5. May, 2022

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THURSDAY 5-05-22

We had a very pleasant stress-free drive down to the Shuttle terminal at Folkestone (GPS: N51.092886º W1.117463º). I was trying to keep the speed down to 60mph and run with the HGV's rather than the cars. Considering we drove through the evening rush hour in the M25/M20 area I was very pleased.

The cunning plan was to arrive at the terminal in good time for our 22:20 crossing so that we could sit and watch 'Masterchef' on BBC TV in the car park as well as have an evening meal before boarding. However when we arrived at the terminal some four hours early we were offered an earlier crossing - 19:20, for no extra charge. So that was it. To hell with Masterchef, we were off to Froggie France three hours earlier than expected. We're recording the series back home, so unless we get round to watch it on catch-up TV while we're away, we can see it when we get home.

On arrival at Calais we filled up at Carrefour fuel station within the Citi Europe complex (N50.936245° E1.806541°) paying €1.97 a litre which is equivalent to about £1.68, which isn't too bad.

For a couple of years or more motorhomes have been banned from overnight parking on the main car park opposite Carrefour (N50.932880º E1.811049º) because of the problems the migrants create, trying to hitch a ride to BenefitLand, UK. This is a great shame as it was so convenient being able to cross for the night, then in the morning get scrubbed up, go shopping, then round to the fuel station for fuel and their dump facilities. Never mind, our alternative was the large out-of-town shopping complex outside Boulogne, more precisely, the car park outside the Auchan supermarket (N50.732708° E1.67144°).

By 22:00 (we lost an hour with the clock change) we were parked up very close to the front doors of the supermarket and in bed not long afterwards.

This morning after a peaceful night we bought some last minute fresh bits of food including a baguette for lunch. That supermarket is huge, absolutely huge, and they seem to sell everything.

We were on the road by about 09:30 which enabled us to have a good day 'at the office'. If the French were to build a good ring round some miles out of Paris our lives would be made so much easier, but instead we have to go around it via Rouen/Evroux/Dreux/Chartres/Orleans.

After today I am convinced that our satnav has a built-in dice which it throws at the start of every journey to see which way it will take us. We've been through Rouen a number of times, but it's never taken us the same way twice. We've only ever had one good, problem-free run, and that was the last time. Today was different. At a point in Rouen where the map showed we needed to keep right and take a loop in the road, 'IT' told me to keep left, which I did and that was the end of sanity. To correct things 'IT' even tried to take us through a long underpass that would have given us just three inches of clearance above our roof. So technically we could have got through, but would you take the risk?

So after a stressful tour of the boil on god's arse known locally as Rouen, we finally managed to break free and continue our journey, though I have vowed never again to travel though Rouen.

We stopped off at Nonancourt just before Dreux, to top up the tank and have lunch at their Carrefour supermarket (N48.764299º E1.214372º). There we paid €1.87 a litre which was promising as it was coming down a bit in price.

Onward we travelled across country to Orleans where we would join the A71/E09, or whatever they're calling it this week). As usual 'IT' wanted to take us right through the centre of Chartres, and even though we ignored the instructions and followed the HGV's 'IT's persisted in its desire to take us on a sightseeing trip. Believe me, I'd bin it and buy another one for all the grief it gives us, but when I look at reviews of alternative brands and models they all seem to have similar irritating problems, so I don't really want to spend about £350 only to finish up with something no better than what we have. I think over next winter I'll send it off to have the mapping updated.

By the time we neared Vierzon we'd about had enough and have pulled on to a small Truckstop just north of the E09/E11 junction. It's been a long day, but we're now in a good position to complete our journey by lunchtime tomorrow.

Back the Auchan supermarket in Boulogne I bought a five-litre box of Bordeaux red wine. I thought I was paying about sixteen euro's for it, but when I got to the till it was just €9.99. The Chef quite likes the smell of it, but I'm not sure if I've bought very cheap French plonk, or rather expensive vinegar.

After parking up for the night I stepped out of the habitation door and was greeted by the strong smell of urine and sticky tarmac. Ah - it's good to be back.