Le Grand Depart
Despite missing our original departure date of the 23rd, we did eventually gather ourselves together and depart on the 26th. In typical fashion, we were still adding bits to the van, fixing things and packing (which always seems to take an eternity). As is always the case, it’s Chief’s plethora of kit that appears to consume the most space but that’s OK.
The van had never felt so heavy and we were a bit dubious at first if we’d pushed it beyond its limits. But, luckily for us she is a plucky little van and she powered through. We had quite a few miles to cover overnight but she chewed them up nicely. We had a brief stop outside Oxford for a caffeine induced top-up and some rest. We then pootled on towards the train terminal arriving at 4:30 am. This gave us chance to have a rest and get some breakfast before we boarded the train. We received our call for the train and followed the sign marked France.
Boarding was super easy, especially with Chief and we knew we’d made the right decision. If we’d taken the ferry, Chief would have had to travel in kennels which isn’t ideal. Within 25 minutes we’d made it to France although it took another 15 minutes to get off the train as we were stuck behind a fancy, motionless red Corvette.
Once we had disembarked the train, we set our sights on Mesnil-St-Père. All in all, from home to Mesnil, it was a grand 600 miles driving through the night and into the day, which is a pretty big stint in a van. After 11 hours of driving and 15 hours of traveling we were exhausted. To give ourselves chance to rest and recuperate, we’d booked a site for a few night to give ourselves chance to rest before heading out on our adventures.
The site was pleasant, located by the Lac d’Orient, which afforded us the opportunity to take chief for a walk down by the beach and woodland areas. It was agreed that we’d go explore the forests a little more whilst we were here.
Han cooked us an amazing meal, made from some freshly sourced ingredients I’ll have you know (Lidl in the nearest town). We sat back, relaxed, had a glass of wine and looked back on the exciting day we’d had. We agreed that we’d probably need the next day just to rest and recuperate, which is exactly what we did. Having slept for 14 hours that first night the extent of our fatigue from preparing the van and travelling was more than evident. We spent most of the day snoozing in the sunshine, eating lovely food and relaxing…