Crash! Bang! Wallop! It is Monday 4th of December and the Just Another Anima team are in good spirits. We’ve had a really nice, relaxing weekend’s wandering in France. This morning we woke refreshed and ready to begin our second week away. Breakfast was had, Iggy was made road ready and we set off to the nearby Carrefour Drive to fill up with Diesel for the drive to Valence. Following Satnav’s directions we arrived at the supermarket car park and looked for the signs pointing to the fuel station. All good. All normal. Just another day in France.
Then we spot the height barrier on the road into the fuel pumps. What is this? Less than 3 metres! Why is there a height barrier at the Carrefour Drive? We were not expecting this. If there had been a warning we hadn’t seen it! Maybe it’s been damaged? Removed? Who knows. There’s no time to think. We’re in a funnel with concrete islands on either side of us. The only way is forward. We can’t go forward! There is a turn on our right just before the height barrier. It’s narrow. A turn in from the carpark – not out and into it. It’s okay though because there is nothing coming. We have plenty of time to get through. Better than holding up the line of cars behind us as we force them all to reverse to let us out. Isn’t it?
There’s no time to think. It seems the best option and Jay takes it. But this turn is designed for vehicles going in the opposite direction. It’s tight even for that. Even in a car. And good old Iggy is more of a mini-bus than a car. Not to call him fat or anything, but Iggy is over 2.3 metres wide. To say that Jay’s in a tight spot is being a bit on the under dramatic side. We’re going the wrong way up a tiny concrete corridor designed for a child’s scooter with the prospect of cars coming towards us at any moment. He tried to negotiate the impossible turn. Crash! Bang! Wallop!
There was the most horrible, nasty, evil grinding sound. Stop! I jumped out of the van. Part of me, a pushed down until this was all over part of me, was nearly in tears as that awful noise echoed in my head. What had we done to poor Iggy?! I couldn’t see. We were stuck across a section of concrete island. It looked impossible to get out of! With me guiding, and Jay doing the impossible, we managed to get Iggy unbeached from the island and into the carpark. A quick, terrrified look underneath and we relaxed a little. It was bad – but not that bad.
The poor old guy’s exhaust tailpipe had been crushed. Nasty, but not fatal. It wasn’t completely flattened and we were in an industrial estate, surrounded by mechanics and auto parts stores. There didn’t seem to be any other damage although there was a worrying sounding whine if we revved the engine to go above 30. Hmmm. I didn’t like that whine. Jay got us headed round the corner to the first garage as I reached for my encyclopedia “All Things Hymer”.
This is an amazing resource which I highly recommend as the one thing you cannot do without if you’re a Hymer owner. Otherwise known as the Facebook page “Hymer Owners Group”. They’re a fantastic bunch of people who are always there ready to support others in need. Some of the guys have an unbelievable wealth of knowledge, from years of experience in their respective trades, and in times of need the right information is never long in coming.
Garage after garage said “No.” they were unable to help us due to Iggy’s height. Then the info we needed came through from the group. The whine was from the turbo because of the crushed pipe. It had to be cut off asap or we would damage the engine. Once that was done, if we could safely rig a pipe to take the exhaust fumes away from the vehicle, we would be okay to drive to somewhere that could put a new tailpipe on for us. Hallelujah!
We’d been starting to feel a bit desperate being turned away by garage after garage. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas folks!! Innkeepers come to mind! But thanks to the wonderful people on the HOG group we had found our stable for the night. Thank you guys! Our lives would be so much harder without you!!
Jay had a heck of a job trying to get the broken pipe sawn off. But he managed in the end. We held our breath as he revved the engine…Yes! The whine is gone!
By this point we’d had just about enough of Bourg-en-Bresse. Nobody seemed able to help us here and it was time to cut our losses and try somewhere new. It wasn’t too far to Lyon, and I quickly got out park4night to search for a likely looking motorhome aire near there for the night. There was an okay looking place in Vienne. An old Roman town 20 minutes south of the city. A quick stop for ridiculously expensive diesel at a Total up the road and we were off. All guns blazing for Lyon. And windows wide open!
It was too late to get anything more done for the day by the time we arrived at our destination.. The rush hour traffic around Lyon had been crazy. How Jay managed after all the other stresses of the day I don’t know. Hat’s off to you Mr. Sloan!
Vienne looked like an interesting town, but we were ready for a different kind of crash. In our beds this time! We made a quick, but exhausted, dinner. Unwinding was definitely a necessary item on the to do list by this point. So out came the guitar and the saxophone. Listening to music is a great way to relax . But playing it is even better. A couple of hours and a bit of Netflix later and we were ready to sleep. Everything seemed a bit bleak tonight. It would all look better in the morning.