Saturday, 30 June 2007
Therefore this is the fastest the cars have ever travelled, covering a distance in 12 hours that we took 6 days to cover.
Secretly i think that there was a few tinges of sadness parting with our cars, the final couple of hours in Casino Square were amazing, these old 2CVs took some of the limelight away from the Astons and Rollers.
Friday, 29 June 2007
After a brief stop for coffee (Mangy Moose) in which this caused Le Boite to break down, a call to suppport and the car was repaired. The amazing thing is that all the cars have made it so far.
The road was small and winding, plenty of hair pin bends to negotiate, this must have been madness before the motorway was built. Somewhat a disbelief that this was once the main route to Monte Carlo. After Frejus we made the slow and majestic climb up through the hills and pine forests. The scernery was stunning and the CV's grunting and groaning. A great way to travel, all roofs back with the odd water fight.
BAck down from the mountains and onto the coast, the prize was nearly ours. A stop at a cafe for a quick sandwich outside Cannes before heading off along the Coisette and in the direction of Nice.
The road was now small and busy, the sun was shining, we are on the Med. Heading for Nice and along the Promenade de Anglais, the water shimmering in the sunshine and looking very inviting. Needless to say the traffic was horrendious but all car made it through. It has now become apparent that we are near the Italian border as the driving is becoming somewhat erratic, little signals other than hand signals!
After Nice we stopped at Eze for a panoramic view on the hill of the Med, lots of large yatchs etc. The driving is fun climbing the hills and around hairpin bends again.
Past Monte Carlo and onto Menton to the Italian border. Up to the old border post, plenty of locals making the most of the cheap Italian liquor and tabacco taxes. A few bottles of champagne were cracked open along with the obligatory photos.
Back towards Monte Carlo or Monaco as Monte Carlo is only one of the 5 districts that make up the pricipality.
Into Casino Square where we had reserved parking amougst the Ferraris, Buggatti's and Rollers. It was an amazing feeling that we have made it, lots of photo's and locals greeting us.
After leaving we had the most horrendious time looking for the hotel and eventually finding it. Monaco is full of tunnels, one way systems. We drove in convoy on part of the circuit and lots of photos were taken, through the tunnels the roar of the 2CV engines quite impressive through the tunnels. The hotel is right on the border, and you can walk in and out of Monaco without realising it.
The view from the hotel impressive over looking the gin palaces, huge boats.
After checking in, half the team took the cars to Eze the transporter as it could noy get anywhere near Monaco. The drivers had a interesting time getting back as finding a taxi in Monaco is virtually impossible, lift from passers bys were gained.
A welll deserved celebratory dinner at the Cafe de Paris had been arraonged. A quick scrub up and into the centre of Monte Carlo to Casino Square, rubbing shoulders with the uber wealthy - the show of wealth is breathtaking. All the people seem to be monied, beautiful and young!!
This was our last night all together so a glass of champagne to toast the cars and the amazing donations that we have recieved, thank you everyone. It has been an exceptional week, good fun, hard work for the cars.
With the bonnet up and triangle erected, firstly we tried a new coil but as that didn't help Richard started stripping down the engine by the side of the road.
The support vehicle brought supplies of yellow jackets, swafega and easy start.
After each of these had been liberally applied and the spark plug re-inserted we tried to start Le Boite again and she sprung back into Life!
Now back on the road again head for Italy and the end of the N7
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Off down the N7, for a fuel stop and proceeding in convoy. The countryside has suddenly changed to arid Mediterranean scenery, fields of lavender, tomatoes and melons.
We stopped outside the small town Lugnac at 1.30 at a Routier, a very basic menu for €11 each, delicious steak and chips washed down with local vin. The rule that the driver in the morning can drink at lunch time and then navigate and co pilot in the afternoon. (Co piliot of the Moose still managed to be unable to read the sat nav)
After a long and lazy lunch in the shade of large plane trees we set of for La Luc. This is the way to travel through France, 2CV with the roof down and a comfortable speed of 80kms, although we have pushed the Moose, she rattles, rocks and rolls, however sadly we are becoming quite fond of her!!! Shall Lucy sell the Volvo and this becomes her family car?? Good on fuel the tank takes £17 to fill it up, very economical.
Water fights had begun, with gentle amounts being thrown, with the quantities somewhat increasing as the afternoon went on. After detours around Aix en Provence we proceeded down the N7 with water guns being fired and water bombs being thrown out of cars, something about the sun and mad Englishmen and dogs came to mind!
Over the radio came the call that the coil on the Boite had over heated and that a pit stop had been made at a roadside lay by. This was a calculated attack. On pulling over we were mercilessly attacked with not guns but 2 litre bottles of water a cooling down, an inch of water filled the base of the car. After general horse play with water we set off to La Luc and the hotel. The heat and the roof down and air con on (the front air vent open!). The bikers were attacked along with “the hanger on” vehicle in a surprise sting.
The scenery is stunning, just as you imagine the Provence region.
On arriving at the hotel, beers were ordered before jumping into the pool. General lazing about the pool then took place with a few more cool beers taken on board. Dinner at 8.30, yet again another stunning meal, 5 courses for €43 , it shows how much we pay for food in the UK, delicious.
The weather stunning so we ate out on the terrace. More water fights took place at the table, and Rob managed to squirt a table of Italians, it cost him a round of drinks and nearly caused a ‘flip flop’ incident!
Robert O writes: "Unprovoked attack on Le Boite"
Whilst waiting 2nd in line at red traffic lights, the occupants of the mangy Moose, decided to (sprinkle a small amount of water) throw the contents of their drinking water bottle at the occupants of Le Boite! This was a declaration of war. By the time we reached the next red lights, the co-pilot of the Boite had found a full litre bottle of water and jumped out to douse the Mangy Moose pilots. They were soaked!
Just at this point, a police road blocked loomed in front. The Moose stalled!! The Moose then made a stately and ordered drive past the police; the wipers were ineffective as the wipers did not work on the inside. After a regroup og the convoy, the mangy Moose decided to proceed far ahead of the group in order to change into dry clothes, and le Boite was suspecting a revenge attack. Another pilot can to the rescue with the loan of a “supersoaker” water gun.
The Mangy Moose waved white flags, however the gloves were now ‘this was war’ After the mangy moose was attacked yet again, revenge was sweet with a two litre bottle of water used to freshen up the Boite pilots.
We moved onto the hotel planning our revenge. The hotel is within the city walls, a stunning medieval city and the seat of the Popes for a while. A meal had been booked at ‘La Fourchette’ , some of the Rosbifs has ‘Escargot’ and Beouf, in honour of the trip. This was Tony’s last night so the effigy was worn. Good bye Tony and thanks for rein!!
The drive through the villages of Provence is stunning, hills laden with sunflowers and lavender. The weather is now glorious, blue skies and tree lined avenues.
The Boite bushwhacked the Mangy Moose at an impromptu stop just outside Orange.
The mangy Moose crew were hit by surprise with a high power water gun.
Not to be out done, as soon as they had recovered from this cowardly assault the Moose retaliated with whole bottles of water.The end result was a draw, but the reputation of the Boite is irreparably damaged.
From there it was another 80km South East heading towards Nice - there were various escapades, water fights etc on the way but this is best told by the pilots who will be blogging later this evening.
We started arriving at the Hotel from about 4.30pm and after checking in were forced to try out the pool and sun beds! Dinner is at 8pm and more blogs and pictures to follow by the Pilots.
Wednesday, 27 June 2007
We had dinner booked at 8pm at La Fourchette which is Michelin bistro recommended restaurant. The food was very good, the local wine (Chateauneuf du Pape white and red) was excellent and staff were great fun wearing our Rosbifs stickers. We preseneted them with a framed photo of all of the 2CVs for them to hang on the wall. One of the snails didnt make dinner until the cheese course, so now we have 2 sleepy Rosbifs!
After dinner we had a wander round the very pretty town, a glass or two more of red wine with others on Cocktails! and then off to bed after another very busy day.
We are intending to have a wander around the town first thing in the morning, with the joggers out at 7am having missed their early morning excercise in Lyons. We should set off again around 11am
We decided to take a slight detour and try the 2CVs on some very wiggly and steep mountain roads. We had stopped earlier at a Citroen garage as the Daisy's front wheel was making a noise as if it was falling off, but the Citroen mechanic said it would fall off when it was good and ready and to continue until it did!
Lunch and wine (Margeaux) was setup to be the prize at the top of the mountain and surprisingly all the 2CVs and bikes made it!
(Full update on Day 4 later on today as we are about to depart after 7 of us had a rather late night bicycling around Lyons at 1.30am! [Ive been asked to include the names of those bicycling around Lyons in order to show that we are keeping fit each day - Richard, Robert, Mark I, Ian, Nigel, Andy G and Rob)
After breakfast and tour around the very impressive Chateau, we asked Robin to wait at the bottom of the hill to video all the 2CVs coming down a very steep hill. True to form as we turned out of Chateauneuf The Moose turned left instead of right in completely the wrong direction for the camera! Frantic car to car radio calls turned all the cars around at the bottom of the hill and with lots of blue smoke we drove backup the hill to take the right route and hopefully have some great video infront of the Chateau.
From there we headed South again on the N6 where there were vinyards on both sides. We had been visiting old petrol stations on the Route Nationale, however we were a little concerned about fuel when we couldnt find any that were open! So the support car asked the ViaMichelin device to take us to the nearest one which was in Saintt-Aubin.
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Sunday, 24 June 2007
We all started the day at an 8am briefing except for one Rosbif who didnt turn up. Our set off time was 9am and with a little light rain everyone was ready to leave - but we were still missing one Rosbif! By 9.15am the decision was taken to leave without the lone Rosbif and let the support car bring the sleepy Rosbif along after getting the hotel reception to tell him we had all left without him! (more on this possibly separately).
We headed South through Airaines and regrouped for fuel at Grandvilliers after about an hour. Although the snails are surprisingly quick there are a lot of traffic lights and junctions on the side roads which have slowed us down a bit.
We arranged to reunite the "sleepy" Rosbif with his car at Beauvais and all met at a McDonald's. That was fine except for the "Boîte de Peu" which took a detour to the centre of Beavais and went to the wrong McDonald's!
After our late start we decided to make up time to Paris by joining the A16 motorway and eventually zoomed into Paris past the Stade de France with the Support Vehicle taking the lead. From the Perifique we headed into the centre of Paris and here the ViaMichelin navigator was extremely helpful directing us through the Parisian streets. We think we programmed the shortest route as we did take some frightening small and narrow back roads but successfully emerged, as a complete convoy, just by the Notre Dame at 1.30pm.
We were an hour and a half late and had lost our police parking, however we managed to park in a line right in front of Notre Dame where we met Richard Lamberts Sister. Many Pictures were taken around Notre Dame including a team photo at the start of the N7 in front of Notre Dame.
After about 1/2 hour we set off for our Paris tour, firstly travelling up the Champs Elysees, taking our life in our hands as we circled the Arc de Triumph several times and then on to the Eiffel Tour. We managed to park South East of the Tower in a line with a perfect picture pose. Many people came up to support us including several Japanese tourists wanting their pictures taken with the cars.
From here we headed back to the start of the N7 South of Notre Dame and then from there South to Orly. We had planned to meet some people from the 2CV club at Orly but this didn't happen so we carried on South to Fontaineblue.
We all parked at the back of the hotel and were met by a French camera crew making a film about the 2CV for its 60th birthday. We spent a lot of time giving interviews and talking to the crew until it was time to go to dinner.
Dinner was at an interesting restaurant within walking distance where the food was very good but service didn't quite live up to expectations. After that we headed back to the hotel for the evening fines for bad driving and general indiscretions and then to bed ready for day 3.
Saturday, 23 June 2007
We spent 30 minutes trying to extracate ourselves from Calais before we found the D127 South towards Abbeville. We regrouped outside a patisserie in Hardinghen, where we updated the logos on the side of the cars to "118 218". We then proceeded at various speeds South, where some of the 2CVs "just" exceeded 70mph resulted in later fines and "L" plates for various drivers at dinner.
We were surprised at the number of French people that waved and recognised the "118 218" logo. When we stopped for petrol, several children recited and danced to the "118 218" tune. This is a good omen for out trip tomorrow to Paris !
Friday, 22 June 2007
The daily route way points have been programmed into each of the ViaMichelin devices and will help the cars to stay on track and give us a better chance of actually reaching Monaco !
The Michelin man is also coming along to see us off from the Compleat Angler, Marlow on the morning of the 23rd.
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Our stand at the Marlow Regatta and a collection raised £280 on the Saturday, and on Sunday, at the end of the concert and festival dragon boat day, we collected a further £308. Many thanks to all who contributed.
So, if you haven't signed up on our justgiving web pages please please make a donation here now!
Ian says "So far I have sponsorship of two weeks pocket money from my daughter Kezia. In trying to make the growth look more substantial I have cut my hair as short as I dare, but all that has happened is that my wife Lucy thinks that I look like something out of the Village People and has refused to kiss me until it either dies or falls off. Any other sponsorship directed at the Mangy Moose (or should that be Mangy Tache) would be gratefully received."
Monday, 18 June 2007
With two weeks to go before the end of the tour, the full 118er should be in full flourish! (Well as full flourish as he can muster with he weak growth hormones!) Richard would be pleased to receive any helpful suggestions. He intends to ignore Nigel's advice: "cover your face with salt and hover over a bowl full of water. The hairs will be so desperate for a drink they will stretch out for the water". Thanks Nigel!
A bit of competition from Ian Brown too...maybe a little contest at the end of the trip?
Sunday, 17 June 2007
A team of 2CV pilots and supporters of the Air Ambulance took to the water to enter in the Marlow Town Regatta Dragon Boat competition.
The imaginatively named "Fit, Active, Rowers, Toiling for the Air Ambulance" (or F.A.R.T. for the A.A. for short) were one of 39 Dragon boat teams competing on the day.
The "FARTftAA" won their first 3 races with some very impressive times. Unfortunately however, the team seems to have peeked too early and were eventually beaten by a more seasoned dragon boat. Even with a respectable 15th place overall some of the pilots felt they had done better and a stewards enquiry is in progress !
Collecting buckets for the Air Ambulance were rattled all day with many generous donations received. Also a big thank you to Marlow Town Regatta for letting us collect money as people left after the pop concert and also http://www.marlowrt.co.uk/ for the collecting tins on the bars.
Saturday, 16 June 2007
Tuesday, 12 June 2007
Richard has accepted this challenge, which really will be a challenge as his usual shave involves a rub with a rough towel!
If anyone else thinks that this challenge should be properly rewarded (as he will have to start now and look like a vagrant for the next two weeks prior to departure and still carry on business) then they are welcome to add to the donations for Richard and Robert or for the whole tour. Just add a suitable note to your donation so that we know why you've sponsored!
Sunday, 10 June 2007
The photographer arranged with the police to let us stay for 15 minutes whilst the tourists looked on in an interested but somewhat bemused state. Lots of pictures and a press interview later and we drove off to the park by the river. (Well nearly all of us did - the "Marlow Donkey" needed a bump start outside the Castle which was the first sign of things to come).
We all parked up near the river under the railway arches and took lots more pictures. The plan was then to head off to Windsor Great Park, but this is where we ran into real trouble. The "Marlow Donkey" had decided that it was definitely not going to start again, even after trying to bump start it half way back to central Windsor! So the "Support Team" was summoned and a shiny new "A" frame towing bar fitted to the front of the tired 2CV to take her home.
Everything under control again we headed out of the car park when the "Mangy Moose" decided to come out in sympathy and stalled. Again she stubbornly wouldn't start until connected to jump leads from the Support Vehicle.
We made it to a roundabout on the Windsor by-pass when the "Mangy Moose" battery decided it had had enough and was going no further. This was a pity as the day before it had been driving round farmers fields at great speed, becoming airborne at one point, and delighting pilots and children at a party at Hickenham Farm.
So now we had two dead cars and one towing vehicle. After cooling down (the coil had over-heated), we managed to revive "Marlow Donkey" just enough to get it on its way and so attached the A-frame to the "Mangy Moose" for its recovery home.
An interesting morning and we haven't been past Windsor yet. It looks like the support teams will be quite busy on the trip !
Photos available here
Saturday, 9 June 2007
Thursday, 7 June 2007
How to change a wheel on a Wonkey Donkey!
The first reported puncture of the Tour was easily rectified with a little strong arm!
Arriving at the prestigious Evolution offices in High Wycombe the Marlow Donkey let out a huge sigh and collapsed on her hind quarters.
Flat tyre, no problem, get the jack out and hey presto the sill started to bend. Put the jack away boys! Now lets all heave! Old wheel off, new one on...who needs a trolley jack...throw it away Tony...change the Support Car toolkit - travel light!