Electrical Failure on French Motorway
As you may have seen in my last post, it rained quite heavy whilst we were at Disneyland and although it has abated slightly when we departed, we had a very interesting journey home.
When negotiating the exit slip road from the A104 onto the A1, we encountered flooding which we had no choice but to drive through after all, cars were seeming to get through OK.
Everything was OK until it started raining again and we realised we had no wipers, then we had no lights, then we had no anything……
As it is diesel, we were still running and we continued of a while until the rain dictated otherwise and we pulled into a motorway aire to see what the problem was.
We had plenty of time to get to Calais or so we thought.
I suppose my mistake was stopping the engine – it would not restart afterwards which I knew but still did it anyway!
We quickly found an on-line manual showing all the fuseboxes (3 of them in total) so where was our problem????
After about an hour checking fuses and relays, I was none the wiser and we were ready for calling the breakdown service when the unexpected happened!
Yes, I stepped onto the battery cover in the cab and the dashboard lit up like a Christmas Tree.
Quickly taking up the carpet and removing the cover, I found that the fuses had come loose – why? I don’t know so a quick tighten up and hey presto, everything was alive.
The negative terminal was a little loose but this is down to the actual connector which I will replace as soon as I can but for the time being, we were back on the road.
The journey went well, we arrived in Calais in plenty of time for our ferry.
We parked up in line, switched off and when it came to our turn to board, it even started again – job done! or so we thought.
We parked right at the front of the ship, meaning we would be one of the first off in Dover and yes, you’ve guessed it, the bloody thing would not start.
A quick press down on the battery cover and away we went so I concluded that the actual problem was the loose negative terminal, not the fuses but not to tempt fate, I ordered a full replacement set and replaced them before our next adventure began.
So far, so good!
Another visit to the greatest place on earth…..
It seems so long ago now, but you never forget the Disneyland experience, no matter how many times you been before & we always get that “magical” feeling upon arrival.
Mainstreet USA without the crowds, for now, anyway!
Don’t be fooled by the blue skies, there was still a nip in the air and the view from the Castle is always one to take in before it gets too busy.
It wasn’t all blue skies, and as anyone knows, when it rains at Disneyland, it rains but what a sight it is.
Our boy’s are grown up, but we will never grow up & Disneyland will be always be on our list of places to visit (regularly)
Another successful visit, no meltdowns, no hassle, just pure fun from beginning to end(ish) check out my next post to find out why!
We intend on getting our moneys worth from this years Disneyland Annual Passes as next year brings so much uncertainty and we are yet to see what impact the ridiculous “Brexit” vote has on our ability to freely roam around Europe.
Travelling to/from Dover on this trip, we set sail and a grey & blustery day but what the hell, we were on holiday and the chilly breeze woke us up nicely…….
Disneyland Paris is the main attraction for us, even with 2 teenage sons in tow, we all have a great time and what’s not to like about Disney?
Our usual parking place, far, far away from anyone was perfect and anyone with an autistic child can probably understand our reasons for doing so and we get a really good nights sleep too. The only thing to remember is that at busy times, this area can be used as an overflow car park so be prepared to move a little further down the car park to avoid getting surrounded.
Some more great & special memories being created which will last us a lifetime – priceless.
It wasn’t quite the end of our holiday yet and we took to the roads once more & headed back to the UK & Dover.
It may not everyones ideal destination but for us, Dover is a place were we feel at home, we are not sure why but it’s just got that certain charm about it and steeped with history
Wherever you look, you get an overwhelming sense of what it must have been like during WW2 and I would recommend the tours of the Dover Castle tunnels which are run by English Heritage with the aid of some very knowledgable volunteers – check out their website for yourself:
Parking in Dover can sometimes, be very busy but if you don’t mind paying for an hour or so, you can get a good spot on Marine Parade before the rush for a free park after 5pm.
We knew that was it for the summer, unless we got away for a weekend somewhere closer to home but if not, October was not that far away and the ferry from Hull to Zebruggee was already booked – what a nice feeling it was too.
This isn’t a motorhome blog but wanted to share with you our wonderful trip, in the snow, to DLP’s Davy Crockett Ranch.
There is only one way to describe it – WOW!
As there are no toilet disposal facilities from November to April, and the local “Font bleu” at the Esso petrol station always appears to be out of order, we decided to book our stay at Davy Crockett Ranch which is a short drive from the gates of DLP and our first visit for sometime.
For anyone who has not been, the accommodation is basically a mobile home with a “log cabin” feel. Comfortable, warm and well equipped, you can’t really go wrong and self catering adds to the benefit, for us anyway.
It’s always a risk to go on holiday during the winter and we knew that there was a risk of snow but it was the sheer volume of snow which surprised, not only us, both the whole of the Paris region.
What a winter wonderland!
The parks were transformed and it made this visit a little extra special and we loved it.
We decided not to travel home whilst the snow was at it’s worst and booked in for one more night and at 100 euros, well worth the money to ensure we were safe on the roads as the snow stopped overnight and the roads began to clear.
We couldn’t believe the difference when we arrived back in Calais for the ferry home, no snow and bright blue skies, making for a nice journey home.
We never thought that we would get this far but there was a break in the weather and the roads had cleared, so off we went to Hull and hopefully we would see a little more snow whilst in Brugge, just to make it feel a little more like Christmas!
And we were not disappointed…….
Although there wasn’t much snow, it was enough to make it feel like magical, despite how cold it was.
Talking of magical, the Christmas Market was in full swing by the time we arrived and we just couldn’t help ourselves and had to have the usual hot chocolate and bradwurst which always goes down well despite our youngest wearing most of his across his face.
This year we decided to use the Ice rink, afterall how difficult could it be?
I am glad that i cannot find the photo’s of this experience as this just shows how much I underestimated my ability in front of hundreds of people – how embarrassing not to mention it makes your legs hurt!
We will be back next year and I am determined to navigate the circuit without the aid of small childs sliding chair – who am I kidding but at least it will be fun.
The snow cleared quite quickly and we had planned to go to DLP until we needed to return to the UK on Christmas Eve so off we went……
I’m not sure what it is about the drive from Brugge to Paris but this does not seem as tedious as the route from Calais which surprises me as you actually travel on the same roads for the majority of the journey.
It is no real surprise that we took up our usual parking spot in the “unsociable” section of the parking area (right at the back & far away from anoyone else) which is just how we like it & means that in the event of an autistic meltdown, we are well away from anyone else.
With a mist hanging over the parks, this added to the winter/festive feeling
What a magical time of year and this only gets better as it gets darker……..
Walt Disney Studio’s have seriously upped their game with a new show for the festive season and it was well worth the wait.
One final thing before setting off home was a meal at our favourite restaurant, the Silver Spur Steakhouse and disney would not be the same without it (or maybe thats my stomach speaking) with a big thank you to our waiter who took this photo for us.
Once again, things must come to an end, and that was the end of this trip but we look forward, as always, to coming back soon – my attempt at an unhappy face!
Predictable? Us? Never!!!!
You guessed it, were on our way back to DLP followed by a few days in Brugge to unwind & recharge the batteries……
We have decided to mix it up a little this time and travel from Dover to Calais on the outbound journey and return via Zebruggee & Hull which gave us time to revisit one of favourite places in the UK, Canterbury.
We booked into the Camping & Caravan Club site for 2 nights and we are never disappointed at this quiet and well maintained, friendly site. Being so close to the city is an advantage and there is a bus stop right outside.
It is perfect for our needs and although the New Dover Road, Park & ride site is probably better located for a couple of nights, I hate the fact that you can watch next doors TV and see what they are having for breakfast however that doesn’t mean that we would use this for the odd night in the future, just beware that it is a little cosy with a larger motorhome – just my thoughts anyway.
As usual, a very nice crossing with P&O and next stop DLP.
Perfect weather, perfect location.
Having been to DLP many times before, we always opt “NOT” to fill up with water here as we have experienced all sorts of goings on at the fresh water points and I’m not that bothered in washing in water from a tap used to rinse out toilets etc (I would never drink it anyway) so a good supply of bottled water is essential and not as much of an inconvenience as some would think so a little tip for anyone travelling in a campervan or motorhome to DLP – we take 5lt bottles from Sainsbury’s or Tesco and you can purchase 8lt bottles from Carrefour or Auchan if you need more, both are nearby with plentiful parking.
Not only were we in DLP, it was also my Birthday with cake & everything…………
My present from the boys brought a whole new meaning to ” a box of chocolates” as you can see and it took ages to get through all of these chocolate bars – honestly it did!
To celebrate we booked a table at the Silver Spur Steakhouse and although a little expensive for what you actually get ( which is what you expect on holiday anyway) it is alway’s great service and an excellent meal so I have no complaints at all especially with our complimentary alcohol free cocktails as part of our annual pass perks.
The rides and overall experience at DLP is just as it was when we first went in 2007 and we never tire of this – I guess this just goes to show that we never really grow up at all or maybe that’s just me.
After a day’s play in the parks, a nice relaxing night in our home on wheels, waiting for the fireworks at the end of the day.
We’ve come along way since our first visit to DLP with 2 small boy’s and hope that there’s many more visits to come as they enter young adulthood – I know that one day this will end but I’ll make the most of whilst it last’s.
All good things must come to end but at least were heading to Belgium and Camping Memling in Brugge for the next few days before taking the ferry back to Hull & home.
The campsite was undergoing a little work with most areas benefitting from new grass seed which caused us to park the opposite way on on our pitch but this is OK and didn’t cause us a problem and it’s only understandable that this has to happen so that everyone can enjoy it again next year.
We found that we were parked under a chestnut tree and they were in season so we threw a few to roast on the BBQ and they were delicious, a worth remembering for next year.
Brugge, in our opinion, is best seen and travelled, by bike, and we always take ours when visiting. It’s a 5 minute cycle ride to the local Supermarkets and only a 15 minute ride into the centre (direct) or a leisurly 20-25 minutes if you go via the canal side towards the rail station, either way, we were glad of the comfy seats we purchased from Auchan, these were much better than the ones initially fitted.
Another great stay and on the day of departure we like to park in the aire – for info check out the link below:
This has electricity, water, waste disposal and litter bins and a stones throw away from the centre. Entry is via a barrier and you simply take a ticket, park up and pay at the nearby paystation when you leave (located just across the road in the coach park)
This will obviously get busy at certain times of the year but as we pick our times carefully, we never have a problem with finding a space.
If you head out of the aire on foot, you pass the coach tour drop off/pick up point and there is a nice little ice cream van “waffles on wheels” where you can buy tea/coffe/ice creams/waffles etc and all at a reasonable price.
As far as parking for the day goes, it is expensive but it is convenient as you don’t want to arrive at the Port too early and you may aswell enjoy a day in the city before setting sail…….
Oh well, that’s it for now but we’ll be on our travels soon enough, this time a visit to Brugge for the Christmas Market and maybe, just maybe, we may see a little snow.
An early start on Friday morning after a few hours parked on Marine Parade, Dover, our long weekend at Disneyland Paris started – it’s a long way for a weekend but worth it……..
The drive down to Dover always seems better when your heading away from home, it must be the excitement of the journey and what awaits us at the other end and at £70 return, it was really good value.
An early crossing, actually, very early, means only one thing BREAKFAST! to keep us awake and at 3am, it wasn’t too bad at all but not something i would do that often especially with P&O meal prices.
A good crossing and efficient unloading saw us on our way to Disneyland Paris, again.
Everyone was happy & looking forward to arriving at DLP mid morning but the eyes started closing and we had no choice but to pull over into a rather nice, new, rest area for a couple of hours.
This is the first time we have ever done this and whilst not ideal, it was better to be safe than sorry.
What a difference it made, 2 hours sleep and the journey recommenced with an arrival still on the cards before lunchtime .
Before we knew it, we were negotiating, what we think is the worst part of the journey, the A104 around Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport but all this was forgotten when we saw the signs for Marne le Vallee & those gigantic Mickey Mouse roadsigns – I’ll never grow up!
We arrived safely and it was as though we had never been away.
Our usual parking space, right at the back of the motorhome parking area, nice & quiet and away from those who, despite the instructions issued (in all languages) still insist on using a petrol generator or playing a game of ” how many motorhomes can we hit with a football”
Some would call it unsociable, I would just call it sensible especially when travelling with an autistic child (not so child like at nearly 16 years old) and a simple method in preventing a “meltdown”
There’s no need to tell you what happened next as you can guess, rides, rides and even more rides was the order of the weekend and with the adrenaline gushing through our bodies, we all forgot about the tiredness and had a fantastic time as you can see below.
All good things have to come to an end and we departed, with a mixture of happiness & sadness but I unfortunately, had to be back at work on Tuesday.
We encountered a terrible drive back, long, stressful and tiring but would we do it again – yes, of course we would and we will add our future adventures soon.
Having had our usual crossing from Hull, expensive at approx £800 return, but well worth it when visiting Belgium without the need to drive all the way down to Dover or the Channel Tunnel, we parked up a what is becoming a regular home from home for us.
Camping Memling and at approx 40 Euro’s per night for us all, it’s not the cheapest but you do get the use of some excellent facilities including showers, toilets, free wifi, useful information points and attentive wardens who are only too happy to assist you should it be required.
With bright blue skies and our family in tow, we headed for another visit to one of favourite places on earth – Brugge.
Not sure what it is about this place but we never seem to get bored with it and theres always something new for us to do & see.
Whether you see the sights by foot, carriage, bus, cycle or even a segway, this is one of the most beautiful cities you could ever visit and with Hot chocolate to die for, what could be better?
Having been many times before, all without bikes, we decided that enough was enough, and we would throw the bikes on the back of Rio and cycle on some of Belgiums excellent purpose built cycle ways.
HELLO UK – we could learn a thing or two about the successful integration of all modes of transport!!!!
The journey from our campsite towards Kruispoort and then along the canal before an ice cream at “waffles on wheels” which is located at the Coach tour drop off point and just a perfect place for a short break before continuing on our way – cycling was never this much fun as a kid………
6 Nights at Camping Memling, Brugge with lots of walking & cycling, one day, all of this exercise might actually pay off!
With new aches and pains we left Brugge behind and headed for the next phase of our somewhat predictable vacation, Disneyland Paris.
Routine is the order of the day for our family and a must when travelling with autism however as we get more inquisitive about what else is out there our plans are changing but we always plan and do things as a family, for now anyway…………
I think we deserved a nice pizza after the journey and what a place to sit back & enjoy it.
Big Thunder Mountain looking and running fantastic after major refurbishment prior to the 25th Anniversary Celebrations – this is our favourite ride here, well mine at least!
No matter how old you are, theres always something here which will make you smile and our grins usually go from ear to ear.
As night falls, the park takes on a whole new appearance and WOW, what a show.
We will be back later in the year, making the most of our Annual Passes before we have to renew them – A Bientot Disneyland.