Polly & Micks
                      Grand Adventure
                                     2013

                               Page One
On Wednesday 1st May 2013 after having Archie MOT'd which we assumed would show up any running problems  ( Little did we know)  we fired up and headed out on our now annual foray into Europe, first stopping for a couple of days at Hertford C&CC site to visit some friends, then headed for Dover, and on arriving, we stopped at the Battle of Britain Memorial just above Dover which is well worth a visit then down to the ferry terminal mid evening Saturday 3rd May to take the midnight ferry to Dunkirk which at time of booking was the best price of £90-00 return.
           C&CC site
                 at 
            Hertford.

            Battle of Britain  Memorial
View of Dover port from hillside.
              Saturday 4th May 2013
Upon arrival at Dunkirk you have options for parking up for the rest of the night if that's what you want to do. Right alongside the ferry loading is a carpark but the vehicles that are loading are close so can be a bit disturbing. You can start driving out the port where you pass lots of lorry parks but if the weather is dry these can be dust bowls. If you don't mind driving 15 Kms you can go to Bergues which has a large camperpark by the football ground where you can stay for up to 48 hours. If you drive in to Bergues off the Lille motorway from junction 16, as you see the wall of the Cite there is a track on your right to the site,which has the sign of the motorhome displayed. This is free, and specifically for campers but doesn't have any emptying or fresh water facilities you have to go to the campsite for these. Bergues itself is very pretty and well worth a visit.
This is the sign of the peeing motorhome which tells you there is an aire with facilities in that particular town (Displayed as you enter villages and at the site). Books,C.Ds and websites are available with info of these aires. This is the one I use, also with a C.D. which you can view on your computer without the need for an internet connection.

  http://www.campingcar-infos.com/index1.htm

 Left Bergues and instead of following the same road south as last year we headed Southwest past St-Omer where there is a wartime site built by the Germans in the last war, called 'The Cupola ' to produce  liquid oxygen and launch V2s to bomb London. It is now a museum of the history of rocket flight and if you are interested in this it is well worth a visit. Suggest you get there early as it is a quite large and interesting site. Also close by is Eperlecques  another wartime site which again is worth a visit.This is just off the D943 towards Calais approx 20 Kms. Been to both so didn't stop.

 Drove on to Lumbres then South east past Therounne down D77 as far as Chelers, 10 Kms East of  St-Pol-sur-Ternoise where we stopped for the night. Not finding an Aire we stopped in a car park alongside a cemetry. Always a good bet for a quiet stop.

                                                                                                     From Bergues  112 Kms

                             Bit close to the road but not that busy. OK.
                               and Polly seemed happy with it.

        Sunday 5th May
When we arrive in France we just drive South for quite a long way to get into the  feel of it. Continued S.E. on the D8 to Bapaume where we stopped for lunch. Don't seem to have any pics of this. After lunch drove S. on the D1017 towards Peronne  and stopped at a caravan site at Clery-sur-Somme. Don't stop at many campsites as rather expensive. This one was  Euro18-60 including electric but that was a bit dodgy, kept tripping when we put the kettle on but managed to bypass the trip which sorted that.
The site was however in a nice quiet spot near a canal so had a nice walk before we left.

    Caravan
        site.

                    Monday 6th May

Headed out mid morning. One or two problems have popped up so will find a nice aire where we can stay for 48 hours and try to sort them. S.W. through Peronne, then towards Laon until Tergnier 25 kms  N.W. of Laon.  Then to Coucy -le-Chateau-Auffrique where we have stayed before and is a very nice, very new Aire. It is 5 euro for 24 hrs including electric which you have to pay with your bank card but we had probs. so went with it for 2 days. It is also a very nice place to visit with the ruined chateau above and the main part of the village behind it. there are a couple of shops however close to the aire.
                                                                                                                                       92 Kms
Wont dwell on the probs too much only to say always check your vehicle properly even after an MOT. Just before the MOT  I had a bump and damaged the wiring on the back light.It was repaired by a garage but obviously they didn't reconnect the wires to the lights along the side of the van and these were not working when it passed the MOT with flying colours. Also noted that one of the tyres was well worn which had to be replaced and would say this should not have gone through the test. So because of French laws had to have two new tyres fitted. Another prob was the van battery was charging but not the leisures so started with plan A by removing van battery, cleaning all connections and  replacing  battery and hi-ho fixed. One more prob. the refillable gas bottles were not filling properly when we left but after going to a gas bottle company who couldn't fix it we hoped it might go away but no. However on this site were three campervans and all were English and when I mentioned the prob I was told that refillable gas bottles got a bit mucky inside after a year or two and you should remove them, turn them upside down give them a good shake and any muck would dislodge, which I did and although I didn't see any muck, true enough the bottles fill perfectly. Pity the gas bottle firms don't know about this.
                       Tuesday 7th May

 After sorting the probs we went for a walk up to the Ville.You can either walk up the hill and past the chateau, which is a bit steep but nice or if you turn left on to the main road and walk about a quarter mile then turn right up the hill you can get to it that way,which is what we did, having walked the grassy way last time.

Entrance to ville.There are several Portes like this one around the place.
      French shop windows can be different but much more colourful
A fairly typical French aire.
Most times in the prettiest part of town.