A Travellerspoint blog

July 2022

Staycation August x2

Littlehampton. {Snigger}

Now that Suki has had her incontinence problem fixed, we have planned a few trips away in the UK.

Firstly to Norfolk again. The first time in the van. I have booked us into the CAMC site at Ludham near Wroxham. The site looks good. It's only for two nights. The site looks close to the river and so I am hoping there are some nice walks.

It will mean using the Dartford Crossing and that is always a pain in the butt. Even with ANPR toll collection the crossing through two double bore tunnels going northbound can have miles of tailbacks. The plan is to set off around 10am from here and keep plugging away. Earliest entry to the site is 1pm.

Then a second two-nighter later in the month but closer to home in Sussex at the CAMC site in Littlehampton. I haven't researched too much about this area yet. I went there about 50 years ago on a school trip!!! The only one that wasn't educational!

More to follow once we have been!

Posted by InvictaMoto 07:21 Archived in England Comments (0)

Suki Warranty Work

We noticed in France that Suki a problem with a drip from underneath. It seemed to be coming from the "grey water" tank.

At first we noticed a "stale" water smell and that was treated with soda bicarbonate and vinegar. That cured the smell but not the leak. When we put her in storage a few weeks ago I drained the grey water. Except there was only a dribble coming out.

I booked her into JC and she went in today. They found the hose had split and have replaced it and also made sure it is tied up to make it easier to drain.

Whilst it was there, they fixed a couple of the internal lights as well.

By 4.30pm she was back in storage for a couple of weeks before we go away again.

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:38 Archived in England Comments (0)

Staycation West Country 2022

Four nights in the not-so-wild West

We always try to get away for our wedding anniversary and this year is no exception.

Instead of jetting off to Spain or the US we will stay in the UK and will take Reggie with us in Suki.

We like to have a minimum of two nights when we stay over at a site. One night is okay when in transit, but simply no good when you might want to see something of the area.

So first two nights we are at the CAMC site at Cheddar. It's close to the town and a little longer walk to the world famous Gorge. It's also the birthplace of the famous cheese!

The second two-nighter is not that far away at Old Oaks Camping & Glamping near Glastonbury. Not for the music festival but for the folklore!

I am looking at maybe a single overnight to break up the drive home. As yet I haven't found a site that is on the way without a massive detour.

We are limited with places to go as we have the dog and he is anti public transport. He hates buses and trains! So we need a site that is close to points of interest and maybe a pub, within walking distance at least.

Maybe just stick with the 4 nights away?

Posted by InvictaMoto 21:18 Archived in England Tagged staycation caravan_club staycation_west_country camc Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter Sun - Revisited

Ferries? Where to go?

I have ruled out Brittany Ferries. The dates I am looking at don't have any pet friendly cabins available and I don't fancy putting Reggie in a kennel for what looks to be a 30 hour crossing!

I am looking at the weeks that the World Cup is on. I have an Arsenal season ticket and the English Premiership is having a break as most clubs will be very short of players! Seems like a good time to be away then!

As it will be November and December I doubt that climate change will have brought the "mediterranean climate" to southern England and Northern France as was claimed some years ago would be here by now. Although we had record breaking heat in the UK this week (July) with the highest ever temperatures recorded at over 40 °C, I doubt that we will have December temperatures hovering between 6 °C to 14 °C like they do in Nice or Barcelona.

It will take some will power to leave Reggie in the Van on the short crossing to Calais or Dunkirk. Eurotunnel is in the region of £360 for the return journey. DFDS is no change, from when I looked last week, at £218. Both include the charge for the checking of the Pet AHC.

The savings over the Shuttle are enough to fill the Van's diesel tank 1.5 times. That would give us about 750 miles of driving. Possibly even more now that fuel prices are starting to come down again!

DFDS have some information on their site about taking pets away - https://www.dfds.com/en-gb/passenger-ferries/passenger-information/pet-travel

I have been looking at places to stay when we are away. If we choose the Côte d'Azur as the destination then we need to go down the eastern side of France. The distance from Calais port to Nice is about 750 miles. Choosing a place further west, such as Narbonne is around 675 miles. Although that route goes right down the middle where it might get a little on the cold side!

So that's another consideration. More to come!

Posted by InvictaMoto 18:41 Archived in France Tagged awaycation_winter_sun_2022 Comments (0)

MotoGP Aragón

Tickets went on sale at the end of June just before I went on the trip to France with Claire and Reggie.

After a lot of messing about I managed to get onto the right part of the official Aragón site and buy the tickets for the Grandstand that Neill sat in before.

The good thing is that over-65's get a large discount in the ticket cost! They are e-tickets. I sent a copy of the email to Neill.

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:08 Archived in Spain Tagged aragon motogp Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter Sun - Revisited

After the rather expensive experience with Eurotunnel I have been looking at the alternatives.

The ferries from Dover to Calais or Dunkerque are much cheaper than the Shuttle even in November when there are less likely to be throngs of holidaymakers in their car and motorhomes making their way across. I have been looking at midweek fares.

Maybe booking through the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC) might get a discount as it did when we went in June.

At the moment for (roughly) the same dates and times the different crossings (with dog!) work out at:

DFDS - Dover/Calais £218 inc Reggie.
Irish Ferries - Can't book anything beyond October '22
Eurotunnel - £351 inc Reggie!

I haven't bothered to check what P&O Ferries could offer as I don't feel I can travel with them after the mass sacking of over 800 UK based seafarers in the Spring. Saying that, Irish Ferries did the same a few years ago and it seems they have been let off the hook!

The difference is quite startling. We went on the last trip with Eurotunnel with Reggie in the van to avoid him being left alone in the van on the crossing. personally I don't think he'll be that bothered. We'll have to see what we can arrange. The price difference of £133 would pay for a week's campsite fees!

Hopefully by then the cost of fuel will have come down. Considering that crude oil prices are back to the level they were before the Russians decided to invade the Ukraine. We'll see eh? Profiteering was illegal during the Second World War, about time that the allied governments applied the same rules now.

We still have to decide where to go. I was thinking of a "dash" of one night stays along the non-toll route down the west side of France towards Spain. Too late in the year and the more central routes will be cold and maybe even icy. But that would put us on the "wrong" side of France for the Cote d'Azur?

So maybe a "dash" down the eastern side to Lyon and beyond would work?

Suggestions and recommendations invited.....

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:53 Archived in France Tagged caravan_club awaycation_winter_sun_2022 Comments (0)

Suki gone to storage!

And what we learned on holiday!

After three weeks on the drive and away in france I have taken Suki back to the local Caravan and Motorhome Club site to go into storage. I forgot to make a note of the end mileage and for that matter the start of the trip mileage, and so have no real idea how many miles we did in the loop around France. It is somewhere in the region of 1450.

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She does look a bit lonely parked up in Bay 10. But there are a few caravans to keep her company.

I'll have to check the football dates and see what trips away we can fit in for a few days away. I will be lookign at midweek rather than weekends. I doubt it will be any cheaper but it may mean fewer people around.

So what did we learn from the last adventure?

1) Fewer miles between campsites. Plan shorter days on the road as Suki is much slower than a bike or even a car and takes longer to go anywhere. Plus need to stop for regular breaks for Reggie.
2) Check when other countries/regions have school holidays! I don't dislike kids but after 30 plus years working in education and teaching even other peoples' kids you can give back at the end of the day are still there in the evenings!
3) Campsites. Choose smaller campsites that are dog friendly have electric hookups and aren't like holiday camps with entertainment 24/7 and noise until 1am!
4) Campsites with a choice of hard standing. Getting off the pitch at Sandaya Grande Cote was difficult with the soft sand.
5) Don't take as many clothes! Giving them a tour of Europe without them coming out of the locker is pointless and adds weight!

What else? It will come to me sooner rather than later.

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:38 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter Sun

Planning ahead!

The football World Cup takes place in November and December and that means that there will be no English Premier League games for that duration. I don't think Arsenal will play at home at all in November and not until December 26th! A day when there is virtually no public transport!

So I have been thinking about another "adventure" away in Suki. It will be cold in the UK. So maybe a lot further south might fit the bill?

We have LPG that will run the cooker, fridge and heating if we need it. Maybe be less extravagant with campsites and choose ones that don't offer bars and pools and therefore will be cheaper? Then again it will be late November and northern France will be cold so pools will defo be out of the question.

The wisdom of the Motorhomefun suggest that Spain should be okay for a winter break. But getting there? How? Brittany Ferries from the UK directly to Spain work out quite expensive but they have no pet accommodation for any dates that are acceptable to me. So it would be a drive to Spain or maybe the Cote d'Azur?

Oddly the distance between driving to Nice (for example) or Lloret de Mar in Spain is about the same! Non-toll routes that is.

So more on this later in the year.

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:33 Archived in France Tagged awaycation_winter_sun_2022 Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 16

Homeward Bound.

With the Shuttle not until 3.50pm we don't have to be there realistically until 1.50pm. Eurotunnel say to arrive no earlier than 4 hours before departure.

My plan is to go up the D940 all the way. If we go from here about 10am we have plenty of time to stop and maybe use a bit of LPG gas and have a coffee and biscuits, before arriving in Coquelles.

We'll have to see.

0710

Reggie of course needed his comfort break about 6.30am as usual. After a late nigh whilst the French welcomed Bastille Day with well over an hour of fireworks. It seemed from every angle there were pops and bangs. Reggie was angry and barking. It was well after midnight when the noise subsided.

No sooner had I got Reggie back in the Van than it started to rain. All hands on deck to close windows and both sun roofs!! It lasted no more than five minutes and barely wet the ground.

0830

Up. The sun is out and hopefully will dry the awning before we pack it away.

Reggie now asleep after all his nocturnal meanderings under the bed and into the storage boxes under the bench seats.

1420

Arrived at Eurotunnel after a stop just outside Boulogne. We stopped for coffee and then had an egg and bacon McMuffin from the golden arches company. We had to park in the Leclerc parking as McD not big enough for Suki. This little Innocenti mini was in there.

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Our route this morning mostly on the D940 from St Valéry to Sangatte. Apart from some weird detour that until I check my timeline in Google Maps I have no idea if it was for the better.

The D940 is excellent for bikes. The blanket 80kph speed limit is enforced but a waste of the perfectly flat smooth surface. It is even enjoyable in Suki.

There were so many motorhomes around. Oddly not that many British. We have been here so often so we are surprised when we see some new developments. Houses being built. New restaurants. Older ones tidied up etc.

We had a slight problem as the vet in Abbeville hadn't filled in the right bit of the AHC. We need to make sure in future that page 4 is filled in properly. She did a separate letter signed and stamped with the vet's authority but they didn't like it! But let us in "this once". They had all the necessary details though. Bit jobsworthy! The vet spent ages on the internet following instructions on completing the form! What a farce. Whilst we were there two dogs came in with the old pet passports and had gone before us.

As we queued for the train and as sat in the queue we watched one of them loading onto the train we were booked on!

1525

When we checked in the woman said our train was 1550. The one we were booked on. Within five minutes 1550 had become 1650!!! We bought some beer and got a coffee. It was back to 1550. It was easy enough getting through both border controls. The French had one window open that suddenly became three. We switched lanes and got through.

NB: The beer is not for us but for our neighbour John, as he had sorted the broken mirror and fitted my replacement before we set off.

The only possible problem was Border bloke came on to check we had no stowaways and Reggie lunged at him. Luckily he was on the short harness lead and was about a foot short of the bloke's thigh...

1555

As expected we are still in Lane 8. The 1550 gas come and gone and it is back to 1620 now... I gave been using Eurotunnel many times a year since it opened and I can say that I can count on one hand how many times I gave been on the train I booked and paid for. As for earlier trains. One.

The reasons for the delays were blamed on border controls. But as they are running only two trains an hour maybe they have more vehicles than space.

It now says "G3 Boarding imminent". Train time 1620.

What are the chances?

1626

We are off!!!

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1700 UK

Arrived and away. We were in the second carriage. A detour via Tesco at Cheriton and we are home. Unpacking Suki almost over. Chicken doner kebab meat and salad ordered for last supper...

Back on plan tomorrow?

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:16 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 15

The Last Full Day

Today is the last full day of our holiday in France. Tomorrow we head the short distance to Eurotunnel and the train home. We have a bit of shopping to do on the way. We are booked on a shuttle at 3.50pm.

Today though we are simply staying on site. It was a late morning as it was gone 9am when we got up. Of course I had already been up much earlier when Reggie needed his first comfort break and again when he had his breakfast.

Doing nothing is a time to chill. Read Kindles and blog where necessary. We have done a little tidying up inside the Van. That's about it.

The new cheese I bought yesterday, "Merzer", is stinking the fridge out. Despite the chunk being encased in cling film. Maybe lead and concrete might have been a better option?

With biscuits becoming a cause for concern we had to open the packet of jam tarts we had bought at the biscuiterie. Very nice.

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Apart from filling water bottles from the tap for Reggie to drink. We drink bottles water we pay for .. Who is the daft ones?

Reading. Finished another book. Claire reading hers. With only one device allowed to use the free WiFi we keep swapping over.

That's about it for

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:06 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 14

0745

Up early. We need to be away early today. We have a long way to go and we can't be late getting to the vets's in Abbeville for Reggie's check over and worming and of course get his paperwork completed. The appointment is 3pm.

1015

Finally arrive at the British Normandy Memorial at Vers Sur Mer. This new memorial is absolutely fantastic. Memorial website.

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It was so hot and there was little shade we went from tree to tree so that Reggie could walk on the grass and not the hot tarmac or concrete.

1420

We decided to take the toll motorways to Abbeville. This meant A13 and A29.

Our former nemesis appeared. The Pont de Normandie! The last time we crossed it was on the GS and the wind was so strong it felt like we had two flat tyres as we weaved across the width of the roadway!!

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Much better today. Maybe not worth the €6.50 toll. At least Emovis bipped again.

We had a couple of stops at services. Both really for Reggie's pee break and a chance to stretch all our legs. I bought coffee.

The Ohrex Satnav took us right to the door of the vet's in Place Clemenceau. It's a blue parking zone and we didn't have one. As we were early Claire went in to see if the could sort Reggie earlier. They could and lent us a blue clock for the windscreen. With that sorted we were off again about an hour later.

We stopped at the Carrefour on the outskirts of St Valéry. As well as stuff for dinner I invested in a windscreen wiper sponge and squeegee and a blue parking clock!

The campsite at Chateau de Drancourt is another large one. Not as noisy as Sandaya Grande Côte, and no sand to bog Suki down. Still ridiculously hot though. I think It had a touch of sun stroke! I felt really rough and needed a lie down in the van.

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Dinner was bread and some cooked meat. It was still very warm when we set up the bed and it had long gone 11pm when I took Reggie for his final pee.

Posted by InvictaMoto 23:28 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 13

sunny 33 °C

0800

Today we eventually turn east and head for the next to last stop at the municipal campsite on the outskirts of Bayeux. We have both seen the tapestry before so having Reggie with us won't hinder that.

Looking at the map book a lot of the trip will be on dual carriageway and toll-free motorway. I have left the first waypoint in the satnav as Mont St Michel. I have been before back in about 1985. Then we couldn't get across to the mount as they had some festival that tourists and especially those on motorcycles weren't invited to attend!

Maybe this time we will be lucky. The overall journey is going to be around 375 Kms in the day. Hopefully we can be away early from here!

1100

Filled up with diesel at €1.939 and bought some vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. This is for the waste water (grey) as it is ponging again. First stop at a roadside are after less than 25 miles to run it through with hot water as per the wisdom of the world. Let's see eh!

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1300

Another stop. Bit of a cockup went to a "village étape" and couldn't find anything. Came back to main road and ended up going back towards Nantes again to turn around. About 10 miles wasted. Although there was a services on that stretch.

Stopped for a coffee and a 🍰. Reggie pee break. Very hot still.

1430

We did it again! Yep. Another damned "village étape". This one had a camping-car service area on the sign. Here we are in Tremblay, some distance off the A84 and we have found it! Not quite nearby as you might expect with it posted on the motorway sign!

Yay! Grey water drained.

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Now on the slower road to Mont St Michel!

1515

Arrived at Mont St Michel. What the? I last went in the mid-80's. Ride up. Park by causeway walk across. If they let you and there wasn't some ticket-only festival taking place!

Now. Massive car parks and shuttle buses! Decided to give that a miss. Fired off a few long distance photos. Claire did the same. Then we wended our way out of the place. Then as if by luck we spotted a biscuiterie! And pulled in. The camping-car parking has a great view of the Mont!!

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The biscuits are pretty decent too!

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There is limited parking as they obviously don't want their car park filled with people gawping and not spending. We did our bit for the local economy.

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The temp gauge sender is a little blog in the bottom of the driver's side mirror. When we got back from coffee and buying biscuits it registered this:

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🫣😱😮🌞🌞🌞

1755

Arrived Bayeux campsite.

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We have a nice plot within easy walking distance of loos and facilities. WiFi supposed to be available but can't connect. Loads of British here as you would expect in Normandy with the Battle of Normandy museum and monument nearby. The Tapestry of course is here and the D-Day landing beaches close too.

Tonight we will pretty much do nothing. We have food and there is a McDonald's a few hundred yards up the road outside if we get that desperate. Saying that, their 99p (at home) coffee is as good as any other outlet and much cheaper!!!

Dinner? Bread and cooked meats and cheese.

Total distance today is about 380 kilometres.

Tomorrow?

We have Reggie's vet appointment at 3pm in Abbeville.. It's 48 hours before arrive back in the UK. The timings for the worming is between 24 and 120 hours before setting paws on UK soil.

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:59 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Days 11 & 12

Holiday slipping by...

sunny 30 °C

Another lazy day reading etc. The van smells a bit funny, like dirty water. We thought it was the Thetford loo but it seems to be coming from the kitchen sink.

We don't use it very much as washing up the dishes is done on the site's facilities. I have put some boiling water down it. We need to drain the grey water rank asap and run clean water through the system.

Today we part packed up and went to the local Intermarche. Expecting no shops open on Sunday. This one of course is open until 1230 tomorrow! We have enough to last us into Monday. I almost topped up the diesel as it is €2.019 a litre. That makes it about £1.71 a litre at the current exchange rate. Maybe I'll do it on Monday.

Then back to the site. I was going to reverse into our pitch, but the sand and pine debris meant I had no traction. I dug a couple of deep holes before rolling forward and away. So I had to drive all the way round a block and turn in frontwards. Hopefully I can get out on Monday.

So what have we got planned for today? Nothing. What have we got planned for tomorrow - Day 12? Nothing .

The site we are on here at Grande Côte is more holiday camp than the site's we have been on before. It's also a lot noisier. Not just entertainment going on until 11pm, but our neighbours.

It also seems that "pitch etiquette" has gone out of the window. Or at least falling over the bright orange guy-ropes to our windbreak is in! The site had everything you need. Or maybe don't need but it's there. A bar. An assortment of shops and a couple of takeaway food kiosks. A pool.

For us we tend to do nothing but sit in the shade of the awning and read or doze. Or in my case start to think of the next adventure. The football World Cup is on and there are currently no Arsenal home games from November 13th to Christmas. I expect the UEFA Europa League will be similarly affected?

An ideal time for some winter sun? At least a chance to dream?

And so that takes us to Monday or Day 13. In Our destination is Bayeux and another municipal campsite. When I planned the stopovers I didn't realise how many were municipal sites. Generally, they are clean with few frills. So far each has been different. According to the satnavs it's about four and a half hours away. We like to stop a few times to give Reggie a break and a little walk.

We shouldn't need any more "Dogador" for Reggie as we have a kilo in the fridge and another in the freezer. So. What about a tourist stop. The weather here near Noirmoutier is supposed to be above 30 °C but cooler as we move north.

So how about Mont St Michel. It's only a short detour off the planned route. Ideal for a bit of sightseeing and maybe paddle time for Reggie? It's 271 kms from where we are. I have programmed it in as a waypoint. I can always remove it?

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Posted by InvictaMoto 13:31 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 10

sunny 30 °C

Not much to report. We had a lazy day on site. Reading mainly. Lunch was a baguette and cheese. The two I bought in Salers a s a new one "Tomme de Chèvre" we bought yesterday.

We did venture across to the crêperie for a couple of Nutella crêpes.

After dinner of cassoulet we took Reggie for a swim in the sea again. This time we went the other way on the beach and under the bridge to Noirmoutier. Here the water was more "wavy" and there are signs to say no bathing due to dangerous currents. Reggie was okay on his lead...

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And then to bed? Tomorrow we need to be up and out to the shops to ensure we have food for the weekend. Here supermarkets are shut on Sundays.

Can't say I am that enthusiastic about reversing back into our pitch with so many trees and the pitch being mostly sand!!

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:21 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 9

Today we packed up and were off around 1030am. We had been up earlier with Reggie and his comfort breaks and then his breakfast.

The only plan today to head for the Grande Côte Campsite. As we crossed the Charente near Rochefort to the right we saw the transporter bridge.

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I had set a POI at the U-boat pens in La Rochelle but when we got there we couldn't find how to get in. So we aborted and went to Lidl to get lunch.

This was eaten in an Aire formed by the old road being bypassed. We squeezed Suki into some shade. Another stop at a McDonald's for coffee and we arrived at the site about 4pm.

The site is vast. More holiday camp than campsite! We found our pitch which meant reversing in and avoiding trees. Don't fancy doing that too often.

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The facilities are good. The bar reasonable and we had a refreshing Kronenbourg blonde to relax. Dinner tonight will be a loaf we bought in Lidl and the cheese etc we already have. We do have a tin of cassoulet from last week as well.

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After dinner we had a walk through the campsite to the beach. Reggie enjoyed a paddle.

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That's about it.

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Posted by InvictaMoto 20:53 Archived in France Comments (0)

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