Day 1 Part 2. Flensburg to Højer.
We skirted Padborg and headed out towards our next destination of Rens. On the way up a hill I noticed an ominous wobble in Damae's back wheel and quickly realised that she had broken a spoke in Flensburg. We turned back to town and on the way bumped into a Swedish couple out early, who cycled with us back to the town centre and the bike shop.
We waited until the shop opened at ten and the spoke was quickly replaced. I got the wheel almost entirely straight, and then in trying to get it perfect did something wrong, and couldn't rectify the problem. I then gave up and we had to wait an hour and a half before the cycle repair lady had the time to fix my hamfistedness. However the damage had been done to the wheel by the ride from Flensburg to Padborg which would prove to be fatal for it.
Due to a lack of sleep we were both disappointed and wearied by the setback. It was clear we were not going to get to anywhere near Ribe that day, as after an early lunch we left Padborg for the second time at around midday. However it was a good feeling to be moving again and we thought (incorrectly as it turned out) that this would be the last of our bike problems.
The weather cleared up as we headed west, and the sun came out. The cycling even with a light headwind was easy enough and we made good progress through farm and woodland to Rens. We stopped a couple of times in the baking sun to snack and fill our water bags from reserves. Even though by half past twelve we were only thirteen kilometres past Padborg our spirits were restored and we felt that the holiday had begun properly.
We lunched a little later after passing Rens. The spot we chose was lovely but could have been anywhere in the Netherlands. The polder and canal landscape was so similar it was almost as if we hadn't left home.
Tønder we passed through quickly and due to the lost time earlier in the day we decided not to do the small loop down to Rudbøl but to head west across to Højer. I think we took the quieter route to the south of the the main 419 road. Thus it wasn't until we hit Højer that we found our first official North Sea Cycle Route sign. We celebrated with a photo and a small cheer. Coming out of Højer there was a short section of off road that Damae marked as 'rough loose' on the map. This was a sign of the quality of off road surfaces we were to encounter in the next week.We decided to not try to get too far that day, so rather than trying to push on to the first of the longer off road sections we stopped in the middle of Emmerlev and looked at our options. Luckily there was a campsite very close by and we cycled up the long drawn out village centre, past the windmill and farmyards. A half kilometer later we found a large commercial camping at Emmerlev Klev and rolled off the tarmac onto the campsite track.
We entered the reception in glorious sunshine, and Damae as usual sorted things out. We discovered that in Denmark (unlike Norway) the 'Scandinavian Camping Card' was compulsory so we bought one there. We carted the piece of paper round the whole trip and found the plastic credit card sized camping card in the pile of mail when we returned home.