Interlaken 2018 – Its not the last!

One of the best truck shows and truck show venues you could wish for. We all know Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, add a truck show surrounded by mountains and a local brew and bingo you end up with the above!! My truck show partner and myself talked about visiting the Trucker & Country Festival at Interlaken again this year (Having been in 2015 – see the PHOTOS HERE), but for one reason and another we have decided we can’t get there now. Worryingly here in the UK their is a rumour going round that this year is the last year of the Truck Mile at the show. It worries us so much so that James took it upon himself to email the show organisers and ask the question. James asked if this was the last year of the Truck Mile or would be able to go in 2019. This is the email response, apologies for it looking a little odd but I’m sure you can piece it together;

So there you have it, 2018 is NOT the last truck show in Interlaken, CH. I’m not sure where or how the rumour started but it’s not true. If you can’t get there this year, don’t panic you won’t miss out. I will urge you all to get it in your calendars at some point as you really won’t find a better, more beautiful than Interlaken. Saying that if it is, I for one will be off to have a few words with Katja!!

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Transam Trucking Summer 2018 – P1

Video

It might not turn out to be the summer of love but I’m sure it will be trucking good one. My good buddy Mat Ireland is once again going to have a busy summer keeping all of our favourite music artists, moving about Europe, keeping us all entertained and giving us those summer songs and experiences we all crave during the long dark months of winter. Mat has promised me that he will keep the video diaries coming this year, so I thought it was only fair to post his first video for you all to see. I don’t need to say anything about it other than it seems a long way down down to the bottom deck of the Stena boat! I’ve been aboard many times but I have never been down to the bottom. Anyway it’s a cracking start to the season Mat, so please keep them coming……sorry about the plonker you met in Colchester on your way to Harwich.

TBHQ now decorated

It’s only taken two years, well if it wasn’t for the weather and the house we moved into needing more work than we knew about then it would have been here a lot sooner. I have to say that I love it! If it wasn’t for my 72 year old Dad and his e expertise then it may well have taken another two years who knows!! Still need 4 x bar stools, a beer fridge and a tv but other than that. If anyone knows of any truck stools of any kind I’d be interested and for our friends in the USA one of those Peterbilt floor mats would look a treat. Seriously if you do have any donations to the cause then they will be well looked after. Next I’ll have to find a suitable person with a huge pair of scissors to come and cut the ribbon to officially open the new TBHQ.

Wanted: Ex Sally Line Employees

Wanted: Ex Sally Line Employees. I’m on the hunt for ex Dover or Ramsgate employees who may well be still in touch with and who knew lots of the other employees during the 1980’s and 1990’s. If you know anyone please ask them to make contact with me please. You can leave a comment below or message me how ever you wish but I have a new of enquiry I want your help with please.

The Only Way is Hellas – Part 2

When we left Mr Matthew Campbell of MJC European fame, he was parking up at Modena Sud for a dinner last Tuesday evening. We pick up the Essex Express Wednesday morning leaving Modena Sud around 7am for Ancona. A nice little 250km wander down through the Italian countryside on a grey Wednesday morning, arriving in Ancona around 10am. Ancona Port hasn’t hosted MJC for 5 years or so, but Matt found the right place to be and got himself booked on the Anek Lines sailing, luckily Matt managed to get his own cabin away from all the pesky kids off on their holibobs. With time to spare there’s time to pop into Ancona town for a wander. Tough old job this international driving!

Off the ferry around 0930hrs Thursday morning in Igoumenitsa and then southbound and down towards Preveza. It makes a change to take some of the smaller routes or national routes as opposed to always banging out the big KM’s on the autoroutes. Coming out of Igoumenitsa Matt picks up the 18 and points the big DAF to Preveza. See the map I’ve crudely added in below. Nothing like Trucking International’s Long Distance diary maps that’s for sure!!

From Preveza our perma-tanned driver carries on through a newly built tunnel, out and round the airport just south of Preveza, over a dodgy metal bridge and into Lefkada. Having made it this far, it’s further south still and the roads are a little smaller and the towns a little tighter. Then after Lefkada it’s again down a coast road to the tiny port of Nydri. All these coast roads must be much the same as the many Saturday nights our man in the pilots seat has spent cruising up and down Southend seafront. Preveza down to the island of Meganisi is only 50km or so but there’s plenty to take in and plenty to keep even the most experienced European driver on their twinkle toes. As you can imagine the ferry (if you can call it that) from Nydri to Meganisi is barely more than a motor boat with a ramp, it makes the Woolwich ferry look like a cruise liner! Encouraged onto the boat by the crew Matt, has to empty all the air out of the suspension on both truck and trailer to fit on, even then the roof of the trailer grazes the lights in boats roof. In the UK I think most drivers call this snug. A snug fit is enough!

Once arrived on Meganisi it’s off the ferry, turn left and then follow pretty well the only main road, main unmade road for a kilometre or so to the building site destination. All in a days work for Essex’s best. I’m sure we’ve all had that feeling when you’ve gone so far and are virtually at the delivery point but you still have that feeling things could go wrong, with roads/tracks like this I’m sure Matt had the same thought just around the next bend below!

Arriving on site, things slowly start to happen. The crane lorry arrives to help with the unloading. As you can imagine in this part of the world there was no hurry and luckily no health and safety to worry about. Some 2700km from door to door and as you’d expect the cargo was in immaculate condition and although slower than some would like unloading went without a hitch. A few hours later and with an empty trailer it was time to head back to the little port to wait for the ferry back to Nydri. One small problem, Matt wasn’t expecting to have to put in some decent reversing practice……

You can hear them now; “we’ve had bigger than that down here driver!” – no you haven’t, we all know that. Unable to turn round it was a 1.5km reverse out of site and most of the way back to town before MJC could turn around. Now international driving is a thankless task in most cases but having a cream little job like this definitely makes a change and also epitomises both the “can-do” attitude and exploratory instinct of one of the UK’s best. We bred drivers like Mr Campbell constantly during the pioneering years of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s but these days they are few and far between. I can see the sat-nav RDC drivers having a minor coronary when they can’t find Meganisi in their “regular destinations” list, but a true international truck driver just loads up and gets on with it. Nicely done MJC, but as we all know the sun never sets on a long distance lorry driver, back to Italia to load back to the UK.

The Only Way is Hellas

Sunday afternoon in Essex and any normal Essex-ite like myself is recovering from a hangover and a few too many glasses of Lambrini, but over in the Costa-del-Essex, or Southend-on-Sea as outsiders call it, MJC European are winding up the big DAF ready for a trip to a little Greek island called Meganisi……..no me either! If you have a removal job from the Magaluf of Essex to holiday home on a Greek island there is only one way to do, the only way is Mr Essex himself, the blonde hair and blue eyed boy that is Owner Driver Matthew Campbell. I’ve know Matt for a few years now and I know he is one of the old school owner drivers. Go any where, do anything as long as it pays. A regular to Italy and Spain and last year a trip well into Morroco to notch up continent number two. Matt is born and bred a lorry driver as his dad is real old school. If you need reliability and a can do attitude then Matt is one of the UK’s best. Matt left not so sunny Southend at 15.30 Sunday, ran down to Dover and onto the 18.35 P&O ferry to Calais. A few hours down the quiet French motorway Sunday evening, finally finishing for the night at Mont-de-Nizy just above Reims. Not a bad start for a Sunday and always best to get out to get ahead of the morning rush that seems to be everywhere, town, city or Port.

After the week I’ve had this week I long to be back out there, pounding the highways and autoroutes of Europa…….sorry I digress. Monday is upon us so it’s fake tan on, vajazzle (Essex phrase!) done and foot down. Off over the National Route to Saint Dizzier and then back onto the Autoroute at Chaumont. Carry on straight down to Bourg-en-Bresse and then turn onto the A40 and climb up the Cerdon. Another good run and plenty of KM’s chalked up, finally finishing for the day in the parking area at the bottom of Mont-Blanc as the tunnel is closed for the night due to road works.

Tuesday. A change in the weather cold, misty and plenty of snow about. MJC has a little lie in and opts for a late start as there is no rush. Having made good progress thus far and not being booked on the ferry at Ancona till Wednesday PM, meant Matt could wait for his hair straighteners to cool down first. A slow stroll along stopping at Carisio for a douche and a mooch around the infamous old Carisio. Matt says it’s in a sad state now, nothing like it’s former self that so many drivers from all over Europe would remember. A little 40km diversion to get the truck washed at Autoparco Brescia Est. Finishing up for the day at the ristorante at Modena Sud. A first for Matt as he usually stops at Campogalliaino or Modena Nord, but having heard nothing but good reports of Modena Sud, he decided to give it a go.

The next part of the trip will be along in a day or two as Matt has to do the tricky bit of actually getting onto the little island and I know the ferry to Meganisi really isn’t much more than a large motor yacht with a ramp, it may be a little tight getting on board. I look forward to next instalment myself as it’s these driver tales that keep my need for the road under a decent span set or three. Looking forward to Part 2 The Difficult Bit.