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Family camping holiday touring France in an Austin Seven Summer 2018...
Before leaving I noticed a little scufing on the driver's side tyre and, on investigation, the small hub bearing exihibited some play, I replaced it.

Taking very minor roads we avoided Chambery completely and were rewarded with some very special views, including a last sneak at Mt. Blanc.



We aimed to get 100 miles south East and by 5pm we were ready to stop - finding a nice Campsite with a pool and bar we settled in for the night.


Today we would meet Bruce (aka Reckless Rat) and his wife Mary, we had communicated for a number of years and we'd all been invited to stay for a few days.  It turned out to be the hottest day of the trip, topping out at 39°C, the girls just kept singing!

Diverting slightly off-course we travelled through the Ardeche valley.



Bruce supplied some inside information and I was also able to get in some of the lavender fields (that Tanya so wanted to see) before meeting him in his C25 van in the village square.  After a cooling dip in Bruce and Mary's pool we walked into the village for a meal of Moule Frites and Rose - sublime!



It was Bastille day and the sky was alight with fireworks that night - our hosts had already made quite an impression on the girls and there was more fun to come!
That's a holiday your girls will not forget. One day they'll realise how lucky they were!
We were now 1000 miles into the journey and, whilst near a workshop, I took the opportunity to work on a few niggles with the steering - which was tightening up.  I reversed the cotters in the brake levers, removed the cable and removed some material from the end caps which all helped but it was not until I removed the driver's side track rod arm that it all freed off properly.  It had rotated in the stub axle causing the pin to bind on lock. Bruce helped me by holding the arm steady whilst I tightened - this solved the issue for the rest of the holiday.  I also swapped the front wheels over and reset the tracking, all this activity disturbed something in the stator tube and I then had remove the horn assembly to reattach a wire before the indicators worked properly!


Bruce's workshop had an air conditioner in it but even with that - I was absolutely sweltering in the heat, Bruce supplied cold drinks and told me it can get quite a bit warmer some days!

The nearest town (St Ambroix) was holding a medieval market so after lunch we headed up the road to see some of the extraordinary sights which we visited after lunch. Apparently Bruce is normally allergic to such events but braved it for us - thank you Bruce!




It was very warm and we soon returned to the house for a swim and a cool down - Bruce assumed his position at the barbecue and produced some excellent dinner!


Actually, while Ruiaridh and the girls were at the medieval festival, he quite cunningly encouraged the girls to do some shopping while he kept a close eye on one of Saint Ambroix's finest fllies, Madame Matelas, la belle de nuit. She's a cracker...   Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

[Image: IMG-20180715-_WA0000.jpg]
Ah - the memories! Heart  Heart  Heart

We awoke to another very hot day, our last with Bruce and Mary who had offered us incredible hospitality and friendship - we are very grateful, thank you both.

We spent the day eating seafood, swimming, packing the car and discussing our route options west.


France won the World Cup that night and we were treated to more fireworks alongside car horns and cheers - it was a very jovial atmosphere to end on.

Bruce gave Tanya some herbs and lavender from his garden which stayed with us for the rest of the journey.


We left Chez Rekkers in sunshine and, after fuelling up with petrol and some food for the journey, we followed Bruce's recommended route up in to the mountains - the houses were varied and the scenery surprisingly green for such a hot place.  After a long and windy climb we pulled in for a picnic, soon taking shelter under a tree from big drops of rain. This quickly became a downpour and we rushed to pack away the food and put up the roof.  


The rain stayed with us all of that day and when we arrived at the campsite in Meyruis I was in no mood to put up the tent so asked if any caravans or similar were available.  To my delight they had one large tent available and I eagerly handed over the cash - it was a much more comfortable proposition than our tiny tent!


Meyruis was the place my parents came to on my first visit to France in 1974 - they took everything needed for the three of us in their '29 tourer and used the rear seat base as my bed.  The holiday was organised by the Bristol Austin Seven Club and around a dozen cars took part staying at the very site we had booked into.  I told the new owners the story and showed some photos of the cars and people who had attended.

Me - 1974 and some of the cars that attended...



The weather was bright and sunny again the next morning and we set up our tent on another part of the campsite while the girls paddled in the stream and looked for baby trout.


(17-08-2018, 08:13 AM)Ruairidh Dunford Wrote: Me - 1974 and some of the cars that attended...
Pastry strategically hiding the beard?
You're mentioned repairs along the way. What spares do you carry with you?
It may be simpler to tell you what I don’t carry Simon.

I will try to photograph everything that was in the car, once I have completed the write-up.
Ah, that's easy, the bit you don't carry is always the bit you need I thought!

Thanks for doing such a comprehensive write-up by the way. From my own projects I appreciate the effort that goes into it.

Nothing would annoy me more than to break down and not be able to fix it because the part was in my garage 1500 miles away!
When travelling like this we use an inflatable cool box that is incredibly efficient (this one: and incredibly light.

We buy our fresh food each morning and lay a bottle of wine in the bottom, alongside a few beers.  Then meat or fish, some cheese and finally a big bag of frozen veg on top.  As we travel the frozen veg cools everything and we have some cold beers on arrival at the site along with cold food etc. and of course the veg can be eaten each evening wit the meal.  I varied the veg and one day bought a load of frozen sprouts - these also provided an alternative ice cube!


We stayed in Meyrueis for a few days relaxing and walking locally - it is  a lovely place.


Soon it was time to plan our next route - continuing west we hoped to visit a friend near Toulouse and gave ourselves two days for the journey.

Leaving the Gorges du Tarn the roads opened and we were able to pickup some speed, soon finding ourselves near Millau.  Having been advised to not go 'over' the famous viaduct ( as you see little of it) we chose instead to follow the road to the south of the river and were rewarded with a spectacular sight from below!





The Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world and quite incredible - it takes some time to take in the enormity of the engineering (see here for more information:

We continued to follow the charming Tarn Valley, this is much quieter than the Gorge area and a real joy to travel along, lovely houses and ancient Chateaus line the almost empty roads.


We chanced upon a lovely campsite with restaurant and spent a lovely evening relaxing with other diners before heading to bed.

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