Some days you are a pigeon ...
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
110Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Started off well, we had a good breakfast. Went out to start the car before checking out of the hotel, and it wouldnt start. It had rained overnight, the air was damp, so it wasnt too surprising, Stanley (for that is what he is called, as he has to take us through many stans) doesn't like damp weather.
So we started sorting all the things that it could be. Sprayed everything with damp start, checked the plugs, no spark. Checked the distributor, there was a spart in the points. checked everything we could think of. Even sorted the carburettor, as the spart may be there, but not visible. Replaced the plug, the distributor cap, the rotor arm, the coil. (Luckily Martin had had the foresoight toensure we had spares, and some of them were fiytted alongside the originals. Everything was fine. Eventually we gave up, and called the recovery guy. Took a few international calls to get the right service, and of course, being Sunday, and UK an hour behind France, they weren't on duty when we first called.
Eventually, the guy arrtived and very quickly located the problem, the points had shifted in the distributor. So as they do, he fixed in minutes what we had poured over for hours.
So we set off. Stopped at lunch to fill up with petrol and have a bite, and we took the opportunity to look at the oil situation, Stanley had been using a bit of oil, well, too much. We identified where we thought it might be coming from, and sorted that out. Of course, as we were working, there were a constant stream of other motorists, both French and English, coming over to admire the car, offer advice and tell us how much they wished they were coming with us.
Set off again, went for about half an hour when the car totally conked out. Dead. Nothing. Martin pulled over to the side, we put out the warning triangles, donned the yellow vests and started sorting things. Identified that there was no spark at all, and were just discussiong that we shoould put the original coil back in place, when up drove the cavalry. At least 2 cars with motorbikes - the gendarmes had arri9ved. They insisted that we werent allowed to stop on the motorway. We couldnt do anything else. Well, how long have you been here/ And so it went with them really only blocking us from fixing the problem. Eventually they uinsisted on calling out the breakdown service to tow us off the motorway, but at our cost. As we had no alternative, we agreed, but then continued replacing the coil. And so the engine fired, and ran beautifully! They were impressed. However, they then insisted we wait until they could cancel the breakdown service, so it took a bit longer. How did they manage to find us so quickly, we cant have been there more than 10 minutes at the most. You try getting the police to respond to a call in that time!!!!
Drove on and into rain. To find that the windscreen wipers didnt work. Luckily, the way to turn them on is to pull out a knob and turn it, which engages the wipers, so we could operate them manually, if not electrically. So we went down the road, both of us operating one wiper. Had great fun doing it at the same time, until Martin's wiper fell off. Luckily it stayed on the bomnnet so we managed to recover it and put it back at the next Aire. Then about 30 minutes later it fell off again!
However, now we are checked into a hotel, had dinner and ready for another day. Hopefully not as exciting though.
260 miles av speed 42.2mph max speed 58mph
Martin- If it was going to be easy everybody would be doiing it.We knew that there would be difficulties and what we have to do is deal with them and keep moving on.We know we have to average 250 miles a day and although we lost 4-5 hours today I was determined to maintain the average.So 250 miles we did -whether we are going in thre right direction remains to be seen.French people are always a delight and without exception all we have encountered have been pleasant and helpful.What has been a disappointment-even more so than the last trip through here has been the Americanisation of the shopping precincts and the fast-foodiness of the restaurants.Huge Italian and Chinese buffet-style lifeless places.Perhaps we are experiencing life per the Autoroute.
Also very disorientating watching the effects of the tsunami on Japan as reported by silent French TV in garages and restaurants.Has one reactor blown?Is another in danger?Are there enormous consequences internationally,even allowing for the huge damage and dreadfull loss of life?Perhaps one of ouir avid readers might send an update.
Are we in the safest part of the world?
And remember - see yesterday's instalment:
....But the bravest of all,at least so I am told-
Was Abdullah Bul Bul Ameer
More tomorrow - need to dream of oil leaks now