A fly-by view of Southern England and all its motorways have to offer...
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Well, perhaps the titles a little inaccurate. It certainly didn't start as a road to nowhere, in fact there was even a fairly clear destination in mind: France and the French/Belgien boarder. The decision to embark on this epic journey was made on the lunchtime of the 23rd of July 2009 with a simple exchange of two bored people and the random suggestion of "wanna go to France for a day or two?" "Yeah, okay" and with that it was settled. After booking a ferry from Dover to Calais and grabbing some items in the worldwind frenzy we departed at 14:30 with the intention of catching the ferry at 19:40: plenty of time. We drove casually along the A303, which was a little busier than usual, and even stopped for lunch full of optimism about our inprompt trip.
No room to move anywhere for two hours. This put a severe dent in our plans, one might even say a crippling injury. Nevertheless, when traffic finally began to move we kept going onward. We needed an average speed of 80mph to hit Dover on time by this point using the power of our 10 year old Renault Megane. However with Martin behind the wheel, who can drive like a blood-crazed hyena on an acid binge, this was not out of our sphere of infulence. However the fates conspired again to stop us. Or perhaps just the City of London. We were, after all, stuck on the M25, arguebly the most hated road in Britian, during a delayed rush hour meaning our speed was unable to go above 50mph. This was a fatal blow to our already broken plans. We continued onwards, theorizing that we could adjust our ticket for the £5 fee previously quoted. We flew down the M26 and onto the M20 towards Dover with little incident bar the occasional yelling at other drivers to move the hell over, not that they could hear us, and reached the White Cliffs roughly 15 minutes after our ferry had departed. A valiant effort, I'm sure you'll agree.
Driving through Dover towards the ferry terminal it struck me for the first time quite how much of a craphole Dover actually is; no way would I leave this car until we reached the terminal. Boarded up windows and closed-down pubs and shops roughly every 10 metres is not a pretty sight at the best of times but its less than reassuring after you've been driving for 5 hours. Eventually we got there and, once discovering the information centre doesn't open past 17:00 (it was now about 20:10) we hit another unfortunatly road block. After reading the T's & C's of our ticket we discovered that you can only change the times before the first departure. In otherwords, we were screwed. As we sat there comtemplating our shitty luck, a rap on the window alerted us to the presence of a rather poor looking Frenchman who we quickly discovered wanted to get into the car and sneak aboard a ferry insisting that it wouldn't cost us anymore money. We politely, but firmly, refused not least because of the smell from him and the instantly recognisable look of a crazed drug fiend in his eyes but also because we had no real desire to add to our bad day a human traffiking charge. At the very least a smuggling rap is a £4000 fine, something I for one would have no way to pay. We quickly moved from our position in the car park to another one and decided, with no options left and no desire to pay for another ticket, to go home. A frenzy of a 3 hour journey followed, Martin wide awake thanks to a cocktail of energy drinks and energy bars flew across the South of England like a man possesed by some hateful demon with a lust for destruction while I, doing the only really thing available to me, whacked up the music and selected the most fast and heavy rock songs I could find on his ipod to help push him even further whilst munching away on a packet of Galaxy Minstrels.
So, 9 hours after we began this rapid and highly pointless journey, we arrived home. To put the whole thing in fairly simplier terms, we drove to Dover and back and I lost £90 on a ferry ticket. Perhaps this demostrates that random and fairly ill-planned road trips are not a desireable concept? No, of course it doesn't. It just proves that when everything's against you its not always possible to beat the odds even if you get really close. I can safetly say this won't adjust my intents on anything, perhaps meaning that from this highly pointless 9 hour road trip that I've learnt nothing.
However it did get me out of Somerset for the day which was the whole intent all along. So with that in mind, was it totally pointless after all?