| (by Henk Oskam) - The weeks of preparation, hours of organising, phone calls and the search for a proper location resulted in the celebration of the first lustrum of the Transalp Club Netherlands on thursday May 16, 1996.
A lot of people contributed to organising one of the biggest events of 1996. The complete tour commitee spend many hours while preparing the special tour for this weekend, assisted by the chairman Peter and our 'first lady' Anne-Mieke Kempen. The skill tests were thought up and put to paper by Ben & Ben. They were set up by Patricia and myself. Peter van Putten helped everyone and especially organized all the food. Both the barbeque (least difficult) and the Surinam meal (unique !) came from Peter and the organization of especially the later was great.
A test-dinner resulted in an all-thumbs-up for Peter as long as the real one was going to be a little less spicey. On wednesday May 15 I took a day of and after a stop & coffee with Rob of Ralley Sport & Adventure in Dieren (I bought a pair of summer gloves) I left for the camping near Utrecht cause I had promised to help Peter van Putten to put up the big army-tent. With a lot of blood, sweat and tears the ten was out on the camping ground. Reinforcements came when Mike Hobo from Haarlem and Randal Scobie from Amsterdam arrived around 1900 hrs. We started out trying to get the tent up, which according to the old and yellow manual on the inside should not be much of a problem. And right it was: a lot of hands keep a tent upright.
The next day around 10.00am back to the camping to meet the first participants. People came from everywhere and around 15.00 hrs I counted roughly 35 heads. The next day the other 40 would arrive. Tents were put up but not for us, because we live about 10min away we decided to sleep at home. And we were joined by Ben, his wife and their baby daughter. Saying that "it was much to cold at night for the little one" they stayed with us. Wich makes me think that children dó come in handy. And Ben told us that transportation is no problem at all.
Friday morning meant an early rise to go to the camping for breakfast. From 11.30am on the participants started for the skill-contest. Some of them had a tough time from the beginning. Slalom between the road markers and a short turn between three road markers. I managed pretty good but only forgot a huge lamp post. Every missed road marker added five penalty seconds and so did one foot on the ground.
To Bodegraven for the second skill-test. Driving at walking pace, trying to go as slow as possibel and take as much time as possibel for completing a set route. The longer it took the more points you got. We witnessed a motor cycle accident and Ben and Sandra could practise their first aid lessons. We have had three lessons sofar but looking at this I prefer the practise dummy. Luckili it was not one of the TCN members so after the ambulance left , we did the same.
From Bodegraven to Utrecht for the third skill test. The exercise was not that difficult it seemed. Pick up a tennis ball from one road marker and put it on the next. Drive back quickly and repeat this another three times. The jury was again very strict. Drop the ball - five penalty seconds. Same for putting your feet on the ground. Observations ranged from "shall I show you how its done" to "can I do that ?" were heard all around. For some it was easy while others it felt like passing their driving-test again.
Back on the camping, the Surinam meal was served at 19.00 hrs. After finishing it the results of the skill competition were announced. Good results and a big mouth don't always go together. The normally modest Joscha Remeijn had beaten everyone else and was declared the overall winner. Between 21.00 and 23.00 hrs we played 'piramid bowling' in the bowling centre. Everyone had great fun and enjoyed him/herself immensely. Later we sat and danl and alked about the day that lay behind us. I left around 24.00 hrs, went home, took a shower and went straight to my (water)bed.
The next morning, fully dressed to the camping for breakfast and at 10.00 hrs the start of the Lustrum Tour. The group was split up in small groups of 5 or 6 Transalps, to minimize annoyance and delay. The tour was very well organised and except for some rain neared perfection. For me it was the first long drive with my new Corbin seat and it really did what it promised. Much better than the Transalps original. At 20.00 hrs was the start of the barbeque, so because we were late we skipped the last 30km of the tour and drove straight back to the camping. That turned out to be 20km so not much gain there.
Luckily we were still in time for the BBQ and like much of the weekend we were lucky again because the sky cleared and the sun accompanied us while enjoying a meal of "burned dead animals" in open-air. A meal like this in a group like this asks for a speech and some drinks helped with that.
On sunday morning the big army tent was taken down and the grounds were cleaned. After Peter Kempen and Peter van Putten had payed the camping owner we went home with the experience of a great weekend camping.
Already looking forward to the second lustrum in 2001 !!