Monday, 5 January 2015

SNOWBIRDS HEAD SOUTH.........

Or Les vagabonds d'hiver as the French call themselves, are sitting in Bordeaux surrounded by thick fog having only had a fleeting glimpse of sunshine and blue skies........

Left home on Saturday lunchtime anticipating queues on the M25 at Blue water etc but sailed through of course, and the new toll system at the Dartford crossing which has done away with toll booths in favour of number plate recognition appears to have eliminated 10 mile tailbacks ( I've opened an account and registered van and car so the charge is £1.67 instead of £2.50 per crossing )
The van was loaded as usual but we now have more space so cupboards not overflowing. I also managed to spend a small fortune before Xmas having some extra electrical tweaks, not realising that the labour charge was going to be £67 per hour...I also had Simon from Dave Wallis Car Audio adapt the Cobra alarm to include a loop to wrap round the bikes which are now much lower on their new Thule rack ( which is brilliant) so that they are alarmed as well.

So whizzed down to Tunnel, put on first available so no wait, at 18.20, and heading into Calais 35 mins later, at which point the phone went and the Phantom tracker centre said our motion sensor was going off and did we know that the van was in Calais?.......
This is a new bit of kit fitted when I bought the van and upgraded the Phantom tracker. When switched on it sends an alert if the van is in motion so that if somebody stole the keys and disarmed the alarm system, when they drive off the motion sensor alerts the centre and reports every 30 secs.
The switch is hidden under the steering wheel and I didn't know it had been fitted at first and nobody bothered to tell me that it had and where the switch was. This caused a lot of grief when I drove the van for the first time.....
So I couldn't work out why it had been triggered in Calais when I had already driven to the channel for 21/2 hours...( my first fear being that the installation of the new bike loop had buggered something )......
Then it dawned on us that we had been trying to find a handy safe place for the mobile phone (the GF's shelf being cluttered with iPods,notebooks,sweets,mints,chewing gum,cables,chargers etc) and she spotted the shelf space under the steering wheel and stuffed the phone in it...... managing to knock the rocker switch from off to on. Red face and call to phantom  to apologise for stupidity and assertion that the switch must be off as I hadn't touched it for 3 days.( the switch can't be seen so very difficult to remember which way is on or off).
Great start !......but no damage....

Cold overnight but soon warmed up Sunday am and pleasant run down to La Suze sur Sarthe, just south of Lemans.
This aire was flooded last year but fine this. It has even been tarted up with full electric hookups for 6 van.....and as there were only 5 there at 3.30 we were lucky. They charge €5 but the machine wasn't working so we walked up to the village and bought our first tarts aux pommes .

Monday morning cold and misty......filled up with fuel at SuperU for a mere 90p a litre (£1.20 last year) and as we get better fuel consumption  things should cheaper this year.
Straightforward run to Bordeaux. With 50 miles to go the sun came out and the sky was blue all round....then we ran back into fog as we neared the rivers and as it gets dark its getting foggier.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to read that you are off to a good start. Looking forward to reading all about your winter'spring adventures. Have a safe trip & see you in March :-) xx

    ND & PB

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