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 Insbruck. 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.
CAFE PICTURE HERE
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.
CHARME VID 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.
CHERME PHOTOS HERE
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.