The longest day
How do you judge a long day? By the amount of time that passes or the time you feel dragging? It’s not hard to identify our longest day.
The Cayenne – aka Moneypit, aka John’s worst decision EVER – had sprung a leak in the gearbox cooling system and we’d had to stop every 80km/50 miles to top the system up. First with expensive cooling solution Rajmund insisted we needed to use, then using water, as our mechanic recommended.
That was the journey TO London.
Sums up what Brussels does to most of us, doesn’t he?
We left home early Sunday morning and spent a night close to Brussels so Rajmund could meet a colleague, so the trip outbound was interrupted. We vowed to travel back “non-stop”.
After we’d concluded business in London, and after having a mechanic look at the leak and shake his head, we left London mid-afternoon. Rajmund wanted to buy some T-shirts so we stopped at Bluewater for a couple of hours, then continued to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone. Stopping every 50 miles to re-fill that reservoir with water.
Getting through the Tunnel on an early train, and having stopped for a pee at the Folkestone end, we hit the road. 1,000 miles home and a stop every 50 miles to add water. Because we had to stop where we could, that meant we stopped over 20 times – at “Aires”, service areas, rest areas, zajazds and everywhere we could when we approached that 50-mile mark.
Every 20km is the rule in France
How did we do it? Filling station sandwiches, sweets and frozen coffee.
We left the Tunnel at 20:00 and got home at 13:00 next day.
1,000 miles, 17 hours. Despite hitting 120mph in (cough) Germany, 59mph average. In a Porsche! Fuel consumed on the round trip to London, about £1,000.
Hotels – awful; the Ibis Budget at Charleroi was dreadful, save for a lovely guy on reception who was very helpful and friendly; the new Enfield Travelodge had minute rooms, minute shower rooms, an uncomfortable bed and constant traffic noise.
Crossed F to UK by P&O ferry, which was OK but very busy so we staked out a place in the café and stayed there; UK to F was the Tunnel, which is only 30 minutes but boring and the lighting is not enough to read by.
Toilets visited – more than we care to admit, because John once got caught in a traffic jam on the M6 which took six hours to crawl past Manchester, so he believes in “do it when you can”.
Dirty, disgusting toilets seen – actually, only one or two. Water/coolant added to gearbox cooling system about 60 litres.
Cost of the coolant Rajmund insisted we need to use about £9 per litre; cost of the water John and the mechanic then insisted on 17p for two litres! Cost of Porsche’s stupid decision to fit a plastic cooling system – more than you want to know … but we now have an aluminium system fitted!
Still, now we know – and at least we got a story out of it!
Our preferred route, the E40 goes by many local names. On its way from Calais to Ridder in Kazakhstan it passes through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan before re-entering Kazakhstan and reaching its end close to the border with China.