2700 mile Roadtrip with my Grandmother
2700 miles, 52 hours and some constipation.
NOTE: This trip was many months ago, pre the lockdown and complied with Covid guidelines of the time. TIA.
A few months ago, a last minute decision was made to go and repatriate my Grandmother from her home on the South coast of Spain. She lives about 40 minutes along from Malaga, 1300 miles from Calais. With another lockdown looming in the UK and restrictions already pretty tight in Europe, it seemed like an appropriate time for her to return to the UK. It would be my first foray into long distance driving, having never driven more than 400 miles at once before.
So at around 6pm on a Saturday, my Dad and I left on the Eurotunnel on what would be the longest drive of either of our lives. Our chariot for the trip? His late model Mitsubishi L200 pickup, fairly cushy and certainly plusher than my MR2 which I had spent the previous 200 miles driving up from the West Country that afternoon.
Wishing to spare any reader a dull minute by minute breakdown of the trip, I'll keep this snappy. We alternated every 4-5 hours, usually stopping for fuel and food at each swap. We also stopped at 4am (on the way there and back) for a 2 hour nap when we were both feeling out of it. Entertainment came primarily in the form audiobooks, the soothing tone of Steven Fry whispering into my ear late into the night as the miles went by. We went round the outskirts of Paris, then down through France and Spain passing through Madrid and at last arriving at around 8pm the next day at the seaside resort of La Herradura.
At this point we were nearer the Sahara than our homestead of rural Sussex. We stopped for 3 hours for a shit, shower and shave before loading some bits and bobs into the bed of the pickup and biffing off once more, back the way we came, a long way still to go.
Coming back we took a similar route, though this time avoiding Paris entirely and finally, at around 8pm on Monday, we arrived at Calais. With a French lockdown in play and therefore no holidaymakers, the terminal was deserted and so with no queues we hopped on the next train and within a couple of hours I was back home in Sussex and on the bog.
Surprisingly, we evaded the attention of the French or Spanish Rozzers the entire trip. We certainly saw plenty along the way. The speed limits were fine too once we got hang of the cruise control, a feature for which I have a newfound fetish for though so far have been too poor to own a car with it fitted. With curfews and various lockdowns in the various regions in France and Spain, there was little traffic the entire trip aside from a brief patch in Madrid.
My digestive tract did not thank me for it's treatment during the course of the 52 hours we spent on the road. Petrol station food as many of you will agree is not exactly known for being healthy nor light or even good. It began with a large quantity of popcorn chicken courtesy of KFC in Folkestone and was followed by a gradual stream of crisps, coffee and chocolate. The coffee to stay awake and the crisps and chocolate, well because yum.
Now, the human body can actually be fairly resilient, however we all have our limits. Large quantities of stodge combined with prolonged periods of inactivity does not bode well for anyone's stomach. The last 2 hours on the returning Eurotunnel and back home was to say the least a little uncomfortable. It took a good 36 hours afterwards to relieve myself completely. I hope I have learnt my lesson going forward; lay off stodgy food and stay hydrated.
So that was that, the longest drive of my life, 2700 miles and yes my Gran was only there for a mere 1350 (in anticipation of such comments whining about the title). I am also aware that for any Australians reading this, 2700 miles might seem like a trip to the shops, but for us Brits, it is a bit of a trek.
Article By The Bimbler
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