Tuesday, 30 July 2013

In Brugge...sans Mud Flaps!

A last minute change to the children's plans meant that they needed dropping off on Saturday morning not Friday and hence our planned cross country A Road drive turned into a motorway trash to get to the Chunnel.  Everything went well until the M25 which was closed between Junctions 10 & 8 to allow an incident to be cleared.  Whilst waiting to get off the motorway at J10 a passing motorcyclist alerted me to the fact that my n/s mud flap had started to depart company with the cycle wing.  I quick check confirmed that the bonding on one of the big heads had given way so, as a precautionary measure, I took my Gerber to the rest and removed both mud flaps, ~110 mile so not a good start.

Then things got better, the Highways Agency decided not to close the M25, only the inner two lanes, by this time we'd just made it to J10 so had a near clear motorway all the way to the Chunnel Terminal.  Once we'd arrived we parked the car to await our boarding call and went for a comfort break and bite to eat.

Loading on to the train was straight forward with the Westfield being directed to the lower deck and no clearance issues getting on or driving through the train.

After a 35 min crossing we were in France filling up at the petrol station just by the exit to the Chunnel before heading across the top of France/Belgium to Brugge.  The drive through Brugge over cobbled streets avoiding pedestrians and cyclists was interesting and even with a Sat Nav it took us two goes to find the Hotel Jan Brito through the web of one way streets (that cyclists can go both ways!)

Two very enjoyable days drinking beer, eating fish, mussels, frites etc, a small music festival and walking all in glorious sunshine.

The journey home started with the recovery of the Westfield from the underground car park and trying to repack everything plus the beer, wine and biscuits we'd bought followed by a return trip to the Chunnel.  After a couple of brief intervals of very light rain we took the opportunity of a refuel stop to fit the 1/2 hood which proved to have been a good call as we went through a shower in the last couple of miles before reaching the terminal. 

The weather in the UK looked okay so off with the 1/2 hood and, with plenty of time, we turned off the M20 as quickly as we could and head cross country through Kent (A28), Sussex (A265) and Hampshire (A272) before  skirting around Winchester and joining the A303 for the final run to Yeovil.  The IVA trim from the n/s cycle wing started to detach itself just as we approached Stonehenge, a quick repair with duct tape kept us on the road. As we approach Chicklade the sky became very black and we could see the rain so we looked for somewhere to pullover and fit the 1/2 hood - predictably this was about 1 mile too far and we ended up getting soaked fitting it, the car was reasonable dry as the majority of the time was fitting and tightening the straps and pop studs with only Tricia & I exposed to the elements.  The rain was so heavy that our feet go soaked with water coming through under the scuttle so at the next opportunity I'll remove it and work out a better way of sealing it!

All in all a very enjoyable 3 days with the Westfield driving over 600 miles in the process, the car now having covered 2875 miles, roll on Classic Le Mans next Jul.  I also need to sort out a storage area on the Roll Bar that allows access to the fuel filler cap.

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