Friday, July 4, 2014

Day Eight - Daun to Stratford ... WE MADE IT!!

Well, there was never any doubt ... really!!  We arrived back in Straford this evening to a rousing reception, at least the dog was pleased to see us.  

For the first time this week Angela was up first and had even packed the car (!) so we were ready to leave pretty well on time for our return Channel Tunnel booking.  

Given the blue smoke from yesterday we set off a bit tentatively at first just to make sure all was well.  After a run and oil level checks all seemed as normal but this left us a bit tight for time so Angela was on a mission to get us to the tunnel before last check in ... if the Boxster was expecting a quieter day after being hurled around the 'Ring then it was to be disappointed.  The usual delays around Brussels made this seem like an impossible task, but she did it with seconds to spare ... not even time to grab a drink before boarding!!

En route at each stop for fuel/coffee we bumped into one of the UK contingent so there was a good sense of camaraderie - on the tunnel we were nose-to-tail with another UK Porsche so we compared notes and experiences from the day before (Angela was enthralled ... Not!)

Back on home soil we then only had the Friday afternoon rush hour to contend with!!  Hold ups on the M25 meant we has to go the long way round ... given the distances we have travelled over the past week this part of the journey just seemed to drag.  We finally pulled up on the drive having driven precisely 3,250 miles on the trip.

And so our adventure ends.  We have photos and loads of video which I will sort out and post links for those who are interested and have nothing better to do!  Thank you for joining us on this adventure, but for now it's goodbye, au revoir, arrivederci, auf Wiedersehen.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day Seven - Nurburgring Nordschleife - OMG!

For those who don't know, the Nurburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) is the now infamous former Grand Prix circuit last used in the 1970s, scene of Niki Lauda's horrific crash and fire which so nearly claimed his life.  These days it is still used as a race circuit for less powerful machinery, but also has become a Mecca for idiots, sorry drivers, to test their mettle in their own cars on its 13 miles and 73 bends.  Today I was one of those idiots, sorry drivers.

The day started badly when first I broke my little GoPro camera which was going to film us driving around. One of our fellow UK contingent came to the rescue to charge the batteries for me.  Then we couldn't find our way to the circuit due to many road works in the area!  We were one of several cars that kept bumping into each other on various diversions!  Don't follow me, I'm lost too!!  At least the sun was shining ....

When we eventually made it to the circuit we headed straight out on a 'sighting lap' with a restricted speed and no overtaking - both of which were completely ignored by one of the many race drivers testing at the circuit.  When the track 'went green' (no restrictions) we did two cautious laps still finding our way around the circuit and trying to avoid the many cars who we're going a lot quicker than we were (they were measuring their lap times in 10ths of a second, we were using a calendar!).

To build a bit of confidence I booked a 'Follow Me' session for a solo drive with an instructor which was really worthwhile.  Reinvigorated Angela joined me again and out we headed with her strict instructions ringing in my ear - "don't crash!"  As if .....

We did a three lap stint then headed for the exit as we were already running low on fuel.  We joined the queue at the one and only local fuel station before returning to the track for a planned two laps.  However on pretty well the first bend a UK driver in a BMW (of course) lost control and hit the barriers hard ahead of us.  This bought out the red flag closing the track (not the first time today but the first while we were on track) so we had a leisurely cruise back to the car park.

Track cleared we headed out once again for another planned two laps, but partway round it looked like we were trailing blue smoke from the exhaust so this ended up being another slow cruise back.  Everything looked fine so we decided it was time for Angela to have a drive .... in the car park!  We thought that was enough for one day, we had survived (which can't be said for all of the UK contingent - two will not be driving their cars home tomorrow!) so our final tally was nine exhilarating laps.

Tomorrow we return to the UK ... :-(  ... But it won't be the end of the blog!  Keep watching for a post script on the trip from Angela (she won't show me what she's written!).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Day Six - St Moritz to Daun

I woke early to a miserable, rainy St Moritz, a bit of a change to recent days!  I had intended to get up and out and drive a couple of local passes before breakfast but the lure of a couple more hours under the cosy duvet was too great!!  (Needless to say I would have been on my own as wild horses would not have been able to drag Angela out of bed at that time of the morning!)

And so it was then that after a leisurely breakfast we headed off on what was basically a get from Point A to Point B day.  That didn't stop us squeezing one more pass in on the way so the Julienpass also gets crossed off the list.

Angela drove the majority of the eight hours today, some of it in really atrocious weather - at times a boat would have been a better bet.  Slowly the weather cleared until by the time we reached the Stuttgart area of Germany it was bright sunshine and 28 deg C.  The top came down and, you guessed it, Angela had a change of clothes!

We arrived in Daun to plan by which time a fair number of the British contingent were already in the bar! There's some quite serious machinery here that will leave us for dead on the track!

So, driver's briefing completed and helmets sorted (no, Angela, they don't come in pink!) we're all set for an exciting, safe and enjoyable day on the famous Nurburgring tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Day Five - Alpine Passes

Anyone who knows Angela will understand when I say she is not at her best in the mornings!  This week has therefore been a bit of a challenge to get her up and ready to leave in line with what she describes as my "relentless schedule"!!  So this morning I took pity on her and let her wake at her own pace which meant by the time we were ready to leave half the day had gone!

This, along with the fact we got a little bit lost, meant we had to cut short our planned ten-pass tour to get back in time for dinner but nevertheless we can cross Umbrail, Stelvio (twice, up and down), Ofenpass, DeFoppa, DiGavia and DelBernini off the list.  While the weather was mixed (on DeFoppa we drove into the clouds) the scenery was simply stunning - we have lots of photos to bore you all with!  Next time (if there IS a next time!) I must allow more time to appreciate the view.

Despite this being our lowest mileage day by far we're both cream crackered so I'll leave it there.  Until tomorrow ....

Driving the Monaco Grand Prix (Circuit)!!

A short extract from the lap of the Grand Prix circuit, exiting Casino Square, through the hairpin and into the tunnel.  I had a couple of Police bikes ahead of me so had to a bit cautious .... 

Another a Glorious Day!

This is the view we have from the balcony of our room in St Moritz - Birmingham/Stratford won't seem quite the same again ....

Today we do a circuit of some of the biggest mountain passes in the area.  Angela isn't proving to be the best passenger when it comes to driving next to sheer drops!  Can't think why?!  We'll definitley have the on board video recording so that should be fun to listen to ...!!