Left home at 10:45pm set off down the M1 heading for the M25 then the M20
Traffic of HGV’s only was very strange all roadworks so easy to get through it was a very stress free trip arrived in Dover in plenty of time for our crossing (06:30) even got on the 05:40 crossing instead.
Got off the ferry quickly as near the front straight on to the A26 filled up at the first Service aire 1€43 a litre.
Carried on the A26 until it became the A31. We shared the driving changing over around 150 miles apart.
Lots of roadworks on the A31 where they are widening it to three lanes. At one stop where the rest aire (Serrigny) has been changed to a service aire. The roadways are very narrow – too narrow if you follow the caravan signs Steph was driving, so we could change over, and she hit the kerb on a roundabout with the caravan. Obviously, it has seriously frightened her, we found somewhere to park up and check the van.
The Motor mover took all the main force of the impact by bending the actuation bar on the offside of the ‘van, and the tyre on the same side has a seriously deep cut.
We made sure the mover still worked and thank goodness, it does. The tyre had been changed for the spare, although we had the problem of the ALKO wheel carrier jamming so we had to use a mallet to knock it back under the van, and the old jack decided it could not cope with the weight and bent, fortunately whilst the tyre was on. Fortunately, for us the car jack is made for 2 tonne.
Once sorted we decided to abort the longer run and find a site nearby, so chose to go to the site at Santenay –Camping des Sources. We had set-up, eaten, and had after exploring just returned, when the heavens opened and we had a thunderstorm with torrential rain.
Got up late after eating we went on a cycle ride to the town and to the next village following the Canal Towpath
After lunch spent a couple of hours driving around looking for garages and fuel found, we were no more than 10 miles from La Grappe d’Or. On our way back found a Champion that was not in Tom-Tom so we filled up at 1€40 a litre and logged it into Tom-Tom
Broke camp and set off for the South around 9:15am. Went back to the Autoroute and motored steadily at around 70mph, went through Lyon easily both tunnels on the A6 running smoothly at around 110kph. The A6 changed to the A7 then to the A9 and our first sight of the Med around Sigean. We were soon on familiar ground heading to Ma Prairie at Canet en Roussillon.
Set up camp on pitch 250, the next pitch (251) to where we were in 2005. Steph even managed the new awning almost alone. After we had rested and eaten, we visited the site bar for our usual drinks – Martini with a slice on the rocks for Steph and Pastis 51 and water for me.
Has a late breakfast and got the bikes out, we then took a ride down to the harbour then across the promenade to the end of Canet Plagé to the market, then a steady meander through the shopping area taking coffee at a beach side café.
Back at the ‘van we checked out the pool brrrrrrrrr it’s only 20 degrees and as the air temperature was 27 it felt cold. After another drink in the bar it was back to the van for some sunbathing and spending time chatting to our neighbours over fresh coffee,
Until 5:45pm, after they had just returned to their caravan it started to rain very heavily for most of the night. We visited the bar for our usual drinks.
Woke to the finish of the rain from the night before, as the weather was still threatening we decided to visit a few shops. We also went looking for tyre fitting places found a few but got the same answer NON the problem is the reinforced tyre we use in the UK isn’t used here even though the caravans are heavier ? Lunch being a slice of pizza from the L’Clerc at the Espace Polyzone in Perpignan. Spent the rest of the day relaxing before dinner (Chicken and a salad from the on site restaurant) then we visited the site bar for our usual drinks.
We got up late-ish and went down to the harbour on our bikes, we then split up Steph going to St Cyprien and the Iron Age settlement on the Etang banks, and me to the end of the Port breakwater to fish.
Steph found the going easy but the coming back was harder due to a headwind she was gone over two hours covering 20 miles.
I fished just down from the end of the breakwater in an easy to get to place with deep-water close in. When Steph returned she brought lunch in the shape of some pizza slices and cans of soft drinks, which in the hot sun was very welcome.
We returned for tea of pasta the sauce having been made early morning and left on in the slow cooker to simmer all day.
We realised when we got back that we were more than a little sunburnt.
Usual visit to the bar for drinks when we found out why we had seen folk queueing for petrol to see Parisians rioting because of the petrol strike
Up at our normal time of around 9am ish. And after breakfast and our usual discussion of what to do and where to go we decided to walk the route was to find a way to get to the Port via the Village a way we had not been before. So setting of to the village and finding ourselves on the road to the Intermarché, we knew where we were. A refreshment stop at the bar across the road passed ¾ of an hour pleasantly. We then ended up along the beach looking for lunch about an hour later stopping at the café tour for a huge American Steak Sandwich and frites and 2 coffees each. Then we walked back o Ma Prairie via the Hyper Casino for some provisions for tea on approaching the Lidl closer to camp Steph decided we needed a bottle of wine so 2€50 later we had a bottle of Zinfandel to drink later.
Settled down to rest our feet at the caravan with a beer as it started to spit with rain, we had just finished the 7 mile round trip in time. So Cadac fired up for tea with another salad from the restaurant and our usual visit to the bar for drinks later.
Trip out early to Le Perthus and La Jonquera to buy cheap drinks and diesel, at least they have fuel in Spain and it’s cheaper at 1€30 a litre, due to the strike some places charging 1€60 a litre.
Spent most of the morning wandering the two towns getting what we wanted, then took a drive out through Collioure to Argeles and St Cyprien. We didn’t wait for fish market as we were too early, decided to trip into Casino at Canet, and get some fish there. Noticed while we were there that they had fuel but it had gone up to 1€42.
We had our fish grillade with the usual take away salad from Nadja at the site restaurant. Then a bottle of Lidl Zinfandel Wine (equivalent to £1.99) and after a nice rest showered and off to the bar as usual if a little later than normal.
After breakfast, we set off to the Place Mediterannea area of Canet Plagé. We debated all through breakfast as to how we were going to get there as it’s quite windy today, we eventually decided on the bikes and to take the route through the estate near Lidl instead of the cycle path next to the N617. We had a headwind all the way there! We went specifically for the Catalonian Kite surfing Competition. After having a beer in a beach side bar we went down on to the beach and took some photographs, but we did not stay long as the wind was turning the sand into a shot-blast and eve though we were a long way from the sea were getting spray over us. The bike ride back was very easy due to the very strong tailwind. We did some shopping for food in the Hyper Casino so we are in readiness for tomorrow. Later on, we will be eating in the site restaurant instead of using the take-away service.
Set off 10ish headed for the A9 via the N9/N119 and then to the A62 and A10 to Bordeaux, lot of rain on the way at times the road was not visible through the surface water and the speed limit was taken down to 90 kph in places. Arrived at Twin Lakes at 4:30pm after a 340-mile drive, set up camp after a welcome cup of coffee from Sandra and Garry.
Spent the morning fishing in the rain, I lost two big carp but caught three Roach from the bottom lake all fully finned and bright coloured, but broke my landing net handle extension, will need a new one especially on the top lake to reach out into the water. In the afternoon went to the Intermarché for food and diesel and a break.
Visited the Château and took the photographs I need for the website, returned to Twin Lakes at 1:15pm, and had lunch.
Started fishing after lunch and it started to rain again and continued to rain all evening.
Spent the evening playing pool and drinking eventually getting to bed after midnight
The day started late for us we got up at 9:40am after breakfast took a trip into Montendré to check out the possibility of WiFi connectivity at the Intermarché but found there was no public hotspot and the one told to us by Sandra is now not open
On our return went onto Sandra’s computer to check emails and forum posts.
Had a lot of back pain today including a major attack
Lunch came round quite fast today and one pizza and some painkiller later felt a little better so took a walk around the bottom lake then took minimal kit to the top lake to fish around 3pm. By pm had caught two fish a small linear mirror and a large common with yellow tail fin and silver dorsal fins.
Set everything out for tea outside as weather had been very nice today, just getting ready to eat when it went dark very quickly. We got everything inside just in time for the heavens to open and we had a huge thunderstorm that passed right over the top of the campsite. Up to halfway through the storm the awning had coped well but the winds lifted the sheet off the poles and pulled 4 of the 6 pegs out we got soaked putting the poles and pegs right and adding some ropes to the nearby trees to add extra stability now not even puddling water on the roof .
Went to Montendré market this morning, the weather stayed good as we wandered the streets. Replaced my broken landing net handle from the tackle shop in he town then returned to Twin lakes. Started fishing after lunch, and Steph sunbathed as the day got hotter she went to the pool for a swim. The day remained warm until after 7pm so it made a nice change to previous wet days. Usual evening in the bar until it got too cold for my back when we went to bed around 11:30pm
The day started very bright with clear skies. We visited La Motte and chatted to Chris Steph visited the stables next door and wanted to go riding tomorrow. We returned to base just as some of the others on site were leaving and said our goodbyes.
I went fishing on the top lake, and spent the early afternoon bagging up on beautiful Roach, having almost a fish a cast, using a size 10 hook and single or double sweetcorn. By late afternoon the thunder and rain had returned, it stopped again by midnight.
The rain returned around 4am. Slept in until 9:30 am and went to look around and collect the bread. Found Carol from "365" forum just ready to leave, on their way up North a little further. Spent the day shopping at Montendré, and fishing the top lake for Roach for a change, getting lots of fish on single grains of corn on a small hook.
Stephanie was booked to go horse riding at the stables near to La Motte at 3pm so after lunch the weather had improved so off we went Steph to the stables and me to La Motte to fish the lake. Steph found that the stables was not like the normal turn up and ride style she had used elsewhere, there she had to groom the horse, saddle it, before going to the ring to show she could ride then they set off on the hack. On her return, she had to remove the saddle and brush the horse down to go into the paddock before she was finished.
My fishing was different in that the lake obviously had larger fish in but they were not showing but the little carp and roach were and in all I had 30 small Carp and two Roach the largest was possibly 7-8 ounces. All the fish were taken on light float tackle with a size 14 hook and single grain of corn.
Went to Saintes today, for the market that is open only on the first Monday of the Month, amazing that the city centre is closed for the street market to be held. Afterwards tripped to Jonzac to the L’Clerc and the shops around it, even found some of the stuff we needed at good prices.
Returned mid afternoon, and as the weather was kind, so we took down the sun awning and packed it away ready for Wednesday and our departure from Twin Lakes.
San had two of the baby rabbits from the original bunny island in side as the mother had abandoned them inside for safety and to keep them warm and fed
Last full day at Twin Lakes, so after shopping in Mirambeau and getting the car filled up with diesel, I set up for fishing. Spent the rest of the morning until lunch on the bottom lake with still nothing to show for it just one run all day.
After lunch tried the top lake and bagged up on Roach on single sweetcorn (again having to hide the hook in the grain). Ragged up late afternoon and got the van packed before tea, spent the rest of the day resting fort he trip tomorrow.
Set off early after breakfast, after goodbyes with San and Garry and the new rabbits he had scooped out of the lake as they had rolled out of the nest down the banking and into it.
We had an uneventful drive to the next site Le Ridin in the Baie de Sommé via Le Mans almost Autoroute all the way. We arrived just after 5:30 and set up pitch then explored the site. Have tried their WiFi but cannot get the computer to connect for some reason (found out it was broken so still not able to download my emails).
Awake early to bright Sunshine!
Took a drive around the area and filled up at the local Champion Supermarché but we had done our shopping at the larger Intermarché.
Spent the afternoon relaxing and slowly getting the van ready for Friday we paid our 2 camping cheques and were told to post the security gate remote in the post box by the outer gates.
Up at 06:30 (05:30 UK time)and once breakfast was done, we hitched up, set off, once we had opened the outer gate, and negotiated the tight roadway of the campsite. We reached Calais quickly and easily but the weather is rainy, we got the 09:40 ferry with time to spare only just missing getting an earlier sailing. We got to UK Passport control and for the first time had the caravan checked for stowaways before we checked in with P&O.
We took an alternate route home M20 / M25 / M11 / A1 / A617 instead of M20 / M25 / M1 / A617 and we are not going that way again as from Mansfield it was stop / go almost all the way and the clutch didn’t like it at all. We got home about 4:30 pm