Well I left work just before 5pm and got in the car with my family. As we hit the M6 and neared Corley services I noted that I didn't seem to have my camera on me. I rang work and low and behold it was still on my desk. I sked them to put it somewhere safe until I got back. So the photos for this holiday are taken using my dad's Fuji Film F450. It's not until you revert back to one of these older models that you realise just how dam fantastic the V10 is. Away we get to the M1 without a hitch and then things go horribly wrong. We sit in traffic for a while and I suggest that if someone gives me the map book I will get us onto the M11 which runs parallel. I can see my mom is search for the map book and I advise that if she gives me the bright yellow one which is a map of France I will scream. I'm told be the two in front that a they now have a new sat nav in the car they have removed the UK map book to save space! At this point my mom is about to give me a bright yellow book - - - - - - - - -. So I suggest to the two people that they use their high tech gadget to get them out of here and head to the M11, But where is the M11 they say. I reply how would I know I don't have a map book use your wonderful gadget.
We sit on the M1 a while longer........
Eventually we get to the service by Dartford crossing. I suggest that I drive the rest of the way to 'make up some time'. Now we were shifting some and can say that the superb handles well fully loaded with roof box and hammering it. It was going to be close but we were just going to make the 8:50 booking in time. That was until the motorway came to 3 lane stand still for the car the lorries scheme that was taking place. The MPV that was infront of us gave up, the cabin filled with steam which I thought was smoke and everyone bailed out! I thought we where going to have a bonfire to stand around for a while but we didn't. We where headed off the M20 onto the A2 and back on the M20 for the Euro tunnel. I put my credit card in the terminal machine and it came up 'YOU ARE LATE'. No shit. Next available train without charge is 6:20am. So I press the help button and tell them I'll pay more if I can go earlier. This however does not help. The trains are fully booked for high cars. I'm told that if I can put the roof box inside the car they will take us earlier! Now this may sound mad but I actually saw someone with a Zalfia doing this! Nope no can do. Just how tall can you not be I tell them - we are definitely under 2meters. 1.985 they reply oh does anyone in here know how tall exactly we are?
We wonder into the terminal building. Its not improved since my last two visits here. It feels like the end of the world. The last place you would want to be. There are shops to tantalise you into spending money, if only they were open. Instead we can overpriced beer and coffee's at the centre stall. If we are desperate for food the plastic food Burger King was still open. And if the overpriced coffee from the center stall was too much to swallow then you could consider a coffee of muck from one of the automated vending machines. Whoever built this terminal should have been sacked. It missed the point of the excitement of travel. The wanting to be away from Britain. Although I did have an expensive coffee from that center stand, and later one from the vending machine, I called the emergency number which directs me to Les. I ask him about P&O sailings and getting me a number to talk to someone. But just as I guessed , when I phone the British P&O establishment all I got was we have gone home, it the weekend, as if we give a shit. Why not try us during our opening hours or on the web.... Because on the web you have to book 48hours in advance we stupid machine. And so I relax in the knowledge that I'm trapped in this hell waiting for my alphabetic symbol to come up t tell me our train is boarding. We go back to the car and with four of us in there it stays rather snug and warm. At 5:20am I get up go to the gents, get changed out of my work cloths and have a wash and shave. Now refreshed I can see some hope of getting out of here. I here the tannoy calling all late arrival high sided vehicles to go to boarding yes we are getting out of this prison sentence. But will I fall asleep while driving the French Autoroute?
We whizz along the autoroute taking a stop or two here and there. We pick up some snow chains from the same place I bought some for the cav, which turned out to be a wise decisions as the next few service stations we stopped at the same chains were 1/3rd dearer! I swop with my brother and get a couple of hours deep sleep apparently. I awake just in time before we hit Lyon and I'm taking us on a detour off the autoroute and Via Belley and Lake Annacy.
WE drive through Albertville and onto the mountain autoroute. Snow can be seen on the mountain tops but not as much as I was expecting. I had been told that there had been a second Christmas. But I thought they had meant more snow not less! We come off the autoroute and start the long climb up the valley, calling on route the chap who owns the apartment. As we climb there is a very big lack of snow, we pass St Martin De Belle and Les Menuires where there is some. Finally Val Thorens were it is white.
We get the key and unpack the car before taking it to carpark P0. Oh so much smaller than P1 and hopefully this time will not lose it!
My dad and me go out for some essential supplies and it starts to snow.
For me it is an early night. I probably lie down on the bed in the driving position, but I'm too tired to care. At least its snowing and thats what matters.