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Half term drive down - live journey chit chat !

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
OK so we're a few days away from the half term chaos/fun, so thought i'd start a live thread, people can post/share their journey experiences. There are always tons of questions on the board about driving at Feb half term, so if everyone posts their experiences it'll be interesting to see the variation, with people leaving different times/days and how the journeys go. So post up when you leave, how your journey goes, any live updates on traffic or crossing, useful tidbits of information, and when you get to resort etc, not to mention any amusing or otherwise experiences along the way.

First time for me driving down at half term, though we've driven down at Easter for the last 4 years which is generally pretty fluid apart from queues at the tunnel terminals.

We had booked a 4.30pm Eurotunnel for Friday with a view to getting to a cheap motel just North of Lyon on the a46 sometime between midnight and 2am. Then an early departure from Lyon around 6-7am Saturday morning to head to Courchevel. However my wife has just had some surgery (all went well and she's doing great and looking forward to skiing), so we've decided to ease back the schedule a bit to something a bit more sensible. So we've rescheduled the tunnel to 10.30 on Friday morning, so we can have a less stressful drive to Lyon, arrive in time for a sensible dinner, early to bed then do the 6am schlep across to resort hopefully ahead of the worst of the traffic.

Just getting prepped. I did a few base repairs to my snowboard and wife's skis with the repair pistol gizmo and sharpened the edges last night, combined that was a two bottle of Leffe job (since we all know ski servicing requires a suitable beverage - it's technically part of the holiday isn't it Happy). First coat of wax on this morning. I'll scrape tonight and re-apply second coat of wax, then scrape and polish tomorrow. Kit all mostly packed. Clothes going in over the next day or two. Euros purchased. So we're mostly set. In driving terms, just checked the oil, filled up the screenwash, stuck in the critair sticker, checked the yellow vests are under the seat, the peage doofer is in place, and finallly updated the satnav which turned into a mission as the update failed leaving me with the UK and Finland but no France. Had to re-install garmin express on the computer, wipe the maps from the memory card and start again from scratch.

Plan on a doing a big stock up shop here first, rather than a major shop in a hypermarket in Chambery or Lyon en-route, to save time Saturday morning - I figure every 30 minutes stopped in a hypermarket Saturday am will be allowing the traffic to build, so I think we'll get to Moutiers and pull in at that last one on the right before heading up valley to Courchevel to do a swift wine, cheese, charcuterie & fridge stuff shop.

Happy journeys all! Updates to follow.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 6-02-18 14:24; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

In driving terms, just checked the oil, filled up the screenwash, stuck in the critair sticker, checked the yellow vests are under the seat, the peage doofer is in place, and finallly updated the satnav which turned into a mission as the update failed leaving me with the UK and Finland but no France

Don't forget low temperature screen wash! Bon voyage. Good idea for a thread. snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm impressed going on holiday on Friday and packing on Tuesday.
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We were 98% packed by Sunday afternoon. Just need to add phone chargers and a bit of wash stuff Friday evening. We both work full time last thing I wanted to have to do was sort out packing after work or late on Friday when we have a really early start Saturday morning to Heathrow
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@NickyJ, we used to be packed by Sunday evening too, but now I'm off on a Wednesday it doesn't seem so critical. Have a safe trip everyone. !
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Hells Bells wrote:
@NickyJ, we used to be packed by Sunday evening too, but now I'm off on a Wednesday it doesn't seem so critical. Have a safe trip everyone. !


That would definitely help Happy

When it was just me and hubby, I would throw everything in the bag last minute, but with the kids and letís face most the stuff packed we have absolutely no need off at work / school during the week it may as well sit in the bag rather than in the cupboard.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
EHIC's packed, dates checked?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
To be fair we'd normally be mostly packed by the weekend before too, for the same reasons as @NickyJ. Kids adding faff to the logistics.

Yep EHIC's packed. I'm not taking dates, but will be chucking in a jar or two of olives from the cupboard and they look fine Toofy Grin


In the vain hope of the kids not being glued to tablets/ps vita/nintendo DS for the entire journey, just printed a load of sheets with things to spot on the journey, some minecraft pictures they can colour/draw around, empty grids for games of squares and noughts n crosses etc.
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Quote:

things to spot on the journey,

...Buzzards sitting on fence-posts at the side of the autoroute, especially A39/A36? Lurking grey speed cameras? Maximum number of windmills visible at once? That'll test their spotting skills...
Ah just realised of course you won't be on A39/A36.
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Plenty of buzzards on the A26/A5 posts and lots of windmills. Bit harder to spot in the dark though (the buzzards that is)
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@Gazzza, great idea for a thread.

we are leaving late Thursday night, for an early hours Friday (tunnel) crossing, and hope to be in Albertville (hotel stop) for late afternoon, leave around 7:30 in the morning to (hopefully!!!) get up to les menuires sharpish!!!

we are taking a box of supplies with us, along with a couple of meals from the freezer we made a couple of weeks ago, but aim to do a supermarket shop friday evening in the geant close to our hotel for essentials.
mainly beer and prosecco, with a few luxuries (fromage et jambon etc!!!) thrown in for good measure. it will be a bit like the old castlemaine advert years ago, when the truck in the aussie outback collapsed with the weight of beer, but they blamed the 2 bottles of wine Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

have packed most stuff already, ready to load up my truck on thursday during the day, with ski stuff easily accessible for saturday morning.

like you, i have also loaded up the sat nav (plus spare one, as my built in unit is playing up), although i know the route well, i like to have the stops loaded in case there are any diversions for any reason (french road map is in the car as well)

our girls have sorted out their dvds for the journey, but will get them to stop from time to time to do other activities. I really hope that they will still appreciate the mountain scenery like they did the first time we all went. even after years of skiing holidays and working in the Alps, I am still like a little kid when approaching the mountains

all relevant documents have been checked (printed out), checked again and several more times for luck

i am pretty sure the D-Day landings took less preparation than what i have put into this trip, but i have been looking forward to it since june, when my wife gave the green light for us to go.

only concern now is whether the paege doofer works or not, as it has not been used for over 18months, and according to the forecasts the weather is not going to be an issue driving Friday and Saturday.

only 2 more sleeps for me Very Happy Very Happy

safe trip to everyone
terry
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Gazzza, Weíve used the Super U at Saline des Thermes before on the way up to Courchevel on a half term Saturday and it was unexpectedly a lot calmer than the Moutiers one. Might be worth a try if the traffic is still slow around Moutiers.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Gazzza, Sounds great.

We'll be setting off about 5pm Friday from the Midlands and have hotel stop booked in Ghent.
Nice early start, usually takes us 11 hours to Waidring on the border of the Tyrol/Salzburgerland.
I think we will take the Eastern route via Nuremberg this time to avoid the worst of the Munich traffic.
We should arrive at 6ish on Saturday.

Can't wait!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Great idea for a thread.

We are on the 6.20am tunnel crossing on Friday driving down to chambery for overnight stop.

Plan to be on the road by 8am did the last bit up to ste foy ahead of the traffic.....hopefully.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
You need a list. We finished the half term thing years ago but it was always last minute. I'd usually fitted the roof bars by Friday but not the roof box. I was often able to get the afternoon off so had several hours to pack the car leaving about 5pm for the tunnel. When you've done it several times you have a proper list and the packing is quick. I have to say I don't envy anyone driving to the tunnel on Friday evening of HT. It seemed to get busier every year with us rarely catching the booked train. The knock on effect was less sleep at the overnight F1 we'd booked as you need to get away early on the Saturday (I never drove through the night).

But, enjoy it anyway, better than working snowHead
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Somewhere on here from a few years ago there is a Laminated list .... Toofy Grin
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just a thought - now the kids can use their data allowance across the channel, perhaps best to find up how to top it up in advance.
Otherwise it'll be an expensive phone call to find out I guess....
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Our best buy: In-car kettle. The non driver gets it going 10 mins before the stop so we have a fresh brew as soon as we halt.

(And don't worry: It's pretty much like a thermos, so even if it falls over the screw on lid stops boiling water cascading over us!)
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Glad there are other obsessives and itís not just me. Just had to have the gee up chat with the OH as canít see how we are going to be ready for the off at 0530 on Saturday. At the moment no bacon has been purchased and the little Spins havenít begun the annual download fest...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@terrygasson, check the doffer battery level on your sanef account if it hasn't been used for a while Little Angel
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i have to take my daughter to the nail bar in Grenoble later today, enrolee from lyon to le bourg d Osions. Dont ask Crying or Very sad
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Avago is that a thing? Sad
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Spin Doctor, Yes! I found out the hard way......forgot how annoying having to lean out of the window was!
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Leaving Lisbon Friday lunchtime to arrive at friends in Madrid at 7-8pm, then to Andorra Saturday. Diesel Toyota smoked REALLY badly on the way to the pre-trip service on Monday, and I was panicking (it had been smoking a bit for months) and told them; they just cleaned the clogged EGR and all seems fine, phew!

I see Paris got dumped on last night, hope that doesnít trouble you all!
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I am so jealous, not going this year.
My tip is if you have females in the car stop at a rest stop for the toilets rather than the full services as the women's toilets were queued out to the petrol area !
Also see the fuel additive thread!
Have a fab time.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Friday 5:30 Tunnel and an all night drive to Col Du Corbier, near Morzine.... Hoping kids will sleep!

Looking at the Crit'Air stickers...am I right in thinking I don't need to display one if I am not going into any of the zones it operates in?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks @muppet, I think that is the one I was thinking of, the one the chalet staff schlep down to on shopping day. Must admit I still thought that was Moutiers, I hadn't realised the distinction between Moutiers and Salins-les-Thermes.

Looks like @terrygasson, could be the first away with the Thursday pm departure. I must admit now we are going Friday morning instead of Friday pm I also wish we were getting as far as Albertville as it'd give an extra hour or so in bed Saturday morning, but I'd already booked the Lyon hotel and its non refundable/non changeable. Still, it's better than our original plan of Friday afternoon train.

@stefoy4me, looks like you'll be about 4 hours ahead of us on Friday.

@pdsguy, From what I read you are supposed to have a sticker to drive into a zone. However my understanding is there are two types of zones. Permanent (ZCR) and temporary (ZPA). Permanent ones (like Central Paris) are, well, permanent, so you need a sticker, whilst the temporary zones are only active if a high polution alert is issued, so if the zone isn't active I'm guessing you don't need a sticker? I think the Savoie and Haute Savoie are temporary zones.

@harrim51, good shout, yes we almost always stop at rest stops rather than main services to avoid the crowds.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Now that audible.com is avaivable and data download rates not too bad in the rest of Europe I no longer have to have the frantic search of the biggest book stores in town to get a couple talking books for the drive.
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You know it makes sense.
And of course can even get "more or Less" or "in our time" from the BBC.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@johnE, also the Infinite Monkey Cage and Iíve downloaded Series 3 of the Cold Swedish Winter (disappeared from BBC radio app but can be found on https://archive.org/details/ColdSwedishWinter )
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Not driving this year - Eurostar to Paris on Friday afternoon, cheapo Ibis hotel there, TGV to Oulx in the morning and finally the bus to Briancon.

Ski specific stuff was packed at the weekend, and the majority of the rest of it would have been finished last night until the zip broke on the big suitcase... Grrrr...
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
What a fantastic thread Happy.

First time driver here (first trip for the kids - they are 4 and 6).

We live in Kent so will be letting a 4pm ferry and then overnight in an Airbnb just outside Troyes.

We are driving to Sainte Foy and thinking a 6am departure on the Saturday. Is this a bit late? Can go earlier, not a problem as usually up at 5 for work and the kids are early risers.

We are pretty much packed. Just need to load up the kindles with more bbc shows!!

Good luck all and look forward to your comments.

D
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Spin Doctor,
Quote:

At the moment no bacon has been purchased

I always buy bacon in France, the "poitrine" in packs of 4 slices is beautiful, haven't been able to get anything like it in the UK. Always stock up on the way back.
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dannyboy.....see you there ...where you staying in SF ?

traffic builds early on the approach to Tarentaise which why we are breaking the back of it Friday and staying in chambery and plan to be OTR by 8am to get to SF for around 10am

ski passes reloaded from last year so ready to ski Saturday and get an extra day
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We are staying at the CGH Ferme apartments. I wanted to be close to the nursery slopes for the nippers.

How about you?

Ski passes are in the jackets already Happy

Seems itís a 6 hour journey nornally so I may leave st 5 just to be sure I do t get too stuck in traffic!

D
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Realised this morning our Liber-T tag was in the car we part exchanged 3 weeks ago and we're leaving Friday morning Shocked

Luckily the dealer found it and has kept it safe so will be picking it up tomorrow.

Booked on a late Tunnel on Friday but has been total chaos on Friday evening last few years so going to try and turn up early and jump on an earlier train. Eurotunnel have said there's no way we'll get on but working on the principal that they're going to want to clear as many people as possible during the day before the rush in the evening we're going to give it a go. What's the worst that can happen? Keeping 4 children occupied in the Eurotunnel terminal building for 8 hours - that's what! Confused


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Wed 7-02-18 13:48; edited 1 time in total
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Oh, and isn't the Super U at Salins-les-Thermes after the Belleville turn off?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
dannyboy...we are in a chalet at the top of the resort. There is 11 of us, 3 couples and 5 kids

likewise re the passes......see you on the slopes, we ll be in Brevettes around 11.30 supping an Old Lager most days I suspect
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We are leaving tomorrow heading for Les Arcs, euro tunnel tomorrow afternoon then staying in Reims over night Thursday, Bourg Saint Maurice over night Friday, the aim is to be on the slopes no later than 10am Saturday, thats if we avoid the snow that is forecast France on Friday.
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from the forecast I ve seen the snow is following south across Friday mid morning...you should be far enough ahead of that. as I hope we are

as for the hoards leaving later Friday and saturday it might not be so simple
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