Tonight we have a new guest writer on the blog. Ian Harper has recently driven a 7.5 ton Renault Midlum from Manchester to Ipswich to Rhodes, Greece. Luckily for us he has sent me his diary for the trip. This will be a 3 part story so keep your eyes peeled over the week and try and keep up with Ian on his road trip. These words are all his own I haven’t edited it in anyway as I thought it best to leave it as was. I hope you enjoy the read, over to you Ian;
03:45 Get up cold dark wet and miserable even the cat didn’t move, kettle on flask filled brew made and last night’s left over sausages and a tin of beans warmed up in food flask and out the door.
04:15 on my way down the M67 A57 over snake pass through Sheffield and onto the A57 then the A1 the roads are so quiet for a Friday morning even the A14 at Huntingdon isn’t slowing down, into Cambridge services for my sausage and beans brew and an hour’s kip I’m well in front of myself not loading till 12. I’ll be in Ipswich early, ring the customer they are waiting for me that a result into Hadleigh Rd Ind Est, Ipswich find the storage unit and 3 hrs later all their worldly possessions were loaded and ready to move to their new house in Pyloma on the Island of Rhodes. Can I get round to the Eurotunnel without hitting any traffic? Yes apart from the Dartford Bridge I didn’t slow down.
16:15 Not to bad a wait for the train 25 minutes and were loaded on the train waiting for the bus to take me up front why some drivers don’t move up the bus for others to get on baffles me there’s enough seats for all of us!
17:30 off the train and on our way got an hour left on a 9 need a “splash of juice” to get me to Luxembourg so head for Vuerne.
03:30 Alarm goes off brew made checks and on my way at a foggy dark 04:00 morning I should make Luxembourg in 4:30 on a Saturday morning, 4 hrs 12 minutes later I’m pulling into Berchem services fuel up and round to the car park for a break and a free brew. The fog lifted and I was on my way the roads were busy but no problems a lot of Dutch cars heading south, off the motorway and through the hills and forests by Pirmaseans and down to Pforzheim and an hrs break taken, how far will I make it? I’ve set the sat nav for the Shell garage on the Germany – Austria border at Vils. I’m 25 minutes short of making Vils so the services at Dietmansreid will do for tonight as I know I can make Ancona in a day’s drive.
00:30 Its freezing snowing and the night heaters got the little cab like an oven don’t really feel like moving, away we go into Austria some little snow flurries but the Austrians are on top of it the gritters and ploughs are out ,through the fern pass which is a lovely drive some excellent scenery in the day time. An hour and a half later I pull into the shell garage just off junction 3 at Innsbruck to fuel up. A free brew and 15 minute break I’m away down the Brenner Pass some little flakes of snow on the windscreen turned into bloody big flakes and for 15 minutes it was an interesting drive, the snow stopped and I was on the Brennero on my own for most of the way not many headlights anywhere.
An hrs break around Trento daylight was poking its head out over the Dolomites and on my way I go another break after Bologna and straight into Ancona get my tickets for tomorrow’s boat and a 26 hr break on the lorry park with free mix of Bulgarian and Greek folk music.
The Minoan ferry was loading as I walk pass and into Ancona town. There were a couple of Pulleyn trucks at the truck park so I had an idea where they would be having a pint, I recognised one of the lads and he clocked me so I went and said hi and was asked if I wanted to join them and grab a pizza later I accepted the invite we watched the 6 Nations Rugby and chewed the fat for a couple of hours.
I was awoken with the combination of folk music loud talking and someone very kindly emptying the contents of his nasal passages. I couldn’t be bothered moving as I was warm and snug so I put the night heater on for 15 minutes to warm the cab up then eventually got up. To my surprise it had snowed through the night not a lot but enough to cover the ground. I got dressed and wandered up to the terminal used the facilities and got myself a coffee and a cheese pannini for my breakfast, on my wandering back the 2 Pulleyn lads were going so a quick bye, take care and they were gone, they were loading oranges near Rome so a nice drive over the tops but I didn’t envy them the drive up the A1 to Bologna it’s not the best of roads. I had 4 hrs to kill so I started this blog and had a sit in the sun on the harbour it was warm in the sun and I watched the world and the fishing boats go by, from where I was sat I could see the ferry terminal the Superfast had just come in then 2 hrs later the Minoan came in an hour after that I was on the ferry ,got a cabin to myself and went to watch us leave from the top deck and as usual we were an 1 and a half hrs late.