I’m having the re-write this, because the app I use just deleted the entire thing, let’s try AGAIN.
So our new plan is to get up and drive somewhere in the morning before the temperature gets to high and then spend the rest of the day enjoying the weather as previously we’ve done a fair bit of driving in the hottest times which Ruby does not like.
This morning we woke up to grey skies, even though it was still 28 degrees. Today we were starting to head back up north, the idea being to break the journey up into 2-3hr chunks. In order to plan, we had put in the quickest route to Dieppe, and were then picking out points of interest along the way. I chose Païolive woods, around a 2hr drive away so we set off.
The first of the drive was uneventful. We stopped off at a supermarket about half an hour away to get food for the evening. It was raining gently as we got out the van. By the time we wanted to leave, it was chucking it down. We joined the people in the supermarket doorway commenting on how ridiculous it was. ‘Rain’ doesn’t seem to do it justice, you literally could have had a shower in it. I may well have done if it had not been Intermarché car park.
So we legged it to the van. Comprehensively soaked in the ten seconds it took to get there. We then set off again with the windows all steamed up and no way to demist them apart from a towel. I never hooked up the heating system as I didn’t really think we’d need it. An interesting side note here is that since the fan relay broke, I had to temporarily wire the fans into the nearest ignition live wire. Prior to that you had to wrap a wire around the battery terminal and then disconnect it everytime you parked up so this is a slight improvement . The only thing is that this means the fans are powered by the front fuseboard, they pull around 20A. The main fuse for the whole board is 30A. The headlights which needless to say we needed on too, pull 10A. The indicators 2A. Anyone adding this up may be able to predict what happened as we went to indicate on exiting the roundabout in this weather
When the main fuse goes eveything stops, literally everything. So we are stuck in the middle of the roundabout in the pissing rain, unable to put the hazards one while I swap fuses around. Having sorted this, the weather is so bad we decided to park up and make lunch and hope it settles down. We watch it chucking it down from a nearby carpark.
Having eaten, we set off again. We decided to head north still but try to find a campsite as this was not walking weather. Lee finds an ‘aire’ that is a kind of camping service point. We head there, the roads are very flooded. Still, we are a long way off the ground so that’s reassuring. A little way down, a bloke is in the road diverting traffic away, the road is closed due to flooding. This leads to a lengthy diversion around the mountains past an angry looking river.
We get to the aire but you have to buy tokens to use it for 20 minutes, this doens’t seem like an economical way to charge our batteries so we head on.
We find another few campsite but they look like my own personal idea of hell. I already picture us being escorted to our little box, in a neat line of massive white motorhomes while children scream and terrible music plays from the onsite cinema. We move on, but don’t find anything that horrifies me any less apart from one that is only for tents. By this time though, the weather is looking a lot better. A bit of blue sky even, so we decide to do that walk anyway as it’s very close.
Parking up in the church car park in Chassagnes we leave around 3.30pm for a 3hr walk. On leaving, I realise the instructions yet again appear to have been put through google translate a good few times and make literally no sense. I’ve got no internet for a map so we spend half an hour wandering around trying to find a path or 4G. Eventually we get internet, find the path and head up it towards St Eugene church on the top of a hill.
Half way up it starts to rain again. At the church it starts really raining again and we decide not to keep going for the sake of it and head back down. The views in this weather are not worth it.
We also decide to brave the campsite for a hot shower and hook up. It turns out to be 22.5euros, which is a little pricey but does have quite a few facilities. We get a fair space where we can park with only one other van. A nice hot shower is in order, we are both soaked to the skin.
After a nice shower we head to the bar and I manage to order croissants for the morning in very bad french. It’s not particularly tourist on the site, all the families are French and the campsite if mainly static homes, so it’s nice and quite in the camping section. We have a game of pool while two slightly forlorn looking children watch. We invite them to join in and try to teach them how to play pool a bit. The second games is girls vs boys. The girl Celia, isn’t very good and is very shy but her younger brother Rafael is actually pretty good. Nevertheless Celia pots the winning shot and they both race off looking very happy which is nice.
We then order a takeaway pizza from the restaurant and Lee finallly gets to watch the horror film he’s been threatening me with. We sample first 8.6% beer, then 10.5% and round it off with 14%! They are actually nice too, which is probably quite dangerous.
When is your next trip Will? I look forward to your adventures and am filled with awe at your ability to keep Ruby going x
We are hoping to go back to the Pyrénées in Easter. Hopefully with less drama!