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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/04/2018 in Posts

  1. Just enjoy seeing different places on the journey and never return the same roads
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  2. Hi autoevoke Thanks so much for that I had my partner top up the fluid and the problem has not recurred since, so fingers crossed this has been a simple and cheap cure.
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  3. Hi Alfa4 I have come across the problem before and you'll be pleased to know it is a very simple and cheap fix! The brake fluid will need topping (maybe just very slightly) as the chassis control system senses the level is too low. First time I experienced this I was surprised at how simple yet also how complex the system is to take the fluid level reading this precisely. Top up the fluid to the 'maximum' level but no higher and see if the light extinguishes and does not return. Also, consider that the fluid level may have dropped for a reason! This could be a major problem with a hydraulic component if the level has dropped a significant amount but if only dropped slightly then it is more than likely the brake pads may have worn low. Either way, have the brake components inspected for safety and condition
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  4. For me, it's the journey that is the most important factor of the road trip, along with the various towns and villages you stop at en-route. Have encountered many experiences (good and bad) on past trips and it's certainly a steep learning curve and finding out what to do and not to do on future trips.
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  5. Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 1 January 2021. Things you may need to do before you go include: check your passport get travel insurance that covers your healthcare check you have the right driving documents organise pet travel - contact your vet at least 1 month before you go There are more things to do if you’re travelling for business. For example, going to meetings and conferences, providing services (even with a charity), and touring art or music. Passports: check if you need to renew You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021. On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both: have at least 6 months left be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left) If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You can check whether your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting. Healthcare: check you’re covered You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020. It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not. Entering other countries Border control: you may have to show your return ticket and money At border control, you may need to: show a return or onward ticket show you have enough money for your stay use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing Visas for short trips: you will not need one if you’re a tourist If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total. You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel. Travel to Ireland will not change from 1 January 2021. You’ll also be able to work in Ireland in the same way as before. Taking food and drink into EU countries You will not be able to take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries from 1 January 2021. There are some exceptions, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website. Taking plants and plant products into EU countries You’ll need a certificate to take certain plants and plant products into EU countries from 1 January 2021. Check the rules about taking plants and plant products into the EU on the European Commission website. Travel There may be changes from 1 January 2021. What these are depend on how you’re travelling. However you travel, check before you leave for any delays or disruption. Driving You may need extra documents from 1 January 2021. You might need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries. If you’re taking your own vehicle, you will also need a ‘green card’ and a GB sticker. Compensation if your travel is disrupted Some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider’s terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed. Your consumer rights will not change from 1 January 2021. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking’s terms and conditions to find out more. Pet travel: allow at least 1 month to arrange From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead, you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet. Allow at least 1 month to arrange this and relevant vaccinations. Follow the guidance about pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021. Mobile roaming: free roaming may end From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end. Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021. A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing. Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this. If your travel company goes out of business You’re protected if you buy a package holiday and the company goes out of business. You get this cover even if it’s an EU company, as long as the company targets UK customers. Otherwise, you can claim compensation if you used your credit card. You’ll continue to be able to claim for payments between £100 and £30,000.
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  6. I have done a few of these routes...memorable vistas
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  7. Led Zeppelin 1 Led Zeppelin 2 Led Zeppelin 3 Led Zeppelin 4 ...need I go on? 🙂
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  8. Gone to the dark side now and sold the Alfa which will be sorely missed 😞 Have bought a Nissan Juke as has petrol engine and four doors which is now what i need. Will have to get another Alfa in the future though, such fun cars to drive x
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  9. Hi all I'm John and i own several cars the latest ones being a Mercedes SLK and a Jaguar XF which works for all types of motoring and especially the Merc for warmer weather Good to be on here with mutual car enthusiasts and hope to chat more in the future
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  10. Think it's the best way, leaving a car to sit idle is no good for it long term.
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  11. Never really considered Switzerland for a road trip to be honest. But may have to look into it after I've completed my other ideal road trips.
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  12. Being a key worker I've been alternating between my daily and my old Audi. I did take my Ford Escort out for a run last week which was the first time since it passed its MOT in Feb!
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  13. I own an Alfa Romeo GT with a diesel engine. had this car for many years and virtually no problems with it at all Love it x
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  14. From life-changing road trips to breaking your personal top speed record, there's no limit to what you can do behind the wheel When you're sitting in traffic on the M25, do you sometimes close your eyes and imagine you were traversing some far-flung mountain range, or tearing down the Mulsanne Straight at 250mph? Well, open them again (not least because you're on a motorway), because the Autocar writers have compiled a list of their greatest achievements behind the wheel, and the things they'd like to still do. Read on to discover what it feels like to drive at 200mph, why Iceland is the best road trip destination, which motorsport events you need to attend and lots more: Drive a car at 200mph All my conscious life I’d wanted to do it, yet when it happened it was almost anticlimactic. It was 2 May 1994, at Bruntingthorpe, and I was in a McLaren F1 prototype. I still have the recording of colleague Gavin Conway laconically calling out the speeds as XP5 gained velocity at a hitherto unimagined rate for a road car. But it was too quick: it got from rest to 200mph in less than 30sec – to the F1, it was just another number on the dial and, on a wide open airfield, even the sensation of speed wasn’t that great. Sorry to disappoint. Drive on the Isle of Man I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time on the derestricted stretches of Germany’s autobahn. But, until three years ago, I’d never experienced the considerably greater thrills of limit-free roads where you drive on the left. The Isle of Man isn’t the easiest place to get to, but taking a trio of British sports cars there – a Morgan Plus 8, an Ariel Atom 3.5R and a McLaren P1 – was proper dreams-come-true stuff. Conditions were wet and gloomy but, out of season, the TT mountain road was quiet and the McLaren predictably epic. I’ll almost certainly never travel as quickly on a British public road again. Do a US road trip In 1991, I didn’t know or care what a bucket list was. Rather more appealing was a direct flight to San Francisco, hire a car and, after a few days, take off for Las Vegas with the future Mrs Ruppert. That was only part one of the road trip. We got upgraded from a grim Chevrolet to a Buick Century, presumably to return the rental to a more lucrative outlet. In between was Yosemite National Park, Death Valley and just miles of what still is a huge, almost endless, film set. Even better in that barge-like Buick. Drive a lap of Iceland Driving 828 miles in 48 hours may not sound like fun, but when you’re doing a lap of Iceland at the wheel of a Mazda MX-5, it’s as good as life gets. Yes, in some respects it was fairly arduous: it was a long way, I’m very tall and the MX-5 very small and the speed limits are low and rigorously enforced. But none of that mattered because the land of ice and fire is every bit as other-worldly spectacular as the tourist brochures make out, from the rolling mountains, steaming volcanoes and black sand beaches through to the hot lagoons and iceberg-filled estuaries. I’m going back with the family this year – but this time we’re taking a week over it. Mini hunting in Chile Ever since I found a 1972 British Leyland corporate brochure picturing Chilean-made glassfibre-bodied Minis, I’d been intrigued. Decades later, in 2011, I set out to find the factory that made these curios, in a Mini Countryman. We drove from Santiago, in the centre of this long, thin country, to Arica, close to the Peruvian border, where the factory was. Great moments included driving through the Atacama desert, finding an original glassfibre Mini and randomly discovering that the father of the porter at our Arica hotel had worked at the plant. He took us to two sites, one flattened, the other containing some original buildings and now a university. Drive a hillclimb in a Caterham It was the perfect day: a Caterham R300, a helmet and driving overalls on the passenger seat. Lovely weather and an entry for Shelsley Walsh hillclimb. Wife off with her mates so no one to worry about (getting bored). I can’t remember how well I did – average probably – but I didn’t bend the car. On the way home, I stopped at a lovely village pub and had a pie and a pint. I thought at the time that it doesn’t get much better and I think the same now. Own my dream car When I was a kid, I wanted a Caterham more than any other car, apart from a Ferrari F40, maybe. But I figured I’d probably never afford one of those. A Caterham, though, seemed doable. “By the time I’m 25,” I thought, “I’ll have one.” So I did. Just. By borrowing almost my annual salary. I bought a stripped-out ex-race car with a 2.0-litre Vauxhall red-top engine making 200bhp-ish, straight-cut gearbox, limited-slip differential and 13in Minilite wheels. And it was great. I used it, loved it, looked after it and later sold it for what I paid for it. One of the best things I’ve done with cars. It’s still on my bucket list… Drive from Cairo to Cape Town If I could do one transcontinental drive, this would be it. I’d like to do it in a new Land Rover Defender because there’d be no better way of proving it was worthy of the name. I’d like to break the record – held by a Fiat Panda last time I heard – but not to linger a little would be a shame. Although I have no connection to the continent save being married to someone who grew up there, there is nowhere I am happier or, weirdly, feel more at home than sub-Saharan Africa. Plans? None. But if Land Rover were planning such a trip, I can confirm my availability. Drive across America The cliché alarm might be jangling, but I’ve always wanted to drive all the way across the US in one trip. I don’t want to try to beat the record – an improbable 28 hours and 50 minutes from New York to LA – but rather take a leisurely route that I pretty much make up as I go along and one that would be chosen to take in the more interesting roads of Montana and the Pacific Northwest instead of the normal straight shot. The ideal vehicle would be something big, American and dumb: I’ve toyed with buying a decommissioned police-spec Crown Victoria. Buy a BSA Bantam In 1974, my brother-in-law Jimmy Smart gave me his BSA Bantam. It was a Bitza, D1 frame, with a 150cc D3 engine. It was tired and the last tax disc said May 1972 after he rode home from work and chucked a tarpaulin over it. Jimmy died of cancer two years later and I lost heart in the restoration and then discovered girls and cars. I have got it to a stage where it only needs oily engine bits. Finding them has been difficult and I have even toyed with the idea of turning it into a battery-electric Bantam. Help. Master off-roading Every now and then, there’s a chance to do some spectacular off-roading as part of a new car launch, but no matter how butt-clenching the challenge, you always know that they wouldn’t be asking you to drive through the river lapping over the bonnet if there was the remotest risk of it going wrong. I’d love to buy something cheap and cheerful (an old Suzuki Jimny, perhaps) and spend a weekend with some committed amateur green-laners on unfamiliar roads, protected by their expertise but with a dose of jeopardy thrown in. Research suggests spare time is my only enemy, as joining an appropriate car club looks no harder than a swift internet search and signing a very small cheque. Import a US classic Buying a classic car in the US and driving it to the east coast for shipping: it’s a bit of a cliché, and I’ve half done it already, buying a Chevrolet Corvair in Montana and dragging it to Newark. The difference is that I’d like to drive the next acquisition rather than towing it (the ’Vair wasn’t quite fit enough), and this time, I want V8 power, wrapped in one of GM’s most dramatic shapes. The ’68 Corvette C3 tends to be overlooked these days, being long-lived, degraded and familiar. But early chrome-bumper versions look great and, allegedly, drive spectacularly with the rare 370bhp LT-1 small block. One day, I aim to find out. Drive a Bugatti Veyron Surprisingly, for someone who considers supercars (let alone hypercars) a waste of time and only of great use to people with self-confidence issues, I would very much like to drive a Bugatti Veyron. I was never offered, or tried to arrange for myself, a drive in the Veyron when it was launched. I’d like a go in one now because I’m curious. I’ve heard so much about the car that I do feel that I’ve missed out by not driving one. If you own one and are willing to risk it, you know how to find me. Restore a car I’ve done a little bit of welding, a little bit of painting, a little bit of trimming and a little bit of mechanical tinkering. But I’ve never done any of them particularly well and, crucially, I’ve never done them together. It’s still, though, right up my list of things to do with cars, and I don’t think I’ll be satisfied until I’ve taken an absolute barn-find snotter and restored it back to its former glory. Maybe not to concours or factory condition, but to absolutely as I want it. I’ve almost got space, equipment and skills. One day, it’ll all fall into place. 10 motorsport events for your bucket list When it comes to motorsport around the world, aim high – and go long. Or not, in the case of the last of our 10 top tips for must-see events… Monte Carlo Rally The Monte always seems on the edge of chaos, due to both the frequent risk of sudden snow or ice and the willingness of organisers to shake up the event format and stages on a regular basis. Still, if their capricious whims lead to the inclusion of the Col de Turini at night, that’s where you should head. Join the throng in the dark, listen for the engine notes and marvel as some of the world’s best drivers flash past in a blaze of spotlights and engine roar. Daytona 500 The Great American Race lives up to its hype from the moment the oh-so-American pre-race pageantry kicks off. (Think big flags, military fly-pasts and spirited invocations.) Thankfully, the race itself maintains that spectacle, with 40 brightly coloured stock cars locked in close quarter. The use of engine restrictor plates to keep speeds down leads to intense pack racing, inevitable late-race drama and, frequently, plenty of crashes. Shake and bake. Nürburgring 24 Hours No, it’s not just a car maker’s playground. The sight of more than 200 thoroughbred GTs, supercars and the odd Seat Leon rolling into action for the ‘other’ 24-hour classic in June is unforgettable. As darkness falls, head out into the woods, on a mountain bike preferably (14-plus miles takes some exploring). But beware: the booze-fuelled campsites are just as hairy (in both senses) as the legend dictates. Spa 6 Hours There are two to choose from: the modern World Endurance Championship race in May and the historic event in September. Both offer perfect opportunities to explore one of the world’s last great ‘old-school’ race circuits. Latest-generation sports prototypes and GTs are spectacular, but if old racing cars are your thing, the historic 6 Hours increasingly outstrips the Goodwood Revival for pleasure. Bathurst 1000 Bathurst is a race of contrasts: it’s an endurance event featuring no-nonsense hard-battling touring cars on a circuit that has a fast lower section and a crazily tight and twisty mountain section. To get the authentic experience, head up the mountain for an up-close view of the big, brash, spectacular 5.0-litre V8 supercars – and the big, brash, spectacular Aussie fans. Macau Grand Prix A crash-bang-wallop feast of Far East street circuit action in November, featuring the renowned Formula 3 grand prix, GTs, the World Touring Car Cup – and even motorcycling, the bravest of the crazy. About half the circuit is frighteningly, dangerously flat out (just ask Sophia Flörsch) and the other half is single-file and almost three-point-turn tight (at the Melco hairpin). But the wild racing is nothing compared with the night-life. Apparently. Pikes Peak The Pikes Peak International Hillclimb is a hardcore spectator event. There’s only one road up the mountain and that’s the one the competitors race up – so spectators have to be up before the road closes at 0630hr and can’t come down until all the cars have finished. Oh, and at up to 14,115ft above sea level, altitude sickness is a distinct possibility. Worth the hassle? Absolutely. The scenery is stunning and watching competitors attack the world’s toughest hillclimb is mind-blowing. Indianapolis 500 Buy a grandstand seat high up in Turn 1 and be prepared to recalibrate your brain. How Indycars turn left at 230mph without the hint of a lift is something you have to see. The scale of The Brickyard, especially packed out on Memorial Day in May, fits the stereotype of everything being bigger in America. But the Indy 500 is one occasion that actually exceeds its hype. Le Mans 24 Hours The greatest motor race in the world? All things considered, yep – that still fits. The 8.4-mile circuit has been sanitised in recent years – but only a bit. Midnight at the fast Tertre Rouge right-hander or up on the bank on the outside of the Esses can lead to a dangerously heightened sense of bliss (if it’s not raining). Take a tent and plenty of waterproofs. And forget about sleep for the weekend. British Grand Prix Yes, really. Home is where the heart is when it comes to Formula 1 – and for spectators, Silverstone is one of the best places to see grand prix cars at their best. The atmosphere is electric (even when it rains) and the race is usually eventful. There’s also the risk that it might be on the endangered list – genuinely. If you’ve never been, go this year – just in case.
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  15. I attend this race event every year (last 13 years in a row) and will go for as long as they run it and I'm still vertical. Has to be the best race event on the calendar for not just the 24 hours racing and other events but just the spectacle and atmosphere. Can highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys motorsport
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  16. Steve takes a look at a selection of retro inspired vans which are either still in production or have ceased production in the last few years. It's obvious vans are designed to carry a variety and a lot of stuff efficiently, but a van also has another crucial yet often forgotten role. For business owners, vans are moving billboards for their businesses. It cannot be denied that most new vans look similar to one another making it hard to stand out. However, I've found a selection of vans that will certainly stand out from the crowd. Piaggio Porter The Piaggio Porter is a micro van which started out in life as the Bedford Rascal, Vauxhall Rascal and Suzuki Super Carry which are all in effect the same vehicle. All were fitted with a mid mounted 1.0 litre engine including the new Porter. The Porter has proved very popular in Italy and is ideal for narrow city streets and has proven to be a very successful design. The payload capacity between all models ranges from 560-1120kg, and it's available as a van, minibus, tipper, dropside or chassis cab. Piaggio have really catered for all. Brazilian Volkswagen T2 Transporter It may come as a surprise to know that the infamous T2 Transporter was in production in Brazil untill 2015. This meant the T2 outlived it's next two successors the T25 and T4. It also ceased production the same year the T5 did in Europe, but the T5 is still being produced in Mexico by Dodge, but this is a side point. Just like the 1970s Transporter the Brazilian version looks almost identical. The key differences include a radiator grill in the front to accommodate for the 1.4 water-cooled petrol engine in the rear. The same engine which was in the Polo and Fox, therefore parts are readily available and it'll be fuel efficient. Also the roof line is slightly boxier and different front bumper. Believe it or not the Brazilian T2 is more common then you'd think thanks to various companies importing them. The payload is 780kg and mpg from the 1.4 petrol you can expect 30mpg. Mercedes Vario Easily the largest van on this list, the Vario is the daddy of retro looking vans, weighing around 3500kg and Snap-On's van of choice and manufactured between 1996-2013. Those who know your Mercedes vans will know that the Vario looks very similar to a former Mercedes van, the TN Transporter, but one that's been on steroids. its actually the successor to the Mercedes T2 and has proven popular as minibuses for private and public use. It is also available in other body variants such as crewcab dropside, dropside, luton, tipper and van with cherry picker attachment to name but a few. Post 2000 models are fitted with a 4.2 litre turbo diesel engine which is available in various power outputs dependent on the body style and offered with a 5 speed manual or automatic gearbox with mpg figures of around 20mpg. as you'd expect with a van of this size the payload is impressive at 4.4 tons and a load volume of 17.4 cubic metres. Due to the vans versatility it has been popular with emergency services, postal services such as UPS Piaggio Ape The Ape is definitely the smallest van in this lineup and some would argue it's not a van at all. What cannot be denied is it's success in Italy where it is regularly seen traversing narrow city streets or winding it's way around remote villages. Fuel efficiency is guaranteed as the Ape is powered by a 50cc moped engine, but don't be fooled as it can cope with 675kg! The UK it has proven popular as mobile coffee outlets but its suitable for a variety of tasks. Citroen H Van Technically this is a conversion kit which an be installed on a Peugeot Boxer but totally transforms the appearance, for the better I say! Unlike other retro styled vans with this option you will have the benefit not the most up to date safety features, and the second largest retro inspired van after the Mercedes Vario on the market with a payload between 1,125kg to 1,570kg. The engines will up be bang up to date with emissions and fuel economy which is a further bonus. Overview I hope I've inspired you to consider a retro van for your business and to show a glimpse of the varied selection of retro vans that are out there.
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  17. Steve reviews the camping essentials required when planning a camping road trip. During the summer months countless of holiday makers choose to go camping for their getaways both in the UK and abroad and as with any holiday it is vital that the correct planning is made as this can often make or break the holiday. Equipment Tent Tent pegs Tent peg hammer Portable gas powered stove (or BBQ) Cutlery including a sharp knife Pots/pans Cooking utensils Mugs/cups corkscrew/bottle opener - you wont be popular if you cant open the beers or wine! Can opener Washing up liquid and scrubber Sleeping bag Roll mat Pilow Toiletries - soap, tooth paste/brush, toilet paper, hand sanitiser, Touches & lanterns Camera Portable phone chargers Spare batteries for torches, portable phone chargers etc Camping chairs & table Bin bags to take your rubbish away Food storage such as cool boxes etc Fresh water if not available from taps at the campsite Maps/navigation equipment Sun cream/insect repllent First aid kit Prescription medication plus pain killers etc Wipes - both baby wipe & antiseptic wipes Other items to consider Besides the basics, there are other types of equipment catered for the type of activities you wish to do whilst on holiday. Binoculars if you're into bird watching Telescope if you wish to gaze at the stars Walking sticks if you intend to go for long treks Large camping backpacks/bags if you are not returning to your vehicle for a couple of nights or more. Fishing gear. Cloths line if the camp sight you've selected does not have drying/washing facilities for clothing Bicycles Canoes/Kayaks Books/Magazines charcoal board games Notebook, pen/pencil Doggy items - waterbowl, lead, poop bags, towel, bed etc Music player Lip balm Mirror Tools Multi tool Tent repair items such as Duct tape, cable ties, extra cord and tent pole repair sleaves Saw if you are intending to chop fire wood. Matches/lighter fluid for camp fires Clothing & Footwear Waterproofs Walking boots shorts/trousers Towels Swim wear (if apploicable) Warm clothing - fleeces, jumpers etc Thermals if its particularly cold along with gloves and hat Socks and underwear sun hat if hot Sun glasses Personal Items Credit/debit card ID - drivers licence etc Campsite reservation documentation Mobile phone and charger Packing the car Once you have all the right equipment, next you ned to think about how to fit it all in your car. For those who are taking a trailer or roofbox then you have it easy for those that aren't then packing the car is vital. The first thing you should do is clean the interior of your car and remove any unnecessary items. Next load the biggest/heaviest items at the bottom. Then place liquids, fuels upright and protected with towels etc Cushion breakables such as bows/plates with towels etc Food not in a cool box should be kept out of sunlight. Keep snacks in the passenger foot well along with maps and other navigation equipment. Make sure the first aid kit is easily accessible You may need to add air into your tyres as per your manufactures recommended maximum load weight. Before setting off Don't forget to check your oil, water and fuel levels before you set off along with your headlights, foglights and brake lights etc. If applicable have you fitted a GB sticker on the back of your car and headlight converters if you're driving abroad. On the road It goes without saying, but with a fully loaded car with people and camping gear you should take extra care when driving as your rear visibility will probably be obstructed, and it may take longer for you to slow your vehicle down due to the extra weight. Try and keep the kids entertained with portable music players, DVD players or games consoles. Also don't forget to take breaks/driver change overs every two hours. At the campsite when you arrive you'll need to sign in with the campsite and be given a map of the site. Remember to be careful when opening the boot incase any items have moved or become dislodged on the journey. The last thing you want is someone getting injured from a falling item! Once you've unloaded your car and set up your tent etc don't forget to hide your valuables from view and ideally leave them in your locked car. Then you can go and explore and find out where the amenities are what activities are available. Lastly - Have Fun!
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  18. Hello BobT reporting for duty been a car nut for many years and nice to still find forums to chat with other people about cars
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  19. Steve reviews whether the current Mercedes SLK is a perfect car for summer. The Mercedes SLK is now into its third generation and was first shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor show in preparation for its release later that year and designated by Mercedes as R172. This SLK model aimed to improve on the quality and equipment from the previous R171 model and adopted various options from its predecessor such as Mercedes airscrarf system and also gained the front engine, rear wheel drive set up. The third generation SLK was a stark contrast in appearance compared to its predecessor which had based its looks on Mercedes Formula one cars and the SLR Mclaran supercar. The current SLK has adapted a more of a conservative look in my opinion by having less of a raked/pointed nose, but this has also made the current model look more grown up as well as bringing the design in line with the SLK’s bigger sibling the SL. As Mercedes has had over 20 years to perfect its baby roadster you can expect the quality of the product to be top class. Needless to say the SLK does not fail to disappoint thanks to its wide track with wheels at the edge of all four corners, as well as having a large bonnet gives the car real road presence and should please style savvy customers. On top of this the car benefits from having a hard top folding roof which only increases its desirability in a very competitive sector as road and wind noise is reduced over a conventional folding soft top. Obviously there is a price to pay for a metal folding roof which is increased weight compared to fabric roofed competitors, but I feel this is a small price to pay for the added benefits of a hard top. It’s worth noting that in 2016 the SLK range was revised and renamed the SLC to bring the model marketing on par with the rest of Mercedes products. The SLC is in effect a facelifted version of the SLK with revised engine options but may easily cause confusion amongst used car buyers. However for this article we are only focusing on the SLK spec and drivetrain options as these are more plentiful on the used car market. The SLK range is a available with four petrol engines and for the first time ever, a diesel engine. The engines on offer are: Petrol SLK 200 which is the entry level engine - a 1.8 four cylinder turbo charged engine producing 181bhp. SLK 250 has the same 1.8 four cylinder turbo charged engine from the 200 but with increased power to 201bhp. SLK 350 is a 3.5 V6 turbo charged engine producing 301bhp and as fitted to the previous SLK. SLK 55 is the AMG derived 5.5 litre naturally aspirated V8 producing a whopping 416bhp and 398lb ft of torque. Diesel SLK 250CDI is as mentioned earlier the first ever diesel engine fitted to the SLK and should please the fuel conscious. It produces 201bhp/ 369lb ft of torque from the four cylinder twin turbo unit, but benefits from a combined manufacture stated figure of 56.5mpg and 132g/km. What’s more, the diesel version is available with the 7 speed automatic gearbox as standard. It must be noted that both the SLK200 and SLK250 are available with a six speed manual gearbox as standard but the 7 speed auto is available as a £1500 extra as on our test car. All the other models in the range come with the automatic gearbox as standard. Driving the Mercedes SLK The SLK I have on test is a 2015 SLK 200 AMG sport which is fitted with a 1.8 litre turbo charged petrol engine which produces 181hp (184ps) and mated to a 7 speed automatic gearbox. Sliding into the black leather bucket driving seat I found it to be very supportive, with very good side bolsters as well as being electrically controlled and fitted with lumbar support. I felt the SLK cabin oozes with quality, thanks to soft touch plastics, leather trim and nicely positioned switch gear makes the SLK a nice place to sit. Naturally there is a good level of equipment fitted to SLK models and our test car was no exception. This particular car had the niceties such as heated electric seats, sat nav, parking sensors and the airscarf system for keeping your neck warm whilst driving with the roof down. Turning the key the 1.8 engine bursts into life with a nice rumble and selecting drive on the tunnel shifter the car pulls away effortlessly. Out on the open road I found the 1.8 turbo engine refined and 7 speed automatic a nice duo as the engine had plenty of torque united with smooth and quick gear changes, combined with a good kick down. I found the 1.8 lump more than adequate for all driving conditions and would please most buyers. Obviously the more powerful SLK250 may be a nice compromise for those wanting a balance of economy and more power but it had a £4,000 premium when new and this will reflect in the used car market. If outright power is what you’re after then you would be better off with either the SLK 350 or the range topping SLK55, both of which will provide the extra power and sweeter engine note which will make the SLK more enjoyable. As one would expect from a sports car the handling of the SLK was also impressive as it ironed out the bumps well despite being naturally firm and yet surprisingly this still allowed the handling to be composed, comfortable and obviously agile. This is due to the SLK being fitted with Mercedes Multilink suspension setup and further improved with passive dampers and a stiff chassis. In addition the steering matches the cars sporting credentials by being nicely weighted, allowing it to be light relatively precise. I will admit that the steering could be slightly more direct to improve response and feel for the driver. However, overall I found the steering helped build confidence to push the car hard into the bends and thoroughly enjoy the SLK on country roads. The handling characteristics are finished off with large perforated brake discs front and rear which stop the SLK on a six pence, and partly due to Pirelli tyres as fitted on this car. The brakes have an added purpose as the SLK can active any of the brakes individually to improve cornering. The Motorists Guide View: The third generation SLK is a vast improvement on its predecessor which is thanks to both mechanical improvements and enhanced styling which make the SLK a good sports car purchase thanks to an all-round package making the current SLK worthy successor. This is further supported by superb build quality, with nice materials and a quality fit and finish that consumers have come to expect from Mercedes. Let’s also not forget a key feature of the SLK is a car to be enjoyed for country drives and one where the SLK does not fail to disappoint, thanks to being comfortable, fun but also a relaxing place to be behind the wheel, which most owners will happily drive for long distances. Dimensions Length: 4,134 mm Width: 1,817 mm Height: 1,303 mm Curb weight: 1,475 kg
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  20. 322 miles in one day. Steve travelled to Las Vegas to take a 2018 Ford Mustang convertible on a short road trip through too glorious states. Las Vegas – a city synonymous for gambling, partying and generally a play ground for the rich and famous. However, what if you want a change from the hustle and bustle of the city and see more of what the silver state has to offer? The answer is to hire a car and I have devised a perfect road trip which allows you enjoy some of the amazing scenery, ghost towns, mining towns and route 66 which all helped make the states of Nevada and Arizona both famous and rich. Below is a picture of the planned route. Tips for driving in Nevada & Arizona · You can turn right onto a road even if your traffic light sequence is on red if it is safe to do so. · We would recommend obeying the speed limits as he had been warned we would see lots of Police cars. We only saw four marked Police vehicles but there were probably plenty of unmarked cars we didn’t see! · Plan your route as phone signal can be limited in certain remote locations. · Fuel stations can be limited when you’re out in the desert and as such we would recommend not letting the fuel tank fall below the ¼ tank mark. · Always where your seatbelt whilst driving · Never pass a school bus with the stop sign out. · Never use your mobile phone whilst driving except through a hands free device. · Children 6 years or younger are required to have a child restraint system. · Do not drink and drive. Speed limits 15mph - School Zones 25mph - residential areas 45mph - Areas going into towns 65mph - Urban freeways, rural highways 70mph - Rural interstate freeways Our recommendations · Don’t stop at fort Mohave unless you require a break · Do visit the Hoover Dam · Consider visiting Chloride ghost town (off route 93) · Take plenty of pictures Have fun! Starting location Most of the car rental companies are situated near to the McCarran Airport, which are a short taxi ride from most of the hotels situated near to the strip and cost approximately $20 for a ride there or back. To get the best deals on hire cars my advice is to book as early as possible and pay in full at the time of booking. Besides getting a cheaper price this also allows you to splash out on a nicer vehicle is desired. For example a similar Ford Mustang to the one I have on test would cost you £111 from Alamo if booked months in advance, whereas on the day it would have cost you more than double the price. The rental charge is for a full 24 hours from the time of booking and we’d recommend collecting your car at around 7am. This sounds early, but believe me the trip is worth it. Rental car location address: McCarran Airport Rental Car Return, 7231 Gilespie St, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA Red Rock Canyon The first point of interest on our road trip is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area and features a 12 mile drive around beautiful scenery. Leaving the rental car lot its approximately a 30 minute drive to Red Rock Canyon along Route 215 & 159. Arriving at red Rock there is a toll booth where you pay the $15 vehicle fee to drive around the site. You will not be disappointed in spending the $15 as the views are breath taking and the following pictures do not do the area justice. Red Rock address: Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center, 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161, USA Nelson ghost town After leaving red rock Canyon you have to back track yourself along route 215 and subsequently join the freeway, which becomes route 95 that takes you directly out of Las Vegas and into the wonderful Nevada desert. You need to keep an eye out though for the left turn for route 165 which takes you directly to Nelson. However there are two parts of Nelson, the first part that will come into view is the more modern buildings. Don’t stop here, instead carry on around the corner and you’ll be met by the rustic mining town. Once you’ve parked the car, head over to the visitor centre to check in and be given relevant safety information but to be fair your main danger is rattle snakes. The owners of the ghost town are lovely and they kindly ask if you’re going to take lots of pictures to pay a measly $10. The visitor centre does have cold drinks for sale in the freezer, but be warned you might get a surprise, as the carcases of the rattle snake caught in that year are kept in there! Nelson is lovingly preserved and you cannot be impressed by the town’s charm. From Red Rock Canyon, Nelson is an hour’s drive and approximately 60miles . Nelson address: Nelson, NV 89046, USA Colorado River As you leave Nelson turn right out of the carpark to head through the Eldorado Canyon and drive the 5 miles approx to the majestic Colorado River. You’ll find the road is a dead end but offers great views of the surrounding area. Oatman Arizona Leaving the Colorado River you head back along the 165 and re-join the 95 to head towards Arizona. On our trip we stopped at the town Fort Mohave which was 1 hour 35 minutes from Nelson but other than getting a bite to eat we didn’t find anything else of note at the town. Therefore we’d recommend driving straight through the town to another famous ghost town – Oatman. To get to Oatman you have to come off route 95 and take route 163 through the Mesquite creek to reach the town. On the way you’ll go through, yet more stunning scenery in the Mojave Desert. As you get nearer to Oatman you’ll discover that you have come onto the world famous Route 66 which not only passes through Oatman but will take you to our next destination as well. Oatman is another well preserved ghost town with plenty of shops, bar and hotel. There’s also a small mine you can enter as well as a jail and museum which were both closed on our visit. It’s worth noting that if you intend to visit the town on a weekend, they often do wild west style shoot outs on the main road. Another curiosity for the town are the semi wild Burros that roam the streets. These donkey like creatures were once domesticated in the twos boom years but as they escaped from their owners throughout the decades the breed became more wild. But it has to be said they love to be fed and fussed over! Kingman Arizona Leaving Oatman, you continue along the historic Route 66 for just under an hour to arrive at the town of Kingman. However before I discuss Kingman I want to talk about the fantastic drive to the town via the world’s most famous highway. The drive between Oatman and Kingman is breath-taking but can alos be dangerous if you chose to drive irresponsibly. The stretch of 66 we were on had shear drops, uneven surfaces at the edge of the highway and tight turns. It is truly an amazing experience but as already mentioned it would not suffer fools. On arriving at Kingman there is a fantastic traditional diner where food and drink is served with enthusiasm. The staff were friendly and genuinely interested in talking to us both about our trip but also about the UK. Next to the diner was a second-hand car lot which sold muscle cars and hotrods which stood out. I definitely wanted one or two! Unfortunately because we had arrived at Kingman at 9pm not a lot of places were open and couldn’t get a full flavour of what the town had to offer. After we were finished at the diner we picked up route 93 and headed back towards Las Vegas with a plan to visit the Hoover Dam before it closed at 9pm. unfortunately we arrived 15 minutes late and thus couldn’t visit the Dam. After this setback we decided to return the car to the rental company and which concluded our road trip. The Motorists Guide View: Thanks for reading our Nevada & Arizona road trip, we hope we have inspired you to complete a US road trip of your own and we can assure you that you won't be disappointed! Have you done a road trip that you think we should consider doing? Then don’t hesitate to contact us!
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  21. Steve reviews another high mileage car which has now been left out to pasture. Volvo is a brand where high mileage cars are renowned and a trend that was started by the 700 series. The 700 series was created by Volvo’s chief designer Jan Wilsgaard over a 10 year period, and was designed to replace the 200 series. The 700 was released in 1982 and the first model available was the 760GLE saloon which immediately became Volvo’s flagship. Being the flagship model the 760 came with luxuries such as heated leather seats, air conditioning, alloy wheels, front foglights, electric windows, electric mirrors and electric sunroof all as standard. Three engines were available for the 760 which included the 2.8 V6 petrol which, ironically is the same engine as found in the Delorean DMC-12 as well as a 2.3 turbo charged petrol and a 2.4 turbo diesel. The engines were mated to either a 4 speed manual gearbox with overdrive or a 4 speed automatic. In 1985 the 740 was released and slotted between the luxurious 760 and the 200 series as a mid-size family car and as such there was slightly more choice for buyers compared to the one spec for the 760. The 740 was available in either GL or GLE or SE (1988 onwards) versions, the GL was the entry level spec and did away with luxuries such as leather interior, front foglights and alloy wheels. Whereas the GLE model was almost identical to the 760 GLE spec and was of the more popular 700 models. The 740 was available with a 2.3 naturally aspirated petrol engine as well as the infamous 2.3 turbo petrol and the same 2.4 turbo diesel as found in the 760. Another key development in 1985 was the introduction of the estate version which was available in both 760 and 740 guises. The specs remained unchanged to that of the saloons but offered far more luggage space, as well as the option of a rear facing bench seat which could fold neatly into the boot floor and self-levelling suspension. This allowed the 700 series estate to become a fantastic workhorse and family car, which could double up as a lovely executive car. This brings me on nicely to our high miler feature which is a 1987 Volvo 740 GLE estate fitted with the 2.3 naturally aspirated engine and 4 speed manual gearbox with overdrive. This is a one owner car from new and was registered in the April of 1987 and was specd with the rare options of a telephone and graphic equaliser. The car spent its life as the owner’s company car for his own business before being retired in 2005 after covering 149,928 miles. Since being retired the Volvo has sat in a field, where rust is starting to take hold. This is no small feat as the 700 series was well rust proofed when new. This car also suffers from the very common sagging headlining issue which can be expected in light of the age and condition. The Motorists Guide View: Sitting in this Volvo brings a wave of sadness over me as it allowed me to reminisce about my late Grandfathers 1984 Volvo 760GLE diesel saloon, and it brought back a lot of memories bearing in mind I hadn’t sat in one in approximately 20 years. What did amaze me was that despite the Volvo’s condition, the switchgear and interior felt well put together and was comfortable place to sit. I would love to see this Volvo to hit the road again but somehow I find it unlikely to do so and I would love to have taken it home with me. Rest in peace faithful servant. Have you got a high mileage car? If so, we’d love to hear from you and share your high miler car story. Regards Steve
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  22. Thanks Trevor I do find abandoned cars interesting as you've finely put it cars are loved and then suddenly discarded. For me seeing this Volvo was like a flash back as my last memories of my granddads Volvo 760 was it languishing in a field on the family farm. A sad end to an awesome car.
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  23. Steve reviews an Audi A6 which has covered over 329,000 miles and asks the question, should we really be afraid of high mileage cars? This Audi A6 was ordered as a new vehicle in 2002, in SE trim by the owner’s father who specified it with the 2.5TDI engine and 6 speed manual gearbox. In addition the A6 was fitted with the optional sport seats, sports suspension and rare 7 seat boot conversion. The latter being required for a growing family and owner’s father not wanting to drive a people carrier! The Audi was registered on Wednesday 13th March 2002 at the Reg Vardy Audi Dealership in Leicester, significant as it was the same day as the owner’s grandmother’s birthday. His Father has driven the Audi consistently up to 2013 and it has been maintained regardless of cost with a full service history. The A6 was put into semi-retirement when the owner’s father acquired a company car and at which point his son took over, using the car as my daily driver. Mechanically the A6 has been generally reliable only requiring serviceable items, including new suspension, engine mounts and an alternator throughout the last 14 years. The one key exception was a turbo which was replaced at 3 and half years old and its replacement has been fitted since 2005 and has covered approximately 230,000 out of the 329,000 miles! Furthermore, and without tempting fate neither the engine nor gearbox have ever been rebuilt. The A6 was serviced by Audi for the first 4 years and then at a local garage AC Motors ever since. The local garage has been brilliant and has carried out any work required to the highest standard. I prefer to use Bridgestone tyres on the A6 as I feel it improves the handling characteristics. Cosmetically the A6 has aged well and has only required two new front wings due to the originals rusting at the top of the arches. This appears to be a common fault with VAG cars from the late 90s to early the noughties and affects the Audi A6 C5, Audi A4, Volkswagen Golf mk4 and Volkswagen Passat to name but a few. On the other hand the interior is now showing its age and has a worn driver’s seat bolster, wear on the 3 spoke sport steering wheel, as well as having the soft paint peeling off the air conditioning control unit. These issues have been well documented on various cars and I have chosen not to repair them as they add character and patina to the vehicle. The only exception was the Audi symphony radio which has been replaced under warranty. The Audi A6 has been on various family adventures including trips to France, Belgium, Norfolk, Essex, Royal Ascot in 2002 as well as the annual trip to Northern Ireland which it has done since it was new. Furthermore it has been used to tow race trailers as the owner’s brother has done both Kart racing and Saloon Car racing all across the country. Finally, the A6 has been a fantastic family car and has provided valiant service throughout the last 14 years. I work within the motor trade and find that despite its age and mileage the A6 drives better than some of the newer cars and cars with far less mileage currently on the market. It is a pleasure to drive and has the added benefit of being both comfortable and practical. In the near future he would like to take the A6 back to its birthplace Neckarsulm-Stuttgart, Germany and around the Nurburgring for the ultimate road trip. There is no chance of him getting rid of this great car any time soon. It has become a treasured family possession, and one which he has grown up with and ultimately have come to own. The A6 has now achieved in excess of 300,000 miles and he is looking forward to the next 300,000 miles! The Motorists Guide view: For me this Audi A6 is testament to the owner and shows the true potential of a well maintained car, bearing in mind the mileage covered by the A6 is further than going to the moon and theoretically this A6 is on its way back! What I have learnt from driving this Audi A6 and hearing its story, I feel the key to buying a high mileage car is down to how well it has been maintained and cared for. After driving this A6 I would happily own a high mileage Audi A6 C5 which will eventually become a classic. Have you got a high mileage car? If so, we’d love to hear from you and share your high miler car story. Regards Steve
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  24. It is unbelievable mileage and I agree u think this a6 would be around for many years to come. However I feel this is just the tip of the iceberg and I bet there are quite a few high mile cars out there and we'd love to here their story.
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  25. Steve takes a 300,000+ mile Audi A6 to Europe. Will he make it? Read on to find out! This topic is about my road trip to Belgium including the pre planning. Research is key when driving in Europe as rules and regulations change from country to country. Things you'll need before you go: 1. European breakdown cover - I have found there are too types of cover available. 1. Covers you for recovery like your normal cover. This cost approx £37 for my 5 day trip. 2. Cover that will cover the cost of your repair bills. This cover cost £54 for my 5 day trip. The prices are from the AA of which I am a member. Just be mindful that with the break down cover they only cover you up to the cost of the vehicle. So if you have an old Audi like me you could be at risk of having to fork out extra. 2. Inform your insurance company - I had to pay £17 extra to cover my car for the trip. Again there are 2 options available and are charable regardless of what UK cover you have. 1. 3rd party cover. 2. Fully comprehensive. 3. European kit - for driving in France it is compulsory to have a breatherlizer, warning triangle, GB sticker, a high vid jacket for every occupant, headlight converter stickers. 4. Check French toll roads - 76% of the roads are tolled in France and for which you will need a transponder which you have to pay for from the toll road company managing the roads your travelling on. You also set up an account with them. However the main road to Belgium the a16 is not tolled. 5. Check to see if the EU country you are visiting has any Low Emissions Zones. France requires you to have a sticker when traveling in Paris for example. Belgium hasn't brought any emissions rules into effect yet but will do as of 2018. 6. Don't forget to pay for the Dartford crossing. The crossing consists of a suspension bridge heading towards Dover and a tunnel coming away from Dover. If you have never used the crossing before you can pay before or up to 24 hours after you have made the crossing. Now onto the trip Day one: Leicester-Dover Calais-Brussels The run from Leicester to Dover was straightforward with no hiccups or traffic delays. But we did leave in plenty of time to avoid most of the bank holiday traffic. We arrived in plenty of time for our P&O ferry and it was a good job we did as it took over an hour to get through boarder control & check in. However I think this was down to Volume of bank holiday traffic. The port has a reasonable terminal with facilities consisting of a Burger King, WH Smith's, Costa and toilets. If you have forgotten any key European items you can get them in the Smiths Newsagents. We boarded the ferry which was straightforward and made our way on to the passenger areas. We had decided to go with a premium ticket which proved well worth the extra money. We got free drinks and snacks (fruit, biscuits, crisps, tea, coffee, soft drinks etc) as well as a free glass of champagne on arrival. Papers are also free. The key benefit of premium however is the extra space (far less people) and plenty of seating including private outside space. I would strongly recommend the premium to anyone. It was superb and had a waiter service! Disembarkation was again quick and road signs were easy to follow. We picked up the 16 for Brussels and set into a comfortable cruise. In France the speed limits can change quite often on the motorway so keep an eye out. Oh and obviously they are in kph! We also stopped for fuel in France which thankfully is similar to the U.K. The difference being is that a pre payment system is used. For this you can either put your card in the machine at the start or ask the cashier how much fuel you would like. We encountered heavy traffic near to Ghent and Bruges due to the lanes merging from 3 to 2. But after we got through, we had a clear run to Brussels. Driving in Brussels is entertaining to say the least. Partly as there are hardly any road signs (this is not an exaggeration!). Brussels has its m25 equivalent which is a tunnel system that runs under the city and only pops to the surface for exits. We got lost at this point and came off to find somewhere to park to recalculate our route. The traffic in Brussels is like London. There's a lot of it!! For example a 5 mile drive in Brussels took us 25 minutes. But there are the added risks of trams. Traffic lights only change from red to green and there are hardly any speed limit signs. We finally reached our destination at 6:30pm Belgium time after travelling 12 hours. Total miles covered (including being lost) was 335 miles. Day 2 So until 2:30pm we were trapped at our accommodation due to a marathon taking place in Brussels. The marathon was the Belgium equivalent to the London marathon and as such thousands of people took part! The morning wasn't wasted as we decided to have a BBQ for lunch as the weather is gorgeous here. It's reaching mid to high 30s (degrees) each day! We finally left at 2:30 and decided to travel the 1:40 minutes to Yepre. Yepre saw a lot of the fighting during WW1 and was completely rebuilt to its 14th century design after the war. This has allowed the town to keep a true Belgium feel with cobbled streets and Gothic architecture. As well as the traditional chocolate shops and bars. We also visited the Menin Gate, a war memorial built to show the names of the missing servicemen and women from WW1. We then also visited Yepres war cemetery which was a somber experience. Yepre is a town well worth visiting and not far from the French border. Parking was straightforward and thankfully we did not need to pay. Stay tuned for day 3. However, I must warn you as there won't be any driving involved as my siblings and I are going to Disney land Paris by Eurostar. We are big kids really. My sister and I are in our 20s and my brother is in his teens! There are still plenty of adult rides i.e. Rollercoasters there! Oh and by the way, the A6 has just clocked over 322,000 miles!! Day 3 Today was more unusual as we spared the car and took the train to Disney Land Paris for the day. I appreciate this isn't everyone's cup of tea so stay tuned for day 4 as we're planning to go to Spa race circuit. This meant a very early start as It took us 3 hours travelling on 3 trains and a taxi each way but was so worth it. Just like the UK the train system in France and Belgium is very busy and in parts of France they use double decker trains to cater for the volume of people. Despite the train network being busy all the trains were on time. Disney Land Paris is a great theme park and isn't just geared towards children. Some of the rollercoasters and other rides would be unsuitable for little ones. But just like most theme parks the queues are long but luckily fast passes are available on the more popular rides. If you are limited for time in the park, then the rides I'd strongly recommend are: Main park: hyperspace mountain rollercoaster, star tours (Star Wars), buzz lightyear lazer blast, phantom manor, big thunder mountain rollercoaster, pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana jones temple of peril rollercoaster, Studio park: Rock and roller rollercoaster, vehicle stunt show, the twilight zone tower of terror (massive drop tower), studio tram tour. After we had finished the rides we got dinner at planet Hollywood before heading back on the train system home. Day 4 Today we visited Circuit De Spa Francorchamps, Belgiums F1 racing circuit which was an amazing experience. From Brussels it took us 1 hour 40 mins each way but that was partly due to roadworks. Due to the traffic issues we weren't able to drive into Germany as planned. However, we have decided that we will do a road trip of Germany on its own in the future. Luckily the circuit was being used for a track day and as such there were various race cars, super cars and road cars on track. Including multiple Audis such as an a1, x2 TT, rs4, r8 and even an a8! And the best bit was that we got in for free. The track day also allowed us to park in the paddock and walk around the pit garages and along the pit wall. Spa also has fantastic viewing spots for spectators despite its size and the obstruction of the forest. Just to add to the excitement the track day got red flagged as a Volkswagen golf mk2 had run into the back of a BMW 1 series coupe which spilled fluids and glass right near the pit entrance. On top of this we were able to drive around the outside of the track as there are roads running round the outside and inside of the circuit, these roads are also at varying gradients and are a mixture of tarmac, concrete and even dirt. After leaving the circuit we visited the local museum in the town to view their collection of race cars and motorbikes. There are a mixed bag of vehicles from Ferrari f40 and Daytona right through to f1 cars. The museum cost 9.50 euros each but the cars were great. The museum also has 3 other floors but unfortunately we were pressed for time. There is limited parking at the museum but luckily we just parked on the street outside. On arriving back to Brussels we caught a train into the centre to take in some of the local sites and grab a bite to eat for dinner. Now obviously Belgium chips and chocolate were on order, but not together mind you! After a bit of souvenir hunting we headed home so we can chill out for the drive home. Day 5 - the journey home So, all good things must come to an end and today we made our way back to the U.K. However before we left Brussels we helped my sister move into her new accommodation just 10 minutes down the road. The car was packed to the rafters but the move went smoothly. We left Brussels at 12noon and headed for the euro shuttle (channel tunnel). We chose to come back via the tunnel for the experience and this inadvertently proved to be a great move. As we passed the junction for the Calais docks and ferry port the queue of cars were backed up on the skip road and in the slow lane of the A16 motorway! This compared to the tunnel significantly as we piled off at junction 42 for the tunnel and arrived at the check in gates in 5 minutes. As you pull up the gate automatically recognises the vehicle so you just have to select which train time you want. As we had made good time we were able to catch the 15:20 instead of the 16:16! Once your through you will arrive at French boarder control and security and then UK boarder control. After clearing border control you follow the road round to what looks like a motorway services and at which point the wait begins. Luckily we had only 8 minutes to wait till we were called to board our train. The boards are similar to what you would find in an airport, accept they are outside in the car park. Once you get called for your train, you end up queuing in two lines similar to if you were waiting to board a ferry. At this point our train was delayed due to an oil spill but I wasn't overally bothered as we were on an earlier train. Boarding the train is a straightforward affair and is similar to boarding a ferry. It is a tight squeeze to get into the carriage but it's nice and large once your inside. When on the train you have to leave your Windows down which is nice as the carriages are fully airconditioned. The journey is fairly smooth and only took half an hour to get through the tunnel. Oh and don't forget to put your clock back! Once you've cleared the tunnel it's a straightforward exit and onto the motorway for your journey home. Unfortunately for us we were using the dartford crossing which has chocker! Total miles covered: 1056.7 in 5 days car mileage: 322,573 And no issues presented during the trip! thanks for reading! Steve
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  26. Thanks! We sure did do alot. You're welcome, let's hope it does encourage others to do road trips around Europe or even further afield.
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  27. Great Road Trip Steve....have done the same trip myself but didn't seem to pack in as much as you guys did ! Thanks for posting it up....hopefully it will inspire anyone who is thinking of driving this route as it is so pleasurable, especially with the empty roads (well, all except Brussels)
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  28. Hi Steve and welcome to The Motorists Guide Good to have you onboard and look forward to your contributions.
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  29. Hello all, I'm Steve who lives in Leicester and a huge petrol head. I'm really looking forward to following this site as well as help contribute to it.
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