Van Brian's European Trip 2014

Apr 30, 2009
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So I've written it up again. This years trip. Lots of pics of food and campsites. If thats what you like then click on this and enjoy, if not then don't :)

http://tge-thegreatescape.blogspot.co.uk/p/france-2014.html

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DBK

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So you ate well? Thanks for posting. I can look at pictures of food all day, almost as good as eating the stuff:

Fish soup: (Near Nantes)
12-12FishSoup-reduced.jpg


Cheese on toast, Provence style:
IMG_0392%2BSalade%2Bchevre%2Bchaud-reduced.jpg


And a filling sandwich, Vaucluse region:
IMG_0455%2BBreakfast%2Bin%2BBonnieux-reduced.jpg


and so on, happy days...

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Last edited:
Jan 8, 2011
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"What I'm out for is a good time - all the rest is propaganda
Saturday night and sunday morning now that was a good film will enjoy reading your blog
Cheers
 
OP
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Apr 30, 2009
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I've been asked about navigating and finding sites and aires so I'll reply here so as to share the way I do it, we're all different but this suits me and the way we like to travel. We normally plan each days destination the night before.

I have a small scale fold out map of France, it has half of France on each side. We decide on how long we want to drive for the next day. From experience the length of a pencil is 3 hours drive (no autoroutes) I lay the pencil with one end where we are and look at where the other end is, pointing it in the direction we want to go. I pick a town that looks suitable, on a river, near the green lined scenic roads etc.

I stick this towns name in my Garmin GPS and get it to route me there. On the Garmin are a set of Aire way-points and a set of camping site way-points. When its worked our the route to the town I check the travel time and distance, if it suits what we want to do then I go back into the "where to?" menu and select the option to find "near my destination" it will now look for waypoints near the town I chose.

I then go to the aires or the campsites collections and it brings a list up, with nearest to the town first. If we're looking for campsites then we always pick the first camping municipal and check how far the next is if its crap when we get there, options are always good. If it was aires we wanted then in the past I've looked the ones listed up in "all the aires" or "camperstop Europe" but this year used the Park4night app on my iPad. If the one we picked looks ok then I select it and ask the gps to route to it instead of the town.

This year I've also used the Copilot gps app on the iPad, we found it clearer to see, and chose better route and recalculated quicker if we went off route. What I did was leave the Garmin running the route as we drove with the volume off, but let the Copilot app guide us to just near the town, then turn the sound off on the Copilot and follow the Garm to the camping rather than the town centre where the Copilot app was taking us.

The wife normally follows the route on a really large scale Michelin road atlas, if she sees anyting on the route we want to see then we drop off the route to it, the gps recalculaes to get us back on route when we want to carry on.

As I say, this is how we do it, and it suits us, hope its of use to someone.

DSC00619-M.jpg

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Jan 10, 2013
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Brilliant blog - really enjoyed it. Almost all of the aires/municipal sites you stayed on look fantastic - any chance you could be a bit more specific as to their whereabouts.
 
OP
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Apr 30, 2009
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Brilliant blog - really enjoyed it. Almost all of the aires/municipal sites you stayed on look fantastic - any chance you could be a bit more specific as to their whereabouts.

Dude, in the blog I made sure I named the town each day and each town only has one Camping Municipal, normally well signposted when you get to each town. As per my post above I use a set of campsite waypoints on my Garmin, I got these from a great site called Archies Campings:- http://www.archiescampings.eu/eng1/

The list of aires I can't remember where they came from, sorry. I'll stick a map on this thread with a map showing roughly where in France we were every day if that would help to reference against the blog.
Cheers,
Kevin
 
OP
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Map as promised, number 18 is Calais port/Wissant Aire and then they're numbered in order as we stopped/traveled...

201408218_1008-Grab-XL.jpg
 
OP
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Like the snail on the dashboard. Does he/she give directions as well?

The wife has a snail thing going on, called the van Van Brian after the snail in Magic Roundabout, also the escargot thing and her being French. It gets complicated and I keep out of it all o_O

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snowdrops

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Yep, get our van in 2 weeks and we too are off to France for 3 weeks in Sept. Loved your blog, wish you could come with me and be chef, or at least teach my hubby to cook lol.
 
Feb 10, 2013
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What a great post! Thanks for sharing your travels - thoroughly enjoyed the read. Thanks also for the Nav tips.

Wishing you and wife many more happy days on the road.:wine:

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Apr 27, 2008
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Great. :happy:
Reminds me of when I was working and only had three weeks, used to do much the same, in fact have done your route more or less but stayed in different places. Now we have more time we take twice as long and only do half as much, so perhaps a bit of pressure is a good thing.
 

jollyrodger

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Great blog by the look of pic's @ Mortagne sur Gironde you were up at Camping Bel Air from memory looks to be pitch 116 maybe 118 ? You missed three vans all funsters by a day ;) weren't you the lucky one we pulled out to chase the sun
:)
 

Mousy

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Thanks for a great read, but what do you do when you've sharpened your pencil? Less miles?:imoutahere:

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wivvy's dad

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I've been asked about navigating and finding sites and aires so I'll reply here so as to share the way I do it, we're all different but this suits me and the way we like to travel. We normally plan each days destination the night before.

I have a small scale fold out map of France, it has half of France on each side. We decide on how long we want to drive for the next day. From experience the length of a pencil is 3 hours drive (no autoroutes) I lay the pencil with one end where we are and look at where the other end is, pointing it in the direction we want to go. I pick a town that looks suitable, on a river, near the green lined scenic roads etc.

I stick this towns name in my Garmin GPS and get it to route me there. On the Garmin are a set of Aire way-points and a set of camping site way-points. When its worked our the route to the town I check the travel time and distance, if it suits what we want to do then I go back into the "where to?" menu and select the option to find "near my destination" it will now look for waypoints near the town I chose.

I then go to the aires or the campsites collections and it brings a list up, with nearest to the town first. If we're looking for campsites then we always pick the first camping municipal and check how far the next is if its crap when we get there, options are always good. If it was aires we wanted then in the past I've looked the ones listed up in "all the aires" or "camperstop Europe" but this year used the Park4night app on my iPad. If the one we picked looks ok then I select it and ask the gps to route to it instead of the town.

This year I've also used the Copilot gps app on the iPad, we found it clearer to see, and chose better route and recalculated quicker if we went off route. What I did was leave the Garmin running the route as we drove with the volume off, but let the Copilot app guide us to just near the town, then turn the sound off on the Copilot and follow the Garm to the camping rather than the town centre where the Copilot app was taking us.

The wife normally follows the route on a really large scale Michelin road atlas, if she sees anyting on the route we want to see then we drop off the route to it, the gps recalculaes to get us back on route when we want to carry on.

As I say, this is how we do it, and it suits us, hope its of use to someone.

DSC00619-M.jpg

I use pretty much the same method, but minus the Garmin. Just maps and CoPilot on the GalaxyS4 or the pad thingy
 
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Loved the blog. We like to use the municipal sites as well, normally very well kept, reasonably priced and close to the town/village. We're in France again in September, can't wait. :D

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