5.5.09 Happy Cinqo de Mayo from Spain!
San Sebastian Travel Blog› entry 47 of 114 › view all entries
5.5.09 Happy Cinqo de Mayo from
It was a day of great luck and bad luck! All is well though- Sugar is a tiny bit muddy but fine. Jazy said it was the worst, most stressful driving situation *ever* this afternoon- I think it didn’t come close to the wet Dempster Highway heading south or the Copan Ruines ancient city experiences- although I do think it beat the backing down the sand mountain at high speed experience.. More on today’s driving adventure in a minute.
Last night, Cavignac’s small town aire was the most quiet ever! I couldn’t get over it- right there in town and not a car, bird, nothing until about 7am when the church bells rang. We enjoyed the little town this morning, buying chemicals at the hardware store, baguettes and croissants at the boulangerie, and RV magazines at la librarie (bookstore). I thought friends like Lisa T. would enjoy seeing the magazine pictures of the inside of European motorhomes- I’ll be sure to take some of Sugar too. Very cool!
Then, after finishing our stroll down the small main street of town, we headed up to a winery, since we are in the
Unfortunately, the owners were at work until 7pm and the kind adult daughter was not able to show us the winery or let us make purchases. She did not know any English at all, as we found in Cavingnac, but kindly suffered my French attempt. We were disappointed in missing the winery experience, but thought we’d see many more wineries as we headed south through
Alas! Once on the motorway, we saw no signs for wineries. I did manage to find some
We drove several hours south on our way to
We took the wrong exit off a roundabout ��" missed the road to our aire. Oops! Surprise though- there was E.L’eclare’s! We’ve been looking for them on our GPS because we really need propane. Jazy even took a cold shower last night to save on it (but I was wimpy this morn and ran the water heater for my shower!).
We couldn’t believe our luck! We knew of no other E. L’eclare’s in southern
We put our Irish empty propane tank in the garage to save for the Behan’s, in case it helps them or we have trouble exchanging the French tanks for Irish ones when we get Sugar back to Dublin.
Jazy and I went inside the E’Leclare’s store and our jaws dropped open from shock- the place was like a village with dry cleaners, hair cutters, etc. It seemed to us to be much larger than a SuperWalmart! I wish I’d had my camera with me. Amazing!
Our Visa worked today! I guess Block of America got it figured out. But we used our Mastercard today for gas, propane, etc until it was declined at E’Leclare’s in the store. Ah well- can’t expect them all to work every time.
We managed to make it to the last aire listed in
Chris, a fellow motorhomer from
Oddly, he asked if we had the Spain Aires book. “No, but we’ve been looking for it,” I said, having searched two bookstores today for it. He then sold us his copy for about half price. Why? “Because it’s used and it will be old by the time I return.” Awesome!! We couldn’t believe our luck. Armed with a great book and recommendation, we set off to find the Aire.
Oddly, we crossed from
The signs have a strange, almost Greek-typeface words on them. A
It all feels similar to
Here’s an example: Just before our interstate exit in
So into this weirdness, we turn down a GPS inspired single-lane road to find the Aire that Chris recommended. I think it’s the correct road, Jazy argues it’s not.
We meet a dump truck on the road- it’ coming down the mountain and skids to a halt just in time and blinks for us to proceed. We breathe out as we slip by in the only passing area.
Less than a mile to go on this one lane road- we see on the GPS, but the lane starts to deteriorate and Jazy’s argument is making good sense. We pick our way down the windy road to the bottom of a rut and start back up. Okay, I’ll agree to turn around if we can find a place. Jazy leaps out to assess if we can turn around on the flat barn driveway to our left- it’s at a tight angle, so I’ll need to pass it and then back in. Looks good, Jazy says. I start up the hill ahead - the wheels spin from the wet, muddy pothole that we’d just traversed!
We rest, trying not to wig out- knowing we can back down to the bottom and try again if needed. I try gently again with the clutch (our full water, gas and propane didn’t help the weight issue) and Sugar tenderly pulls up the slippery, steep hill. I back into the driveway without sliding or running over Jazy or hitting anything- all is good so far.
But before we can celebrate victory, we still have to make a right turn onto this mountain road from a flat surface with not enough clearance. There’s a cement post on the driveway and a fence covered in vines along the one-way road.
It is a steep way down as we swing right onto the road. We can’t make it yet. I back Sugar up to turn the wheels…Made it! No slippage.
We ease forward- Sugar again won’t clear!
I try to back up again but wheels spin and we instead eek forward! Agghh! We are now just an inch from hitting and taking out the fence and sliding down the mountain. Don’t really know what is on the other side of the fence off the broken asphalt. Cannot see where the cement post is behind us. Can I hit the gas fast enough, going from the brake with the clutch, to the gas to get Sugar to back up this steep hill- or will we roll into the fence and go from there? Will the wheels just spin again?
We’re cocked at an angle. This is a real pickle. My legs shake from holding Sugar on the clutch and brake. The kids say I swore a little. Or maybe a lot. There’s just one second for this single reverse attempt to work before we need a tow truck or an ambulance. We pray- very hard…summon up the courage to try our one shot …hold our breath…
It worked! The plan worked! Sugar backed up that very instant, we didn’t hit anything behind or beside us, we didn’t spin tires, we didn’t slide down the steep hill into the potholes! We straightened the wheels and made the turn! A miracle!
We didn’t meet any trucks as we tootled down the mountain; we didn’t lose our brakes even though our speed on the steep mountain couldn’t be held with gearing down alone. Oh my GOSH! Praise the Lord!
So, it all worked out. Sometimes, we get a clear break and that was mine. I should just be conservative for awhile. And maybe next time I’ll listen to my Navigator.
We got to the Aire using a better road- Jazy had been correct. It is part of a small park, along a road that seems seldom used except for race-car type drivers or motorcyclists at high speed. We had very nice RV neighbors from
But our options tonight are limited and I have the FindMeSpot blinking in the window as a scary intimidator and we can use it for emergency help if needed. Or I can drive away- let’s hope we don’t need it and our neighbors return. This was considered a top Aire in the book and it is clearly marked with pictures of RV’s and has a service point (dump station), so hopefully it is also patrolled occasionally. Let’s hope. Now where are those neighbors…
Anyway, that’s it for a long day. We did some laundry in a bucket, which is no fun, but sometimes necessary. More to do, but priorities- maybe we’ll find a washer soon. We’re thrilled to have propane, full water, empty tanks, and full gas. We’re working on that Maslow’s chart near the bottom layer- Security, food, water, clean laundry…Life is good!