Annually, the Flevokids foundation for (mentally) handicapped children in the Dutch provence of Flevoland, organizes a 4x4 tour through the provence. Approximately 120 4x4 cars participate in giving a handicapped child an eventful ride. This year I also volunteered, and joined in with lots of sponsors, volunteers and other people in doing a festive day.
I arrived early in the Saturday morning in Biddinghuizen, just half an hour away from home. There blond little Romana, and her mum Stephana, were assigned to my car, together with Nina and her helper from the institution, Anoushka, who very coincidentally is a personal friend of Stephana's. The other day during a birthday celebration of a mutual friend, they learned that they were both participating, and in car 122. On the event field, our group picture was take by an official police photographer.
The first part of the day was a 60 km drive, from Biddinghuizen to Swifterbant, Dronten and back to the beach of the Veluwemeer, a sweet water lake between the polder dikes of Flevoland and the other side. All this touring was excellently accompanied by the police with a big turn-out, and the Flevoland Motor Club, who blocked all sideroads, so that the caravan of five km could drive on undisturbed. Although for a veteran 4x4 driver as my self (humhumhum :-), this asphalt drive in itself was uneventful, the various intermezzos of Clown Hoppy and joker/clown Dick Camu, made it joyful nevertheless. The pleasure that the children had in the ride was the actual reward. And in the last part there was perhaps one km of unsurfaced road!
Then we arrived at the 4x4 terrain. It was by municipal authority limited to approximately 300 m beach, but with good efforts of volunteers with big digging machinery, this was turned into a nice off-road course, with some funny humps, where the steep rise and coming down again made the girls go 'ooooh'. Noticable also was a very playful 'log bridge' consisting of a stretch with some uneven logs across. Driving this bit in 1-low on tick-over maked the back passengers really go bumping up and down, with lot of laughter. The last part of the course was a 30 m water feature, where you drive in a dry ditch up to the water front, then dive in to get the tyres wet (not deep) alongside the beach, but with a very nice extra dip in the middle get a little wave of muddy water on the hood.
As lunch time had already passed quite a while, we stopped and picked up lunch bags from the catering, and paused a bit. As the kids did like the action, we went back to the 4x4 course a second time and a third time. Considering there where over hundred cars for a relatively short course, we encountered lots of delays due to other(!) cars getting stuck before us. At about four o'clock, all cars regrouped, and followed the police escort back to the starting ground of the event, where I said goodbye to the girls.
Text, and editing Copyright © 2002 Wim van Dorst
Pictures Copyright © 2002 Flevoland Police, and others