Left the French Riviera driving South West into the Camargue, which was lovely, even from the main road. It's an area that definitely needs more time, it's a national park and the wild white horses are famed for their beauty. Cattle are still herded by men on horseback here, it's something I'd love to see one day. We did see a small group of about ten white horses, in a area of reed beds, but only a glimpse from the road.
We stayed over in a supermarket car park Aire, which was very noisy, so we were up early Tuesday morning and off again, past Perpignan, and up into the Pyrenees on a road we've not used before. Very beautiful as always here, astonishing heights with magnificent buildings perched on tops, ancient homes dotting the dense dark green forests with splashes of white walls and brick coloured rooves.
We pulled into a stopping place to let traffic go by as we often do, and an almighty bang was our reward. Then the warning light on again. What had happened this time?
I knew it was serious as Roy said that was a big drop...it was a large pothole we hadn't seen.
Warning light came on and a different bleep-oh, by the way the damn bleep still hasn't stopped altogether, it comes on totally random times, bleeps for half a day then stops for a few hours. Anyway we limped into the nearest Aire, about half hours drive away. Roy examined it and it's a serious suspension damage. We can't drive. Roy tried his best the next day, phoning everyone who could possibly give advice, but it's a computerised mechanism and whatever he tried, nothing worked. Wednesday afternoon he gave in, called the RAC yet again. First thing next morning a Spanish fleet of Very Important Professionals arrived, they guided Roy on to the low loader extremely carefully, inch by inch, adjusting the ramps all the time. The four of them were really reassuring, it was obviously their profession and they took care of the Lady as they would their own. Off to the Iveco garage, this time only couple miles away, thank goodness. Once safely unloaded, we'd driven in the smartie behind the Low loader... the men there took over, examining the Lady with and without computer diagnosis. Then it was siesta time, shut till 3pm. Omg it was so hot there but we didn't want to leave her because it was outside the garage and insurance wouldn't have covered her if anything else should happen! So we stayed put and at 3 pm, the lads put huge jacks on each corner of the Lady raising her so they could get under as she would not fit in their bays. The damage was the metal strut where the bellows fit, it had had a real bang, and was badly distorted, rendering the computerised eye useless. So they began the repair, finishing at around 7pm. There were five young men on it, one spoke good English and kept us informed all the time what was happening. Brilliant teamwork and end result perfect repair. Jacks down, we set off to test her, all well again. Back to the garage to settle up, amazed at the bill of about£200! Roy gave them a crate of beer he'd just bought to thank them. Back to the same site overnight, a very very large gin for me, beers for Roy.
We just cannot believe our run of bad "luck". Since we were last at Jenny's, this was the fifth serious breakdown - Dartford Bridge to Southampton exhaust valve broken, Limburg serious puncture, motorway tyre valve faulty near Limburg, ignition mechanism failure at Aschbach, now broken suspension. Those and other minor ailments including the blessed bleep total 22 different things gone wrong. What have we done to deserve this?
Who can blame me for pouring extra large g&ts?
Friday morning, up early, off to get as far south as possible. We managed 400 miles, as the traffic was light to medium, mostly dual carriageway. We had done this route in part before, and the latter part was easy, very little traffic, excellent signs and the satnavs both agreed with each other and me for a change. Found the San Clemente Aire easily too, a large car park on the edge of town. Gave Blue dinner and a walk then out came the gin again - to celebrate this time!! A really good day of motoring, 7 - 8 hours driving left until we reach our second home of Bellavista.
Quiet night, easy meal of left over cold chicken crisps and cheese (we'd had tuna salad for lunch) and wine, just the one!
We're at San Clemente,about 80 miles west of Albacete. Early night, ready for go tomorrow.