Yeah, I’ll admit it. After living on our boat in the Netherlands for over a month now, the things I miss about the Bay Area are:

  1. My friends (though we are still in touch all the time)
  2. Street tacos and margarita-flavored margaritas
  3. My car

Having said that, I know that if we stayed in Grou (which is kind of like a small version of Point Richmond without the street tacos), we’d have a solid community within a few months. We’ve gotten good at meeting new people and making an effort at remembering people’s names. We’re reading Dutch non-street taco menus, and we’ve become pro at shopping at the Jumbo supermarkt (we even do the self-scanning line without putting it into English mode).

Also, we’re going to Leeuwarden tomorrow (by train), and I think lunch is going to be here.

Anyway, the last we left off, we were in Dark Pants…

We were sitting on the side of the canal in Donkerbroek. Did I mention that that translates into “dark pants”? We were there for 36 too many hours, and while the few people we met were nice, we were in the depths of Friesland where not only there are no possibilities of Dutch street tacos, there are just no people who speak Dutch (Frisian is like Old English… like Beowulf kind of stuff). We were as far into the depths of Friesland as some of the little towns between Stockton and Angels Camp – towns you may have blown through in a car but wouldn’t recognize the name of if someone asked if you’d been there.

The day we left Donkerbroek, David woke up and said, “we need to leave here. We need to go forward and go somewhere else.” We’d been sitting put because it was pouring outside, but we do drive inside anyway, so that isn’t an issue. We left. We didn’t know where we were going. 50km backward, 50km forward, we just had to keep going. By the time we got to a place where it seemed would be comfortable to sit for the evening, we were within an hour of Grou, so we went back to Grou.

A very deep lock… we went down 2m

Driving 50km in a boat that goes 8km makes for a long day. Also, remember we went up 4m through many locks, so we had to come back down the hill the other way. We went through 4 more locks and no less than 12 bridges. The locks on the southern route back are much deeper so they take longer. Again, we heard from 2 different lock keepers, “you are the first Americans I’ve ever seen come through here.”

Do they say that to all Americans?

Oh look, another windmill.

Getting to Know You

Staying in Grou has allowed us to spend time really getting familiar with Compagnon. We’ve cleared off some trash, removed some of the ghost wires (that happens when the boat is from 1975), and moved stuff around so we are happy with the storage. We’ve been able to use our new used bikes to go to the American Diner at the train station and shared a cheeseburger and listened to 80s music. I’m really loving riding my bike… I don’t even have a bike in Point Richmond, but it feels so fun to do it here… and during the week mid-day, we can take our bikes on the trains. And, just about everywhere here plays 80s music, which is great because it’s our “golden oldies.”

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

Yesterday, while cleaning out the 2nd step down into the galley where I was keeping bags and foil, one of us inadvertently flipped a lever that had been horizontal to vertical. Neither of us thought much of it. A couple of hours later, I realized the refrigerator wasn’t working. We thought the fridge had died (it was new in 2012), so figured, “oh great, one more thing we need to replace.” This morning David wakes up and says, “I might know what happened with the fridge, give me a minute.” He reaches into the step and flips the lever back to horizontal, and the fridge comes back on.

On Wednesday, Vince and Debbie arrive, and we have an exciting possible loop laid out while they are here. All in all, I’m glad we did the Turf Route, because we now have a lot more understanding of how this boat moves and how to manage locks and bridges. And someday, we’ll do the Big Turf Route (170km). But, not this year.