After checking out the new Niesmann and Bichoff at Telford, we all piled into Gary and Diannes, Harry the Hymer and headed to Milton Keynes through the traffic to collect Ralph the rental Hymer. We arrived just before 5pm and Peter the proprietor, gave me a run down on Ralph. Where the hoses were, the camp chairs etc and how everything worked.
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Ralph is a real hard case machine. Its a 1992 Hymer with a 5 cylinder 2.9 litre Mercedes with automatic trans. It starts first pop everytime despite its 250000 miles on the clock. Its a fun wagon.
We stopped at a Caravan park in Bearsted after battling the M1 traffic for a couple of hours and we arrived 3 minutes late at 8.03pm. The sign said no admittance after 8pm so we spent the night out in the carpark but still had to pay what I thought were extortionate fees of 34GPB (NZ$70!) without power and not much else. What a welcome .. Dianne rang and we were basically told “Rules are Rules !” .. not a nice welcome…no wonder the other Caravan Association calls themselves “the friendly group”.
We were close to the Channel Tunnel for the next morning and that was all that mattered.
We were away at 8:30 to get on the Chunnel Train. We arrived quite early and clocked in through both borders and parked our car in the C lane and went to get a cup of tea and look at the duty free stuff.
Gary and I stumbled on this amazing deal for internet for roaming all over Europe with a prepaid card from 3. All the Truckies use it apparently but its great.
After an hour of cups of coffee we were asked to line up Harry and Ralph Hymers and get ready for the train. Its was amazing how quiet and how easy it was.. very streamlined. Dianne even got a wink from the French immigration man with his “lovely accent”!
About 10 minutes early, we were asked to move the Hymers onto the train.
We drove up over a small bridge and then straight down a ramp and the sideways onto the train. You drive through the carriages until you get as far forward as you can then they chock your wheels.
20 minutes later with what was a very easy smooth ride and we were in France. It only took about 10 minutes and we were cruising up the carriageway to Belgium.
Fantastic service and so easy.