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Half term drive down - live journey chit chat !

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@boredsurfin, in that case, would quite like my old Mitsi truck to go missing myself Toofy Grin
Be quite nice to have a Range Rover whilst they locate it, knowing my luck I would get a beaten up old lada!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Wow @terrygasson you have my sympathies. That is going to be a trek home. Let's hope the skiing is good.
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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?
@terrygasson, and the car provided will not be as big as the one you've left behind. Will it even be big enough for your luggage? Who knows. Sounds like @boredsurfin, hit lucky but I know others who had a 4x4, skis and a dog and were offered a Ford Ka.
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@terrygasson, oh dear, I sympathize with you, been there done it...

We were on summer holiday, 3 young kids, 5 bikes, twin axle caravan & a brand new Volvo estate - clutch gave up the ghost when we arrived on site.

Start of the nightmare [I am a tad anal, write everything down, who, when, where, date, time & most importantly what they said]:

Car was collected & hire car supplied, ford focus I think it was - had trouble starting it & discovered that it was a diesel with a full tank of unleaded, which they attempted to blame me Evil or Very Mad fortunately the paperwork was in my favour!

Car took away & returned following day Laughing

Insurance company promised my Volvo would be repaired ready for our departure... Puzzled rolling eyes

Second week of the holiday after several telephone calls they decided that it wouldn't be ready, not even lifted the hood rolling eyes

I spoke with Insurance company & they suggested that I drive the focus to Calais, drop off, board as foot passengers & collect hire car in the UK

Great I said " what about the 5 bikes, 3 kids, wife, me & a twin axle caravan?"

The lady who I spoke with [I kid you not, this is for real] suggested I tow it with the focus - without a tow bar rolling eyes rolling eyes

They sent a low loader with a knackered Seat people carrier, complete bag of sh%te over, which had a towbar, collected the Volvo & bikes to repatriate to the UK for repair.

Think I got the car back a few weeks after we arrived home - then sold it... Laughing snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Hells Bells, Yes, long story short, but they sorted the Range Rover once I was back in the UK ....
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A serious breakdown overseas is always going to be a complete pain, no matter what sort of breakdown insurance you have. Our Fiat had a clutch go on a busy roundabout in Aosta. It was full of stuff being taken to son's flat in Genoa. Car hire depot was a long way off (hairy drive at up to 150 kph with Italian taxi driver) and the car rather small. We could choose hire car or local hotel till car repaired but we had to get down to Genoa then back to the apartment - meeting family. When eventually we could return to Italy to pick up car it limped through the Mont Blanc tunnel and home feeling very unwell. They had failed to re-fill the gearbox with oil..... Car put on truck back to Albertville. I wrote everything down too and had to provide evidence from my garage at home and the AA that it wouldn't have been possible to replace clutch without touching gearbox, as the garage claimed. Eventually had to go to Gva to pick up four people in the teeny hire car. Eventually got paid back the extra cost of work in the Fiat dealership in Albertville. But a great deal of time and hassle and effort was never repaid, of course. And the cost of a new clutch in Aosta was more than I'd have paid at my local garage, for sure.

Nobody said self-drive was easy, terrygasson. It's easy until it isn't. The Fiat had done over 100K miles on its original clutch, so it was gonna go sometime, but.... on a roundabout in Aosta??

Best of luck for the return journey.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
99 times out of a 100, it will go very smoothly, but it really is a pain if it doesn't. We had a problem a couple of years ago, which left our almost new car being taken 100km away to Gap. We were supposed to get a hire car, but they couldn't find us one of any description despite two airports within 2 hours, and several car hire places in town. They promised us a taxi as our dog needed to go to vet for the pet passport stuff, as there was no public bus service outside of school term time and ski season but taxi company wouldn't take a big dog. We were now 2 days before we were meant to return home, and the garage hadn't even looked at the car. When hubby discussed luggage bikes etc, we were told to take them to the garage, yep, 100km away on a Tour de France route. They then said they would fly us home if the car wasn't ready, but even if we could have arranged a flight at such short notice to include the dog, they still couldn't find a taxi to take us to the airport. We had to reply on the goodwill of people in the area to give us a lift to vets and then to Gap to collect the car. Breakdown service (RAC) was worse than useless. They couldn't even pay petrol to the kind people who gave us a lift, but would have paid several hundreds for car hire, repatriation and flights back to collect the car.
Garage couldn't even tell us what was wrong, as at lower altitude the fault had vanished.
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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!
Thanks all, I must admit I am not looking forward to the return journey this Saturday, although I have finally spoke to someone from the recovery agency today who was a bit more pro-active than any of his colleagues. I am still waiting for any firm information of any arrangements they have made, taxi arrival time etc, he re-iterated this morning the hire vehicle will be similar size to my truck (will just have to wait and see!!).
Apparently the truck is being picked up by a local garage on Friday, and stored until it can be repatriated, so I will load the truck up at the end of the week with any stuff we do not need for a few weeks, this way we will only try and take back essentials, as will be less to lug on to the ferry.

It does make me wonder how these companies cope if the problem arose if I was about to board the tunnel going home, as they seem to need several days to get their back bottom in gear!!

On the bright side, the truck could have broken down in Calais after getting off the tunnel, instead of in resort, and the skiing is enjoyable, with only the odd long queue to negotiate.

It could be worse, I could have forgotten to take out European breakdown cover, would have been well and truly screwed!!!
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@terrygasson, check you are allowed to load the truck and will be insured for losses
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Still no confirmed arrangements!!

Called them again this morning, they have been unable to hire a car either side, they suggested ďit would be better if I tried to hire the carsĒ.

I told them to feck off, and if they could not get hire cars then to fly us back this weekend.

now waiting to see if superiors will authorise flights.
Have emailed them passport details so they have info to hand.

(Oh dear, I'm rather losing my cool - I think I might have wee-weed myself a little bit :oops:) insurance companies are a real PITA
Quick enough to take your money!!!

@holidayloverxx, to be honest majority of the stuff we are going to load in the truck, would be spare clothing, sledges etc, bulky but fairly worthless!!

Just want it to be sorted, as I am getting grief from the OH, though bug all I can do about it, apart from keep on badgering the provider. wink wink
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Poindexter, is northern Ireland far enough...lol. we do 12 day trips to VT.....broken with an overnight each way.....we love it.
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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.
@terrygasson, really sorry to hear that. Please can you share the name of the insurer and the recovery agency, so that the rest of us can make sure we avoid them.
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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
We had the broken car thing a few years ago.
Car eventually repatriated, we had hire car to Calais, foot passengers on ferry and another hire car from Dover.

So...we struggled onto the ferry but at Dover a Customs Officer stopped us and gave us a real grilling about alcohol and ciggies.
"Are you kidding me? We have two kids under five, all the luggage, push chairs. folding cot and high chair...and skis! You think we are going to add to that lot???"

All a part if life's rich tapestry...
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@terrygasson, all sounding very familiar. Promise everything, produce nothing.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Could be carnage for the trip out of some resorts tomorrow (Serre Che, LDA, Alpe D'Huez) and for those travelling to them.

Might be worth getting out of Dodge tonight and for those coming, park up tomorrow and travel up early Sunday morning.

Of course that's if the forecast delivers rolling eyes

That said freezing level could well be circa 2200 so could well be rain!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Heres the official bulletin
http://www.savoie-route.fr/en/recommendation-to-drivers
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hells Bells wrote:
We've thought about the Amsterdam crossing. I;ve just checked the dog arrangments (I wouldn't be happy leaving them in a kennel on deck), and they only let one dog in the cabins. There was a dog escaped from the dog area at North Shields terminal last Christmas and was never found.


Sorry, only just caught up with this.

The Dfds route allows dogs in cabins - both of ours were in with us. I followed (was it Lucky?) the lost dog story but having made the journey a couple of weeks ago I'm struggling to see how he escaped/was lost unless his owners exited their vehicle with him off lead.
The dog facilities are quite awful, basically a sandpit in a corner outside the door to the kennel area. Ours hated it, we couldn't convince them it was ok to wee indoors and they only went (in the"wee" small hours) in sheer desperation.
The kennel area wasn't on the car deck - it was on the same corridor as the dog friendly cabins through a bulkhead type door but on the same level as the car deck.
We're going to give it one more go with proper preparations in place - it was fine for the dogs except for the sandpit shock.

Edit: I did cut your post a bit - I hope I haven't messed it up and that you did mean the Amsterdam crossing from Newcastle when you said they only let one dog in a cabin.
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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?
As the weather and forecast was crap came back today rather than Sunday . Interesting problem at the tunnel was overloaded with High sided vehicles , over 30 plus mins delay whilst normal cars could just drive on . Amazed how many were queuing for high sided when they could get under the height limit . In the end Tunnel staff started coming down the line with a measuring stick and offering the option of driving on for those who camn3 under the limbo stick , put my disco in low mode and was amazed I made the grade . When on the train had a clear 20cms to spare . Fancy this will be a feature over the weekend .
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@Scamper, Lucky escaped from the kennel area. He'd already been left there by his owners when it happened.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Escape from L2A was fine this morning. A ton of rain in the village. They had shut all the lifts this morning to deal with the avalanche risk. Roads up to Calais were busier than I have ever seen and there was a pointless two lanes into one roadworks snafu where not only was no work going on, it didnít look like any had happened or was planned. Have decided that your average French driver believes in the skierís code I.e. it is the responsibility of those coming behind to avoid an accident when he/she decides to overtake by (Oh dear, I'm rather losing my cool - I think I might have wee-weed myself a little bit :oops:) into the outside lane at his/her convenience. Only a 30 mom delay at Eurotunnel a massive bonus
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Spin dr..... yes I said the same about those roadworks.

Reckonthe french just did it as it was the UK coming home weekend!!!! Lol

Eurotunnel slow......due on 18.50 but that's gone now and still sat in the lanes.....
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Not been on for most of the week
as been too busy recovering from the slope action and consuming bodyweight in cheese and wine etc.

Sorry to hear your nightmare @terrygasson, I hope by now you've made some significant progress ???

We had 7 day passes that included today. The quiet transfer day slopes and lifts was wasted however. Attrocious conditions. +6c at 1550. Raining all day. Snowing above about 2000m, but visibility bad either way. Snow was good for the first few hundred metres of the runs off of Saulire but otherwise was heavy sticky wet horrible snow with cloudy flat light and snow/rain clogged goggles. Wet and miserable. Literally went to 1650, had a nice lunch in Arc en Ciel then went back to 1850 and threw in the towel. Left Courchevel around 4.30pm. Clear roads, light traffic all the way. Got to Troyes for our overnight stopover about 10pm. The car park is full of Brit plates!
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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!
Gendarmerie speed trap northbound between Reims and Saint Quentin. Around half to two thirds of the way. Somewhere near Area de Saint Brice I think.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Sunday 12.20. Just got to Calais Eurotunnel check-in, slip road all fine an no tailback yet, but diverted to pre check-in waiting area, which is about 1/3 full. There's about 7-8 lanes queued in front of us. Eurotunnel website reckons 15 minutes check-in wait and 30 mins border control. We'll see.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Gentle cruise back overnight last night. Left Les Men in heavy snow around 5, stopped for tea at Restaurant Saint Michel in Albertville ( very nice) and easy drive through to Caen for 0830 ferry. Few hours kip in free cabin and now contemplating the steak or paprika duck for lunch - very civilised.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Ok so to be fair it was just over 10 minutes wait in the holding area and another 5 waiting for check-in kiosk. Booked on 13.50 but it offered us the 13.36 which we took. Waiting in the queue for order control.
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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.
About 35 minutes at the border. Now in lane for boarding. They boarded half our lane then stopped us. Not sure if that was the earlier 13.20 or our 13.36.

You pretty much need to arrive about a good hour before your train to make it.
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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
Meh. Boarding closed for the 13.36, which is our hanger so you're not necessarily getting on the train matching your hanger, its slipping back, so we're back on our original 13.50.

So an hour and twenty minutes from arrival at the terminal to departing.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
got back home to blighty yesterday lunchtime, 10:30 am flight from grenoble (absolute car crash of a place on a transfer morning!!!) to bristol on easyjet.

taxi driver was an hour late, 7am instead of 6amand he drove like my mother in law at about 50mph all the way there (was expecting archetypal taxi driver alain prost type experience), despite gently encouraging him to speed up a bit, so just got to the airport an hour before departure.
although, that said he spoke very good english, and was very entertaining and told us his life story, mainly about his divorce, he also took a lot of persuasion to accept the tip i gave him, as the fare was being paid by the insurance company (was about 500 euros on the meter!!!)

funnily enough the taxi driver from bristol to bath was very talkative as well, and was very obliging when we requested a certain (longer) route home as wife and youngest are not great travellers, he was also due to go to la clusaz in a week or 2, so he got some spare euros as a thank you.

to be honest it was quite nice to be home a day early, on someones elses coin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

on the bright side, we saved on the fuel/tolls and overnight hotel and meals etc, as i said previously the breakdown could have happened outside my house, as i assume the turbo must have been on the way out!!!

@sj1608, the company i used was AXA, although we are home, they could have been a lot more proactive, no information of any kind was forthcoming from them, either by phone or email, unless i chased them up!!

i had a 30min argument on the phone with them on thursday evening, as we were originally told we were on the 15:55 from grenoble on saturday, but when i opened the email confirmation it showed 10:30am. when challenged about it, firstly i was told there were no availability on the later flight, even though i had the easyjet websit in front of me and could have purchased them myself. when i informed them of this, they then went on to say it was a cost issue, as the earlier flight was massively cheaper, despite the difference being about £5 each. After offering them this information, they denied that i was offered this flight at all, and i was basically called a liar by the manageress, i challenged her to listen to the earlier phone call (they are all recorded apparently). First, she said it could take "a couple of days for the IT dept to retreive", then she called back to say it must have been "lost in translation", as the earlier operator was foriegn (but based in their uk office). Despite this still being their mistake, the only way to change the flight was for us to pay the 300 euros admin fee!!.

as said earlier, am glad we took the earlier flight, as we had a lazy evening at home, and today to get washing and shopping done, currently writing this whilst cooking a roast, although i am a huge carnivore, i am quite looking forward to some vegetables after a week or so of cheese/bread products and more meat than a pack of lions could eat!!!

saying that, had a great skiing holiday with friends and family, and after all the hiccups we will still drive to the alps next time, though with a different breakdown provider after looking deeper into their terms and conditions.

i would also thourougly reccomend les menuires for families

hope everyone had a great week

cheers
terry
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
also, @Gazzza, thanks for starting the thread originally, hope you managed to get across the channel, and making good progress home.

cheers
terry
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Glad you made it back relatively easily after all that hassle, @terrygasson.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Gazzza wrote:
We had 7 day passes that included today. The quiet transfer day slopes and lifts was wasted however. Attrocious conditions. +6c at 1550. Raining all day. Snowing above about 2000m, but visibility bad either way. Snow was good for the first few hundred metres of the runs off of Saulire but otherwise was heavy sticky wet horrible snow with cloudy flat light and snow/rain clogged goggles. Wet and miserable. Literally went to 1650, had a nice lunch in Arc en Ciel then went back to 1850 and threw in the towel.

That is the way it swings unfortunately.
ski holidays     
 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?
Iíd definitely recommend arriving and leaving on a Sunday at half term (if you can find Sun-Sun accommodation). We left our apartment at 9 ... and the car park at 9.40. Having been moved on by the police from the road we thought was ok to park on (not Rue de Montagnards as we werenít particularly close), we parked in one of the open car parks in front of the slopes. When we tried to pay at the machine before exit, it wouldnít accept our credit/debit cards, so went to another machine which didnít either. Husband asked at an office but was told we had to use the machine. We then walked to cash machine, got cash and the machine took half of it but then stopped accepting the notes! Returned to office which was closed, and I finally found another machine which registered the cash we had already paid and accepted a couple more notes. The rest of the journey was a breeze though. We got to the tunnel at 7.15, having made 3 quick stops on the way, encountering not a single queue. We didnít even have to queue in the eurotunnel check in, a first! Got an earlier crossing which was then delayed by about 15 mins . Just about to leave the tunnel and hoping the M25 isnít closed as it usually is when we return from France. Husband and I arenít working tomorrow, and children are looking a bit peaky now ...
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thanks @pam w,
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Woke up at 9am in Madrid after a solid night's sleep, got up slowly, coffee chocolate and churros for breakfast Twisted Evil then back on the motorway. For the first time ever I tried my new noise-cancelling headphones, on silent, while driving - it certainly cuts the background drone, and I don't know if the good night's sleep or the NC but I didn't feel so tired afterwards.

Still nearly put petrol in my diesel tank though!! Mad

Back home by 5.30pm, major unload, wife fired up the washing machine while I took daughters out to the shopping centre for sushi and to get milk and fruit etc. Two girls have packed for school and gone to bed. Now listening to my boiler making very dodgy noises after a week of inactivity...

Best wishes all Smile
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@Orange200, just noticed you're in Lisbon - I was going to be very impressed that you'd made Madrid to the UK in 9hrs...
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
snowdave wrote:
@Orange200, just noticed you're in Lisbon - I was going to be very impressed that you'd made Madrid to the UK in 9hrs...


My clue was the 5:30 and going to the shopping centre on a Sunday Happy
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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!
Drove into work this morning. The roads were quiet and it took 15 minutes les than normal. It must be the school half term so if you are out skiing have a really good time and think of us with our noses to the monitor
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@johnE, some schools do have half term this week, but also could be inset day (which one of my two have today).
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@terrygasson, Glad you finally made it back. I can imagine the annoyance with the changing arrangements but probably as well you were on early Saturday flight, as it meant you got out of the Taraintaise valley before the traffic. We left resort at around 4.30pm and traffic was also fine, but I suspect middle of the day could have been heavy. When we saw how bad the weather was, as we checked out the apartment around 9-10 we were thinking of not bothering skiing but the owner said we were as well waiting till late afternoon to avoid the valley traffic. Glad you made your flight though, we've had a similar experience with a late transfer from La Tania to Geneva and only got their 1 hour before. Anyway, great you made it home and still had a good ski and the saving grace is you at least got to resort and had your week of snow. I wonder what would happen if you broke down en route at Calais or Reims - would a breakdown company take you to your destination and repatriate ? I guess its good to know that if something goes horribly wrong you do get repatriated, even if you have to do alot of the chasing and hassling to fore hands. It'd be interesting to know if yours is a common experience when needed breakdown repatriation, or whether other companies manage it better. When does your van get back ?
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