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Easter Drive Down - chit chat

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Another chains tip (and I've done it many a time). Forget any kind of gloves. They all make it much harder. Just practice so you can do it FAST before your fingers freeze. And have a big black poly bag to put them in when you take them off - they never go back in the dear little box when you're struggling by the roadside.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I’ve had varying success with food in service stations in whilst traveling through France, what would snowheads favorites/ recommendations be say between Troyes and Bourg en bresse? The cooler box might be low by then!!
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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?
@Ski Tyke, eurotunnel have something in their confirmation emails for flexiplus bookngs (including the flexiplus regular traveller) that gets blocked by our email host. We don't get booking confirmations on buying our pack of tickets or the individual bookings (but we do get the API notifications).

I have reported it and it's a known issue apparently, but not fixed when I made a booking less than 2 weeks ago. Even if you haven't booked flexiplus, you could be suffering from the same problem.

You are not going mad!!!
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Fascinating reading about all the various plans. (And panics)
All seem very sensible.
Normally at Easter i am sitting smug in the resort already.
But this hear i have to go back briefly (tomorrow), so Good Friday i will be sitting in a ghastly 0600 melee at Heathrow Terminal 3.
It will be only all your reports that will stop me going insane.
Best of luck to you all. And keep posting. snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Head torch for chains as well

Lunches we buy fresh bread and cold meats in services and make sarnies
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Twitter reporting 45 minute delays already on the Tunnel...
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@rachelharrisonsmith, thank you for your diagnosis - not sure everyone that knows me would agree!

Funny how we often bemoan the good old days when we got to speak to a human, rather than doing everything on line but in this case the human has misspelled my email address!! Oh, the irony!

Anyway, all's good, we're on the 07.06 crossing. Phew!

Very 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!
pam w wrote:
Just practice so you can do it FAST before your fingers freeze. And have a big black poly bag to put them in when you take them off


What? Your fingers? Very Happy
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Noakes wrote:
I’ve had varying success with food in service stations in whilst traveling through France, what would snowheads favorites/ recommendations be say between Troyes and Bourg en bresse? The cooler box might be low by then!!
Pont Chêne d’Argent. One tip, I'd avoid sarnies at the services, either go French and opt for a sit down hot meal or locate a 'Paul' on the list as you approach. I tend to hard boil a load of eggs and have packets of ham to nibble on + breadsticks. Carb and protein load at breakfast and then snack and wait for a decent dinner at your destination. Kids buy a box of fancy continental flavour tic tacs as well and that slows down the sweetie munchies. Also the police strongly discourage the Brit habit of eating at the wheel!
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So -- for last year's Easter trip -- our first since I was diagnosed with ME, we decided to Eurotunnel, sleep in Calais, and the drive to Bourg -- cutting the journey into managable steps. The drive to the tunnel, and hotel in Calais were all good.

At 5am I woke, thinking about the unusual amount of space we had in the boot of the car. Exactly the amount of space occupied by Mrs Skis knee braces Sad
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
ski wrote:
So -- for last year's Easter trip -- our first since I was diagnosed with ME, we decided to Eurotunnel, sleep in Calais, and the drive to Bourg -- cutting the journey into managable steps. The drive to the tunnel, and hotel in Calais were all good.

At 5am I woke, thinking about the unusual amount of space we had in the boot of the car. Exactly the amount of space occupied by Mrs Skis knee braces Sad
Bummer Shocked
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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.
Convoy of 4 vehicles on the 6.20 am eurotunnel good friday - only live 20 mins from tunnel Very Happy
Stopover in Chambery
Hope to be in Latania nice and early to get in a good days skiing!

Drove to Reberty (Les Menuires) 3 weeks ago on a sunday and it only took us 9 hours from calais to chalet so hoping roads just as quiet!

Note: Our tickets say 30 mins check-in but when I booked the very nice lady advised us to arrive at least 45 mins as they would be very busy

Happy trip to all
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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
My tickets are for 45 minutes before departure.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Having worked backwards from arriving in Les Arcs about 11pm on Wednesday night we booked a train for 10:30 ish, which I now realise means going around the M25 at 8:00 Sad . After that I imagine the rest of the drive will be plain sailing. But of course all that depends on getting on a train within a couple hours of the booked time.

Having just been to Canazai by plane and transfer I realised that a drive to Les Arcs is only a couple hours longer than flying.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Dippy wrote:
Convoy of 4 vehicles on the 6.20 am eurotunnel good friday - only live 20 mins from tunnel Very Happy
Stopover in Chambery
Hope to be in Latania nice and early to get in a good days skiing!

Drove to Reberty (Les Menuires) 3 weeks ago on a sunday and it only took us 9 hours from calais to chalet so hoping roads just as quiet!

Note: Our tickets say 30 mins check-in but when I booked the very nice lady advised us to arrive at least 45 mins as they would be very busy

Happy trip to all


We are booked on that same train. It’s going to be a very early start from the Premier inn! Shocked
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Noakes wrote:
I’ve had varying success with food in service stations in whilst traveling through France, what would snowheads favorites/ recommendations be say between Troyes and Bourg en bresse?

The one just south of Troyes only does coffee and snacks until the summer as the main restaurant is being rebuilt, it is good coffee though.

I have eaten at the Dijon-Spoy one recently on the way back and everything was freshly cooked to order. Chateauvillain has a selection of restaurants but haven't eaten there. Or Poulet de Bresse but the main restaurant has always been closed at the times I have stopped.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Setting off for Flaine (seems to be popular with Snowheads this Easter) on Thursday afternoon. We've got a Friday to Friday stay, so hoping to avoid some of the traditional travel chaos and check-in madness at accommodation. Though in fairness we went the same week last year (albeit not actual Easter week) and also at Christmas and had no bother at all. Tunnel is something like 5:50pm Thurs. Overnighting at Reims Tinquiex, then a leisurely drive on Friday, stopping off at Super U at the bottom of the hill and aiming to get to resort for about 5pm or so.

On the subject of the tunnel, anyone else get pee'd off with Eurotunnel's completely meaningless booked times? I can't think of any other transport system where you book on a specified voyage but in fact are not really booked on it at all and just get put in a queue to go whenever they can fit you on. It wouldn't be so bad if they just charged a flat fare, but given that different time slots cost different amounts it's a bit of a liberty when they can't even stick to them. Seems like it is just a racket to encourage you to pay the extra £130+ e/w for flexiplus (which I'm way too tight to do).

Having got that off my chest, my top tips for chain fitting are 1) remove wristwatch - makes it much easier to reach under wheel arches. Just don't leave it lying in the snow. 2) If you're of the glove persuasion (I am) use marigolds. Much stronger than the flimsy efforts that sometimes come with the chains but close fitting enough to feel what you are doing. I usually wear my thin wool liner gloves under them too, which gives a bit of extra finger protection. 3) If you have got any of those mini-quilt things that food delivery companies wrap refrigerated food in, then stick one in your car. They make great cushioned mats for kneeling on when fitting the chains.

Bon route everyone.
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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?
rjs wrote:
Noakes wrote:
I’ve had varying success with food in service stations in whilst traveling through France, what would snowheads favorites/ recommendations be say between Troyes and Bourg en bresse?

The one just south of Troyes only does coffee and snacks until the summer as the main restaurant is being rebuilt, it is good coffee though.

I have eaten at the Dijon-Spoy one recently on the way back and everything was freshly cooked to order. Chateauvillain has a selection of restaurants but haven't eaten there. Or Poulet de Bresse but the main restaurant has always been closed at the times I have stopped.

I guess as I’m only pit stopping I will just take the chance when the tank is empty, just want some decent fresh food on the go really, we once stoppped at a services on the way back from the gorge du tarn and all the food was restaurant quality so they must be out there?
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@Ingemar_Skidmark, it does seem like (and probably are) just filling trains when busy and I sort of agree with you. I guess the price banding is an attempt to smooth traffic flow throughout the day by incentivising the early or late times.

At peak periods you just have to accept its going to be crap and relax as best as you can
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Boris, yeah, we generally just suck it up and get a bite to eat in Leon or something. I just find it a bit useless of them that, despite the bookings, the whole thing goes to pot as soon as it gets a bit busy. They must not provision for the Flexi tickets and just bump as many ordinary ticket holders as they need to - which is a poor show really.

At Christmas we arrived lunchtime on the Friday, an hour or so early, barely a soul on the M20, me rubbing my hands in glee thinking we're bound to get on an earlier train. We turn off into the terminal and it's total bedlam, people scrapping over parking spaces, massive delays up on the board, passengers filling the office to argue with customer services, etc. In the event we were only about 40 mins after our booked departure and I think my max delay is around an hour, but I may have been lucky so far given some of the horror stories I've read on here.
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Cheesie168,

I would endorse a visit to Vimy Ridge. It's well worth seeing, but is both sobering and saddening. As well as the memorial, there is a visitor centre where you can call in to book a (free) guided tour of the preserved trenches and underground tunnels that the Canadians dug, to emerge from at the front line. The tour guides are all Canadian students.

In Arras itself, Wellington Quarry is a must see. 24,000(!) British troops hid underground there before emerging at the front line to surprise the Germans at the battle of Arras. Again, it's a guided tour & it is incredible to see where the troops lived & slept for a week before the battle. It is heartbreaking to stand at the bottom of the steps leading from the tunnels and imagine what the lads must have gone through 100 years ago...

Nevertheless, I think everyone (with an opportunity to do so) should go there to ensure that their sacrifice is not forgotten.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Got chains out of storage to find their bag was no longer it for purpose, no point in trying to repair it as the chains are pretty heavy (19 inch 4x4) solved by a quick trip to local charity shop where a selection of used laptop bags were on offer £2.00 each, even had the velcro straps inside to control the chains and a handy pocket on the outside for gloves groundsheet kneeler and black sack for afterwards. Job done snowHead
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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!
Can anybody give me any guidance of what the M25 will be like from the M1 to the Dartford crossing and then onto the tunnel next thursday afternoon (That is the day before the good Friday Bank holiday). We should hit the M25 by 2.30 but what time do I book the tunnel for.
Thanks
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@boredsurfin, that was a good bit of lateral thinking. We seem to have a loft full of old laptop bags waiting for a new purpose. Are you travelling with the new puppy?
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@Farmboy, usually fairly busy but should be ok at that time, probably a good 90-mins from M1 to tunnel
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Boris Thanks
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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.
We are planning a real last minute trip (2nd family ski holiday this year) but we can’t get br Eurotunnel until about 8pm good Friday. Is it going to be totally hellish?? Or do you think most people will have gone by then?
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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
@Farmboy, I've never done the trip on a Maundy Thursday before, but will be doing so this year. However, have done it on various other holiday dates and the worst I've ever had it was half term a couple of years ago when there was an accident that shut a couple of lanes. We probably lost about 45 mins that time but had enough slack in the schedule that it didn't make much difference. Generally the M25 has been busy, but flowing. No problem travelling at 60mph, maybe 55 at worst.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Snowysarah, it will be busy, but I suspect most people will travel earlier on. The danger is any delays or cancellations will pile up throughout the day.

First question is is there availability?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Getting 7am Ferry, hoping to be in Lyon around 6pm, nice meal and a glass of wine. Ready for our short journey the following day to Val Cenis looking at the price of diesel in France, probably fill up before boat.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Ingemar_Skidmark, For years I did overnight on Maunday Thursday/Good Friday morning. Expect to meet the whole of Belgium travelling south on the French motorways.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Bergmeister wrote:
Cheesie168,

I would endorse a visit to Vimy Ridge. It's well worth seeing, but is both sobering and saddening. As well as the memorial, there is a visitor centre where you can call in to book a (free) guided tour of the preserved trenches and underground tunnels that the Canadians dug, to emerge from at the front line. The tour guides are all Canadian students.

In Arras itself, Wellington Quarry is a must see. 24,000(!) British troops hid underground there before emerging at the front line to surprise the Germans at the battle of Arras.


A great uncle of mine died at the Battle of Arras, aged 19. Thanks to the Commonwealth Graves website, I located where he was buried and visited the cemetery once on a journey back to CH. Stupidly moving, take tissues and lots of them.
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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?
eng_ch,

Nothing stupid about it. I defy anyone not to be moved by the experience. Sad (I lost a great uncle at the Somme and found his name on the memorial at Thiepval).

In Arras there is also another site worth seeing - Le Mur Des Fusillés. It's a WW2 memorial to the hundreds of French Resistance members shot there by the Gestapo. There is a plaque for each victim, stating name, age and occupation. Many were very young coal miners. Again, so, so sad...
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breeze11 - Will only take you 10 mins from premier inn (presuming its the one off Junction 9)
If you see 2 black range rovers in convoy give us a wave!
My son has just returned today from 3V - he said conditions were amazing. Hoping it stays cold enough to keep the rain away!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
eng_ch wrote:
Bergmeister wrote:
Cheesie168,

I would endorse a visit to Vimy Ridge. It's well worth seeing, but is both sobering and saddening. As well as the memorial, there is a visitor centre where you can call in to book a (free) guided tour of the preserved trenches and underground tunnels that the Canadians dug, to emerge from at the front line. The tour guides are all Canadian students.

In Arras itself, Wellington Quarry is a must see. 24,000(!) British troops hid underground there before emerging at the front line to surprise the Germans at the battle of Arras.


A great uncle of mine died at the Battle of Arras, aged 19. Thanks to the Commonwealth Graves website, I located where he was buried and visited the cemetery once on a journey back to CH. Stupidly moving, take tissues and lots of them.


Thanks for all the tips, I did not know about the Wellington Quarry. Looking at all of this I think we will make Arras / Vimy our excursion on the way back, as I want to do it justice. We have done a few Commonwealth Cemeteries since the girls were quite little. Ypres was particularity moving last year just looking at all of those names on the Menin Gate of people who came so far to fight and die was sobering and good life lesson for our girls. Will post as we drive. Due ot get to the M25 at 4pm on Maundy Thursday - oh joy! Our biggest debate is always do we go north or south bound as we are equidistant from the tunnel either way. We'll be pressing refresh on the google maps and AA website all day!
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Dippy wrote:
breeze11 - Will only take you 10 mins from premier inn (presuming its the one off Junction 9)
If you see 2 black range rovers in convoy give us a wave!
My son has just returned today from 3V - he said conditions were amazing. Hoping it stays cold enough to keep the rain away!



Will do!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
...and - you may think I'm joking, but.... I have a fairly rickety left knee, and now take strap-on knee pads along with the gloves etc. Mind you, I can't remember when I last used chains since having winter tyres. The knees were ok then..
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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!
We are heading from Scotland on the Thursday, stopover in Canterbury Thurs night and stopover Dijon Friday. We have flexiplus with Erna Low, but friends car is just over the height limit. Called Eurotunnel a month or so ago to check re height and they said they just wouldn't be able to access the lounge, but on way back its fine. Still made out that they would still be flexi plus. Friends called today to log their API and to ask if we'd be able to regroup before going on train, also if we'd be able to pick up their food for them. Anyway, today they were saying they wouldn't be able to use flexi plus at all and would have to book a time. Anyone know the position with flexi plus and being over the height restriction (car is 1.90m limit is 1.85)
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@eng_ch, we did similar with my great uncle who died in May 1917 and was buried at Mazingarbe. We drove there from Montreuil-sur-Mer which was the HQ of General Haig. On modern roads it still took ages, which shows how far the leaders were from the troops giving their lives on the front line. Uncle Phillip was a coal miner, it is fitting that he is buried at the end of a row of cottages with a pit heap in the background. Very very moving.
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@Gilly28, We aren't going this Easter but used flexiplus overheight a couple of months ago.

At check in you can use the flexi plus lane.
when you get to the height restriction take the overheight lane. Then once you are in the waiting area you can run across to the flexi plus kiosk show your ticket and pick up the food bags.
You are still in a priority lane and will get on the next train.
You will not be able to board the train together as your car will go in the double decker carriage whereas your friends will go in the overheight single deck carriage.
Best to arrange to regroup at a service station in France.

On the way back your friends will still need to go down the overheight lane but they will pass the flexi plus kiosk. You will again end up in different carriages on the train.

If your friends have a flexi plus ticket they should be able to get on the next train and be first in the queue to board. It sounds as though there was a misunderstanding in their call to Eurotunnel.
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