Friday, 12 September 2008

Scirocco (almost) to Morocco 2008

Well it was a tough call to make, but after travelling 1908 miles from Sleaford to Gibraltar with the intentiontion of sorting tickets for the crossing we spent around 2 hours trying to broker a deal for a crossing at a reasonable price. The result ? Not good i'm afraid, we were unable to get a quote for the two of us+ car and trailer, return to Any of the ports for less than 500 euro's !.The sailing from Gib was going to be far to late for our planned itinery as it was @ 19.30 hours on the 12th, so the return would have been the next day which was to late to allow for any possible hold ups to be considered.Crossings at Ameria were the same story, either booked solid,too late or more commonly, far too expensive ! :-(.

We spent 1 hour going through the Spain>Gib border crossing, sweating profusely in the 38 degree temperatures (No aircon remember!), popped into Morrisons supermarket (yes there is a morrisons there also !), had food and drink, spent more time attempting to source the elusive crossing, and then at around 16.30 we made the descision to call off the crossing and spent another hour waiting to clear the Gib>Spain border.

It was whilst we were being pulled over and searched that i had my little accident with the trailer. No not a crash, but unfortunately i decided to unhitch it after the search and allow Glen to reverse back before refitting it to the car.Good idea, except that whilst reattaching it i dropped the towing arm onto my left foot (isn't that a film title ?), resulting in what was believed to be a broken big toe and a very bloody and sore fourth one :-(. Up to this point myself and Glen had been considering one last attempt to seek a crossing at Algesera, but after my little accident, with copious amounts of blood and gunge filling my trainer we decided that maybe this was a sign to accept the inevitable and conclude the Scirocco 2 Morocco outward journey in Gibraltar.

As you can probably appreciate we felt a little deflated at this point, almost as upsetting as when Glen suddenly realised that he had accidentally left his best tripod on the roadside somewhere in the Pyrenees mountains !, but after having a chat in a lay by just after the Spanish border control, we concluded that what the hell, we only missed our intended finish point by around 17 miles i.e the ferry crossing to either Ceuta or Tangier, and that in terms of REAL mileage i.e driving onto the ferry, and back off the other side and visa versa, we were probably only going to be actually driving the car around one more mile anyway !....for 500 euro's...we thought not !.

After getting back on the road again we pointed the car North and headed for Sevilla, then Northwest to Portugal and then to Silves in the Algarve were a good friend of mine (Ex RAF and the best man at Teresa and I's wedding 20 years ago) now lives with his family.Obviously the condition of my foot (which by now was well swollen!) meant that i was in no fit state to help with the driving, so Glen did the 291 miles from Gib to Silves on his own...good man !.

Yoda (our TomTom 910 satnav) has been a little temperamental at times, and has on occasion caused more trouble than good (wrong info,out of date maps, kept shutting down due to a faulty recharging connection on the cradle), but proved invaluable in getting us to Portugal and avoiding having to plan the route on a normal map, which saved a lot of extra bother.

We arrived at approx 20.30 hours (Spanish time) 19.30 hours local, and were met at the local petrol station by Graham who had only just finished work a little earlier.

A possible problem with the clutch cable which was noted on the way to Malaga appears to have got no worse, but we have noticed a leak/blow from the front of the exhaust over the last few hundred miles.

We are now planning to set off from Silves tomorrow morning at around 08.00 and then push North up to the top of Portugal and from there, over the next couple of days, across the west of France with the intention of being in Calais around the 16th September.

We apologies for the lack of detailed info that we have posted, but this was due to technical problems regarding the frequent lack ,whilst on the move, of signal for the Internet, and also the fact that we could only use the Laptop for 40 mins a day on battery due to it only lasting that long !.

We must just say at this point, a great big thanks to all the English,Spanish,French and Portuguese people who have made this trip so much fun, and especially those who waved, beeped and gave us the thumbs up along the way.....really appreciated and gave us the lift we needed when things got tough.

Myself and Glen would like to say also a great big thank you to our families who have been so supportive of our challenge and have kept in touch constantly with us over the last 2250 miles.

We are both now looking forward to getting home...just a small matter of approx 1650 miles before that goal is reached, and this time we will make the crossing as the ferry is already booked courtesy of those fine people at P&O...why can't all ferry companies be so good ?

Oh yes.Just a quick message to young Joel Picker-Spence.How are you doing mate ? Hope you are keeping ok. Take care mate, keep you always seem to anyway !:-) Andy and Glen.


Kaz said...

Hi Andy and Glen

Glad all is well (apart from your toe Andy)!

It is raining here (again).

Can you fix justgiving links on Air and Macmillan - not working as someone tried to donate and emailed me.

Cheers, Kaz

Andy said...

Have now sorted the links to the Justgiving site, so anyone who would like to make an online donation can now do so !...Thanks for giving me the heads up about the problem Kaz.