The Road more or less already Traveled...

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Bacchus, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Channel crossing booked for tomorrow, I opted for the tunnel based on

    a) The exciting prospect of returning home with more crew than I leave with
    b) Price.

    b)is the biggy if I am honest, and time is not so much of an issue for me as I am not working at the moment; actually that's not strictly true, I am two thirds of my way through my first novel, which is much harder work than I thought it would be, and am aiming to finish it in the South of France so - the cruise plan is that I leave tomorrow, work my way at a leisurely pace down to meet Lady Bacchus in Toulouse next Tuesday, we will cruise around the South for a couple of weeks hoping to stay in some of the midi-towns, maybe a boat trip on the canal, the Pyrenees, and some of the towns on the Mediterranean coast, possibly treating ourselves to some posh hotels there.

    Lady B will fly back a couple of weeks later, and I will determine how much fun I am having and how much work I am getting done and make my plans from then.

    The first big change of plan is that I am supposed to be in Yorkshire right now dropping the moggy off with my ageing mum - great fun, I never know which is the Littlest old Lady, the mother or the mog, however number one son asked if he could stay in my house with a couple of his uni mates(!) for a few days whilst I am away, so a little bit of negotiation and we now have a house/cat sitter and are excused an 800 mile round trip. This of course gives me an unexpected two free days, so I have unpacked and repacked the van, and am now itching to do more fettling. Also dithering as to whether to start packing extra stuff; I'd already decided not to take a gennie as I have fitted an inverter for female hair things, but should I take it anyway? What would happen if I run out of electricity? Should I take a load of DVDs? Should I go and buy loads of food (even though I am going to FRANCE ffs), should I take a bucket for crying out loud!!!!! Why would I want a bucket? Too much time, too much time!

    I will try and post a few ramblings on this forum, partly in the hope that some people may enjoy reading a bit of travel dialogue, but, if I am honest with myself, more because I am a compulsive writer and I hope to enjoy writing it :p

    The title is obviously an adaptation of M Scott Peck's "The road less traveled", not because I think this will be a voyage of introspection and self-discovery, but because squillions of people drive down to South of France...


    (PS, not sure whether this is the best bit of the forum for this kind of post, but couldn't see a "travelogue/blog" section... hint... hint...)
     
    • Like Like x 7
  2. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,573
    Likes Received:
    11,552
    Location:
    Plympton, Devon
    You can just start a blog in the blog section and once opened it doesn't close after an hour and you can continue editing it. Comments will appear together at the end.

    However, I prefer to do it as a series of posts as it is then more obvious to folk when you add something new and the comments and suggestions will be in the right place near the posts they refer to.

    I will be starting "Two go to France" next week in the French touring section.:)
     
    • Like Like x 5
  3. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Yay - "F-Day" has arrived! Il pleut, il fait du vent, je vais! MoHo packed to the gunnels for around a month for two people:-

    [​IMG]


    What do you mean you can't see anything, of course you can't, that's how well packed it is!
    Actually, you can just about make out the salt, pepper and paprika in the spice rack, and the washing up liquid. I hope they're secure.

    On packing - I should be grateful if anyone can tell me why Hymer see fit to put a rack for spices which struggles after four items, and yet space for NINE wine glasses! Are most Hymerites so sophisticated that they have to have the right glass for each wine??????

    Uh oh, 13km on the trip meter - unlucky for some I'd better zero that. Agh, also, I don't want to take my car keys - I have to go back to the house and leave them. Lady B reckons this is bad luck too, but hopefully not if you leave something, surely it's only bad luck if you go back to get something...! Any way it isn't a Friday. Or the 13th... it's the 26th! double bad luck?? No, can't work in multiples. And no women on board, and no bananas; all set. Off we go...

    ---------------------------------------------------

    I have just arrived at Folkstone for the tunnel terminal; two hours of solid rain, but a very easy journey, there was a MASSIVE tailback on the M25, but it was on the other lane so clearly going back to leave something isn't bad luck! Still the "self check in" would only let me use the booked train, so a bit of a wait here. Never mind, I have no set destination. Today's destination is where I end up, trying to adjust to this way of travelling, it is so much more relaxed, but ask me why I overtook lorries on the the M20 for the dubious pleasure of spending a couple of extra hours in the ferry terminal. The man is clearly a fool.

    Hoping that the three data works across the pond as promised, otherwise this will be a very short travelogue!

    A Bientot!
     
    • Like Like x 10
  4. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines

    I have discovered two things today (well more than two, but two which seem pertinent. Firstly my old van seems to run better on French diesel, which is odd, but definitely less clattery after filling it up near Rouen, and secondly that three mobile won't work via a blackberry hotspot whilst "feeling at home". It's still a very good deal, just that it may limit my contributions to this monologue. The blackberry keyboard is great, but not for writing a blog! Hey ho, I shall try and write it up and publish it when I get close to a McDonald's or Starbucks (spits, apologises) with their free-fi. ‎

    Oh, and maybe a third thing, my fridge which has been working fine in testing seems not to want to run on 12v now, so there is a very real danger of warm beer (aaagggghhhh!!!!), and if anyone comes banging on my door begging for a cup of tea and I ask "one lump or two", I may be referring to the milk not the sugar.

    Oh, four things. The washing up liquid did fall over but didn't spill; still a lesson, pack carefully (y)

    ‎Anyhoo - travel news; I have moored the van at a terrific Aire, right in the middle of Le Mans, next to a river and a small marina, two of my favourite things and a home from home for me. ‎It has grey water disposal, a doggie-poo pit, space for about ten MoHos, and is free for 72 hours! (if only it had WiFi, come on Hollande!). First time back in France for about three years, and I'd forgotten how great these Aires can be, I suppose the logic is that MoHoers will bring money and sample the local produce, wake up UK, there must be something in that; on my very first night I have just wandered down to Carrefour and bought a tube of pringles...

     
    • Like Like x 9
  5. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,573
    Likes Received:
    11,552
    Location:
    Plympton, Devon
    I think your MH running better on French fuel is a perfect example of the placebo effect. :)

    Not sure why your mobile isn't playing properly on Three but I suspect it may be a BlackBerry thing. I use a tablet for writing and recently found a stylus is brilliant for typing using the on screen keyboard. The tablet links to the world via a mifi with the 3 sim.
     
  6. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,039
    Likes Received:
    4,106
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    Sounds like you are having a good time. With regard to the Aires, the French don't think like us, in that there must be a profit in everything. A lot of towns provide free Aires because, they want to keep motorhomes together instead of parked all over the place, and they like visitors because they are proud of their town/ village / city.
    If only the UK thought like that..........
     
    • Like Like x 8
  7. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    - well it MAY have had something to do with a much needed scoobie-snack :whistle:

    In all seriousness though, it really really did seem smoother. It's not too bad anyway, but I was trying hard to be objective...

    Hmm. Well it was working fine in Blighty (c20 mps on 4g, 5-8 on 3g), but just timed out over here. Three did say it wasn't do-able, but googling around there was plenty of (perhaps apocryphal) evidence to suggest that it was. I'll try again in the a.m
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Havin' a ball!

    The French do some things SO much better.

    I realised what an embarrassment our roads are earlier this year when I drove around Romania(!), but coming back here reinforces it. The roads in the U.K are a disgrace!
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Taran_Las

    Taran_Las Funster

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Messages:
    6,480
    Likes Received:
    5,523
    Location:
    Near Mold North Wales
    Don't forget to view the medieval quarter of Le Mans town. If walking, it's 10 mins away from the aire.
     
  10. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines

    Hi Taran_las, is that up near the cathedral? Went wandering up that way last evening via a very spacey feeling tram-only road. Very beautiful!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Well these are ramblings, I mean observations, that I have typed up on the laptop with the hope of uploading, so may end up being verbose, meandering, and irrelevant. Anyone who has read thus far is unlikely to notice this...
    I am just about to leave Le Mans, been looking at the map- very old fashioned me, I always look at the map before putting the route into the sat-nav, and I have fallen in love! Not with Le Mans, it is stunning in some parts, the cathedral is awesome, and I could have fallen in love if only it had stopped raining for five minutes (fast faller, me), nor with a handy belle femme (honest Lady B), but with an Esterel. Not a make I was familiar with, but I was looking to "upgrade" the old Hymer earlier this year, principally to get an Auto so that Lady B could drive (she is lethal with a "stick shift", for some reason she has to look at it whilst screaming "which gear? which gear?" as the van teeters toward the edge of some Alpine abyss... (actually we have only tried this in a Vauxhall Corsa in Staines, but you get the idea). Anyway, love the Hymer quality, lines, and layout, but found that "the next step up" Hymers in the £15-20k bracket on the market seemed a bit tired, and at the risk of offending all the owners of such vehicles, seemed to be built more to a price than my ancient 544. Ramble, ramble, wibble; anyway, I'm moored next to an Esterel 30 sporting a Mercedes badge meaning that auto is feasible, and I love the lines and overall appearance, to cap it all there was a beautiful... young... cat sitting on the dashboard first thing and I have often wondered about travelling with Bach-cat (who is old and fat), but this shows it's possible. One for further investigation post voyage, in the meantime I should be offering up sacrifices to the Hymer God to keep the old 544 going like the proverbial train.
    Route planned, heading down towards Tours and then on to La Rochelle. I shall probably end up somewhere completly random, but that's part of the fun.
    a bientot!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Well these are ramblings, I mean observations, that I have typed up on the laptop with the hope of uploading, so may end up being verbose, meandering, and irrelevant. Anyone who has read thus far is unlikely to notice this...
    I am just about to leave Le Mans, been looking at the map- very old fashioned me, I always look at the map before putting the route into the sat-nav, and I have fallen in love! Not with Le Mans, it is stunning in some parts, the cathedral is awesome, and I could have fallen in love if only it had stopped raining for five minutes (fast faller, me), nor with a handy belle femme (honest Lady B), but with an Esterel. Not a make I was familiar with, but I was looking to "upgrade" the old Hymer earlier this year, principally to get an Auto so that Lady B could drive (she is lethal with a "stick shift", for some reason she has to look at it whilst screaming "which gear? which gear?" as the van teeters toward the edge of some Alpine abyss... (actually we have only tried this in a Vauxhall Corsa in Staines, but you get the idea). Anyway, love the Hymer quality, lines, and layout, but found that "the next step up" Hymers in the £15-20k bracket on the market seemed a bit tired, and at the risk of offending all the owners of such vehicles, seemed to be built more to a price than my ancient 544. Ramble, ramble, wibble; anyway, I'm moored next to an Esterel 30 sporting a Mercedes badge meaning that auto is feasible, and I love the lines and overall appearance, to cap it all there was a beautiful... young... cat sitting on the dashboard first thing and I have often wondered about travelling with Bach-cat (who is old and fat), but this shows it's possible. One for further investigation post voyage, in the meantime I should be offering up sacrifices to the Hymer God to keep the old 544 going like the proverbial train.
    Route planned, heading down towards Tours and then on to La Rochelle. I shall probably end up somewhere completly random, but that's part of the fun.
    a bientot!
     
    • Like Like x 5
  13. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Thursday 27th sept

    What a lovely day's driving. I'm trying to work out what the best bit of motorhoming is - the motoring or the homing. I think they're both great which is I suppose what makes it so addictive. Spent half of the day meandering along little "d" roads which were barely more than single tracks in places, amazing wildlife, swifts, many hunting birds (not sure what they are, they looked a bit big for buzzards but certainly plentiful), roe deer, hares (or bunnies), both alive in fields and sadly spatch-cocked on the tarmac, then hit an A road down to Limoge, A20 I think. I couldn't find an Aire in Limoge so I headed about twenty miles South using gps co-ordinates from AireCamping.com for aire “Violette Memmi”. When I found the spot identified it is just a grey water emptying pit with a fresh water tap next to some bins and dumped agricultural machinery. Not very salubrious. I switched off the engine, looked on the phone to see whether I could find another aire nearby, and found no signal. It took about ten seconds to decide to give up on this place (having been driving around nearly all day), turned round and drove out, then I saw about half a dozen camping cars moored next to a small lake… so drove another hundred yards and dropped anchor.
    One thing it made me think though, is how we take the technology at our fingertips for granted. The satnav, the gps, the laptop. If Hitler had had half of it he would have gone straight to Russia and not accidentally invaded Poland… In all seriousness, the human brain must have an incredible “wow” filter to stop us sitting around all day just gawping with amazement at what is available. Even just the motorhome; our parent’s generation had to make do with caravans…
    Mind you one piece of technology which is still giving me aggravation is the humble 12v fridge. It came on for about two hours this morning then went off, I don’t think that it’s that effective anyway in 12v mode, and two hours certainly isn’t going to chill any beers. It has a switch somewhere which only allows it to come on when the engine is running, presumably to avoid flattening the battery (although I assume it only runs off the leisure battery). Anyway, I think I have outwitted it (never let it be said that I can’t outwit a fridge) and taken the shore power (EHU lead to motorhomers) from the inverter to the socket on the outside, and am running the fridge on 240v. Not the most efficient set up, but better a flat battery than a warm beer!
    A bientot
     
    • Like Like x 4
  14. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Thursday 27th sept

    What a lovely day's driving. I'm trying to work out what the best bit of motorhoming is - the motoring or the homing. I think they're both great which is I suppose what makes it so addictive. Spent half of the day meandering along little "d" roads which were barely more than single tracks in places, amazing wildlife, swifts, many hunting birds (not sure what they are, they looked a bit big for buzzards but certainly plentiful), roe deer, hares (or bunnies), both alive in fields and sadly spatch-cocked on the tarmac, then hit an A road down to Limoge, A20 I think - somewhere fairly random as predicted... I couldn't find an Aire in Limoge so I headed about twenty miles South using gps co-ordinates from AireCamping.com for aire “Violette Memmi”. When I found the spot identified it is just a grey water emptying pit with a fresh water tap next to some bins and dumped agricultural machinery. Not very salubrious. I switched off the engine, looked on the phone to see whether I could find another aire nearby, and found no signal. It took about ten seconds to decide to give up on this place (having been driving around nearly all day), turned round and drove out, then I saw about half a dozen camping cars moored next to a small lake… so drove another hundred yards and dropped anchor.
    One thing it made me think though, is how we take the technology at our fingertips for granted. The satnav, the gps, the laptop. If Hitler had had half of it he would have gone straight to Russia and not accidentally invaded Poland… In all seriousness, the human brain must have an incredible “wow” filter to stop us sitting around all day just gawping with amazement at what is available. Even just the motorhome; our parent’s generation had to make do with caravans…
    Mind you one piece of technology which is still giving me aggravation is the humble 12v fridge. It came on for about two hours this morning then went off, I don’t think that it’s that effective anyway in 12v mode, and two hours certainly isn’t going to chill any beers. It has a switch somewhere which only allows it to come on when the engine is running, presumably to avoid flattening the battery (although I assume it only runs off the leisure battery). Anyway, I think I have outwitted it (never let it be said that I can’t outwit a fridge) and taken the shore power (EHU lead to motorhomers) from the inverter to the socket on the outside, and am running the fridge on 240v. Not the most efficient set up, but better a flat battery than a warm beer!
    A bientot
     
    • Like Like x 3
  15. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Well today was an interesting one. I left the beautiful little lake and headed South West towards Agen… at least that was the plan. I somehow ended up back on the A20 heading towards Toulouse. Now I do have to be in Toulouse to meet Lady B, but that is not until next Tuesday, and today is only Friday. Never pays to keep a lady waiting, but three days early is erring too far on the side of caution! Anyway the road was quiet and toll free so I set the cruise control (which doubles as my right foot) to a comfortable 55mph and burbled down the motorway for a few miles wondering where to stop and cook the Sossies I bought yesterday.
    Still having fridge issues; I have started a thread in another part of the forum about it, the 12v seems to come on in the morning and stay on for about an hour then switch itself off. Weird. Restarting the engine (it only works when the engine is running) makes absolutely no difference. I’d blame it on petulant French engineering but it’s German… or is it Italian? Electrolux? Anyway, running it off the inverter for an hour in the evening chills the beers, I can put up with runny butter, sweaty cheese, and fetid meat as long as I have a nice cold beer to wash it down with.
    Another issue; –<<warning rant alert>>– one of my other vices is boating, sailing on a good friend’s yacht or footling up and down the Thames on my little river boat, whichever, but one thing that the boats seem to have in common is a calorifier – a small domestic water tank with a coil running through it; the coil is heated with the water that has been used to cool the engine; very efficient! On my boat the water is piping hot after only about twenty minutes, yet I have never seen this on a MoHo. I have a spare one in my garage, perhaps I should be trying to rectify this!
    I digress, the “interesting” bit was pulling in to a petrol station and having my first ever bump on foreign soil, and the first at all in over thirty years. The pump I stopped at was out of order, I waited for a couple of minutes to see whether it was a French joke, then started reversing VERY VERY slowly out, heard a bit of a crunch and stopped (then heard the blast of a horn). Someone in an Audi had tried to squeeze past on my offside and I had caught his driver’s door. I don’t feel guilty, I’m a very careful driver, I check all the mirrors and the rear window and go very slowly – you do when reversing a house, right? The man claimed that he was waiting at a pump – he wasn’t, also that he was reversing too because the pump he was at was out of order too; I took photos of the position of the vehicles which seem to back me up, but I was reversing so I guess that I am guilty. Anyway, swapped details, and left, strangely he neglected to buy any fuel, I would have thought that he would if he’d been waiting at a pump…?
    Quite put me off stopping for sausages, and helped me completely to lose my sense of direction so I have ended up in Grisolles, a sleepy little town with a huge Aire – there are over a dozen MoHos here at the moment and room for three dozen more at a push! It is only about twenty paces from the Canal du Midi, so I have fulfilled a long held ambition and gone for a very long stroll alongside this canal, the weather has turned to what I expected (damn that fridge), it is over thirty degrees with a hazy blue sky and strong sunshine. All’s well that ends well, beers cooling, sossies waiting, canal on the doorstep – c’est parfait! A bientot!
     
    • Like Like x 4
  16. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,860
    Likes Received:
    22,450
    Location:
    Moving around
    :( I am just soooooooooooooooo jealous... Going for a coffee now to rid myself of this green eyed yellow monster inside.... :(

    Keep us informed.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Ooh, I think i've found a way to attach pics from the Blackberry... I hope this doesn't poke the green eyed monster with a stick @movan...

    Here goes

    IMG_20150828_170419.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 9
  18. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,860
    Likes Received:
    22,450
    Location:
    Moving around
    ..... love the photo ............. but yes it did!!! :)
     
  19. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    Sorry...

    How about the road less travelled or the aire in Le Mans (at least it rained there):-


    IMG_20150827_154229.jpg IMG_20150826_203740.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 3
  20. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    4,275
    Location:
    Staines
    And now I can do pictures, this is the car that was "waiting at the pump". Body language says "non" to me...

    IMG_20150828_105734.jpg
     
Loading...

Share This Page