So in the time so far there had been one inevitable consistency. One thorn in our canvastastic side. One antagonistic wart on the arse of our scumrun behind. One meteorological toe stubbing against the analogous sofa of our motoring existence...
It hadn't stopped F£$%&$% raining!
So I could not have been more pleased to unzip the dutchovenlike mildly flooded tent to a bath of glorious sunshine.
I am nothing if not professional, Before even making a coffee I whipped the camera out of its waterproof trouser gaffer tape creation and rolled the tape. One of my favourite parts of filming is doing a 'walkaround'
There is something quite amusing about shoving a camera in someone's face and watching them squirm as their brain waves mash with their lips in a cacophonous splurge of nervous semi-articulation. This becomes compounded, concentrated and slightly discouraging when you add in the effect of their own body weight in alcohol the night before. Hangover walk abouts are great fun.
After a bit of filming I started up the Mini Moto once more. With the sun being out this now enabled me to fit a camera to the mount I had designed so thoughtfully to get those ever so important 'mini moto ankle shots'.
More importantly the campsite was effectively built a bit like a go karting track so I soon lost sight of the ankle shots (I decided the ankle feature youtube video probably wasn't a priority) and just blatted it round trying to get my knee down. Was going well until I ran out of fuel.
Gradually as the sun got warmer and the heads got clearer, people started gathering around the event cars like tramps waiting for the soup run in anticipation of where we were going that day.
On my walk about earlier that morning I asked the question...where d'ya think we're heading? and what was apparent was that nobody had a bloody clue. some said south, some said east, some said north some said west some said 'fnaaarg'.
Ed announced that we were off to Pamplona. Those more cultured, geographically aware or perhaps agricultural extremists amongst you will be aware that Pamplona is the home of the Bull run. An annual event that sees 50% sane people take on Beasts 150% their size with at least a 75% chance of death. Thankfully the actual event runs later in the year and wouldn't be on for our arrival. Probably for the best...100 Bulls vs 100 Cars strikes me as a battle that you would like to see on youtube, but perhaps not be part of.
The routes were distributed in their secretive branded envelopes and manic high risk paper cut manouvres were had in an endeavour to read the destinations.
The usual 'Iwanttobefirsttoproveihavebigballsafarians' ran off in search of their car keys. We on the other hand set up a camera on the rear wing and filmed everyone else leaving.
Our first check point was a mountain visible from the camp site. It was only about a 20km or so blast. I opted to drive and this time we were going to do it properly. No messing, we knew there would be mountains, twisty roads, other scumrunners and sunshine, this was the perfect storm of footage in our view.
So helmets on, helmet cameras armed, in car cameras ready, main camera loaded.
The drive up to the checkpoint was great fun. This was the first time the Bug really came into its own...The big old german tourers may have their litrage, they may have their horses, they may have their V8's but when your hauling an arse heavier than the combined cast of 'Super Sized vs Super Super Sized' up the mountain side I'm sorry my friend but the little japanese pocket rocket with some dodgy sockets has it all the way.
I remember one 'manouvre' in-particular which was recited back to me that evening where I think I overtook 4 other scumrunners on the other side of 2 bollards or something along those lines. All in the name of getting good footage...and anyway, they were in my way.
I recognised the road from a previous rally, we had definitely done this bit before, I believe in 2009 but could be a different year.
When we approached the checkpoint it was clear that nobody had really read the notes again. In our haste we quite often get to a checkpoint and realise that we have some options as to where to take a photo, some people went to where the road initially ended, some took the side road up to the next point (as we did) some dismounted and went all the way to the top! (fair play) . I am a lazy git so we went as far as the car did. If I wanted to go on a charity walk, I'd sign up for a marathon and dress as a pot noodle or something, ooh idea for next year maybe.
As you may have noticed from the checkpoints on the previous day there was a bit of a circuit theme going on. This carried on into today as our next checkpoint was the one in Pau in the south of France. Historicracingophiles will tell you they had some grand prix there once. I simply thought of the 80s singer ta pau and went from there. 'The only way is up' It seemed appropriate given how I'd just lared it up the side of a mountain.
On the way back down the mountain was our first run in with the French authorities. A police car was heading up to the checkpoint. My guess is some baguette poking local cheeseham muncher had summoned the blue garlicdarmerie to enquire about our passing through. Some subtle braking avoided too much attention. The car is pretty subtle anyway so we thought we'd get away with it...umm
Once out of sight we floored it over the mountain roads. It's a good job I cleaned my teeth that morning as we were flashed by a camera I believe heading down through a valley all while smiling of course.
The downside of thrashing the bug up and down mountains however is pretty obvious. She was drinking more liquid than Kerry Catona at an iceland frozen cocktail conference.
So we stopped for some fuel and food.
Behind us in this picture were the Team Tubbies lads with their Nissan something or other... We had a little discussion about fuel / mileage / mpg / tank size etc... it was depressing...
We had a tank that was giving us between 150 and 200 miles. Less if we did much 100+ cruising.
They had a petrol tank and an LPG tank which gave them circa 700 miles.
Barry the Transvestbear badger was holding up well. He had now graduated to the front bumper via a couple of industrial strength cable ties. It was kind of like a cross between mad max and care bear S&M.
After Stealing all of the mountain fun I thought it was probably time I let Andy have a go so he took the wheel. The roads opened up into some more motorway style cruising and this gave us more chance to get some shots of teams. One team we hadn't caught up with yet on the road was the MilesforMatilda team in their big pink merc. We cruised with them for a little while, I attempted to tweet Susie a picture of them, But I forgot that getting signal in the french countryside was about as likely as turning up at a farm and asking the farmer if he had superspeed broadband. "oi we av le fax macheen"
As you can see from this picture the sunshine wonder was still upon us, in fact we were starting to ask ourselves why we had not thought to bring sun tan lotion given we were in a soft top car.
Just as we headed south and pondered these musings the skies grew dark in front of us...very dark...
To be continued...Soggily