4 May 2007

May Weekend

The Bank Holiday weekend is on us again. It doesn’t seem more than a few days since we had Easter off.

What to do at the weekend was governed by the Arsenal and Chelsea game in Sky Sports 1. In the end could I stand the strain of watching our footballing side play against the new Watford style of the Billionaire’s Toy Team? Nah. Record it on Sky Plus and if we win, then I’ll watch it. Lose and forget it.

The alternative was a Kent Centre run to Sammy Miller’s Museum in the New Forest. An early start and late back. Claire didn’t want to go and so I had decided to go on my own. I’m away next week on the Welsh National Rally, a bike rally, not a Nurnberg style gathering of Plaid Cymru.

So when Claire said she fancied getting away I had to have a look. Firstly having a look at a day in the UK. Then I thought how appalling the traffic always is making it a misery to be out in the car. So bike then? The misery compounded as the weekenders in their cars will be bumping into each other all over the motorways and the back roads will be clagged with foreign trucks that don’t recognise the BH in their neck of the woods, plus all the w*nkers with their caravans. Meltdown.

So abroad? Where? Local? Further afield? One night or two? All weighing on my mind.

One night. Local. Check the hotel websites. Has to be cheap but not tacky. Damn. Too late to get the places I like the look of booked. Too many “desolé” replies.

Okay, further afield it will have to be. As a fair trade agreement how about a garden that Claire might like. She does come to some places that are really “boys’ toys” places like motor museums, railways and bike shows.

Monet’s Garden? It always looks good in the photographs in magazines. Okay, destination sorted. Hotel? Check the websites again. How much? No way!

Onto http://www.louvrehotels.com/en/louvre-hotels.html and have a look at the options. A nice cheap Campanile at Evreux. It’s 27 miles from Giverny. Campaniles have decent rooms and parking, plus all have a restaurant on site that have a good menu choice. Booked for €45.

Next stop on the whistle stop tour of the web to Eurotunnel and book the Shuttle. Out Saturday lunch time and back Sunday evening, £26. Booked.

Now to see what the trip entails. By the time we set wheel on Frog soil it will be about 1534 local time. So to the no doubt disappointment of the “I hate motorway” brigade, we’ll take the A16/A28 option to Rouen and then N roads to Evreux. ViaMichelin reckons it’s 173 miles and 2h 45m duration. So it will be gone 1815 or so by the time we arrive even without a detour through Rouen.

Once home, I had Mapsource started and had a look at a route from the Shuttle to the hotel. Mapsource has the Evreux Campanile in the database and so that was sorted quickly. Of course, Monet’s Garden is in there, so a second route for Sunday morning is created.

All that remains is a day at work before we can get away.

The weekend will also give us the chance to assess how the bike is affected by the Zega panniers. Since having the pannier rails fitted, there's been no chance to take the bike out with them fitted. So this will be "big bang" theory at work.

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