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Final preparations for the big roadtrip, January 2023

Just a couple of days to go and there’s still lots to do!

The van’s been for a full service, including repairs to the rear rooflight that leaks just over the bed when it rains! There’s a pending warranty claim, so hopefully we’ll get it replaced but not until we return. We needed four new all season tyres, and replacement spare, but that was delayed as we had to order a ‘wrench’ to lower the spare. It’s slung below the van and said wrench was missing from the Brownhills checklist/toolkit when we purchased it back in 2019!

The ferry’s booked, Newhaven – Dieppe and then we’ll be off! Where to first? It’s not going to be Val Thorens, as first planned, due to the somewhat unreliable snow conditions in the French Alps. We’ve cancelled the self-catering apartment and parking provisionally booked back in December, with only a €2 cancellation fee.

Steve’s just found a very old map showing the cycle route he did through France about 50 years ago, and we’d also like to retrace some of the places ‘Cachalot’ went on her trip to the Mediterranean through the French canal network in 1956. We’re thinking our route is liikely to be down to Spain for some sunshine, then back to Barcelona as neither of us has ever been there, over the Pyrenees and up to Switzerland for some ski-ing in Murren, Jungfrau Region.

Started to load the van today and find that the new bike cover, with obligatory warning sign, covers the bikes nicely but also the numberplate and rear lights!! Back to the drawing board, and Steve’s found he can hopefully raise the lower rack up higher . . . means Bev won’t be able to load the bikes, but we won’t need a lighting board and number plate.