Day 3 Bordeaux to Itxassou. France 24 December 2022

Our last two nights have been in Ibis hotels. The first a ‘shoe box’ in Niort, but totally adequate. Last night’s Bordeaux room was more spacious.

Dusk picture of Bordeaux Lac from hotel window.

Driving has mainly been on motorways in atrocious weather. TomTom has us avoiding toll booths. It doesn’t stop us enjoying the roads but avoiding the toll booths with short detours. I like the way the French use three lanes creatively by alternating two for each direction for approx. 5k’s, ensuring slow drivers don’t inhibit the faster ones for long.

However, as we approach Bayonne, the clouds have gone and we have gorgeous warm sunshine. I note in Rotorua today, Christmas Day, the forecast is for 27deg and sunshine. That will be a relief from the endless rain you have been having.

Sarah and family in Whistler are experiencing -25degC. Too cold for skiing even.

As we travel further south we are seeing a change in house construction. Greater use of terracotta roofing tiles. Spanish influence?

Things electrical.

Tempting fate perhaps but Poki is going beautifully, in every respect. It was very fortuitous that the Sunday night before Tuesday’s departure from the UK, I turned the fridge on to try and reduce the voltage that had built to alarming levels. 19v! By morning the battery was flat!! Impossible, given the components. A 7.30am Monday morning visit to Gumtree to try and rectify the problem revealed that they had connected the Redarc battery management system via an existing split charger. Undetected, it would have been catastrophic with a potential Li-Ion battery fire. Terminal for Poki and the journey. An aside, I had contacted Redarc in Australia looking for suggestions as to why we had these difficulties. They responded via their UK Manager, Marco, who provided immediate and excellent support along with wiring diagrams. Well done, Redarc.

I’m pleased to advise that with the offending component removed, we now have a brilliant power supply and management system. Plenty of power to have the fridge running all night. The new Pure Sine Wave inverter can be operated, charging camera’s, phones and computers without the need to run the engine. Given the issues we had in Central America, this is sensational. Best of all, when we turn the key to start her, she fires immediately. After the anxiety of the earlier part of our travels, it’s a big relief.

While we are not excited about motorway driving, French drivers are courteous and patient, given they have 130kph speed limits. We are pottering along at 90kph, just faster than the trucks.

Lunch stop beside a forest.

Basque country.

Tonight and tomorrow night we are in a hotel approx 14k’s from the Spanish border. It looks like a ski town as the Pyrenees mountains are surrounding us. Brother Ash and I cycled through here 13years ago between Lisbon to Paris.

Tomorrow, Christmas Day we’ll enjoy a day of rest and give Poki a thorough cleaning, inside & out. The forecast is for 21deg and sunshine with some cloud.

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  1. Interesting, I was chatting to a local acquaintance who had mates that did an Africa overland journey down the middle in the 1980’s, using an old Citroen 2cv. The local is a keen traveler and is most interested in your trip so gave him the blog site address.

  2. Sounds good, and hotels much better than tenting in the rain. Hope the batteries haven’t suffered from over charging etc.
    Just topped 41c here this morning, and think it has a couple of more to go. Due for 21c and showers tomorrow. Crazy stuff.
    Hope your xmas was ‘jolly’ and all go for the next stage.

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