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French International 2018

A 500 mile round trip to Lancashire to pick up grandson No 1, back on the Friday. The following day was THE social event of the village calendar, the couple who run our pub getting married. Up at 5 am on Sunday morning to get down to Poole for the once daily crossing to Cherbourg. On our way.
Priscilla the camper van
Priscilla was originally bought to go to the Danish Rally. Unfortunately she had too much rust under the bonnet. I pulled the screen washer bottle out and the bonnet fell off! We ended up taking the car with a tent.
Eventually she was patched enough to get through an MOT and then we found that the 2.4 four cylinder engine did not really have the power to drag a permanently loaded camper van about the countryside. The following Spring a 2.9 five cylinder motor appeared on eBay. This motor had allegedly done few miles but came from a car. First problem was that the sump was the wrong way round and ‘clashed’ with the axle. It seemed impossible to find spare parts for these things but there did just happen to be one new sump at Mercedes in Stuttgart. £300 plus VAT. That then meant that the oil pump was the wrong way round but these were available on the internet. The motor dropped in to place but the inlet manifold was not going to fit in the available space – car ones are flat and wide, van ones need to be perpendicular. Like sumps unavailable, except, there just happened to be one van manifold left down in Stuttgart. This one was an absolute bargain at only £300 including VAT.
We got it fired up about two weeks before we needed to set off for the Italian Rally and did 2300 miles with no problems.
The Poole Cherbourg ferry gets in to France at about 2pm so only leaves a short travelling day. About 100 and a bit miles South is the town of Fougeres. Splendid municipal camp site and the ladies who run it speak English and are really helpful.
Half past eight the next morning we’re on the road and 250 miles later parking up at our ‘house’ (derelict) down in Limousin. Temperature was around 40*C and stayed up there till after the rally. We spent the next day and a half trying to empty the house of all the stuff I’ve been dragging down there for the last year. Apparently the electrician needs ‘space’ to be able to run his cables?
On Thursday we trundled 60 miles North to the Rally site. Held in the grounds of a spectacular chateau the site was well laid out and had everything needed for a weekend of talking nonsense. The chateau had been reroofed in the nineties at a cost of 1 million Euros and has about 90 rooms. It looked OK from the outside but when you looked through a window it was pretty rough inside. Apparently one chap has been working there since he left school 41 years ago and has finished seven of the rooms!!
Some of the usual suspects had already arrived and the rest rolled in over the next 24 hours. The Friday night entertainment really was something else. An absolutely bonkers accordion player – just totally crazy. The rest of the weekend was just as it should be, a good display of bikes from a Camel Back to new ones, the ride out seemed to go OK and the food was good. One of the best bits about the site was the river that ran behind the chateau. After Oscar our dog had found it we really had trouble trying to keep him away. The Finns liked to swim in it and eventually GS No 1 and Justin took the plunge. It did look horribly cold though?
On the way home we toured some of the Normandy beaches and St Mere Eglise with the parachutist still attached to the church tower. A really good trip.

Finland next year. I’m thinking that Priscilla might need a turbo motor for that journey


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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
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