A Travellerspoint blog

Awaycation France - Day 14


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.


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


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.


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!!


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.


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


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!


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!



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.


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.


Now on the slower road to Mont St Michel!


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!!


The biscuits are pretty decent too!


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.


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:




Arrived Bayeux campsite.


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.


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?


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...


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.


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.


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.


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


That's about it.


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

Awaycation France - Day 8

The day started early again with us up at 2am to wind in the awning. The wind had picked up and it had started the flap. Rather than damage it we decided to store it away.

Reggie decided it was a good time to squeeze between us. He then tries to push us out of the way. He growls when you push back. In the end we compromise. He has his own bed.

I was up early to take him for his morning pee and the again at around 7am when I let Claire feed him.

The bread delivery to the site is around 8.30am and so Reggie and I took a walk. There were a few people ganging around the entrance barrier and so we joined them. Almost on the dot the bakery lady arrived. One rustic baguette and two more pain de chocolat bagged and paid for.

Breakfast sorted.

Whilst we had breakfast Reggie took to his bed.


Today is a rest day. Do nothing. Drive nowhere.

Trying to sit in the shade we have the awning fully extended and the front edge lower than usual. Apart from a little irritation from cyclists going by Reggie has been lying in the shade. Today he has resisted lying under Suki.


Dinner of moules et frites at the nearby Pirate restaurant. Very hot even at 8pm and little shade


So where to tomorrow? La Grande Côte Campsite near the Île de Noirmoutier.

Posted by InvictaMoto 08:17 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 7

sunny 29 °C

Today just a 170 mile drive between campsites. Despite being up early enough to collect our bread order we weren't particularly early setting off. There are all the pre-departure checks to go through to ensure no problems:

  • Windows closed and locked.
  • Toilet cassette locked shut.
  • Hook-up disconnected and stowed away.
  • Satnav fitted and route programmed.

Our first stop was the Picard in Périgueux. Here satnav had a bit of a problem and we drove around the same roundabout three times in addition to some housing estates. Then we found it. Dogador bought and we were on our way again.

One stop for lunch and another as I had a headache coming on. I took a few photos with the D50 of some vineyards.


We had a side trip through Jarnac. Back in 1979 when we were here on a family holiday I had a kind of "golden ticket" from my Saturday job in the Wine Market in Walton on Thames. The manager and the area manager got us an invitation to Courvoisier. At that time they didn't do public visits.

Eventually we found our way to the river and the "chateau" were they are based. Sadly, nowhere to park Suki for a photo. The front is shrouded in sheet as they are working on the facade! Bugger.

We returned to the route past Cognac towards the Île d'Oléron. Eventually after another satnav blooper took us past the turning.

We checked in and got pitch 63. Ah. Our cables not long enough to reach the supply post. Back to reception. They lent us a long extension lead on a reel. It was a European plug and sockets. The post was standard 3-pin hook-up! Luckily another camper lent us a 3-pin to European adapter. Once at the van end I needed our 3-pin to European to connect Suki to the reel. By then I was very stressed. Old age shall not loosen me up in these situations!!!

We set up all the awning etc and had a nice cup of tea. The loos seem to follow a pattern. No seats. No paper. No soap in wash basins. Probably more sanitary than whatever evils a seat might hide!

It was still 29 °C when we did all this. Hopefully cooler tonight to go and check out the beach. Dogs are allowed on it. Reggie loves the sea. Oddly not so keen in rivers and canals.

Dinner tonight. Salad. I couldn't eat all the frites last night. Again washed down with a Kronenbourg.


It looks like this site is a little marooned in the middle of nowhere. There is a Lidl not too far away but too far to walk with Reggie in this heat. Saying that he is coping well. He is just a little annoyed by the flies.

He was much happier in the beach. It is just across the road from the camp entrance. It's pretty coarse stuff, more line crushed shells that smooth golden sand. The tide was out and the edge of the sand I'd dried mud. It looks as though it is covered in a fine layer of salt.

This area seems to be the oyster growing capital. They are sold everywhere around. Next door to the camp is a restaurant. We might try that tomorrow evening. Moule frites?


Tomorrow is another day. Have no idea what we will do. Nothing?

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:09 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 6 Part 2

After lunch we simply sat about reading. We had the awning up and the table and chairs set up. I even bared my upper body! Yes. Naked from the waist up.

It was 34 °C when we got back from shopping and although there was more cloud. It was still in the 30's. I am quite happy with low 20's.

When it cooled a bit we went over and bought an ice cream. Billionaire Salted Caramel Magnums. Absolutely fantastic.. Later we went back and ordered frites for dinner. Two large portions when one would have been sufficient. We ordered a baguette and pain de chocolat for tomorrow morning.

That's about it. We are on holiday after all.


And so tomorrow. Set off for a campsite near the Ile d'Oleron. On the way I have programmed in another Picard in Périgueux. I have that as a waypoint. Let's see how Ohrex manages! So far (touch wood) no errors and no low bridges!!!

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:50 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 6 Part 1

Thunder! Thunder!

What a start to the day. At 2am the first drops of rain on the roof. I closed the roof and then it started to flash with lightning ⚡ and the accompanying thunder.

Reggie of course went berserk as he does at home. It was easily 4am before it subsides and we are able to get to sleep and Reggie could rest. This meant that his usual "comfort" breaks were delayed. But not by much.

By 8am he'd had his breakfast and we had been for a walk to pick up out fresh bread and croissants. Another comfort break. I had to stop him peeing up the ice cream fridge in the shop. To think he is housetrained!!

As we sat outside for breakfast the early morning sun began to be hidden behind the clouds and the air became very chilly. More thunder as the sky became grey.

Ideally we need to get a shopping session in although the bar/café does food and snacks.

The site is good though noisy. Not from the campers but the workman that seem to be tarmacing a path from the bridge over the river along the bank on this side. Another cycle lane? It's not that conducive to some R&R when the background noise is so invasive.

Our trip out today was only as far as St Cyprien. Google said 8kms. Satnav said 17kms. It was 17.

We got what we needed for a couple of days lunches and maybe dinner. We also picked up a couple of Bergerac rose wines. I can't drink red any more as it gives me stomach problems.

On the way back we dropped into the site's camping-car area to drain off the grey water. We have noticed a meal underneath and very little came out. We also took on fresh water. I let that drain to ensure that it was clean in the tank.

We had lunch and then an afternoon of doing nothing.


Posted by InvictaMoto 07:07 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 5

Up early. We decided that leaving late was wasting the opportunities to see places on the way between A and B.

Today A was Lassiviere and D was Camping Rivière at Les Eyzies de Tayac on the Vezere river.

B was to be Salers. Claire stayed there some 55 years ago when a little girl on a trip with her parents and sister. So I had to build that in to any trip. The satnav has several options and despite it being around 40kms from the campsite as the crow flies, it's nearer 80 kms on the truck/Moho route. She would be so excited to go back. Something that maybe might be a disappointment?

Saying that to get across to the D3 we were directed up a narrow lane with lots of bends and climbs. Suzi doesn't really like climbs. Our first stop on the A to B leg was at Riom es Montagnes. We did quite a few trips around the village to get fuel at the otherwise closed Carrefour. This was the cheapest we have seen all week at (only!!!) €1.999 a litre. I filled the tank with this fuel they must have diluted gold dust or diamonds in!!

We also found a boulangerie open and bought supplies. Bread and pain de chocolats.

The drive across country to Salers was fraught with the occasional narrow bit, but generally the tarmac was smooth and the roads flowing like silk. Perfect for motorcycles! There were quite a few out and about enjoying the freedom and the smooth billiard table surfaces...

We had a late breakfast stop at the Col de la Besseyre. The pain de chocolats and coffee. I turned the LPG on and we used it for the first time. Success!

DSC_2988.JPGThanks to Cyclisme dot com

Thanks to Cyclisme dot com

As it was so sunny up there, the Nikon D50 decided to have "a moment" and none of the pictures that include the col sign came out. So I have borrowed one from Col Cyclisme as they took theirs with a better camera or a less sunny day, or both.

At Salers we parked in the camping-car parking just outside the city wall. There's a blanket €4 charge. I didn't see how long that was for.

The camping-car parking appears on the Campercontact website and app.

Compared with Semur this place is buzzing. Loads of bars. Loads of shops. All open. All wanting their share of the tourist cash. Who can blame them?

I bought a lump of St Nectaire and another of the local Salers cheeses. I also bought two cheese soufflés. These looked like what the Americans laughingly call "muffins" but tasted like a cheese scone. We had these for lunch.


Once Claire had been down memory lane at the Hotel des Remparts we back tracked to the Van. Reggie had been very good but it was getting hotter.

We then set off for C - the Chateau de Val near Bort les Orgues. I have visited a few times since we went as a family back in 1979. We laughingly call it "the old family pile". Devall? Our name? My Grandad, Charlie, had a picture of it from a magazine.


We had time for Reggie to have a paddle and then cool off by lying in the water, before returning to the Van for lunch. Diet Coke and the soufflés!

My brother Neill and his mate Patrick are on tour and will be there. I didn't realise it will be tomorrow before they arrive at the Chateau. I thought it was today and WhatsApped him to say we couldn't wait!!

We then set off for D. The campsite at Les Eyzies. We chose the autoroute rather than non-toll. We had cut it fine once already and the other we arrived 50 minutes after reception had closed. This time we arrived with over an hour to spare.

The campsite is across the river from the town. Apparently a kilometre to walk. Depending on how hot it is we can do that tomorrow. Today is has been as high as 31 °C and it is too hot for Reggie's feet on the pavements.

After check-In we got the leccy connection setup and went across for a drink. We needed it!!!


We drank and Reggie snoozed.

Dinner tonight was some baguette, russian salad and some of the cheese bought in Salers. Washed down with local vin rose.


Then a walk to look at the strangely brown river. No access to it from here. I googled to see why it is brown and the only thing I could find was the Gironde being brown due to silt. Maybe this is the same?

So what to do tomorrow?

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

Awaycation France - Day 4


A much better night. Maybe because it wasn't lashing down with rain. There was entertainment at the municipal swimming pool complex last night that meant that no one onsite needed their own. At first it sounded like karaoke but was probably a live act or band. They seemed to be working their way through the 1960's. It went on until about 1130pm.

Reggie decided to sleep all night in his bed rather than ours. He joined us around 5.40am and it over an hour before he wanted his pee break. In and out in time for Claire to have done his breakfast.

We were up and the bed etc stripped and returned to day time spec in less that 15 minutes. A record for us.

We want to leave earlier today as we have around 5 hours on the road plus a couple of Beaux Villages to stop at. Thursday Reggie was cooped up in the can all day as it was raining and he didn't get much of a walk.

The problem is that it is 20 °C at 9am. It is due to get warmer.


Our first stop was planned to be Chagny and a pet shop called Catchien. It's right in the centre of the town and so we had a winding route to get there. It was closed!!! I had planned to buy one of the dog ties that screws into the ground to attach Reggie's lead.

The satnav was set to the first proper stop of Semur en Brionnais, a Beaux Village. It's only about 60 miles from the site. After Chagny we seemed to drive round in a huge loop before settling on the right road south west. For a long while we went alongside a canal with lock after lock. The sign says they are automatically operated.

There was a brief section of dualled N70 before we set off across country to Semur. Here there is a camping-car service area to fill up with clean water and to drain grey water. Grey being waste water but no from toilets. That's called black water. We just parked up and it is free.

A walk into town revealed lots of ancient buildings and a XIIIth century castle. Only one café bar and they were just opening. After a walk around we set off for the campsite in the Auvergne. Time seems to travel very quickly at 55mph and it looked as though the 225 Kms we had left would get us to the site too late.


I reset the satnav to use toll motorways. We then joined the A89 and headed for Clermont Ferrand and the free A75 south. A stop at an Aire on the A89 for lunch and then we were off again. Time slipping by!

We made the 40 kms on the D road to the site in time to arrive at 1634. Just under half an hour before reception closed. We chose a pitch in the trees with some shade. Awning out. Reggie preferring to lie under the van.


Dinner tonight? To be decided.

Tomorrow we head to Salers, another Beaux Village, and then to the site on the Dordogne.

Posted by InvictaMoto 15:43 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 3

This campsite is more tranquil until the devil dog takes a dislike to something; someone cycling past. A pigeon maybe in a tree. Then he barks!

Overnight there was more rain until the early hours. Accompanied by distant thunder. So we were up later than necessary and then again a few times in the night for his usual "bathroom" sessions. Tired. We are on holiday it's supposed to be relaxing.

We checked in about 1000 and all we have to do now is pay the local tax. It's only a few euros. The showers and loos are close enough for a night visit, and are clean and perfectly serviceable. When I needed a visit. The loo with the men's urinal was locked. The other must be for ladies as there are no stand-up loos. Needs must as they say.

We were late leaving for another trip to the shops. If we had more storage space in Suki we could do a big shop. Maybe see when the wine cellars are open whilst we are here.

First stop was the local Carrefour Market. It was next to a Lidl. Got what we wanted. Stuff for a couple of evening meals and lunch. Some ham, cheese, Saint Nectaire Fermier this time. And of course some beer and coffee.

Then we set off. The idea to find somewhere nice to have a picnic and give Reggie a walk. He missed out yesterday in the teeming rain.

We headed for Chateau de Meursault. Maybe get a wine tasting and picnic. The castle is undergoing renovation so we had to park a long way off. It was approaching 27 °C so after a short walk we decided to give it a miss.

It looks a really nice village.


Once we aborted the mission we set off along the D947 towards Chagny and beyond. We saw a sign for Aire de Rully. Just before it I saw a sign to the chateau of the same name. Off we went. Into a village then a sign said there was no entry except deliveries. With no room to turn a nearly 6m long vehicle around we chanced it. It narrowed into a paved but bumpy track. We could see on the Satnav that it was going to rejoin the D947. To our relief it came out in the Aire. Phew.

We stopped at one of the picnic benches. Further along was a Polish van with its curtains drawn. We had some of the bread and meat we had bought. Not the most luxurious and scenic of picnic spots....

On the way back to the site we dropped in at the Lidl for bottled water. Four bottles. With it in the mid-twenties we need load of water. We can't always rely on the tank onboard Suki for water.

Once back. With Reggie's habit of barking at cycles passing we out up the new windbreak. Easy enough but the first time a little PITA!


After a tea and cake, followed by beer and nuts, we had dinner. Pasta and pesto washed down with another Kronenbourg.

Tomorrow? Day 4 and a third over night camp, this time in the Auvergne bear Murat.

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:30 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 2

Up firstly at 0530. Reggie widdle time when on holiday! At home he sleeps until after 0700! He barked and hopefully didn't wake up to many people. He has a pathological dislike for pigeons.

Back to sleep. 0730 he wanted his breakfast!!! 0815 he wanted a tom/poo. So then we were all up. We collected our bread order and had breakfast. By the time we had tidied away everything to make it "ship shape and Bristol fashion" as my Dad used to say it was nigh on 1000.

The site had emptied quickly. All fellow campers from 10 to 12 gone.

We set off. Again preferring to pay the A26 toll to get the 400kms to the next stopover. Two stops so far for Reggie breaks. Has lunch at an Aire near Troyes.

It has been raining since early morning. Miserable but we are travelling and are watertight!


The next stop should be Flavigny, a Beaux Village. Won't be fun in the rain. But we aborted as the rain got harder. The forecast shows that this will last throughout the area until the early hours.

Resetting the Satnav showed an arrival time of 1909, or after reception had closed. As we bombed down the A6 Claire called ahead and they gave us the barrier code. So we could pick a pitch and let them know in the morning. With that relief we stopped at the Carrefour in Beaune and bought stuff for dinner and breakfast.

We arrived at the site at 1949. The code worked and we rocked up to pitch 91 in the rain. After dinner we will walk Reggie and maybe have an early night. We have stuff like wine tasting tomorrow.

Salad for dinner. Kronenbourg beer and Gris de Périgord cheese.... Followed by tartelette pommes...


Posted by InvictaMoto 18:43 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 1

On the Road

With Suki almost packed the night before it was almost just us and Reggie to load aboard. It was already sunny when we left a few minutes after 8am.

The journey to the shuttle check-in took 9 minutes. At first it wouldn't take our ticket and we were directed to Pet Check-In where they do Reggie's checks and issue the travel "hanger" to go on the interior mirror. Even though we have a large box behind the driving cab we still have the mirror.

Once checked in we went for a coffee and a loo break. The queues for coffee were long and our train was called for loading. We sailed through UK passport control and then we're directed to security to check our lpg was off

A mere formalité and we were queuing to get on the 0950 train. We were quite near the front of the train with only a coach and a couple of other vehicles in front.

The train was 15 minutes late leaving. Not unusual in our experience.

On arrival in France our first stop was Picard in Coquelles to get a pack of "Dogador" for Reggie. The ridiculous ban on us importing meat and dairy products to the EU means we can't take his usual food. A one kg tub lasts three days. The fridge and freezer in Suki aren't big enough for a 15 day break anyway. We bought one Dogador. If he eats it okay we can search out another Picard.

Next stop was nearby Auchun to get supplies for us. Bread, butter, milk (also banned!) and some meat and cheese for a lunch stop.

Once on the road we decided to take the A26 we needed to go carefully as we approached the toll booth. The Emovis tag beeped and we were through the barrier. Phew.

We decided to stop at the Aire de Rély for lunch. By now it was well after 1400. A coffee from the café and we ate the baguette and roast porc. Very nice to eat French bread again. So fresh.


Back on the A26 I upped the pace to 100kph to keep ahead of the trucks that seem to be about that speed. The exit toll booth north of Péronne bipped with plenty of room to spare... About half a metre from the barrier!!!

As we were on the way down. The radio chimed in. Very loud. We set it to the wavelength for the Ohrex and had voice instructions! Perhaps the cable inside the dash is enough?

On arrival around 4pm we found that reception was closed. A note said find a pitch and come back at 5pm to check-in. We had booked a pitch with an electric hook-up. Could we find one. Could we buggery. Loads of free pitches. None with leccy. It looked like a free for all! Or as the Pub Landlord says of French organisation - chaos.

We were about to give up as 5pm arrived. They gave us pitch 13. The hookup was between 11 and 10. It needed both our electricity cables stretched to the max to reach the point. Pitch 10 had a tent on it not using the electric!


We then adjourned to the bar. Met up with a helpful other British camper from our walk around the site looking for a pitch. Had a beer 🍻 and a chat

Dinner was pizza. It came from a machine operated by a company called Pizzi. It takes 30 seconds to deliver a cold pizza and three minutes for a cooked one. Amazingly it was really nice!


We ate outside and as rain was forecast we packed away the tables, chairs, mat and the awning. By then it was time to set up the bed, take Reggie for his last widdle and then settle down for the night.

Posted by InvictaMoto 10:48 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - One Day to go

So today the new mirror arrived around 3.45pm. I was in the van and off the Fairways at Dymchurch to get it fitted. It was a good job I didn't try it myself as it was more than the ten minute job it looked like.

The one they sent looks like a longer arm than the one they took off. It went on with loads of fiddling with the wiring. The biggest problem is that the original mirror also contains the radio aerial! The new pattern part doesn't. This means that the radio is dead. At least the cd player will work.

What this means is that the Ohrex Satnav can't give us voice directions at it uses FM radio to transmit!!! Bowlocks. Another problem came to light. Even though all the left indicators work, there's error on the the instrument panel. It's not major, more a pain in the butt.

At least I can see perfectly now and feel confident about driving in France with traffic passing on that side.

We have been packing stuff in the van ready for the "off" tomorrow morning. Even though the train is at 9.50am we are going to leave a out 8am to get through check-in and the pet check-in for Reggie. With luck we might get an earlier train....

To get around the no-talky Ohrex I have a Bluetooth Cube speaker that also has a wired sound connection. All I need is to get hold of a longer jack to jack lead for it. In testing it worked fine if not a little loud. But siting it on dash is difficult with the short lead I currently have. Hopefully I can get one soon at the hypermarket.

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:56 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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