Off we go again, on the road to France

Today has been spent preparing for a month away… packing hiking, cycling and kayaking gear. It’s our first long trip in Bertie the campervan, which we’ve needed a lot of kit for; therefore, it’s taken a little while to find good homes for everything. All that is left to go in now is the food and the valuables… passports and euros, my camera gear and so on.

All packed and ready to roam

We’ve also had 4G mobile broadband fitted to Bertie today. We bought the kit from Motorhome WiFi and are very grateful for their help and advice. Bertie now has a 4g antenna on his roof, which provides 4G that is five times stronger than mobile phone 4G. There’s a wireless Huawei router in a cupboard in the lounge that we can connect up to 10 devices to. This means we can run both our phones and the iPad from it, without touching our usual data plans. After I’d explained what we needed, Adam at Motorhome WiFi recommended a Vodafone 30-day rolling data SIM so we have 50GB of data a month, which should be plenty and is only costing us £25 a month.

Neat low profile 4G antenna

Having a more reliable 4g connection will make it much easier to navigate, search for camping aires, and find places to visit while we’re on the move, as well as to write my blog, upload photos, and check emails. Hopefully this will mean no more searching for cafes with free wifi once we’re off the beaten track! I also bought an Amazon Fire TV stick half price in the Amazon Prime sale so we can watch TV without needing a satellite dish. We won’t use the TV much (if at all!) this trip, but it will be nice to have on dark evenings in winter.

The Huawei router tucked away in the cupboard

We’re very grateful to Stuart from Hopson Caravan Services who fitted us in at a week’s notice so that we could get the wifi up and running for this trip. He did a great job and fitted the antenna, docking station and router very neatly. We’ll definitely use him again when we need anything doing.  Stuart had expected it to be a quick job and it was unfortunate that he needed to go and buy a new drill bit because of the way Bertie is put together. This meant the job took him longer than he expected, although he didn’t charge us any more. I just hope he wasn’t too delayed and  hasn’t ended up working late in this hot weather.

Millie trying to keep cool

We’ve organised a rota of cat sitters to look after Millie. She’s currently lying on the patio, trying to keep cool. I worry about her because she’s 17 now and hope she stays well while we’re away. She’s deaf and sleeps all the time but I still worry she’ll be lonely, even though I know Jean, my mum and Heather will all make a fuss of her when they visit. John and I are really very grateful to them all.

I feel in limbo now, waiting to go away. We’ve almost finished tidying the house… doing the last bit of washing, emptying the dishwasher, watering the plants etc. We just need to empty the fridge and the bins in the morning and lock all the windows. Oh… and I want to dye my hair and have a shower once its cooled down a bit. Then we’ll have a takeaway and an early night, ready for the adventures ahead.

John pottering in the garden

The plan is to spend about 5 days in the Vercors region of France, where we hope to cycle some pretty cool roads through tunnels and gorges with stunning views, drops and overhangs. Then we have 10 days in Guillestre with Dan and Jackie. Dan is taking John’s kayak so they can do some paddling, and we’ll also do some hiking to prepare for part 3 of the summer. This is the Tour du Mont Blanc, a multi-day trek which we’re doing with Anne, Mark, Rob and Ben, staying in mountain refuges and small hotels. I’m looking forward to it all!

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