Tour de France 2013

The Tour is nearly upon us again with the van having had it final trial last weekend. The Chunnel is booked for the 1st July with no firm plans in place at the moment .

The Trek got its pedals put back on today having ridden the Sabbath since last years Wild Wales.
I’m booked in at Bourg d’Oisans for 13 days and plan a leisurely drive down avoiding the toll roads as as a Class 3 vehicle I get charged the same as a coach or a truck. Paris to Grenoble is 137 euro. More in due course.20120901_143851Now a year old with just 3,600 miles on the clock it takes a lot to keep it in that condition. This will be its first Continental trip.

Friday: Email Campsite about extending stay from 3 July to 22 of July. Got a prompt acceptance back. The weekends promptly book up on most sites and we’d be dawdling down through France for 6 days. Not only that the Marmotte was penciled in for our arrival on 7 july. leaving on the 22nd means we can watch the final stageat the site before making our way home.

Contacted EuroTunnel about any height restrictions which shouldn’t affect me now as it’s 4.3 M.

Mailed Stu Boyd about the plan, he is thinking of taking a small tent up the Alpe, one thing I do know from the weather apps is that its down to 1 deg C at the moment.

A quick plug for Cycling the Alps

The loop around Alpe d’Huez is set to become the Worlds best Strava segment.

You’d want to use this site to plot where you want to park your motorhome on the Course.

Monday: Hit the road for 7.00 , last panic was where was the Nuvi satnav as I had only managed to upload the French Aires into it. Luckily it was in the passenger glove box. Gave the van another roof clean and we were on our way.
It turned out to be a 13 hour day.
Hit traffic at Birmingham after avoiding the toll road and the Garmin said I was running late, as I had set it to european time I was in fact up on time. It is not pleasant driving in truck traffic in the UK these days. Speeds are governed and the likes of Argos limit theirs to 54 mph.
Up to 65 mph the van drives great, it is subject to buffeting from coaches and trucks towing trailers. They have the aerodynamics of a brick.

Recycling Center Fire

I’ve an autobox with cruise control and it is an option that must be considered if you ever purchase a new van. There is enough to worry about without having to worry about changing gear.

I really liked Euro tunnel, gas checked, polite staff and 35 mins to France not that you would notice.

Calais Pretty clueless at this stage as we had not planned anything. Only one near miss, but did see my first crash. Parked up at Auchan for supplies. As I only had a vague itinerey the next stop was Reims.

Came off the peage too soon thinking it was an Aire. The good side was I only got charged as a class 2 instead of a class 3. Got to explore more of the French countryside before rejoining the same peage. Next stop was a big stop with most facilities, it was not for us and we headed of to Reims with the cruise control on and wondering about the scale of France. Val and I have been here before.

Checked out a few more Aires and most seemed to be full of trucks, as time was getting on and we were near Reims we called in at Mont de Nizy and stayed the night. Cost nothing and trucks were leaving at 4:30am.

Tuesday: Short trip into Rheims in rush hour, bit terrifying as it sent us up a tramway. Luckily the tram was stopped and it was all part of the traffic system. It did hilight how you need an up to date map in your garmin. A trip to an Ikea centre had a 3mtr height limit. I know where I am not wanted. programmed in Dijon as the next stop, avoiding toll roads, probably the best part of the journey so far. Rolling french landscape is unique but on a huge scale.

What did the Romans do for us

Some poor bastard got pulled by the gendamerie but we were warned :>)

Serious Van fright at Digon, riverside stop is not for me . 3m height limit!

On the plus side France is abound with fantastic places.

Mussy Sur Seine

Mussy sur Seine

Lunch Stop

Had a few issues with the garmin at times.

Low Bridge at Dijon


Took this after reversing out of a tricky situation. With the Dijon Aire now out of the picture we had to park up and work out what to do next. Things turned out best in the end as the next location in the app proved to be a good find.

Marssanay Marsannay La Cote Marsanay La Cote Town Hall





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