have also found a few playgrounds to check out.

More beautiful town!

We had an amazing indian lunch. Then back to the apartment for some relaxing time. We Uber’d to Jardin Orangerie and checked out their free zoo and playground.

Gelato prior to dinner!

Just some waiting for dinner portraits.

Everyone was tuckered out but it was a beautiful evening and walk home from dinner.

Looking forward to getting back on the bikes tomorrow.

Stein am Rhein, Switzerland to Waldshut, Germany: Cycling Adventure Day 3

Well we woke up and guess what, it was raining still! It didn’t seem too terribly bad so we decided to try biking in it. Ty would not only be carrying all the camping gear, he would also pull both the kids in the chariot so they could stay dry.

We had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel.

Before we put on all our rain gear and hoped for the best.

We’ve definitely gotten our money’s worth out of this chariot! 😆

The ride was so beautiful but so wet!

We crossed over this amazing wooden bridge.

So wet! And you notice the dirt path we’re now on. It made everything so muddy and filthy!

I finally had to stop Ty because my hands were so cold. He gave me some dry gloves which I then covered with free doggie poop bags to stay dry. 🤷🏻‍♀️ You do what you need to!

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/img_3861.mov

We finally made it to Rhein Falls which are the largest waterfalls in all of Europe. The kids and I were freezing at this point. So we came, we looked, Ty took photos, and we said let’s find the train!

Funny side story, another cyclist was there and he came up to Ty so excited to see him. He said something like I saw your video and now I’m seeing you!! Ty had no idea what he was talking about, if it was actually us or not but hey, we seemed to have made his day. Also people have been taking photos and videos of us along the way so it’s hard to say if it was or wasn’t us he saw. We’re kind of a rolling circus!

The train station was just up the hill from the waterfall so that was nice. What wasn’t great was he fact we had to wait 40 minutes for the next train.

We finally get on the warm train!

However, it stopped after about two stops. This wasn’t really the train we wanted. 😩 So we waited about 20 minutes or so for our next train. Thankfully the conductor let us sit on our current train till the next one arrived.

That one took us to our last stop where we found out we had to wait an hour for our last train. 😭

So we are our lunch of snacks in the ‘smoking room’ out of the rain and read some Little Prince.

We finally made it to our town in about the same amount of time it would have taken us to ride our bikes. 🙄 I zipped into the grocery store to get dinner and breakfast food. Then we rode our bikes to the house Ty had rented. I was so thankful we aborted camping again! The rain had stopped but we still all needed to dry ourselves out.

It took a lot of wandering and one international phone call to find this house but it’s been totally worth it!

I unpacked all our clothes while Ty washed our bikes and gear. R made friends with the family that lives downstairs and it’s been so fun to hear how much german she knows! Oh yeah, we’re now in Germany. Apparently we crossed over the boarder on our last train ride. Who knew?!

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/img_3877.mov

Ty caught just this snippet of her chatting with the kids. She ran off to the playground with them while L helped me get dinner ready.

After dinner R and L have been slipping notes under the doors of the kiddos downstairs. International friendships are the best! So thankful this miserably cold, wet, and long day ended on such a high note.

The weather is supposed to stay clear tomorrow, the gear is all dry and ready for us to cycle a full day. 🤞🏻

St. Margrethen to Stein am Rhein, Switzerland: A Non-cycling Day

Last night was not the greatest. We slept in a tent which is alway a bit iffy for sleep. Then the kids were both restless. Numerous times L would just sit up and need to be coaxed into lying down again. Weirdo. Then there was the rain. Several times it was coming down really hard throughout the night. L and I woke up about 6:30 and Ty was already awake. I told Ty, I’d be happy if he could research some train options for the day. I wasn’t looking forward to a 5 hour ride in the wind and rain.

His quote, happy wife, happy life! Had he been with a buddy they would have suffered through the rain. However, with wife and kids in tow, suffering is not the goal. So he kindly researched train and hotel options for us, from the campsite shower area since the restaurant wasn’t open.

When R finally woke up we joined them and hashed out a plan. He’d found which trains to take and a town near our campsite so we could stay on course for our rides.

The restaurant owner finally saw us trying to FT my mom out in the rain and let us in. He then made us tea/hot cocoa, offered to let us pack up inside. So kind!

The rain was a total downpour when we left the campsite. I was so glad we only had to ride in it for maybe ten minutes. Both kids were crammed into the chariot to stay dry.

We got the train successfully. It’s a bit of an ordeal getting on and off before the doors close. Two heavy bikes with paneers, a trail-a-bike, and a wide chariot, between two adults, a helpful 7 year old, and a distractible 5 year old. It’s a lot!

Our second train ride was over an hour so R took a nap.

We got off at our town Stein an Rhein. Neither Ty or I knew much about it. He’d had time to research hotels, that’s about it.

It was a total downpour when we left the station. But from what I could see through squinted eyes the town was beautiful.

Ty navigated us to our hotel and wonderfully they had a place for our bikes out of the rain, AND our room was ready!!! We changed into dry layers, loaded the kids back into the chariot and walked through the center of old town on our way to the grocery store for lunch.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/img_3787.mov https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/img_3788.mov

Gotta love a grocery store that has a giant bratwurst out front!

Yes I got myself a hard cider for lunch!

Yes we let our child water the plants wherever we go!

Then we came across one of the coolest playgrounds we’ve seen. And we’ve explored plenty of them! The area was filled with all different types of beautiful mature trees. The play structures were so well made out of wood. There were so many different areas for kids to play in and there were small details all over the place.

From here we wandered back through the center of town to relax at the hotel before dinner.

Dinner was going to be the pizza place right next door but they were closed. So we wandered through the town looking for anything that was open. Thank goodness a few tourist hotels were open by the river. We had amazing pasta and pizza while the kids were melting down and so tired. L actually fell asleep with a chicken nugget in his mouth!

We got everyone back to the hotel and snuggled into bed. It was nice to be in a warm and dry room, airing out the tent and drying our clothes. Instead of being huddled under the tent in the downpour.

The weather isn’t supposed to be any better tomorrow. Ty’s really pushing to see this waterfall so we shall see what tomorrow brings.

Zürich to St Margrethen, Switzerland: Cycling Day 2

It was another jet lag morning. 🤪 The kids and Ty were up at 3am. I wasn’t feeling good so I fought for more sleep till 6. Ty had us mostly packed up and ready to go when I finally got up. We had a grocery store breakfast in the room and left for the train station about 7:30.

The plan was to avoid the big hills at the start of the trail by taking the bikes on the train and starting in the city of Sargans. After buying tickets for a train that didn’t allow bikes we quickly got on the right train and settled in for an hour ride around Lake Zürich.

The Swiss think of everything related to cycling! It’s made things so nice.

The weather was predicted to rain on us and it was a bit cold to start getting off the train. But we rode by cows with bells, beautiful fields, and along Flat wonderful trails next to the river. It was beautiful and it started to warm up! These big snails came out all over the path.

We crossed over into Liechtenstein and stopped for brunch in Vaduz. It was a beautiful little town and was jam packed with tourists.

Yep pretty much every place is just this beautiful.

We plugged right along for a while. R took a nap in the chariot and then we stopped for a playground break.

We switched the kiddos out so L could get a chariot nap. Still a few more hours of riding to our campsite but at least the weather was now warm and sunny.

We crossed back over the river into Switzerland.

I was really starting to drag at this point. We had a bit of a headwind and spin class doesn’t quite prepare you for riding hours at a time. 😁 Ty patiently slowed down and let me draft off him. Since having the chariot, and all the camping equipment didn’t slow him down at all.

We made it to our campsite by 2:30ish and the weather was incredible. We were the only campers at this RV site. It was wonderful. The kids were all about the pool even though it was freezing.

They even convinced Ty to try out the high dive into the lake.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/img_4241.mov

We stayed out in the water until the dark clouds rolled in. Dinner was an interesting experience at the campsite restaurant and then we snuggled into our tent in the rain.

Captain Cook to Hilo: Bike Adventure Day 7

We had a decent night sleep but since most of the windows didn’t have blinds we woke up with the sun. Thankfully the host agreed to help us get back up the hill. Otherwise it would have taken us a few hours and multiple trips to walk all our stuff up.

The kids and I, the chariot, trail-a-bike, and bags were one trip. The host tried to ratchet strap our bikes onto the back of his Jeep but Ty put a halt to that idea.

It was 9am and so hot while we waited for Ty and the bikes at the top of the hill.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/img_3428.mov

The first part of the road was still super narrow shoulders and cars going way too fast. Again we had someone yell at us to, get our kids off the road. Which ok, they may be concerned about our safety but yelling at us as we’re riding on a dangerous road doesn’t exactly help the situation. It really just freaked R out. So we had a great discussion about not letting other people affect our emotions.

We did about 1,000 feet of climbing but knowing it was our last day made it easier.

Then we get to the biggest downhill ever! I swear Hawaii was all uphill or all downhill. Makes sense being Volcano country and all.

My hands were actually sore by the end of these downhills.

We rode through the coast of Kona into the tourist district and got yelled at one more time just before we saw the hotel. 🤷🏻‍♀️

I will say today though, we had quite a few people actually cheering us on as well. That was really nice.

WE DID IT!!! Give or take 240 miles and around the entire big island of Hawaii!!

Ty was a trooper and started breaking the bikes down while the kids and I schlepped suitcases and bike boxes around the hotel. It took a few hours of work before we could enjoy the pool but it was so nice when we finally did!

Followed by a little predinner craziness.

It was a fun adventure but gosh it feels so good to be done!

Naahelu to Captain Cook, HI: Bike Adventure Day 6

Well today was not my favorite. It started off nicely. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was so beautiful and peaceful. The kids loved playing ping pong and air hockey. The host showed us some home footage of the volcano eruption last year.

Then we took off about 10am and it immediately sucked. As we were leaving the driveway a car zooms past and starts honking at Ty and flips him the bird. Following that, we rode uphill for an hour straight.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/img_3410.mov

At several points one or both the kids were walking. It just alleviated so much weight to get the kid off the bikes.

After we finally get off the hill, we get to the road with virtually no shoulder.

It was just scary and I spent the next few hours just focused on that white line.

Lunch break! We then rode across the street to pick up pizza for dinner. R had to carry it on her lap for the next 20 miles since there were no restaurants close to where we were staying.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/img_3417.mov

The other thing that freaked me out about this road was that there were a ton of memorials on the side of the road. I had really only seen one or two before this. We passed at least 5 or 6 just in a few hour bike ride!

We were finally starting to get close to the house when L’s shoelace wrapped around the peddle. Then about ten minutes later the peddle fell off! As I was going back to get it, a truck passed and yelled at us to watch out for the cars. I get it, it’s not a safe road but what were we supposed to do?!

After I fixed his peddle it started to rain on us. Poor L just kept telling me he was cold and there was nothing I could do but keep riding.

We finally make it to the road the house is on and we have to stop and wait there. This road is so steep, the home owners claim its the steepest in Hawaii. Ty thankfully knew about this ahead of time and had arranged for the homeowner to pick us up. Or at least our kids and our gear.

Ty also spies this dead gem.

The owner can’t fit our bikes in his car with everything else so we attempt to ride our bikes down the hill. Forgetting that my bike seat was attached to the trail-a-bike. We started off and it seemed doable.

But after the first little bit I’m breaking and my tires just start sliding. I have no control over my bike and the road is wet! Freaked me out so I hop off and start walking my bike down. Ty’s not having any issues so on a straight away I hop back on and try again. Well I completely lose control of my bike. It’s sliding all over because even with front and back breaks the weight of it is just pulling it down the hill. I’m all out screaming in terror. Thankfully I manage to slow my bike down enough to stop. That’s it though I just walk it down the hill the rest of the mile to the house. Even my shoes felt slippery and the bike kept wanting to slide away from me. It was crazy!

That was after my first slide. No way was I going to smile!

The house was comfortable. However, both kids managed to slam their faces into the sliding glass door. 🤦🏻‍♀️ R’s got a shiner and L has a goose egg on his forehead.

It was just not our day!

Volcano to Naahelu, HI: Bike Adventure Day 5

We decided to have a lazy morning in our rental house. It was really nice to wake up at 6:30 🙄 and not rush out the door. We finally left around 11 and of course it was drizzling. R woke up still sounding awful so we knew she was just going to hang in the chariot all day. But with the rain we decided to stuff L in there too. But Ty didn’t mind since the morning was going to be mostly downhill.

This is as close to the park as we got.

Check out these birds nests!!

Our highest elevation sign and I almost missed it since it was so hidden.

From here we just started our long fun decent.

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/img_3387.mov

You’d think riding with a heavy trailer and packs would be heavy but really when you take away the 45 pound kid everything seems so much easier!

We made it to the black sand beach and let the kids play for a bit.

We left about 2:30 and I again had L behind me since Ty saw we had some more elevation to climb before we got to our place for the night. I look up the road and see it just go straight up this hillside.

It was another brutal climb. The shoulder was narrow and cars were going fast. I was just about to stop when L gave me his booster and pushed me up over the last big rise. That hill was a killer!

We made it up that giant hill but it had wiped me out for all the small rollers that followed it. I finally had to kick L off the bike and made him run up to the top of the hill where I’d pick him up. Thank goodness he’s a team player!

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/img_3395.mov

You can kind of see him walking behind the chariot here. Proud to say I didn’t end up walking the bike. It was easier to ride without his weight added to it.

R started to feel nauseous and L needed a pit stop. This is real life adventures with kids.

She walked briefly while she wasn’t feeling good.

We finally made it to our dinner spot. We grabbed Mexican to go.

I also found this itty bitty praying mantis on my bike.

L being a goof.

He thought this tiny seat was hilarious!

It was only three more miles and 300 ft gain to the house. So off we slogged. It was hot, and sunny, with again minimal shoulder. But we made it and this place is on a macadamia nut farm. It’s beautiful!

So much for our easy day! That’s a lot of climbing still.

Trying to entice the cats around here to play. Dinner was great and it’ll be another early night for all of us.