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We started the trip home on Sunday morning when we were ready, no rush.  Our overnight stop was at a place Langres not to far away from Troyes.  Guess what, it was raining by the time we arrived there. Pitched the tent in the rain and site was heavily wooded.  Would have been great for some shade in the sunshine but not so great for producing drips on the tent.  However we did find a fairly open spot to camp.  Not fancying cooking anything we headed for a McDonald’s that we had spotted on the way there.  This had the added bonus of a free wi-fi connection, as do all McDonald’s I believe.  They certainly did in France anyway as we made use of them last year.

Not too bad nights sleep despite having been disturbed by the sound of heavy trucks after midnight.  In France HGV’s are banned from the roads on Sundays, apart from certain vital supplies.  So come midnight they all come out of their hiding places in lay bys and Service Areas and hit the road again.  Seems we were closer to the road than we had thought!

Monday 1oth

Anyway, having put the tent away wet again we set off toward Calais and found a site for night at a little place called Le Clotoy about an hours drive from Calais.  At last the sun was shining so we put the tent up wet and it soon dried as there was quite a strong breeze blowing.  We were about 15 minutes walk from the beach so we thought we would take a stroll to see it.  Well we did see it.. and no sea! the tide was out and there was no sea to be seen.  The beach seemed to stretch to the horizon.

We strolled back to the tent and I decided to stretch my legs a bit on the bike before meal time.  I had a nice little ride of about 15 miles following the coastline as much as possible but quite a bit inland.  Nice and flat and warm in the sunshine.

Tuesday 11th

Another leisurely start to the day as we had plenty of time before we were due at the tunnel.  however, I knew that if we got there early and there was another crossing available we could take it.  This is exactly what happened and we drove up to the barrier and it already knew who I was, must have number plate recognition I guess? i was preparing to punch in the booking number when i saw it  said ‘Welcome Mr Goldsmith’ and was offering the option of 2 earlier crossings, we took the earliest at 2:40pm I think instead of 4:20 as booked.  This enabled us to miss most of the rush hour traffic on the M25, but we were soon into heavy traffic and delays and speed limits for road works, how I had missed those in France.. Not !!!

So there concludes this little saga.  Overall it was a good trip with a major ambition fulfilled and a few laughs and memories along the way.  The time seemed to go quite quickly but we kept pretty active all the time.  We seemed to fit a lot into the week.  Sad not to do all the climbs we had wanted but I am off to France again with Jan and the caravan for 5 weeks soon so maybe I might get to ride them then if I feel so inclined (no pun intended!!) and our route takes in that direction.  I do feel like I would like to attempt Mont Ventoux if I get a chance but we will see? Thats another story.

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