Month 5 - July 2010 (part 1)
2nd July Today we drove from [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Quiberon (Kerval)[/FONT] to Vannes (Camping de Conleau) The Aire here is at the entrance of the Municipal Campsite N47 38'036 W 2 46'48,67 but as we were in need of using the Laundrette we decided to stay on the camping site instead. The weather has changed from brilliant sunshine to drizzle but as we drove towards Vannes it cleared up but didn't get sunny until near sunset.
6th July drove 35k from Vannes to Arzon on the mouth of the Gulfe du Mobihan. This Aire N 47 32.365 W 002 52.841 was quite confusing for us to use as it has a ticket machine at the entrance that requires you to book in for one, two or three days and charges you for your stay and 100 litres of water per day. Three days cost us 20.10 Euro and we had to pay this on a visa card. In the proce but it asked us for our Metriculation number? despite the rest of the information being in English. We asked a person who was on site and they came to look and explained it was the vehicle registration number. We found a pitch in a corner that was able to accommodate our 10.3 metres length, most of the sites were strictly for 6 to 7 metre camping cars. We noticed that all of the electric points were occupied by a multitude of adaptors and plugs of many types. The electric points were all hogged so we stood no chance if we could have we wouldn't have been able to reach a point. We also noticed that people were getting water in containers from the same points as the electric hookups. We looked all over for a Borne and it was the day after we arrived that we discovered it on a street outside of the Aire. From the Aire you had to go out onto the main road, turn left into another road and then do a u-turn to get back to the borne. We needed water do decided to try this maneuver. We pulled onto the borne and entered the pin number on our ticket from the machine at the gate that operated the Aire barrier. We tried and tried and then realised that there was no spilled water anywhere and realised that the borne water was not working. We were able to empty our cassette and wash it out with some of our waste water and then had to negotiate our way back into the Aire through the barrier and find a connector for a tap that pushed on as the interior taps were all smooth. They were also the push for on types that cut off when you let go so filling our tank was performed by having to hold the pipe on with one hand and push with the other, while Joan checked to see that the hose didn't jump out of the filler and tell me when to let go to stop filling. Other people wanted to empty pans and dishes into the drain as we tried to fill. Despite the problems we would use the Aire again as it is just 700 metres from a Naturist beach which is the way we enjoy to sunbathe and swim. The Aire is just minutes away from another beach as well. The Aire was also quite noisy at times from the holiday apartments that make up most of the building near this Aire.
9th July drove to the Aire at Damgan (Kervoyal) N 47 30.876 W 002 33.623 This is a very popular Aire and houses over 70 Camping Cars in bays between pine trees. We paid the lady that called for our money at 18:00 at 6 Euro per night. The next night I checked the ticket number and she had issued about 100 tickets in 24 hours. The maximum stay here is 72 hours. We walked 2k into Damgan to find a shop on Saturday morning and found that it was market day. Later we walked to the point at Kervoyal in the other direction to the orientation table which was very informative and even pointed out a section of coast where gold had been mined up to the first world war which reflects the light at sunset.
11th July we are setting our compass (sat nav actualy) to UK again and are making our way back to Calais. We left Damgan and headed back cross country to Oustreham passing St Michaels mount again on the way. This was mostly fast roads and we were able to cover 330k comfortably. We again stayed on the
12th July We left Ouisreham and needed to fill up with diesel. The first station was fully automatic and althought the pump was selectable for English it would not accept any of our cards as it sail the chip was not in far enough to read it. We set the sat nav for the next nearest and found that this had shut down. We then selected a SuperU and went there. The pumps were narrow lanes and I had difficulty turning out of the lane to the kiosk as we are 10.3 metres long and they only seem to build the stations for cars. This sorted we headed off and got lost on the roads around Caen. The roads were rough and the plug for the sat nav kept breaking contact just as we needed its instructions so we finished up doing figures of eight to get onto the road we required. The drive then took us on a number of peages and we finished up spending 34 Euro on the 338k drive to Le Portel Aire at Boloign Sur Mer.
13th July Set off from Le Portal at 06:30 as we were a bit worried about getting out of the Aire barrier. The streets near this Aire are either narrow residential with cars parked or have a 3.5 ton limit so it was a nightmare as the sat nav wanted to take us up the weight limited roads and we are 5 tonn plus the trailer at another ton. The Sat nave then directed us through the centre of Bologne instead of taking us on the bypass roads. Thank goodness we had set off early and there was very little traffic about. We arrived at the Car Ferry at Calais at 07:35 and went through passport control and checked in. We were offered a chance to go on an earlier boat for an extra £25, but declined the offer and parked up at 07:45. Our ferry is due to sail at 10:15. I then set the clocks to UK time 06:45.
Disaster struck while driving onto the ferry. I was close to the vehicles parked on my right and a party infromt of me just spilled out over the deck from a couple of hire mini-busses. This distracted me and I clipped the rear of a French Motor home with my mirror leaving rubber marks on it. We then had to exchange details with the French driver. Over 2500k of driving in France without problems and I had to finish the trip off with a bump on the car deck of the ferry.
We got off the ferry OK as I refused to move until the road in front of me was clear of any potential obstructions.
We went to Tesco a Dover to stock up on British grub that we hadn't been able buy in France and then headed north west to the Dartford Crossing where it took us 40 minutes from getting onto the M25 to going through the pay booth. We then continued North to Doncaster where we had a night parked at our sons house. The evening finished with a dip in the hot tub.
Next morning 14th July while manoeuvring to get into a position to pick up the car and trailer I hit a wall with the back of the Hymer. This pushed the Motorcycle carrier/Bumper back into the van breaking the light on it and puncturing the vans skin a little. We tried the boot and couldn't open it. Time to contact Peter Hambilton in Preston for a quote.
I rang the insurance about the ferry incident as was told that even if I was not making a claim for damage this still counted as an accident involving me hitting a stationary vehicle and it would come of my no claims bonus or against the number of knock in 5 years before it eliminates the protected bonuses protection.
Came further north to Sedgefield and stayed again on the CC CL at Donewell Farm for a few days.
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