Now that looks like a plan! Roll on July.
11th July 2018
So my 2018 3-wheeler trip started today. I left home in bright sunshine in shorts. A first for me on one of these trips. The M6 was its usual crawl at first but soon eased. The A14 was surprisingly good too – until i got near Cambridge. I put my trust in google maps to find the fastest route. I ended up heading through Papworth before rejoining the A14 further down. All in all it took me over 4 hours to get to Harwich.
Once I checked in I queued and passed the time watching the England World Cup semi-final on my phone. It was going so well but it was not to be…..this time.
We boarded at about 10.00 p.m. and I found my cabin. Its fine for a night and comfortable. I ate well (but expensively) in the restaurant and then headed for my cabin and set everything charging ready for tomorrow. I will be woken by the 6.30 call in the morning and also loose an hour as the time changes so I’m heading to bed.
12th July 2018
I was woken at 6.30 (5.30 UK time) by the onboard announcement. I had slept well and could definitely have slept for longer. I got myself ready and packed up and headed out for a little breakfast. Coffee, Juice and a stale croissant was about as good as it got this morning.
Outside the weather was cool and quite grey but the forecast was promising. I was ready to go as we docked at 8.00. By 8.25 I was on the road. I was very glad I had pre-programmed my route into the sat-nav as the route away from the port was a maze of motorways. I followed by blue arrow carefully and all went smoothly.
I stopped at a motorway service station between Breda and Tilburg. I must say the standard of service station in Holland is very good even if you do have to pay to use the toilets.
I didn’t have too far to go today and didn’t have to get to the station for my train until after 7.00 pm so I had plenty of time. I headed for the town of Venlo near the border. I found an underground car park right in the centre and headed off to explore. It turned out to be a very nice town with a good pedestrianised area to wander around. I found a nice cafe in a square and had a slow lunch. I had another browse around and a walk by the river before making my way back to the centre and stopping for coffee. I like Venlo.
I had ran out of things to do so I made my way back to the car and headed back out towards Dusseldorf. The trusty sat-nav directed me straight to the AutoZug loading area. I was early and on my own. I parked up and waited as there was no-one around. Before long a couple of bikers arrived and joined the wait. I eventually walked to the station proper for a drink before heading back to load the car.
I was loaded onto the lower deck. I Just cleared the ground at the join of the carriages. I was parked right behind a couple of motorcycles with sidecars. I’m not the only 3-wheeled vehicle on this train. I walked to my carriage and found my compartment. It will do for tonight. It is quite basic and well used but comfortable enough for a night. We left about half an hour late and I am now speeding through the darkness towards Innsbruck. The train splits in the night – I hope I am in the right end!
13th July 2018
Not the best night I’ve ever had but I finally got up at 7.00. The sun was out and the scenery was getting more interesting. The steward brought my rolls, jam and coffee for breakfast then I got myself packed up. We made up for the late departure at Dusseldorf and arrived into Innsbruck right on time.
I walked off the train and followed the signs to the monorail loading area. The car was there in a few minutes and twenty minutes after arriving i was diving the car off the carriage and into Innsbruck. I filled up at the nearest Shell station and set the sat-nav for my pre-planned winding route to Riva del Garda, Italy.
I took some nice windy roads including the Pennes pass at 2211m. It was quite a drive. The weather was pretty hot by the afternoon and the car wasn’t running to well. It was sputtering periodically – spoiling the drive. I’ll change the spark plugs tonight and hope it is better tomorrow.
I continued south passing through Bolzano before heading up again past Valle before dropping down to the lake. It was now very humid as I entered the town. I received my first rain of the trip – a short shower as I looked for my hotel. I found it within a pedestrianised area so I parked round the corner and walked in. I had pre-booked a car space so after checking in I retrieved the car and drove it past the bewildered onlookers as I weaved my way down the traffic-free zone (except for hotel guests). Nice and safe.
Changed the plugs. Showered. Ate. Drank. Blogged. Bed. Yes a proper bed!
14th July 2018
I slept like a baby. I took a light breakfast in the hotel before heading out. The run down the side of lake Garda was lovely. The weather was nicely warm and the scenery spectacular. In and out of many tunnels alongside the lake the road stayed close to the shoreline. I stopped for a drink before too long to savour the view as much as to quench my thirst.
My route then took me away from the lake. I avoided the motorways and followed some extremely straight roads. My speed was very much limited not by the speed limit but by the appalling condition of the road. This part of Italy is known for its famous sports car and bike manufacturers. I expected the roads to be better than this! It was very hot now. 32 degrees was forecast and it felt like it. I hope I don’t burn.
I had lunch in the town of Saint Agata Bolognese. I had a tour of the Lamborghini museum booked for 3.00 pm. I enjoyed the tour. There were some fantastic cars and the reception stopped me to take photos of my car. the tour was great but when the guide asked me if I wanted one I said that they all had too many wheels. The photo of my car prompted the biggest ‘ooohhh’ from the group even after all of the Lambos. I would have offered to take an Aventador in part exchange for the Morgan but they didn’t have the colour I liked!
My hotel for the night was in Bologna just another 40 minutes further on. My first visit here but it won’t be my last. What a great place. Beautiful old city with amazing architecture and lots of bars, shops and cafes. Getting to the hotel was an experience. Some of the streets are tiny and with the terrible turning circle of the Morgan it was quite a task.
The hotel is great – right in the centre. I definitely think this is somewhere I will come back to with Josephine. She would like it here.
15th July 2018
The car hasn’t been running at its best the last couple of days so as the hotel had a covered entrance I took the opportunity to carry out a bit of work. For some reason I had lost tension in the drive belt allowing it to slip on acceleration. To sort this out I had to trove the luggage rack, empty the boot, remove the boot lining and carry out the necessary adjustments. I have never adjusted the tension before which is done by moving the rear wheel rearward. I have never done this before but I think it went alright. I wanted to check the bevel box mountings which had been changed recently to make sure all was well so I removed the seats, seat backs and the panel behind the seats to check things out. All good.
The engine then got a bit of attention. It has been stuttering at times. I removed and refitted the HT leads as they were touching the engine. The new spark plugs had improved things but I suspect that the leads were more of a problem. I put everything back together, washed up and repacked everything. I did all of this with passers by stopping to talk and take photos. Talk about having your picture taken when you are not looking your best.
It was almost midday by the time I was ready to leave so I changed my planned route slightly and set out for Rimini some 85 miles away. I’m glad to say that the car is running much better now. No stuttering. No slipping. Boy was it hot today. I stopped on my way to Rimini and downed two drinks very quickly before filling up the car and pressing on. I got a nice wave and a thumbs up from a chap in a beautiful Ferrari at the petrol station.
I made it to Rimini and headed for the beach. I parked on the front and looked for a beach cafe for a salad for lunch. I couldn’t really come all this way and not see the Adriatic.
After lunch I headed back to by very hot car and headed for today’s hotel at the very top of San Marino. I avoided the main roads and enjoyed the hilly drive up. Now, I did know it was a hilltop town but wow, what a hill.
The hairpins lead up and up. I went under the cable car looking for the last parking area before the top. I got close. Just one down from the top. I parked and breathed in the definitely cooler air. By cooler I mean by 8.00 pm it was only 31 degrees.
I walked into the ancient city looking for my hotel. I continued up, through the archway and google maps directed me directly to my hotel just in the shadow of the highest tower in the city. Quite a place. They had reserved my parking space in a covered area as requested and gave me a pass so I could drive up. The drive up is interesting – again through the ancient City up a very steep hill. People had to get out of my way to let me through while they filmed and took photos.
I spent the evening in the old City. It really is a beautiful place with tiny steep streets and lots of little shops and bars. And the views, wow. Fabulous.
I watched France win the world Cup over a beer and stayed for dinner afterwards. I watched the spectacular sunset then headed back to the hotel. An excellent day.
16th July 2018
Good day – bad day – good day.
I had a lovely breakfast at the hotel before getting off at 8.00. The last couple of days have been so hot I wanted to get some miles under my belt before it became too warm. I really like San Marino but then again I always like places with a view.
I set my route for L’Aquila through the hills. I had a lovely first couple of hours driving through rural Italy. the roads curved, climbed and fell continuously and the car was running well. I was in and out of sun and shade as the roadside trees kept me cool. I found a great little coffee stop this morning. As usual, I dint think the locals had seen anything quite like RH03MOG.
After coffee I pressed on. The winding roads went on and on passing endless fields of sunflowers. I had to take a short motorway stretch unfortunately but the services gave me the opportunity to fill up with fuel and gatorade. I pressed on and eventually rolled into L’Aquila at about 4.00 p.m.
Oh dear! The whole of the centre of L’Aquila was undergoing a huge restoration project. There were cranes and trucks and workers everywhere. The streets were packed with vehicles and fork-lifts and all kinds of heavy machinery. There were temporary diversions and confusing signs everywhere. It all looked nothing like the google street view I had looked at. I couldn’t get anywhere near my B & B. I did eventually find a parking space and was immediately surrounded by builders. I reluctantly left the car and walked to my accommodation for the night. It was right amongst all the building work. It was surrounded by temporary barriers, no parking signs and machinery. I hurried back to the car to decide what to do.
Out with the trusty iPhone. I looked for alternative accommodation – there was no way I’m staying here. One of the reasons I use booking.com is for the cancellation options. Even though I was due to check in I cancelled the room for a very small fee. Where to then? I eventually settled on a little place up in the hills some 25 miles south east of L’Aquila. A tiny place called Charme in Perillis, in Popoli. It really is in a tiny village way up high. It added about 40 minutes to my drive today but also takes off about 30 minutes from tomorrows drive.
I found the place up a tiny, steep cobbled street. ‘It can’t be up here’, I thought but as I got to the top an Italian lady was standing there. I looked at her, she looked at me. I went over with the confirmation on my phone and she smiled. She didn’t speak a word of English (why should she) and my Italian is limited to anything I may have seen on a page of music. We waved are arms around and understood each other well enough for her to show me to my room. What a marvellous place and what a view! I am sure I am the only guest here.
This really is a charming place. Very off the beaten track but beautiful. I found a tiny local bar for a drink – just me and 3 dogs, before heading back to my room. I’m writing this on my bed at 9.30 looking out of my wide open window at the lights way over to the other side of the valley. It is soooo quiet. I have never been anywhere quite so still. The only thing I can here is my own typing. I must stop now or I may get arrested for disturbing the peace.
17th July 2018
There were heavy thunderstorms overnight with some awesome lightning displays. The view from my window was spectacular but different from the previous evening looking down on the clouds.
I met the own this morning who was a charming chap who is clearly proud of his place. They have only been open for 4 months and I have promised a glowing review on booking.com – well deserved.
I shared breakfast with a nice young Norwegian couple who were touring Italy on Vespas which apparently were developed by a man from this area. It turns out that I have seen more of their country than they have! They had to get back to Rome today. Good luck!
The wet car started first time and I headed into the hills once again. I twisted and turned my way for the next couple of hours. I passed cool lakes and travelled through deep gorges before the hills flattened out this afternoon. The roads became straighter, later and faster. Unfortunately they also became bumpier. I have driven in a lot of countries but the roads in Italy are by far the worst I have ever driven. I really did fear for the car. I thought something would break of fall off.
By mid afternoon I’d really had enough. I headed for the motorway towards Sorrento. Motorway tolls are really quite comical when travelling on your own in a RH dive 3-wheeler. I have to stop, get out, walk round, pay, walk back, get back in, belt up an drive off. I usually get a thumbs-up from the driver behind.
I made it to Sorrento and worked my way down to the old port where my hotel was. Cobbles. Great. It was packed at the bottom with no spaces to park. An attendant at the car park allowed me to park whilst I went to the hotel to check-in. He turned everyone else away. The little car works its magic again. The hotel has valet parking but I insisted on driving the car into the garage which they understood. Its a 5 minute walk uphill back to the car in the morning. Gosh.
I caught the lift into town this evening then came back to shower before eating at a restaurant just opposite the hotel. Sardines tonight. Nice.
Amalfi coast tomorrow. I want to get off pretty early so I’m off to bed.
18th July 2018
Ahh, the Amalfi coast – one of the reasons foe this route. I set off by 8:00 and after nipping up the spark plug ends I headed out of Sorrento. Well, I tried. There were a number of diversions in place and after I passed the same policemen for the third time I stopped and asked him for help. He directed me in the opposite direction to the one I was expecting, wished me luck and I finally made my way out of town.
The Amalfi coast lived up to expectations. It is beautiful, chaotic, spectacular, pretty and great fun. I am getting used to having to be on my toes with the Italian drivers but at one point on the coast today I was passed by someone well over the speed limit, in a no-overtaking zone, on a bend, over the brow of a hill whilst on the phone!
I stopped a few times to take photos but stopping is very difficult. It is very congested and at some points there is room only for one car at a time. People with little paddles do their best to keep things moving but not always successfully. You just have to go with the flow (when it does flow) and enjoy the ride.
I followed the coast road all the way to Salerno. This is a big city with a container port and was also very congested mostly with lorries heading for the motorway. I stopped for a coke here before pressing on. The next stretches a bit dull before I hit the hills on the coast again. At a view point above the town of Acquafredda I got chatting to an Italian family. They told me of a big statue of Christ up on one of the hills in a few miles. Worth a visit I was told.
I continued on and did see the statue but I ha no idea how to get up there. Thirst was demanding I made a stop so I left the main route and followed a sign to a beach. I parked up, took a short walk and found a lovely spot for a Coke. I looked at the map and found the statue. I fed it into Google Maps and decided to detour 10km for a visit. Good move.
I have to say that this section of coastal road is equally attractive as the Amalfi coast but is almost traffic free and I enjoyed it more than its more famous neighbour. There are plenty of places to stop and take photographs, and I did.
The road up twisted steeply skyward. The views were superb. There was a car park at the top where I left the car before catching a mini-bus up the last section. The views from the top were amazing. It was a clear day and you could see for ever in every direction. I am so glad I made the effort. A very memorable place indeed. Basilica de San Biagio.
My hotel was about 45 minutes away from the statue and I enjoyed the last section of todays drive. I didn’t get the hotel until 7:30. The hotel tonight is nothing special but I found a nice fish restaurant for a meal this evening.
Still heading south tomorrow.
19th July 2018
The route today is pretty simple as it has been for the last couple of days. Keep the sea on my right and keep going until I can see Sicily. It was a mix of normal road along the coast before I joined the motorway. I passed many beaches before I headed a little inland to join the autostrada. I took the usual fuel and drink stop mid morning and continued on. Motorways are not usually very interesting but sections of this route we way up high above the coast and you really do feel like you are flying.
I exited the motorway and headed for the port at Villa san Giovanni. I followed the signs and had to park up to go and buy a ticket. €33 euros and 5 minutes later I got back in the car. An Italian man was frantically waving his arms ahead so I made my way to him and followed his frantic pointing.
I boarded the ferry which started moving before I stopped. Messina was only a few minutes away and most of the time was passed having my photograph taken. We docked, I disembarked and then crawled through Messina. It was very hot indeed now. I stopped for a drink again and then took the coast road round to Taormina. I made my way high up above the town and found my little hotel way up high. Its a nice little place with a spectacular view and a bar, phew!
I cooled down for a while then headed into town for a bite. I like Taormina. I didn’t like the walk back up. Very long and steep then there are the 108 steps up to my room!
20th July 2018
Now I don’t know about you but if I see a volcano I want to go up it. I had quite a long way to go today right to the other end of Sicily but I couldn’t resist and changed my route to head up Mount Etna. The road up was almost deserted and was a great road twisting and turning its way up for miles. I climbed up higher and higher and the air became delightfully cool for once. The views were massive and clear. The whole of Sicily opened up in front of me.
I made my way up to as high as the road would take me. I Stopped at the first bar for a drink – after the usual photographs and explanations. Oooh, there is a cable car. Of course I had to go and have a look.
10 Minutes later I was on my way up.
I liked it at the top. The air was lovely and cool with a breeze. It was possible to go further on an off road bus but I decided to take a walk. It is very crunchy underfoot mostly and anything from fine grey powder to big rough boulders. There must be miles of walking opportunities up here. I wondered round for over an hour and a half. It was so nice to be cool!
The air was clear and you can see for miles and miles into the far distance. It did make me think that I have a long hot drive to come this afternoon.
Eventually I decided to head down. The opportunity for lunch was taken and I enjoyed a nice piece of lasagna before getting set for the 3-hour drive to Palermo. I stopped a few times on the great road down as there were more available pull-ins. Just great views.
As you know, the car does attract a lot of attention. As I descended lower and lower, warmer and warmer, I was going through one village when I came across a 3-wheeler of a different kind. I stopped behind it and the rider got off to shake hands and take photos. We completely blocked the road but he was totally unconcerned. He was so enthusiastic and effusive and waved me to follow. We stopped round the corner. I couldn’t help liking his enthusiasm and he introduced himself as Nino. There was bar opposite so we sat down.
Nino ordered some drinks. Freshly squeezed lemons over crushed ice. Sharp, cold and perfect. We communicated vaguely as he didn’t speak a word of English and I don’t speak any Italian. It was fun though. We connected on WhatsApp and he told me via google translate that he was definitely going to get on a plane, come to England and buy a Morgan 3-wheeler. Morgan please note, I’m expecting commission.
His trike is called Excalibur. I think I need a good name for my Mog. Eliza called it Mogley but Excalibur is way cooler. We said our goodbyes and I got ready for the hot drive to Palermo.
It was a good 2 1/2 hour drive to Palermo. The centre of Sicily was very hot and dry and the landscape parched. Driving into the sun wasn’t the best but I made good progress. I soon settled into a 100kph cruise down the Autostrada.
After a couple of hours I got to the outskirts of Palermo. I filled up with fuel and headed for the hotel. I had booked a city centre hotel which I found very difficult to find. After two laps of the centre I parked up on the street and tried walking. The hotel was where the map was telling me but there was nothing but a brass plaque on a wall next to a door so indicate its location. I pressed the buzzer and the door released. I checked in and asked for parking. There is nothing on site but they use a private garage a short distance away. I was given some very tricky directions and set out to park.
Gosh! I got lost in some tiny cobbled streets. I could not find the damn garage. I pulled over and the Carabinieri pilled up alongside. I gave the very nice man the card for the garage and he looked it up on his phone. He waved me to follow and within 5 minutes I had arrived. They were expecting me and I drove the car into a far corner in the underground. This time my stay is for two nights. I’m not planning to use the car tomorrow. This was my spare day – just in case. The ferry on Sunday evening only goes once a week so I wanted a bit of slack just in case I ran into any problems.
It was now dark and I was glad to get to my room to cool down. Phew!
21st July 2018
Rest day. I have allowed myself today as a day off. Mainly this was so that should I have any problems I would have 24 hours to catch back up. The ferry from Palermo to Cagliari in Sardinia only mins once a week so I can not miss it. I spent the day on foot round the city so here are some photos. Off in the car again tomorrow.
22nd July 2018
I spent the majority of the day round Palermo. I managed to keep my room into the afternoon as my ferry wasn’t due until 7:00 in the evening. The port was only 10 minutes away so there was certainly no rush.
I made my way to the docks two hours before I was due to sail. As usual the Italian organisation was completely hopeless. I was directed to a queue of cars but there were a number of different ferries in port. I found a man wearing a hi-vis jacket and showed him my ticket. No. I was in the queue for Napoli. I should be in a different queue at the other end of the docks. I found another queue. There were no signs whatsoever but I did eventually find another person to ask and he gave me a thumbs up.
It was hot waiting there with no shade but it wasn’t too long before the queue started moving. I was soon aboard. I took my bags from the car deck and headed for my cabin which was identified on my ticket. I found the cabin but I had no way of getting in. No card. No key. I went to the information point where I was informed that there was a man by the stairs handing out cards to get in the cabins. I found him at the stairs (different set to the ones I came up) and he gave me a card. Phew! I made my way back to my allocated cabin and the card didn’t work. I made my way back to the man at the stairs. The bags were now getting very heavy. After practically telling me that I was doing it wrong he eventually went off and got me an actual key. I was in.
I gave Josephine a call as she had already arrived in Alghero. Everything was fine so I had a bite to eat and settled down in my very small but surprisingly comfortable cabin. Next stop Sardinia.
23rd July 2018
Land ahoy! I slept well and woke ready to get going. I was really looking forward to meeting up with Josephine in Alghero but that was still at least 5 hours away. I docked in Cagliari on time and headed away from the town straight off the boat.
The first half hour was pretty much motorway to get me away from the busy city. Soon I was onto the smaller roads and feeling good. The road surface was nice and smooth and I had plotted a scenic route through the heart of Sardinia taking me through the central national park. The road swooped and curved its way for mile after mile through the trees and up over the spectacular hills. These were really some of the best driving roads I have ever been on. I hardly passed another vehicle in either direction. If there was ever a destination made for a Morgan then this could be it.
I found a small bar to grab a coke and I spoke to Josephine so we could meet up at the hotel. She had arrived the previous day and I was really looking forward to our rendezvous. I pressed on over more brilliant roads and made Alghero at about 3:15. There she is! Josephine was outside the hotel waiting for me. I now have a few days relaxing with Josephine before I start the long road home on Friday – very early.
27th July 2018
The alarm went off this morning (if you can call it morning) at 4:00 a.m. I was pretty much packed and ready to go the night before so I threw my bag on the luggage rack, kissed Josephine goodbye and headed north out of town. I have enjoyed the lazy days in Alghero but it was good to get going again.
It was still dark. Very dark. I was still comfortable in a shirt and shorts and driving an open car at night, under the stars is something special. The roads were deserted (wonder why) and my headlamps aren’t great so I set a steady pace as I travelled north towards Porto Torres for my ferry to Barcelona. The usual Italian lack of organisation soon followed. There were few signs to the embarkation point and when I did find it it was chaotic. There was a queue of sorts on rough ground but it was unclear as to what we were queuing for. Again no signs whatsoever.
I eventually got to the front of one of the lines where my ticket was scanned, my passport checked and a sticker marked “Barcelona” stuck to my screen. Phew! That was the first time that I knew I was in the right place. I joined yet another queue and watched the ship come in and unload. I was soon directed on and singled out to stay on the lower deck as my ground clearance is so small. I had to park amongst the trucks. My car looks tiny.
I have approximately 12 hours on here today. I would have preferred an overnight crossing but that was not an option on this crossing. I will arrive in Barcelona at 7:30 p.m. then its straight to the hotel before a big travelling day tomorrow over the Pyrenees.
Jane, I’m on my way! I can’t wait to see you.
28th July 2018
I was up and out by 8:00. Barcelona was pretty quiet so i managed to find my way out without too much difficulty so I was soon on the motorway heading north. Bye bye mediterranean. I had a planned 240 miles today so I needed to make good progress this morning. The running was smooth and I settled into a cruise for an hour or so.
I left the motorway and headed for the hills. Now thats more like it. Excellent sweeping roads over spectacular scenery. Lovely smooth tarmac – so much batter than Italy. I continued steadily through to Saint Llorenc de Morunys where I stopped for fuel and a cappuccino.
When I came out there was the usual group assembled by the car. One man spoke English and introduced the other man (sorry I forgot his name) as the chairman of the local classic car club. He loved the Morgan and wanted my contact details so he could invite me to their Classic Rally. Nice. I was told that he actually raced Graham Hill shortly before he was killed.
I continued on towards Andorra joining a more major road. Unfortunately as I got within about 8 miles of Andorra the traffic stopped. I queued then for an hour and a half to get into Andorra. It was HOT. The midday sun beamed down relentlessly. I was glad to get in the shade with the occasional tunnel. It was so hot my iPhone put up a warning screen saying so and then shut down. Never had that before.
I eventually made it into Andorra and couldn’t resist the McDonalds sign so I could grab a big drink. I pushed on climbing and climbing right up to Port d’Envalira at 2408m. This pass is well known as part of the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana and is the highest paved road in the Pyrenees, hence me wanting to come this way. I have now been over the highest pass in the Alps, highest pass in the Pyrenees and the highest road in North America.
It was downhill for quite a long time then before I turner off the main road again to head through dense woodland over a number of passes including El pas de la casa and then into France and over Col de Portel (1432m). These were much narrower single track roads through clouds and through dense woodland. I really have seen a huge variety of landscapes today.
I made my way down to the village of Saint Lizier. Again, I had to negotiate a maze of tiny cobbled streets within this old hilltop town. I eventually found my accommodation. A lovely place again. I went for a walk out and found somewhere to eat.
Off to see my sister Jane tomorrow. Can’t wait to see her and learn about her new life in France.
29th July 2018
I had a good night in Villa Belisama and joined a French family for breakfast with the owner. After admiring the magnificent view of the Pyrenees from outside his breakfast room and learning a little about this 400 year old home I was packed and ready to go.
I set off into another beautiful morning. The early running was lovely and cool in bright sunshine down pleasant country roads. I joined the motorway to get around Toulouse and headed north. I left the motorway as soon as I could and got back on the smaller roads.
The sat-nav guided me well and I stopped at a Mc Donalds in Cahoots for a cool down and a drink. That left me about an hour and a quarter to Boulliac where I was meeting my sister Jane and her husband Andy at their new home. They met me at the front of their house. It was so good to see them and get a taste of their new life in France. They have been there for less than a year but they have done so much but also have so much more to do. If anyone can do it though it is Jane and Andy.
Jane made a lovely lunch after I had a tour of their place before we went out in the afternoon to Monpazier. What a lovely medieval town. It was great just drinking coffee, catching up with Jane and people watching. I have never been round this area of France before but it really is beautiful.
Jane drove me round some of the lovely villages as we made our way back to Bouillac. We ate a lovely meal – thanks Jane before watching the stars come out and seeing the ISS before it dipped below the horizon. What a great day.
I am now really looking forward to exploring a little more of the Dordogne with my expert guides tomorrow.
30th July 2018
I spent the day with Jane and Andy today. It was a hot day and we visited some lovely places near by followed by a picnic on the river bank. Beynac was very hilly in the heat but well worth the effort to see the fantastic views over the river Dordogne.
We visited St Cyprien in the afternoon and were impressed with the thousands of flowers decorating the pretty town. Mango ice-cream was enjoyed before a look at the church then back to Janes house.
Jane had a little trip out in the Morgan and seemed to enjoy it.
In the evening we had a really nice local style meal outside as it got dark opposite the Abbey. Duck is the local speciality so we all had the set menu and it was excellent. A really nice day and so good to see Jane and Andy so happy. I have really enjoyed my brief visit and will be back again with Josephine.
31st July 2018
Oh well, I am now in Le Mans at the last hotel of my trip. I had breakfast with Jane and Andy before saying our goodbyes. I followed them for a while before we separated. They were off to a market and pulled over to park. The traffic was slow and they overtook me on foot but it gave us the chance to wave au revoir as I headed north.
I had changed my route before setting off today after talking to Jane. I went pretty much north in a fairly straight line avoiding the motorway until I got past Angouleme. I had been looking for the opportunity to take some pictures of the car with some sunflowers. Easier said than done. I eventually found some flowers with a smaller road leading parallel to them. I took my opportunity.
Most of the rest of the route today was on the motorway. 300 miles today and the car was great. Not too hot today as it varied between sunny and cloudy all day. I don’t envy Jane and Andy as they are forecast 40 degrees in the next few days!
After a meal in the central square in Le Mans I headed back to the hotel for the last time. It is an early start tomorrow as I am trying to get all the way home. Its great to go away but great to get home too.
1st August 2018
Last day but a long day over 375 miles plus a 4-hour ferry crossing. Up at 6:00 for an early breakfast – probably the best of the trip and away. It was just light and the roads were lovely and quiet. I followed my ever-helpful arrow on the sat-nav out of town, put on some music and settled into the cruise towards Dieppe. I was due to check in at Dieppe at 10:45 187 miles away so I didn’t have much time to spare. The only stop I had was for a quick splash ’n dash for fuel as I was unsure how busy it would get round Rouen. No problems there so I arrived nicely on time.
I checked in without any problem and was put in my own lane to wait to board. After chatting about the car to a number of people one gentleman was talking about his bubble car he had on his trailer. He bought his Misserschmitt by trading it for his motorbike many years ago and he has spent many years restoring it. It is lovely – I want one! His wife was kind enough to make me a coffee in their camper van. Thank you, it was nice meeting you both.
I had a bite to eat and watched a film on my iPad. The crossing soon went by and before too long land was in sight. We docked on time, I went to the car and waited. And waited….and waited. After an hour I’d really had enough. I was the very last vehicle off. I joined the queue for passport control and waited again. Another half-hour passed and they eventually opened another lane. An hour and a half after docking I was finally on my way.
The journey home wasn’t too bad. It was always going to be bust going round London but I reached the M40 without too much trouble. having burned through a whole tank of fuel I topped up and then journeyed straight home. It was just getting dark when I arrived.
3013.9 miles driven, 1 train, 5 ferries and 15 hotels all successfully negotiated without a problem. I even completed the whole trip from start to finish travelling in shorts and t-shitrs. I didn’t even put on a jumper at any point during the whole journey. It has been an exceptional summer in Europe and I have certainly made the most of it.
I’m already looking forward to Switzerland in 3-weeks time……