Now as it’s Easter weekend it’s time for the third and final installment of Ian Harpers recent road trip to Rhodes in Greece with a little Renault Midlum 7.5 tonner on removal duties. Over to Ian for the final installment;
I arrive back in Piraeus not a bright sunny morn but mild and misty. I depart the ferry and take to the road traffics relatively light 30 minutes and I’m on the motorway. Stop at the first toll €8•10 its gone up 20 cents, oh well. I trundle along the 3 lane motorway until the road splits for either Tripoli or Patras , through the second toll which was still the old price of €7•90 then into Patras. I still come in the old way pass the BP right and down to the waterfront as all the immigrants have moved to the new way in there are the odd few this way but whichever way you will come across them. At a set of roadwork’s they all popped out, 2 jumped on the tail lift and onto the roof in full view of a police car with 2 officers watching, fag in one hand and a frappe in the other. I looked over and they say €100 and we will get them!! I just laughed. Pull into the marina and they jumped off and onto the port passing a few more along the way. In the port, ticket collected catch up with emails etc on the free wifi and wait for the Superfast XII to arrive, load and set sail.
Once all the rattles and squeaks were either suppressed or eliminated, shower, food, internet then quick look at Ingoumenista, mainly freight getting on Turks, Bulgarians and Greeks. Woke up not to bad a nights kip quick shower and see what kind of day it is, warm but foggy my phone springs into life with a message from the Croatian tourist board so at least I have an idea where I am. Off the ferry normally it takes around an hour and a half to get off and out of the port as the port is way too small for the amount of vehicles that use it, anyway as I’m one of the last off not too fussed, Surprise! No queue so by 17:00 I’m out the port on the autostrada adriatica heading all points north. I get to Dirkendorf Germany for 04:00 in 9:25 and call it a day.
Woke up about 09:00 freezing night heater on and must of nodded off I get up go for a shower and coffee time is going so slow I’ve started to get that “just want to get home” feeling. 13:00 eventually comes around and I’m away through Stuttgart just before it starts to build up with evening traffic. I pass a Davis International, we wave he flashes me in and I’m gone. I pull into the Standehoft total garage and guest house, As I’m getting out the cab “Mr Davis” pulls in and asks “You going for something to eat?” my reply prompted him to park and follow me in. A beautiful curried schnitzel with onions and potatoes and a coffee to swill down we departed, only to catch each other up at Capellen Luxembourg in the queue for fuel, 1hr 20 it took for me to get fuel and away will I make it to the tunnel / All4trucks?
No! I didn’t with the combination of wind rain and heavy sleet that slowed me down the as I pull on to the A8 around Tournai. Traffics stopped. Luckily we all reversed down the road and took another junction to get round the hold up , which was a wide load that had wedged himself between the concrete barriers in the roadwork’s. 01:16 bed.
I woke up to some inconsiderate Belgian with his radio on full pelt playing euro pop! 10:30 comes and I’m away, only to make it as far the other end of the car park and one of the Belgian douanes flag me down quick check of passport load and manifest I’m away again, Lille is pretty quiet and up the A16 then again! a French douane flags me down into the lay-by near the house with the WW2 memorabilia all painted in pshycadellic colours. 10 minutes I’m away after explaining I was removals so didn’t need a CMR. On pulling into the tunnel the queue started at the roundabout by the x-ray machine 20 minutes and was in a lane waiting 51 minutes after that onto the train we go. Back in Blighty Woo Hoo!! I ring the customers to see if they will be in today one was in Bentley NR Ipswich and the other North Elmham just outside Dereham.
20:30ish the drops off will I make it back to Manchester? it will be close, as I’m crossing the A17 heading for Newark the trucks owner rings ” how’s it all going” and I said “I’ll be 30 minutes short of getting back to the yard,” no worries ring me and I’ll come and meet you”, with that I’m on my way A1, A57 Sheffield and then the snake pass. I had mentioned earlier in the week that I kept getting the whiff of diesel and when the truck go’s for its 10 week check see if there’s a leak. I prefer the snake pass it’s a lot quieter than Wood Head, so trundling along and I hear a different tone to the truck. The exhaust was blowing “there’s the fumes issue solved”! As I drove as quietly as I could through Glossop the meeting point was arranged at the McDonalds at the M67 we grabbed a brew and then on our way into the yard. By 00:30 that morning shower and in my own bed.
Excellent Ian, thank you very much. I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did. It’s a good read and some great photo’s as well. If you didn’t get them, please use the links to go to the other parts of the story. Just to let you know I Have another of Ian’s stories ready an waiting to show itself on the blog, so keep checking back, it’ll be here soon.