We had our last breakfast at Eddy’s and I’d definitely got bored of meat and cheese. Luckily the potato cubes were tasty enough. We paid our dues to Eddy after working out what we all owed each and thanked him for yet another perferct week in his hotel before handing our keys in and heading over the road to watch half an hour of the ADAC Westfalen Trophy.
We left the hotel, the satnav showing over four hours to our destination at Dunkerque’s ferry terminal. We still had to do the UK driving on top of this! Woz’s ‘home made DSG’ got off to a good start leaving the hotel and cruising down through Adenau centre for the last time where we picked up the scenic L10 road. A few miles down the road we all turned out onto the B258 that we would follow all the way into Belgium. A couple of interesting moments came at the junctions and a temporary traffic light where Woz tried his hardest and suceeded in keeping the MR2 moving. It was a lovely flowing road, all the way through to Monschau, just as I’d read about, though I had an idea of what was to come...
As we left Monschau heading for Eupen, we entered the Eifel National Park and crossed the Belgian border. Think you know how bad Belgian roads are? Think again. They don’t call this the ‘Road to Hell’ for nothing. You could feel the cars getting a full suspension test here for next three miles. Whilst I wasn’t too uncomfortable in the S2000 I could almost hear Matt screaming at me in his Recaros.
We were soon on the motorway, driving round Liege and the weather drastically changed as we entered a cloud of fog. I’d dismissed a Shell station already as it looked too tricky to get the broken MR2 into and out of, so decided to press on for Brussels and see what the ring road had to offer on a Sunday lunchtime. It was busy, as ever, though not enough to cause any inconvenience, flowing fast enough not to hold us back. Ignoring the services on the exit, I decided to stop in the next one. It finally appeared a further 20 miles down the road and we were greeted by our favourite yellow and red sign once more. Matt ran straight for the bushes. Clearly the three non stop hour had not gone down well with him. We stopped for half an hour on a well overdue break, running well ahead of schedule.
It was business as usual all the way back to the port, arriving 15 minutes early, despite me taking the wrong exit and leading Woz through a residential area with yet more traffic lights. Sorry Woz!
The rope came out as we reached the check in desk and Adam towed Woz through customs and into the lane ready to board the ferry.
Dunkerque was cold and miserable, no surprise there, so we piled into the departure lounge for five minutes looking for shelter and wifi. Wifi was locked, but we kept warm for a moment before being asked to return to the cars and get ready to board. Woz had this planned. He kept a good distance from Adam as everyone slowly piled into the boat. This plan worked until the cars in front of me stopped and left me on the ramp up to the car deck. Disaster. The tow rope came out again and Adam dragged Woz up getting slightly sideways in the process.
The ferry crossing was less stressful, finding some comfy chairs looking out to see on the top deck. On arrival at Dover, the captain decided to imitate Rich, doing a full 360 spin and making an announcement on the tannoy that we had to wait for an open space to dock. Finally, half an hour later we were getting in the cars and waiting to disembark.
Getting out of the docks was the usual chaos but Woz managed it well. Matt and Rich had got off the ferry five minutes before our lane and disappeared off into the distance. All that was left for me was to wave goodbye to the brummies and find my way across the country to Somerset.
I first had a challenge as soon as I got to the M25, finding it in gridlock, drizzly rain coming down and the tonneau cover still firmly attached from when I’d put it in the German sunshine. I took the same TomTom detour through Bracknell centre avoiding more chaos at the M25/M4 interchange and waited til I got almost to Swindon before taking a break for KFC and removing the tonneau for a 15 minute roof up stint.
Further down the road, it dried up again. I left the M4 at a random junction, pulling the roof catches down on the up ramp, slowly crossing the roundabout at the top with the roof going down and accelerated back onto the motorway putting the windows back up. Job done!
I carried on straight home, enjoying an enthusiastic drive back down the A39 from Bridgwater to keep me awake. I’d done it. I could now curl up in my comfy bed with a proper pillow, without having to unfold the quilt from a German having made the bed...