Tuesday, 13 April 2010

April 11th 2010 – April 13th 2010

To Dover

We left home at about 10:00, for an uneventful drive to Dover. No hold ups, so including a break for lunch we arrive at Dover 16:45, for our 17:00 checkin with Norfolk Line. The ferry is running late anyway, and loading does not start until 17:45, but we still manage to sail just slightly late at 18:05.

We arrive at Dunkirk, 22:00 (French Time), but the ferry is surprising full and we do not get off until 22:15, so we are beginning to think we will be too late for our first campsite. We intend to stay at Guines, a pleasant site, which is just about 20 miles from Dunkirk.

Guines – La Bien Assise ASCI 2010-841

No need to worry, we arrive at 22:45, and although reception is closed we are able to find a spot, get plugged in and organise ourselves.

Kathleen rustles up one of my favourite meals, Dickensons Mince and Onion pie, with baked beans and potatoes, she is a star.
 Just a couple of “incidents”, one concerning the heating of the beans, and the other our electric fan heater, (they are not connected) but I have been told I must not mention them on any account, so I can say no more.

But a bit of Red Wine and some Gin & Tonic and all is right with the world.

We wake to a dry but chilly morning. After a leisurely breakfast, we are on our way by 10:00. First task is to fill up with diesel, we have made it from home to here on the first tank full, but are now down to less than a quarter tank. We find a Le Clerc, and fill up at Euro1.13/litre, just slightly dearer than it was a year ago here, obviously they do not have Brown/Darling managing their economy.

The intended route is to pick up the (mostly free) A16, south from Calais, switch to the A28 at Abbeville, still heading south toward Rouen. We do not have a definite destination in mind, it is just a case of heading south in the general direction of Bordeaux and seeing how far we get by say 15:00.

It is decided we will use the HSN (human sat-nav), instead of the Tom-tom. Unfortunately, unlike the Tom-tom, the HSN’s attention sometimes wanders, and I am told to leave the A16 at junction 24, the problem is at this time I am two junctions south of (ie past) that, and well on the way to Amiens. You can certainly cover some kilometres, even at 80km/hr (60mph), on these empty roads.

So we leave at J21. This is a very small junction, and more fun ensues. They have installed an automatic machine to take your toll, if you want to pay in cash. Not sure (yet) if this is widespread, but we have to wait for a good five minutes behind a GB Range Rover driver who is struggling with the machine. Kathleen hops out and “helps” him out, eventually we both get on our way.

We enjoy a scenic tour of the Somme Valley, including a stop for lunch, via Flixecourt D57 Hangest-sur-Somme, D3 Longpre, D216 Airains, D936 Le Translay , D928 Bouttencourt, (I suspect this area is the setting for the romatic bis of the book “Birdsong”). Eventually we join the A28 (where we should have been) south of Abbeville, on past Rouen to join the N154, another free motorway standard road.

Kathleen picks out a campsite as we go. The address is entered into the tom-tom and we arrive at about 15:00.

Marcilly-sur-Eure – Domaine de Marcilly – ASCI 2010-864

This is a four star site in the ACSI book (we even have our own picnic table on our pitch), we have been here before and it is very smart, but it almost exclusively given over to static caravans and chalets, so it does not have much atmosphere, although fine for an overnight stay. We are at first the only one’s here, but at about 20:00 another campervan arrives.

We are having a more leisurely day today, with cups of tea etc. This brings to Kathleen’s attention that, it would appear, someone has forgotten to pack the tea bags. This is a problem, you cannot buy ASDA tea bags in France. The accused one (me) cannot remember if they were packed or not, but they are ticked off on her check list. So far I cannot find them in any of the cupboards, so it does look like a no.

The weather has improved during the day as we drove south, and it is now sunny and mild.

Kathleen rises to the occasion for a second time, with another culinary special, as you can see.

We head off after breakfast, Kathleen driving and the Tomtom doing the navigating. Heading for Les Rosiers-sur-Loire , near Saumur, south east of Angers, in the Loire valley. It is an interesting journey, mostly N and D roads (more of less equivalent to A and B roads in the UK), D143 to Dreux. It is here last year that the Tomtom refused to respond in the middle of town and got us into a right pickle, but this year no problem thankfully. From Dreux it is the D928 to Nogent-le-Rotrou all through beautiful rolling farmland and forest. Unfortunately the sun is not shining. N23 toward and then around Le Mans and onto La Fleche, leaving on the D308, then D938 to Longue-Jumelles, D79 to Les Rosiers-sur-Loire on the banks of the Loire.

Les Rosiers-sur-Loire – Le Val de Loire – ACSI 2010-963

The site is of the swimming pool, bar, shop, playground etc etc type, not usually what we go for, but at this time of year it is quiet and we have our choice of where to set up. There are only two other touring caravans here when we arrive, and another two camper vans arrive later in the afternoon. The weather has perked up, we have warm sunshine, so all is well.

We explore the village of Les Rosiers-sur-Loire, it seems quite pleasant and has all of the requisite items (ie bar/café, restaurant, church, a few shops), we also discover there is a cycle track along the banks of the Loire, so weather permitting, that can be our outing for tomorrow.

Still have not found the teabags by the way!


  1. well ken, kathleen ticked them off so its not your fault, dont let her pick on you !!! sounds like you have had a good start to your trip. take care x lynne