Can you believe that it was a year ago today that we set off on our huge adventure?
I remember it so clearly. We’d never really driven in Gloria that much and we got about one mile down the road before we realised that all the cupboard doors were flying open all the time and I needed to do something to secure them or the kids would be unconscious by the time we got to Dover! Enter the humble hair bobble which is still to this day the cupboard securing method of choice
I was so scared. Like really scared. I felt so responsible for this huge thing that we were doing. What if it all went wrong? What would be do then?
It’s a good job that James and the kids were on cloud 9 and so happy to be getting going. I think I was just shaking the entire way down!
We stopped a few times at some service stations to just let the van rest, she’d never done big runs, had spent 6 months prior sat on my mums drive and probably at least 6 months prior to that on the garage forecourt. Even though I’d planned to, we never did take her for that test run. So, the 200+ miles to Dover was her test. And she did great. Apart from it seemed that the fuel gauge light wasn’t very accurate.
We figured we’d have enough fuel to get to Dover and then to a fuel station in France where it is much cheaper than the UK. The light came on as we were about 20 miles or so from Dover, so we pulled in at the next services and put in £10 of fuel. Surely that would be enough eh? Nope. Only got us to Dover and we felt we should put a bit more in, just to be safe. Diesels don’t do well when they run out of fuel.
But other than that, Gloria drove so well. For a 25 year old van she was great. We parked up on the sea front at Dover, it rained, but it was fine as our friends who happened to be on their way back from Germany popped by to see it We got chips, our table collapsed (a recurring theme) and we got used to camper life, toileting in a glorified bucket and sleeping where you have never slept before.
The next day was a nerve wracker again. I so nervous! We headed to the docks, checked in, sat in the queue and breathed a sigh of relief that we had almost made it to France!
All of a sudden we had a knock on the window. The person behind us had seen our web address on the van and checked us out and decided to wish us luck! It was so nice to hear, put me at ease and I’ll remember that moment forever. Thanks!!
The moment arrived for us to embark. At that same moment one of the cupboard doors completely fell off and I had to rush to fix it back. Honestly, the van worked soooo well, but the interior needs a complete overhaul!!
We were so excited to reach France, I remember the kids going crazy at all the new stuff in the supermarket, the new words and the prices. Such a difference and so close to home still!
Our first night was in the town of Wissant, our first proper stop, our first try out of an Aire and it was free. My favourite word of all time! Oh and we were near a beach!
Of course not everything went smoothly from then on, our fuel gauge issue meant that we’d upset the fuel filter on that first day and we wondered if Gloria would ever run well again, and many more things. But it was the start of an amazing adventure. I smile at every little detail now.