Since Scotland in Easter was a relative success, we had planned to go away for 3 weeks in Ruby to the south of France. We spent two weeks there last year and loved it, but also spent a lot of time driving around while in our holiday cottage so we though it’d perfect for a roadtrip type holiday. Also another test of the van’s reliability and aptitude in a hot climate.
We booked the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe which would bring us a bit further down the coast than the typical Dover-Calais route and save us some of the less interesting driving. We were due to leave at 11pm Monday night, arriving in the early ours of the morning.
I had previously driven Brimingham-Brighton in the week and the van was running a bit hot and a bit ‘lumpy’. Probably an understatement as I spent another hour in Beaconsfield services, bodging the cooling system to make the last half of the journey. Turned there was an airlock in the heater matric which led to more hacking at pipes and the use of cable ties. Nevertheless I had actually sorted this part and it was running much cooler the rest of the lead up to our trip, she was a bit down on power though and the fuel pump was a bit too loud, still we hadn’t time to order the part and she was still working, just a tad sluggishly.
So we left for the port around 8pm and I ordered a new fuel pump to a French address just to be sure. We had already spent the day checking other parts and were pretty sure this was the cause. We got to the port – fine. We went through check in – fine. We waited in the queue main queue – fine.
We got put in another queue due to the height of the roof rack and literally as we were about to board the ferry, the engine died in the queue and refused to restart. This led to me running around with bits of wire to check what had happened but it looked like the fuel pump had given up on the docks. Here is us, broken down with our ferry about to leave in the background.
The port staff were lovely, assured us we could get on the ferry tomorrow, and towed us out to the car park so we could fix our van. My dad came and rescued us and, sod’s law, just before he turned up she started up. We only made it about 10 minutes down the road however before having to be towed the rest of the way home.
I didn’t sleep much that night.