Club Motorhome Bloggers

Blogs written by Club Motorhome members.

More Aires Hunting - Day 7

The plan was to follow one of the local circular walks up into the mountains.

Whilst having our traditional morning coffee there was a determined knock at the van door. A Frenchman enquired as to whether we would be staying 'this night'? He advised us not to be worried by gunfire because 'tonight we kill some bad animals!'

We're intrigued to say the least!

We set of on the planned 5.4km walk which took us all of two and a half hours due to the slowness caused by the gradients but it was well worth it following waterfall after waterfall.

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More Aires Hunting - Day 6

After visiting Aires on the way we ended up at a charming location next to a small swimming lake, Serrieres En Chautagne. Parking and services free next to a little stream, we felt another day off coming!

We took advantage of the local bar's take-away pizza option and very good it was too.

A nice peaceful, if very warm, night other than the many local bullfrogs croaking the night away!

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More Aires Hunting - Day 5

After filling and emptying as required we headed to the nearest E'Leclerc to get some shopping, fill up with diesel and give back our French Butagaz cylinder that we used in France in our old van which didn't have the refillable cylinders that we now use - on production of our original gas contract and ID we got our 9€ deposit back too.

Having had no wifi for a few days we also headed to a MacDonalds to see if all was well in the world. Their car park looked a bit tight so I pulled in at a garden centre opposite and used a long range aerial to get a just about ok signal. Caroline went for a wander around the centre to 'justify' our parking . Emails sorted, blog uploaded, lunch eaten (that time already!) we set off for Burgundy.

Our afternoon's driving finished in the south of the region at Louhans. Its a lovely Aire that we first visited a few years ago when it had first been refurbished. Set by the riverside its nicely laid out and landscaped with the planting of 50 different varieties of pear trees which were now coming along nicely.

Tomorrow should see us up into the Alps....

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More Aires Hunting - Day 4

A day of rest.

Thats's a laugh! Well, that's what we call it anyway 

A great opportunity to finish a couple of jobs on the van whilst we are rested up in lovely surroundings.

Firstly I got the inverter connected up to power. I had previously installed the unit and run the necessary cables behind trim and through lockers etc to get the power where it would be needed. For some reason Carthago don't seem to think you might need any power points at the front of the van, they only supply 4 singles which are all amidships. The inverter (300W) is now mounted in the garage near to where the leisure batteries live and there are now power points in the rear bedroom, middle cupboard and front lounge, the latter being able to run off mains or inverter. The whole inverter supply can be turned off from inside the van via a switched relay.

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More Aires Hunting - Day 3

Spain are going to have to pull their socks up!!

Another 200 km destination although there is a lovely canal-side (again!) Aire that we used a few years ago that might tempt us to stop a bit early, a beautiful spot with all services and although not free it was very cheap. This day would take us right to the bottom of the Champagne region.

Driving was fairly uneventful but I am feeling more comfortable with the van. On an Iveco base its very lorry like as opposed to our Bel-Air which was fiat based and very car like to drive. The gear-change especially has a very long throw and feels quite clonky at first. The engine doesn't feel that it wants to be revved hard through the gears and, like the lorries I remember driving years ago, works at its best when kept in the green power band on the rev-counter. Initial calculations show that we're averaging just over 25mpg which at 4 and a half tons I'm very happy with.

Arriving at Froncles, the Aire I mentioned, we were really disappointed to see the state of it. A couple of really grubby vans and an old coach looked like they had taken permanent residence with associated debris strewn about and the others were jammed in at all angles with washing lines up - it all looked more like a travellers camp!

Back to plan A then, As we went through Landres we followed the signs to a town centre Aire but on arrival we found that although the services were open the parking had been blocked off and prohibited signs put up.

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More Aires Hunting - Day 2

A very lazy and late start, must be the hour lost still! Plan today is another couple of hundred km's hoping to stopover around the vineyards of the Champagne region.

Sat nav set for an approximate destination we set off to see what turns up. With a late start we didn't bother with a lunch stop, just brief pauses to have a look at a few Aires on the way - seems to be a bit of a canal theme to our findings!

Through Picardie and into the Champagne-Ardenne we headed to an Aire that we had used a couple of times before at Mareuil sur Ay but on the way we found a fabulous stop right by the vineyards of the big label producers Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Bollinger. The Aire has 8 spaces and still plenty of room enabling us to get the end spot with a great view to just gaze at 

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More Aires Hunting - Day 1

In true motor-homing spirit we've been very casual about planning this trip south. We had to hang around a bit in the UK for the shower repair and a couple of other small things but as soon as was possible we had our channel crossing booked.

Eurotunnel prices had gone through the roof for the days we wanted so we booked a very unsociable 1.23AM! We took a bit of a chance and arrived very early, about 5pm and they very kindly rescheduled us to cross 6 hours early at no extra cost - thank you Eurotunnel! We also found out that the huge prices were because we had chosen dates leading up to the 24 hour Le Mans racing - doh!

So, arriving late evening we just popped around the corner from the Calais terminal to Cite Europe for the night. A leisurely meal, bottle of wine, some French TV and a good night's sleep followed.

Next morning after breakfast and over our traditional couple of cups of coffee we studied the map to decide on our approximate route. Although definitely heading for Spain we had not decided whether to go down through France via the coast, through the middle or via the eastern side and the Rhone-Alps. More or less tossing a coin we chose the Alps. Mostly based on the theory that at this time of year the coast will be hectic, inland hot and from previous experience the Alps offer stunning scenery in the summer without having to contend with snowy conditions at high altitude.

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