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Montlhery or Bust 2015

The plot was hatched by Duncan Grimmond and advertised on the forum...for those who couldn't make up their minds you missed out.

The Scottish contingent set out on Wed 6th and met at Abington services, Tom Rae in his Pembleton, Colin Ferguson in the Merc Sprinter with the Pembleton in the back (he had come from Coupar Angus that morning), and me in my Crozier3. It was wet, raining heavily at the time as we made our way South and East to Duncan's for lunch, home made soup and bread and cheese. A good start for the trip.

Duncan then led a route through the Yorkshire lanes leading us across to Hull for the overnight ferry.

A few drinks and supper then off to bed, the morning arrival was wet and a light wind. Nothing to the intrepid four, with Duncan tom tom set we proceeded to tour Belgium...I never realised that so many of the streets were the same...even going in the reverse direction!!!

By the time we crosssed the border into France the weather was brightening and spirits rose, Duncan had got a hang of the sat nav and we bowled along, at one point we all passed thro a speed camera and all got the waiting has begun. My car had developed a rattle...but what the hell.

Camp was set up in Soissons and at that point I discovered that I had no towel, a visit to town with Tom got a new towel and a beer in a cafe adjacent to the parking. A walk into town found a good restaurant with drink. An activity to be repeated each night...need to keep the engine lubricated.

After a quick breakfast we set off to pick up our guide for the day, Vincent Mouton, who was joining us for the next three days. He led us in Tom's car across and around Paris by country lanes and quiet roads, a fine route with stops for coffee and lunch. Lunch was special, on arrival in Provins we were faced with a road closure...the town is a fortified city from Roman times... as we tried too negotiate our access a big car overtook us and the driver spoke to the guard. We were invited into the town as his guests and given a space to park outside his house and a tour of his garden and house. Then we set of for lunch in town, before going our merry way to Montlhery. It turned out that the gentleman was a city dignitary who restored old properties and his home was spectacular.

My car was starting to rattle in a manner that the others could listen to as we bowled along, and at a filling point I identified that the Alternator was bloody hot and the belt too tight. Belt loosened we continued till at a round about some 4mile from the proposed camp the engine stalled and would not turn over on the starter. I pushed ashore onto the island and looked mates had buggered off and I was all alone. Bo ho. The phone rang , it was Tom, they had noticed that I was not following and had stopped in Lidl's some 100yds down the road...they are not a bad bunch. Investigation found the alternator seized and with the belt removed the engine started ...on with the plot find the others and head for the camp site.

Camp sorted we settled for a light meal in camp, and surveyed the damage...all we need is an alternator. This was the start of a holiday week-end in France...that means a roll-over and unlikely to find shops open until Tuesday!!! There is an Autojumble at the race track...well that's encouraging!!! it turned out that the jumble consisted of bits for pre war cars up to about 1935. Next morning we set of sharp to avoid the entry queues and at the first set of lights some 1mile down the road Tom pulled over, the gear shift had snapped and come out in his hand...we tried to make a repair by using jubilee clips and a prise bar, but he could only select 2nd and 3rd. This was turning into an epic...two cars down and 600mile from home. After a day at the races...well it is supposed to be fast parades(but when the flag goes down the blood fills the eyes and they are off, up on the banking as they come round) Good watching and the ability to wander around the parking and paddock areas made interesting photography.

While we were wandering around the park we were joined by Dave and Nicki Parr in their Pembleton and MikeM and his missus who were on holiday in France.

By the time we got back to camp we had a plan, Vincent who is building a Pembleton, offered to get his Father to strip the required parts from his car and as his wife and girls were coming down on Sunday to take him home they would bring the parts. What a good guy, that would allow us to continue our trip as planned. On Saturday night we dined in the Chateau where we were camping, and where the marshalls for the event were staying, a great night with entertainment thrown in, and an aperatif. In the morning we left Tom's car behind and Vincent travelled with me, he had now tried all the cars with their different features and drivers....he did not voice an opinion!!!, by late morning the “nice lady from DPD”(Vincent I'll recommend her for a courier job at any time) delivered the spares, and I set about installing the alternator...the bloody thing wasn't charging. Strip two and make one..or change the brush set over...the later found that the brush set on the replacement was not sitting correctly on the rings. The rebuilt alternator was then installed and all was go, now all we had to do was fix Tom's car and we would be on the way again. How is it when you try to remove and replace a bit of a car in a camp site, where it was easy to install at home in the garage, the task takes on a size of it's own, however with Colin and I providing sweary words at appropriate times Tom concentrated on the task in hand. We were now back to four cars, great ...thanks again Vincent

Another day of adventures at the races, marred by a crash that bent the front of a Sandford trike and kinked the bodywork...fortunately the driver was alright after a check over by the ambulance crew.

Back at camp we found there was nowhere to eat, the restaurant was closed, so we set off to find a Pizzas shop only to find one outside the chateau gates, run by a guy who appeared to be high on life. Pizzas under our arms we returned to site and had a relaxing drink or two/three or was that four Tom.

The next morning we set of to meet up with Dave and Nicki...this was not to be, their guest house didn't take plastic and they had to find cash etc. We carried on heading for a Spa town Bagnoles de L'Orne to another nice camp. On route we were thinking that Duncan must have a pile of snacks in his car...when he espied a chef hanging about outside a hotel...he slithered to a stop and asked if we were hungry, of course we were, the body needs fuel too. What an excellent meal with wine and coffee thrown in, we also ate all his bread and the next guest got none! We carried on and eventually found the site and set up camp. Dinner was at Dave and Nicki's hotel were we also met a couple of Morgan fanatics( well we had to pity them with four wheels). Another good meal if some what strange in the main course, it was calves jaws in a jelly stew.

Next day the five cars went over to see Mont St Michel ( a must for tourists) we looked at it across the bay, then we went up the coast to Granville. We had a stop in Avranches for lunch at a transport cafe, and again had a superb lunch at reasonable cost. Lunch is typically 12 Euros each with wine, good value. Dave and Nicki left us there as they had to catch a ferry from St malo and we returned to site. Colin went to visit a friend from the past on route.

Next morning we were off again on our tours with Duncan leading the way, destiny St Valery en Caux to stay at hotel run by a friend of Duncan's. St V en C is where British troops escaping from the Germans scrambled down a cliff on ropes too short and they fell to their deaths after reaching the end of the rope. Another good dinner in town and a good rest saw us ready for the last days run up to Zeebrugge.

Duncan led and we charged across France, having found out the it was a holiday(Assencion Day) with shops and cafes in short supply as also were filling stations. Duncan forgot to stop at a supermarket before lunch to allow us to get wine etc. Bad boy, he must do better. By the time the Belgian border came into view the weather had changed to cold with rain and we arrived at the port to sit with brollies up. Onto the boat, adrenilin sapped we retired to the bar for a drink or two, then dinner.

Arrival at Hull next morning, it was cold but dry, Tom scampered off up the road while I took a leasurely drive up the A1M and the A66 before going through Dumfries and Galloway...a nice end to the trip. Colin waited on Duncan to travel to his workshop to collect the van, on route he broke a cable on the carbs but was able to repair and continue. Distance covered on the speedo was 1500miles, but corrected for large wheels probably in the region of 1650miles. Apart from the two breakdowns all went well, although with the increased diameter of the driving wheels, the gearing was now more like a three speed with overdrive...great when wound up on dual carriageways, roll on the big engine( Moto Guzzi 1064).

Duncan, a good trip, and thoroughly enjoyed, the next outing is the 23rd German Treffen in Inverary where we look forward to meeting up with friends old and new. Keep the three wheels rolling.

Bill D...Crozier3

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