Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Getting to the next campsite

I was on my way to the campsite near the National Memorial Arboretum. I intended to stop there just for one night on my way home from Lancashire. As the journey was about 3 hours I decided to leave really early; as close to 9am as possible. Then I should arrive at my destination, Alrewas by early afternoon. Time for a spot of lunch and a pleasant leisurely stroll around the Arboretum in the sun.

Unfortunately my journey to the campsite was so fraught I almost gave up and just continued homeward.

Well surprise surprise; 9.30am saw me driving through the entrance of the campsite on the start of my journey. I did stop to put some petrol in which was just as well considering the resulting problems. However, I did not arrive until well into the afternoon and by the time I had a very quick bite to eat and set off it was late afternoon and the sky was fast losing colour  making it difficult to take some interesting photographs.

The first part of the journey to and along the motorway was a breeze. I came off the motorway and had only about 20 miles to go along a lovely dual carriageway. At the first junction the road I wanted was closed. I was diverted back to the motorway.  Yes there were diversion signs. So many of them all pointing every which way I did not know which ones to follow. I set off along a minor road in what I hoped was going to take me roughly in the right direction. I took a wrong turn and a lot later ended up back at the motorway. Sitting in the services pulling my hair out I had a light bulb moment - I turn off my regular sat nav and used google maps on my phone, which seemed to keep up to date with roadworks etc.

Since I had hit the closed road I had spent ages and ages getting to this point. I was thrilled to see on google maps I was just 17 miles away 29 minutes.  Hopefully the end was near. I set off. (It was not easy as often google maps did not keep up with me and I reached a junction and did not know which way to turn. However I managed to keep more or less on route).

With my destination now only 10 minutes away I found myself going down quite a minor road with lots of traffic lights. I was sitting at some lights at a bridge thinking how nice it would be to finally arrive in a few minutes when it gradually dawned on me the van two cars in front was going very slowly. Then horror of horrors I realized he was having difficulty because the width of the bridge was very narrow. I was mortified.  He managed to get thorough as did the 2 cars behind him before the lights changed to red and I had to stop.

My Motorhome??????
It was then I noticed the sign indicating the bridge was 7 foot 6 inches wide.  My motorhome??? I quickly grabbed
the specs card I had made when I first got the van which I kept in the back of the sun-visor. I scanned down the list of measurements; width of van 7 foot 2 inches. I had 2 inches of space either side.

I felt it was impossible to turn around and find another route. Just getting this far had been so problematic and I did not know the area.  Also there was a queue of traffic behind me.  The road was very narrow.  I was not sure I would even be ABLE to turn around. I felt my only option was to try and cross the bridge. 

Whilst the cars were coming the other way I immediately pulled in the wing mirror on my side. The lights changed. I set off VERY SLOWLY.  I had forgotten the wing mirror on the passenger side. I stopped, unbuckled, got out of the seat ,wound the window down and pulled in the mirror.

I prayed the car the other end of the bridge could see me trying to cross and would wait for me should the lights changed. If not I did not know what we would do if we met head on in the middle of the bridge.  Very very very slowly I inched forward hoping I would not hear any scraping sound. It seemed to take an eternity but finally I got through the tight bit at my end.  The middle part of the bridge was a bit wider so I could go a little faster.

I breathed a sigh of relief because at least now the oncoming driver could see me and would know to wait. Then I came to the tight bit at the far end. Slowly, slowly slowly I inched forward. Finally I was through and no scraping sound. I had made it!!!  My heart was racing nineteen to the dozen. No need for me to do a fun run to increase my heart rate.

The road I was now travelling along was very narrow and the queue of traffic was enormous. Some of the bigger cars and vans spilled onto my side of the road and made it a tight squeeze. I had to mount the kerb but fortunately there were no barriers to worry about. On a couple of occasions I had to wait for cars to move over. As I passed some of the cars the drivers applauded me. It quite cheered me up. 

Just as google maps stated in less than 10 minutes I was pulling into the campsite.  The owner was not surprised I was late.  Apparently he had heard on the news that several roads had been closed because of reported bombs under bridges. When I parked up I felt a stiff drink was in order. I made do with tea instead as I did want to get to the Arboretum. 

It was worth making the effort. A lovely walk and soothing.

PS I did not take any photos of the bridge. I was too worried about being able to cross it.