Peter Sprot

Joined June 2016Living in: Wickhambrook, United Kingdom
  • Day26

    Our favourite destination - Home

    June 9 in the United Kingdom

    After a little over 3700 miles in 25 days including 5 days when we did not drive anywhere we are home. With a lovely welcome from our son Robert and our neighbours
    The ferry from Dunkirk was uneventful and the 130 mile drive home was noisy over the worst condition major roads in our trip. The M2 and M25 and M11 were very busy on a Saturday afternoon. All three motorways had some big pot holes to avoid and the surface was more bumpy and generally in worse condition than the similar roads in France Spain and Portugal. They were also by far the busiest.
    I need to fill up the car with petrol tomorrow to complete the calculation but it looks like we have used 587 litres to travel 3600 miles which equals about 28 miles to the gallon. Blubelle used half of the bottle of oil I have clipped in the engine bay and I think it holds a litre. I used only two tools, a plug spanner and a small wire brush. I took lots of tools and spare parts. I did have another fuse problem two days ago, it was the wire coming out of a fuse holder, it was easily fixed.
    As much as we both loved the adventure and the people we meet along the way it is nice to think that tonight we don't need to plan a route and tomorrow morning we don't need to pack everything, check the car and drive for several hours.
    We have not watched any television or heard any news since we left home and for the moment I don't feel at a loss for that so maybe tomorrow I will catch up a bit.
    I let Google keep statistics on my phone in the form of a timeline within the Google maps app so I can see where I have been, where I stopped, how far I have walked and how long I have spent in the car. Some days it was only four hours driving and others where nearly seven. We tried to set a target of between 300 and 330 kilometers a day. Two notable days that failed was going over the Pyrenees when in one direction it took six hours to travel 130 kilometres over a narrow pass but that was also one of the best days driving. I guess I also used quite a lot of fuel those days as it was in low gears most of the time. I'm sure I could have got a few more miles to the gallon by being more careful but I wasn't trying to set records, the object was to stay safe and have fun.
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  • Day25

    Saint Omer near Calais

    June 8 in France

    The weather started warm as we left the vine laden hills of the champagne region. The huge factories of Moet & Chandon was the biggest then as we headed north the sky misted over and it got cooler. We stopped in a rest area to put on jumpers and got talking to two English motorcyclists who had also stopped to don warmer clothing. An hour later we meet them again when we stopped for a coffee at a motorway service station. One of them told me how he once drove a 1960's Bedford van to South Africa. They were catching an evening euro train and we decided to stop overnight and see Saint-Omer which is surprisingly nice with a magnificent cathedral and lots of restaurants and interesting looking shops.
    Tomorrow if all continues to go well we should get home and when we do I intend to give a summary of the trip.
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  • Day24

    220 miles further north we earned our complementary champers on arrival in Vertus at the Clos Margot.
    This is the land of bubbly and good wine...so not surprised when, at the local pizza restaurant, the bottled water cost an euro more than the wine!
    My kinda place.
    We have had a good evening and this little town is quite pretty AND it didn't rain!Read more

  • Day23

    Being several hundred kilometres north helps...
    The poor weather continued this morning so after a lovely breakfast which even included a sprinkling of rose petals on the table the day started with the hood up on the car and both of us wearing rain coats inside the car. It wasn't hard rain like yesterday but it did have is moments and one of those was when we stopped at McDonald's for a coffee. It wasn't raining when we went in but the heavens opened just for five minutes as we drank our coffee which was enough to soak Mandy's seat and the Michelin map book she left on it.
    Once we got about 50km north of Limoges it became noticeably warmer and the sky began to clear so off came the jackets. We still didn't get it enough to put down the hood as we could see rain falling to our right.
    We are now at Issoudun in a budget hotel and have just had a nice meal at a nearby La Boucherie steak house which was recommended by an Englishman at the hotel who had admired the car. He works for an English company who upholsters aircraft seats for a nearby Boeing factory. He said he had upholstered an MGTA when he was an apprentice.
    Before the meal we had a walk down town to see the church which was closed and the river which flows well after all the rain. A beer at a sit outside bar gave us the sustenance to walk the 3000 steps according to my phone back to the hotel then a further 1500 to the steak house where we meet the Englishman and his colleague again.
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  • Day22

    Oh my god

    June 5 in France

    Last night we could hear very heavy rain outside our hotel and in the morning it had reduced to drizzle so I folded the very wet tonneau and put up the hood. Within a few minutes of starting of the rain began to fall harder and harder until it was bouncing off the road and I had to slow down to be able to see road ahead. It stayed like that for two hours. Thankfully the hood is very good and the side deflectors I added to the screen stopped most of it coming in so we continued without the side windows. Breakfast was bought from the supermarket before we set off and eaten in the car as it was raining too hard to stay out of the car for more than a few seconds. Eventually the rain relented to on and off drizzle so we stopped and had a kabab sandwich and a coffee. Mandy's left sleeve of her jacket was wet and so was my right one. The afternoon was better weather but the hood stayed up. At lunch we decided on a destination for the night and set of towards it only to see the sky darken again and more torrential rain hit us. The car was great it never faultered.
    We arrived without booking at this lovely place and I drove the car straight into the sheltered garage then asked for a room. Take a look at the pictures it really is nice. After a rest we walked the 2 kilometers into town and had a look around. The restaurant we ended up in was fantastic. The owner noticed we were hurrying to finish when thunder roared close by. He insisted we take our time and gave us a lift in his car back to the hotel. What a nice man. As I write it is raining very hard again but I am not bothered as our little car is nice and snug and dry, and so are we!
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  • Day21

    Eating in

    June 4 in France

    The rain stopped long enough for us to enjoy a walk in the town. On the way back we were going to pick up a take away pizza and eat it on our terrace at the room. It started raining hard enough for us to hurry to the pizza shop only to find it closed today. Across the road and near our hotel is a supermarket so we went in dripping wet and bought things we didn't need to cook, last year we did this and it cost over 40euros so we have learned our lesson this cost 14.50!
    As we got back I got talking to a man from Brasil who has organised a party of eight who flew in from Sau Paulo today to ride the pilgrims route starting tomorrow. They will cycle 70klm a day for 13 days. The first few days will be hard work as it is the way came in the car.
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  • Day21

    Rain stops play

    June 4 in France

    We woke up to very heavy rain this morning so we are staying here. If the rain eases there is a market we will visit. Mandy is going to use the time to plan our next few days and if it dries up a bit I will check the car. We have been staying off the motorways in Spain as the roads were so good and quiet so we hope for similar in France.Read more

  • Day20

    Not as many miles as usual today because it was very twisty with many tight hair pin bends in the pyrenees. It started raining hard when we got about 3/4 way through so we stopped in a village and sheltered until it stopped. The car never missed a beat over the mountains. The steepest had it in second gear a few times with a very slow average speed.
    Lunch at a roadside cafe was fun with people wanting to sit in the car for photos.
    We are now just into France at St Jean Pied de Port which is where a lot of pilgrims start the journey to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It's a surprisingly lovely town clearly catering to tourists and focusing on the pilgrims. A Japanese pilgrim was earning money to continue his journey by cutting hair on the street so both of us had a haircut while he told us his story. He started two years ago in Tokyo and has traveled right across Asia and Europe hitchhiking and cutting hair to earn money as he travels. After Spain he is going to Portugal then to England then Switzerland. We have met some fascinating people in this trip.
    Tonight's hotel is simple with a nice veranda overlooking the pool and garden. I think we are the only guests.
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  • Day20

    Technical update 2

    June 3 in France

    Happily nothing major to report.
    There are only two fuses normally on the TC. It blew one of them a couple of days ago. The fuse was the one which by passed the ignition and feeds the ancillary items it is 35amp. The car is positive earth however I have phone chargers and sat nav wired the other way and isolated from the chassis. They have their own fuse in that line and it blew that also so that might be a clue. I couldn't find anything wrong and it hasn't done it again.

    The other problem caused the car to misfire going up a mountain, by the time I found a bus stop to pull up in I had worked out it was ignition and probably not a plug. I took out the rotor arm from the distributor and cleaned it with the fine wire brush I use for cleaning spark plugs. That did the trick so within a few minutes we were back on the road.
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  • Day19

    Tomorrow we reach the mountains, crossing near Pamplona not on main roads so it will be a challenge.
    As I write we are experiencing a thunder storm so I hope it clears up overnight or we might stay here a day longer.
    We are in a lovely little hotel built 600 years ago in a village called El Royo. Chosen because it was as far as we wanted to drive today. Today's drive was on really good roads with beautiful scenery. We stopped for lunch at a tapas bar in Torrecabaileros then later for a coffee at a interesting looking town called San Esteban de Gormaz. Take a look at the pictures. We need to leave before they close the road tomorrow as the is a bicycle race coming through the village at 11am.Read more

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