b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » Road Trip » Page 4 | Search
This is a question Road Trip

Gather round the fire and share stories of epic travels. Remember this is about the voyage, not what happened when you got there. Any of that shite and you're going in the fire.

Suggestion by Dr Preference

(, Thu 14 Jul 2011, 22:27)
Pages: Popular, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

I was on the Danny Baker show two weeks in a row with this one...
Let me recount my trip into an actual circle of HELL. This being, as you might have already guessed, Manchester.

For reasons far too complicated to explain, I got hold of some tickets for a Man United match at Old Trafford. Away end only, you understand, supporting the poor saps who were about to get a lesson in football from the legions of darkness.

The catch being that we had to get up early and drive up from the south coast with a chap called Brian.

I'd never met him before - the whole deal was done through a mutual friend called Geoff - and Brian trolled up in his Ford Fiesta and we set off, him driving, me reading the map, Geoff in the back offering bad advice.

It was as we headed north that he admitted after covering only about 20 miles in the first hour: "I don't drive on motorways."


He wasn't particularly good at A-roads, either. Or taking directions, all of which he patently ignored.

I should have noticed this on account of his devious plan of ignoring all road signs that said "M5 NORTH", veering off in the opposite direction as if they were sending his beloved Fiesta over a cliff.

"Turn left here," I said as Banbury disappeared very slowly in the rear-view mirror, followed by a desperate "Left... LEFT... LEFT!!!!!" as he turned right, anticipating a short-cut that would eventually resolve itself Northampton.

At three o'clock - as the match kicked off at Old Trafford - he switched off the engine, got out and stretched his legs before declaring: "This is close enough."

We were alone in a car park.

A church car park.

A church car park in Coventry.

We had missed Old Trafford by a piffling 82 miles, and we turned round and headed back to Dorset.

We should be home in a couple of weeks.
(, Mon 18 Jul 2011, 12:47, 3 replies)
A top tip is to not, as "a bit of a joke" start singing
"There's a million green bottles, sitting on a wall" at the start of a three hour car journey with your 6/7 year old nephews, who have just had sugarpuffs for breakfast.
(, Mon 18 Jul 2011, 12:37, 2 replies)
"And another thing, I hate you and all your friends."
Not long after I left Uni I went to visit a friend in Nottingham. While there I had a row with my girlfriend. One of an ever increasing number of petty arguments signposting the way to the inevitable split.

After sleeping at separate ends of my friends house, we bundled into the car and headed back Essex-wards. I pulled off his drive in silence. I pulled to the end of the road in silence. I pulled on to the main road and said 'this isn't working anymore is it?', 'no' she said.

My advice to you, dear QOTWers, is if you are alone in a car with the girl you have just that second split up with, don't ask 'what went wrong?'. It's a hell of a long way between Nottingham and Brentwood when you are having your suitability as a boyfriend, your level of intelligence and your general fitness to be a contributing member of the human race systematically dismantled and ground to dust for the entire journey.

She's lucky I didn't leave her by the side of the M1.
(, Mon 18 Jul 2011, 12:07, 9 replies)
mad dash to paris in a knackered purple flowery peugot 205
About 10 years ago my Grandmother died. I really wanted to go to her funeral as she was amazing - she'd plotted with my other grandmother to keep me sane in the midst of all sorts of family wierdness.
Only problem was she'd lived in Paris and the funeral was there. We had no money and a battered old diesel peugot 205 which had, mileage wise, been to the moon and back. We'd painted it purple with multicoloured daisies all over it because the paint had faded to orange. It was an amazingly faithful runner and had never conked out on us over the couple of years we'd had it so we hadn't got out RAC membership...

We left our 4 and 6 years olds with some good friends and took our nearly 2 year old with us. The bloke I'd phoned at the passport office told me that he was fine to go on his mothers passport, which surprised me but I believed him. We had 4 days before the funeral - plenty of time!

Part of the way to Dover from South Devon at night the lights flickered a couple of times, the battery light came on, then everything just died without warning. My wife managed to pull over into the little bit of slipway between the motorway and a sliproad. We had no hazard lights, no nothing. And no RAC cover and a ferry to catch. Thankfully we were just inside some roadworks, so we got free recovery. I used the roadside phone thingy to call and for some reason we were told not to leave the car. Every time anyone went past on either side the car rocked and I was half convinced we'd be roadkill within 5 minutes, but the recovery lorry came along and towed us to the nearest services where a very nice AA man had a look at our engine and fixed it for free - the alternator brushes were manky apparently. A fast battery charge and a quick nap later and we were on our way.

We got to the ferry just in time and queued up. When we gave them our passports they asked us for one for the kid. When we told them what the passport bloke had said they just laughed and told us we couldn't board without one. They were very nice about it and changed our tickets for the next day.

After some interesting discussions on the phone to the passport office we decided that the best bet was to head for London and get him an emergency passport rushed through, so we turned round and bombed towards london. As it got dark, on went the lights and a couple of hours later the lights started flickering. Knowing what was about to happen we just managed to make it into a services before the engine died on us. This time there was a nice RAC man who had a look at it for us. He said the alternator brushes were worn out and he replaced them for us, only charging for the brushes. A quick nap later and we were on our way, bump starting the car. This involved getting it coasting down a hill with the gear in 2nd and the clutch down then pumping the clutch up and down and turning the key repeatedly until you get lucky.

It wasn't long before the lights started to flicker again. bollocks. We realised that the alternator was still not charging the battery properly for some reason and that if we were lucky we could run it without lights OK, but night driving was definitely out. So we pulled over and went to sleep for the rest of the night.

Caught an early morning train into London, went to the passport office who needed to see various document we didn't have, so we had to phone the friends our kids were staying with and get them to rummage under our bed for birth certificates and all sorts of stuff then go to a shop and fax it all to the passport people, who gave us a passport for the litle'un. Train back to where we'd left the car at the top of a hill, bump started it, rushed to Dover in time for the ferry. They let us on this time, and we parked where a little push would get us to the top of the ramp. The ferry people helped us to get going and there was a mighty cheer from them all as the engine kicked in halfway down the ramp.

It was getting late so we pulled over into a residential street in Calais and 'slept' in the car. The plan was to go to a local garage and get the alternator fixed. Unfortunately(!) it was a public holiday... But we found a one man garage open in the end. He was very impressed when my wife managed to guess the french word for alternator (alternateur). He couldn't source us a replacement as it was a holiday, but he cleaned it up again and between him and my wife managed to convey to us that it was the disc not the brushes that was the problem, and this was harder to get hold of as it was a more unusual thing to wear out. Almost all the shops were closed so we managed to pick up some of those weird plasticky brioches at a garage for breakfast and lunch and we hit the french motorway. If we'd broken down there we'd have been in all sorts of trouble as we didn't have the proper kit. So we had to just hope. By now it was the morning of the wedding.

We got to Paris without incident, but my aunt's directions turned out to be rubbish. We had to keep stopping and asking directions in crap french and then trying to understand the answers. We finally made it to her old apartment with three hours to spare before the funeral. We hadn't slept or washed properly for days, and we staggered up the the apartment to be greeted by my mad aunt in her underwear.

One funeral and a day with my Father (who'd come over from Hong Kong for the funeral) and Aunt who seemed to actually hate each other, and we bump started our way out of Paris. Got to Calais and 'slept' in the car again. Got chased out of a restaurant for using their toilet, looked for a garage, couldn't find one but some nice blokes helped us bump start from the flat, which involved the same actions for the driver but about 5 people rocking the car back and forth. A big cheer later and we were on our way onto the ferry. Everywhere we'd been in France people seemed to love the fact that we had a french car and that it was decorated in such a loopy way.

By the time we got home we'd conked out 9 times altogether. Our local mechanic fixed it and it never broke down again. We eventually got rid of it because it was cheaper to replace it that get 4 new tyres, get the door fixed (it wouldn't close) and get the heater fixed. I honestly think the engine would still be going.

My wife had a paddy when we got home because normal life was so boring in comparison. I think she's got a bit of gypsy in her lineage somewhere because she hates staying still and she's happiest on the road.

We're going on a road trip across France in a few weeks in our 18 year old leyland daf 400 home converted camper van, taking the now 13 and 15 year old kids. Going to Paris then down towards the Med stopping at vineyards, cheese farms, etc. on the way. Hopefully it won't be too similar to the last time we were over there!
(, Mon 18 Jul 2011, 11:33, 5 replies)
Commercial lorries don't tend to pick up hitchhikers.
It's generally written into their contracts that they're not allowed - understandably, as they're then responsible for you should they have a crash.

However, I did once get a lift with an HGV - an articulated lorry, who's driver offered me a lift as he saw my sign strapped to my backpack while I was at a service station.

Initially he was very chatty - too chatty. He claimed that he saw all sorts on the road - once during the summer had seen a couple of girls in an open-top sports car, who would pull up next to HGVs such as his, and the girl in the passenger seat would start openly pleasuring herself. He went into detail and it became clear that it was the lorry-driver's equivalent of QOTW - he was just writing an erotic story in his head.

What was more concerning, though, was that after his story, he started to go quiet, and then lean on the steering wheel (those wheels are bloody enormous - about the breadth of a man's shoulders).

After a few moments, he genuinely actually started nodding off. Really nodding off.

I will never be accused of being a Michael McIntyre or Lee Evans wannabe, but I have rarely been so incredibly animated about absolutely nothing in my life "SO HOW MANY GEARS DOES THIS THING HAVE THEN? WHAT'S IT LIKE WITH THE VISOR UP? HAVE YOU GOT KIDS? TELL ME ABOUT THAT CAR AGAIN?"

Few things focus the mind like keeping the driver of a three-ton truck awake as you travel at 70mph along the M1.
(, Mon 18 Jul 2011, 11:20, 6 replies)
Most disastrous road trip ever
Way back in 1997ish, I was driving from Leicester to Nottingham for a weekend of debauchery. Having woken up early but hungover on the Saturday morning I threw a few things in my bag, jumped into my knackered but trusty VW Polo and headed out towards the M1, which I joined at J21a.

Somewhere just past J22 my rebellious stomach (still suffering from the lager avalanche it had encountered the previous evening) began to grumble and I let go a few noxious and deadly farts. So vile were these emanations that I had to wind down the window a bit lest my lit cigarette turn the car into a blazing fireball of doom, but fate had worse in store for me that bleak morning. As I braced myself for yet another expulsion I realised something was terribly wrong and instead of a fragrant air biscuit my arse decided to eject about half a pint of shit soup into my pants. Yes, it's a follow-through story.

I did a quick mental check and realised that of all the items that I'd thrown into my bag that morning, none were a clean pair of pants and I'd just gone past the only services between here and J25. That was not a pleasant journey.

Once I hit Nottingham I managed to locate a Marks and Spencer, did the cowboy walk through their underwear department, no doubt stinking of shit, and cleaned myself up in a public toilet. The rest of the weekend was fine, but I couldn't help restraining a little from the revelries my friends enjoyed with abandon for fear of awakening my unholy arse again.
(, Mon 18 Jul 2011, 10:26, 1 reply)
Salzburg music festival.
This is the most bizarre thing I've ever done, and that's a big field.

I was roadie-ing for a small orchestra who decided to hit the street to drum up some interest. We were staying outside the city and needed to get in. Cars are useless in the festival season, so we rented one of these: www.bikerumor.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/conference-bike1.jpg

Me and another roady were doing the cycling while one of the world's best violinists played with one of the world's best trumpeters, a clarinetist and a flautist.

The final seat belonged to one of the guys from the street publicity team, a dwarf who, when we stopped, would get up on the centre podium and dance to the music. (His idea. He's a stone-cold nutter.)

I want you to imagine us pulling up outside the Festspielhaus, Salzburg's most respectable concert house as the great and good arrived in front of the television cameras playing 'O happy day' while the wee man danced.

We've not played Salzburg since.

Adn the really sad thing? Apart from the dwarf not technically being a dwarf (some other disease I can't pronounce), every word of this story is true.
(, Mon 18 Jul 2011, 10:17, 2 replies)
Dunwich Dynamo - part II
As i mentioned earlier, I did this last year...


So after watching it chucking it down all through Saturday I finally decided that I was going to do it again as the forecast said it would be dry overnight. Packed too much food and a few tools, caught the train to London (no point riding unless I really had to, right?) and cycled to Victoria Park. Then I remembered that the start was actually at London Fields so I cycled there instead. Four out of the five of us that were doing it this year had all done it last year, so we were brimming with confidence. My friend Justin had decided to up the challenge a little by doing it on a single speed and I’d decided to take it one step further into idiocy and do it on a fixed gear. The chap who did it last year in a butcher’s bike with a dog also decided to make it a bit more of a challenge this year by taking two dogs – one a very excited 13 week old puppy. After five pints or so in the Pub on the Park, we set off at a snail’s pace and slowly worked our way out of London with a mass of other cyclists and some very pissed off looking motorists. Stopped for another pint about seven miles in and bumped into the same people propping up the bar as last year. One of them owned a bike shop and has offered each of us free service that we’ll no doubt need this week, which was rather nice of him.

We carried on cycling through Epping as the sun started fading and got a little solemn as we passed an ambulance picking someone up who had presumably come off. As it got darker I turned on my 320 lumen front light and it decided to turn itself straight on to strobe more for a couple of minutes and then off completely. Bums. I was now cycling in the dark without being able to see where I was going. Inevitably I hit a massive pothole, managed to just about hold on, but got a flat front tyre. Simultaneously cursing the puncture fairy and thanking her that at least it wasn’t the back wheel, I swapped the tube over and caught up with my mates before rolling into Finchingfield. Lovely place, but I wouldn’t want to’ve lived there on Saturday night, far too many cyclists passed out all over the green. We went into the pub, but this time had a cup of tea with as much sugar as would fit in the cup. We were feeling fairly miserable at this point as the hills seemed bigger than last year and we were only a third of the way there, but my spirits were lifted an hour or so later when we were going through a little village and there was a mad old bugger outside his house ringing a big bell to urge us on – wouldn’t have wanted him as a neighbor. Round the corner there were a group of lads staggering out of the local pub/club shouting at everyone going past. One of them tripped up the kerb and landed on his face so hard that both of his shoes fell off – this made me grin and go a little faster.

I found myself bumping into the same groups of people the whole way along and always enjoyed the couple on the tandem in fancy dress turning up. They had a big sound system playing 80s classics. Nothing quite like zooming along a dark, empty country lane to the sound of Huey Lewis and the News. As the sun came up again I stopped to have a chat with the chap with the dogs again and give them a scratch under the chin (just the dogs, not the chap on the bike). He said he’d also ridden to Berlin with one of them earlier in the year, 700 miles in 7 days. Fuck. That. About 85 miles in an enterprising family has set up a bacon sarnie stall so we stopped and had a few gallons of tea and some charred meat in the yurt in their garden. At this point we called Justin to see where he was as he’d gone off ahead – turns out he was only a couple of miles down the road, so he turned round and came back for more brekkie. Five miles later we hit another bacon stand and stop again. You can never have too much bacon while cycling, I’m sure the Tour De France riders will agree with me on that.

I’d been fairly worried about the last 15 miles or so as I remember them being really hill which wasn’t good news with my single, high gear, I found a strategy of riding at them as fast as possible and hoping that my momentum would carry me up worked well. Handily it meant I’d generally pulled ahead enough to stop at the top and try not to be sick. Dunwich is a small, fairly unremarkable place and as such doesn’t really appear on road signs until you’re right on top of it. The first one is when you’re 7 miles away and some amusing person had used a bit of black tape to change it to 71 miles. Ho ho ho. We changed it to 17 as that seemed much more realistic, but still quite crushing.

Finally arrived, went for a swim in the North Sea for 20 minutes or so and got driven home by my mate’s missus (thankyouthankyouthankyou Roseanna). Needless to say, I had a pretty early night last night. I woke up to find that doing it fixed has shagged both of my knees, but I’m proud that I didn’t give in and use the freewheel. Might do next year. Actually I’m not doing it next year. Well, maybe…

Here's some guy's timelapse video until it gets dark and the very end:

(, Mon 18 Jul 2011, 9:29, 1 reply)
I couldn't let this go by without digging out this old story from surrounding a b3ta bash in 2004ish. This was one of the "official" bashes that used to occur before Rob started getting freaked out by them (and who can blame him). The words are by esteemed, and now absent, b3ta user GR££DY. Took some finding on the wayback machine. Internet's changed a bit while 2004 it would seem...

Friday 11th April 2003

At 10.10 I got on a train at Meadowhall in Sheffield. This may seem like a fairly innocuous event, but I have a frequent habit of missing trains, so as far as I was concerned this was a very good start. The train was 9 minutes late, but I magnanimously take this in my stride.

At 10.45 I meet with Stouffer, Supermoore and his friend Sam in Manchester, slightly late but still on schedule.

11.50: Slight detour through Moss-side, no problems.

11.50 - 5.30: Nearly die on several occasions due to Supermoore's "unusual" line in motoring manoeuvres, and Sam's navigation;

Supermoore: "See if you can find Mile End"
Sam: "I can't read this map..."
Sam: "...Oh, it's upside down..."

Having reached London, and enjoyed an interesting and on several occasions nearly fatal detour through various London Boroughs, we finally arrive in Mile End, where the car will be parked over the weekend. We now take the tube from Mile end to Soho, during which journey, Supermoore and I conclude that I haven't arranged anywhere to stay for the two nights we're here. This would perturb any other human being, but a b3tan in a strange land is always amongst friends, I tell myself. Besides, I have my sleeping bag, and I hear Hyde Park is lovely at this time of year.

Saying goodbye to Sam in Tottenham Court Road Tube Station, Stouffer, Supermoore and myself leg it up Oxford Street, looking for Golf Sale signs. There were none. Finally, eight hours after leaving Sheffield I step into the John Snow, into the welcoming arms of a pint of unpronounceable lager and a group of lovely b3tans.

After drinking and talking for a bit (here time starts to distort), we decide it's time to line our stomachs in readiness for the main event. Thirdman suggested Wagamama's, and we all troupe down, surprising and possibly alarming a wonderfully camp waiter guy. I don THE T-SHIRT, amid much hilarity (apparently the thought of me wondering through Soho with BUM GAY written on my T-shirt was the sublimest comedy). If you're ever desperate for Japanese food in Soho, go to Wagamama's. The service is efficient, and the food superb and at a reasonable price.

Having sustained ourselves for the long road ahead, we walked to Insomnia, flanked as far as the eye can see by sex shops, and atop a Lebanese restaurant (a strangely fitting venue, I thought).
Here time starts seriously to distort. And the only events my brain has seen fit to file away are meeting Rob, Pep and Cal, Stouffer's dancing and Mike the Wonderhorse.
Needless to say the club was packed with lovely people, and a great time was had by all.

At approximately 2.30, and having drunk the club completely dry, Supermoore, 100% Kitten, 100% of Gibbon and myself exit the club (Supermoore exiting at terminal velocity, down a steep flight of stairs and into the street). Here things start to get ropy. We went to find a taxi, not the simplest of tasks when one of you is prone, and everyone else is four sheets to the wind. Locating a taxi, I begin a protracted discussion about the price. Upon reaching a consensus with the driver, I turn to the others to indicate that we have a ride.
The others aren't there.
Thinking with clarity, I wander off aimlessly, and completely miss the others returning in the taxi they had flagged (it turns out later it was five minutes down the road before they realised I wasn't there), luckily enough they had gathered my belongings and taken them with them.

It's OK though, because I know where they're headed - King's Cross Station - so I hop in a taxi and head there.
King's Cross Station is closed and locked.
Again, thinking with the utmost clarity, I utter a sob and wander around aimlessly for a further half hour.
I decide finally that I need to put out an All Points Bulletin, and fall upon the mercy of the board. To do this I will need an internet cafe. Not as easy as it sounds, having been drinking for a good seven hours and being a complete stranger in London.

This part of the story always elicits a snort of mirth from people. Being my good natured friendly self, I fall upon the mercy of strangers. In London. At 4 in the morning. Drunk.
I know, I know. At certain times I have an unfailing faith in human nature, this is a mistake. Pull the ladder up Jack. Anyway, asking random strangers if there's an internet cafe nearby, I receive amongst other things, verbal abuse, strange looks and utter, primal, fear until one person stops and tells me yes, he does know one, but he comes from Camden, and it's there. I agree to share a taxi with him, and he promises to show me where the internet cafe is (snort here). When we reach Camden he manages to extract himself from the taxi and disappear into the night, leaving me with a £24 taxi fare.
I manage to persuade the driver that we have both been ripped off, and he agrees to take me back to King's Cross for £15 (those who know London may want to snort here too). The taxi drops me outside King's Cross Thameslink, and what's the first thing I see. A BLOODY INTERNET CAFE IS WHAT I SEE ISN'T IT?
I sit down at a computer, log into b3ta, and utter the immortal lines B3TAN IN NEED. The flood of sympathy and concern is almost overwhelming. I am home.
100% Kitten and Gibbon are monitoring the airwaves, and I'm into the final stretch and running strong. Or so I think.

It turns out that I should have gone to King's Cross Thameslink earlier on, and not King's Cross Station, I did not know the distinction then, it will now stay with me for the rest of my life.

There are no guards on these trains at this time of night, so all I have to do is board at King's Cross (Thameslink!) and alight at St. Albans, where I phone the 100%s who pick me up. Simple. Upon waking in Bedford, I believe I uttered a primal scream. It is now 7.15am on Saturday morning and I am roughly 50 miles north of where I want to be. There is, however, a train to St Albans in 7 freezing cold minutes, the game is not up yet. I board the train, will myself to remain awake, and arrive in St Albans. The place is literally crawling with guards, so I have to pay my remaining £9 odd to placate them (narrowly avoiding an £18 fine). At 8.00am I phone 100% of Gibbon, who is surprisingly happy to come and fetch me, and finally, blissfully, I can go to bed.

Saturday 12th April 2003.

We awake at about 2.00pm, and realise that we are not going to London to do any of the nice things we have planned. Instead we mooch around 'till 4pm, and have a pub meal. Never has chilli tasted so good. A tour of the lovely pubs in St Albans ensues, Including the oldest pub in the world.

Random Facts gathered in St. Albans.

1) The average running speed of an adult male domestic pig is 7 miles per hour.

2) The distance between the doorway and the counter in McDonalds in St. Albans, is the longest distance from the doorway to the counter of any McDonalds in the world.

3) The density of Pubs in St. Albans is the highest in the country.

4) A resident of St Albans is called a Verulamian.

5) St. Albans Cathedral is the longest Cathedral in the country.

6) The first significant battle of The War Of The Roses was fought in St Albans.

We wandered through the Cathedral Precinct debating paedophillia, surrounded by young families. We laughed and joked about pirates, saying things like "Yarrr" and "Mehearties" within earshot of a man with an eyepatch. It is a lovely day, spent in the company of wonderful people, I am happy again.

In the evening, we drank a cocktail of spirits, were invaded by random people (one of whom sat upon and nearly vomited on Supermoore) and slept the sleep of the very drunk.

Sunday 13th April 2003

What was left of the morning was spent pottering around, talking, smoking etc. Supermoore and I were secure in the knowledge that we had a lift to London, since we had drunk the rest of the money the previous evening. Sorted. Yeah right.

The lift we were to get was with one of Gibbon's footballing friends, and he had unnecessarily filled his car up with girls and mates, to which there was no room left for random smelly strangers. The cheek! So we were left with no alternative but to fall upon the kindness of b3tans again. Amid hoots of derision (random quote "Hahaha, you twats!", cheers Martian), we asked for help on the board. Time for plan C. Hitch-hike to London.

We were picked up approximately 3 minutes after we'd started, by a lovely old gent in a red VW Golf. He wasn't the least intimidated by the two of us, chatted amiably all the way to Enfield where he lived, and dropped us (a mile out of his way) where we were most likely to get a lift to Mile End. What a hero.

We were now over half way through our journey, and it was still only 1.00pm. Passing a guy rolling a cigarette, we stopped and asked if we could have one. He was pleased to help, and told us that we could get on a train at the nearby station, travel two stops and get off without paying. This would leave us within spitting distance of our goal. We thanked him profusely and set off again, our faith in human nature fully restored.

On the way to the station, we decided to try to post to the board from PC World, but they weren't connected to the internet. Undeterred, we carried on to the station, where I was shot.
No, seriously. Just as I was crossing the threshold, I heard a twang and a sharp pain in my left buttock. Someone had shot me with a catapault from a white pickup truck. At the time, I was unimpressed with this feat, however on reflection it was an extremely challenging, and accurate shot from a moving vehicle.
The station turned out to be closed anyway, so we began the weary trudge back to our drop-off point, pausing to buy a pint of frozen milk to sustain us.

Half an hour trying to hitch on the A10 in Enfield taught us several things:

a) All Londoners are comedians of the highest order i.e. putting their thumbs up at us as they sped by, slowing down as if to pick us up and then speeding off etc. etc.

b) All cockerneys are bastards. I apologise to any cockerneys reading this, but you must admit that it's true.

c) Sunday is D.I.Y day. We only realised this after perplexedly watching numerous two seater sports cars zooming by with doors and immense flat-packed furniture poking out, and more numerous cars seemingly infested with undergrowth.

d) There was a huge MFI not 200 yards from where we were standing.

Deciding not to hitch was an easy decision, but what to do now? We'd considered phoning Sam and asking him to rescue us, but this was the very last option, we were now up to plan M, or something.

Plan M consisted of wandering around Enfield and Edmonton, visiting various decidedly closed and locked train stations. At 5.30pm, exhausted and nearly beaten, we collapsed at Edmonton Green. Immediately a loony comes and sits far too close to us and starts rhythmically clapping, very loudly. My nerves were so tattered at this point, I nearly swore out loud, but managed to retain my composure. We decided to go over to the bus terminus, and see if we could scrounge up a cigarette.

The loony duly followed us, although his moment of insanity seemed to have passed. He asked us for a spare fifty pee, at which request we laughed. He went away. Upon asking another loverly cockerney for a cigarette, Supermoore was rudely given the brush off. My time had come for action. Spotting an idle bus complete with driver, I sauntered over and explained our predicament, embellishing a few minor details. He said he would take us free of charge to Liverpool Street, but he knew nothing of it if an inspector came on. No decision.

Our heavenly bus ride was only slightly marred by one of the ugliest children I have ever seen yelling at the top of her voice and winding her equally ugly and loud baby sibling up. Thankfully they alighted before I was forced to put the entire family out of it's misery (I was the tiniest bit weary at this point). Finally we arrived in Liverpool Street Station. I could nearly smell Mile End, and it was the nicest scent I'd ever smelled.

Looking at the sheer number of guards in Liverpool Street Tube Station, we decided that we had reached the end of our run of luck. We would phone Sam and he would rescue us from there. It was infuriating, we had come so far, and were now two tantalising stops from Mile End.
Supermoore went into Burger King to change our last few coppers into a 20 pence piece, whilst I accosted a guard who was smoking a cigarette and asked him for one. He seemed unimpressed as he handed it over, so to placate him I told him of my adventure, and of our travels that day. He listened politely, and then said "I'll let you on".
We grinned like loons all through the station, on the train, and up through Mile End Station, the last hurdle was the guard there, but there was no way he was going to stop us now. We waved away any objections he may have had, and walked into the sunshine free men, yelling Woo Yay as loudly as we could.

The car was still there, it had neither been vandalised nor clamped, and Stouffer was waiting as arranged. We were home and dry.


We telephoned our loved ones from Bob Dino's house (cheers Bob), and went to pick Sam up from The Angel, Islington. He was in a pub opposite the tube station, and written in chalk on the board outside: Live Jazz.

Unfortunately my camera was full, so I haven't got any pictures of these people, but thank you to the guy who picked us up in St. Albans, the guy from whom we sponged a cigarette, the bus driver and G. Giles the Tube Guard. Not to mention, of course, 100% Kitten and 100% of Gibbon. If any of you happen to read this, you are our heroes.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 23:23, 4 replies)
My USA cross country trip
After leaving my job in yank land (California), I found myself with several weeks to kick about. I boxed up my posessions, securely wrapped them in dark shrink wrap and took myself to the post office. It was about $200 a box to ship, as they were rather large and heavy, but I managed to post all boxes, bar one, back to the UK. I had to wait for my final pay packet to come through before I could afford more shipping fees. This left just myself with no job or commitments, a small suitcase of clothes, a box of stuff and some credit cards. Time to complete that West to East coast to coast roadtrip I had always thought of doing but never got round to.

I loaded up the car, but unfortunately the box was a bit too big to go in the boot so it went on the back seat so I could post it when money came in. So off I set from San Jose, California. Destination: Orlando, Florida. I was to fly out back to the UK 2 weeks later which gave me time to spend with my family out there.

There was a lot of things one could do between those two points of the map, but i was in a hurry to meet up with family in Orlando so opted to only stop in a few places - the Pima military aircraft graveyard in Arizona being one. Besides, I had seen lotf of Americas touristy things in the last few years. I set myself an optimisitic target of three days travel time from coast to coast, stopping at night for motel kips.

The trip was mostly good fun, the aircraft boneyard was a great place to see - especially so when a friend who is stationed there took me on a tour of the 'being decomissioned/decomissionsed' ICBM's (gaz me for pics if you like). One thing that stuck in my mind about these harbingers of mass destructions was that some of them are not actually as big as you would expect. It was quite a sight to see massive CAT diggers literally munching their way through old bombers and helicopters.

While winging its way down through New Mexico then off into Texas, I-10 has these occasional curious checkpoints where I-10 runs close to the Mexico border. These are invariably staffed by over patriotic border police types are itching to catch illegall immigrants and drug smugglers. It was at one of these points, quite near to El Paso, that my car was pulled over and the border guy leaned into my window. He looked young, quite new to the job I imagined. First came the immortal question

"Where are you from Sir?"

"Well im coming from California, but originally from the UK if thats what you mean"

"ID & Registration please Sir?"

*provides California Drivers License and the Car registration*

"Do you have a US passport Sir?"

"No, I have a US work visa. As you can see from my license, I have had lived here for over 5 years"

At this point his torch goes on and gets shone into the back of my car, where the border control guy notices my large box, wrapped in dark shrink wrap. This got him, shall we say, rather agitated and shouty. Calls were made into a radio. The area was instantly floodlit. Camoflage wearing men appeared from a large building not far away. Things like "get out of the car NOW!" were yelled and large automatic weapons were pointed in my direction. One pair of brown trousers later and im out of the car, faced down on the ground, handcuffed. Out the corner of my eye I notice that they have hauled my box out the back seat and are ripping it open.

"Welcome to Texas," I thought to myself.

After establishing that the huge shrink wrapped box on the back seat was not, in fact, the huge slab of canabis they had suspected it was, they were rather apologetic to say the least. Not that they helped me re-pack my box though. I'm not sure why the first guy thought someone would travel across the states with a box of drugs on their back seat for all to see either.

I made Orlando 4 days after leaving Cali which, considering one tourist related stop, a gun border/drug running incident and sleeping time, was not a bad final score I reckon. I used to live in ex Soviet central asia, and i will say that the US checkpoints on the I-10 reminded me so much of there.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 20:59, Reply)
I make terrible company on a roadtrip.
I'm one of those people who instantly nod off, which bothered my father a great deal. Every time I began packing up to make the 5-6 hour trip up to university, he'd get all excited about how we'd be going on a road trip, and we could have all sorts of fun conversations as you can on those extended trip. And every time, he was disappointed almost immediately as I fell asleep. It confused him too, as often we'd be leaving right after breakfast, yet having just slept 8 hours before leaving did nothing to stop me from passing out by the end of our road two miles in.

It's awesome for me though, as it seems like long trips take no time at all. I recall flying across the US from NYC to the Grand Canyon, with several bus trips involved along with the flights. Each time I got on a new vehicle, I'd stay awake long enough to flash my ticket, and pass out again. 16 hour long trip went by like that...
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 20:55, Reply)
first story (the quick one)
I went to carlisle. My mate (whom i was staying with) had his GF there. so i went for a walk like a good mate. When i saw the sign for Raffles (rough as fuck estate at the time) i knew i was lost. first time i'd seen burnt out cars, boarded up windows and understood what inner city crime was about.

i don't remember coming back, i just remember walking very casually, very rapidly.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 19:04, 7 replies)

Driving home after work on Friday about 7 p.m., maybe September (the sun was close to setting) when the car quit. Oh well, call up the AAA for a tow to the garage, which is on the way home, just to drop the car there 'til it's seen to.

Then, on home. Technically, home is a house right on the same route as the original breakdown so getting lost is an impossibility and distance is the only factor to consider. Why not walk 15 miles, starting at 9 p.m. as dusk settles in? They do it in books without a blink.

First, grab the jacket: it might get chilly and there are all those pockets to load up with water bottles from the car. Start walking. Nah, this main highway has too much high-speed traffic -- noise alone recommends against it. One block away runs the parallel original Ridge Road, dating back to pre-Columbian times as following the top of a hundreds-of-miles-long ridge through the forest, much less travelled.

Early decision: don't stop for a drink in each bar passed, might develop into a problem. So, rely on carried water bottles alone. Did stop to observe a night-time baseball game played under brilliant lights in a field next to one bar, but a guy in a golf cart motored up and asked me to move along since spectators seemed to annoy the neighbors. Good idea anyway, keep moving.

Ridge Road, being hundreds of years old in its present form, is not unpopulated; except for where the topography is unsuitable for housing, there are are few long stretches of fields, woods or hillsides. And yet...

Now the evening was well along. Fewer and fewer houses were even lit. Funny enough, neither was the road for looong stretches. Attempts to read the infrequent road signs at intersections by the light of a Bic lighter were less than successful. But, stay on the road and home will appear.

There was some activity still at this hour, though. Occasional shouts and running and sometimes fellow pedestrians. No prob, especially when met oncoming or seen going away. But there's something about being followed on a dark road at dead of night.

Walk, walk, walk. Quiet and dark. Interesting to see how the old-timers would have navigated by the stars. The big W of Cassiopea, etc., etc.

Three a.m. rolled around, and so did I to my house (TWO mph on level terrain in good weather FFS!!!!). That was a couple of years ago, though, and in the meantime I've been carrying a Spyderco Warrior in my jacket and a Springfield XD-45 in a locked box in the car, which I wouldn't be leaving unattended at the garage, but pop in the shoulder holster which also rides in the car.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 15:23, 10 replies)
The Hearse!
Who says you cant have a wacky road adventure without Americas long highways. Every childhood trip was an adventure between that ages of 10 and sixteen, thanks to some French car electrics installer presumably working on a friday afternoon.

To respond to a growing family my dad brought a giant peugeot 505 ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peugeot_505 ) with extra seats in the boot. It was painted jet black and looked like a hearse.

Despite being begged to sell it by myself and my brother " we cant go anywhere at school with out having the Adams family theme tune shouted at us!" it kept rolling along for six more years.

Highlights included:

Finding six month old chips hidden under the seats hidden by my sister who "wasn't hungry but, I didn't feel like throwing them away".

Overheating on a summer holiday as the electric seat warmers refused to turn off. We ended up having to remove the fuse for them.

Seeing cars honking at us on the motorway, we couldn't work out why. when we got to our destination we found that my sisters had been using the heat of the rear windows to make a haribo collage on the glass.

The clutch pedal falling off on the A6 when we went to visit the grandparents in Leicester. They drove to us and we had a picnic by the roadside for Sunday lunch instead.

Getting in and out was a mini-challenge as all the doors stopped working apart from the drivers door. The kids had to all squeeze in first then open the big doors for mum and dad. A great way to relax after a trip round the supermarket.

Possessed electric windows: Would they refuse to open, get stuck halfway down, open then refuse to close, or open then shut only to suddenly open half way and refuse to budge until you hit the door with you fist in the right place? It was a total gamble as to what would happen.

I have stronger memories of this car than of the actual destinations we (mostly) arrived at. Aided in part as my folks only had three cassettes that were kept in the car, so I get flashbacks whenever I hear UB40, men at work or tubular bells.

What finally persuaded us to get rid of the car was 'the incident', driving back from the west country after a holiday we were baking hot. When my sister committed the most heinous of crimes, touching the electric window button. My dad screamed "How many times must I tell you children NEVER to touch the windows? I had to take the car to the garage to get that closed the last time you played with it"

"but daaaaad its hooootttt"

My dad opened the sunroof instead, the only reliable part of the car. All was well until it started to rain, buckets of freezing English summer rain. Pressing the button to close the sunroof, only produced a dismal grinding sound. The sunroof refused to budge and the rain only fell harder.

For the rest of the long journey me and my mum had to hold floor mats over the gaping hole in the roof of the car getting shouted at if we let any water in. We pulled up to the house with tired arms frayed nerves, and sore throats from shouting at each other. As the car idled in the driveway there was a 'clunk' sound.

Wordlessly the whole family watched as the sunroof purred into place and locked shut.

Car 1 family 0, we sold it next week for something more economical, reliable and it has to be said dull.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 14:51, 6 replies)
The road from Damascus
In January I went from Damascus to London by land, covering Syria, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and France. Most of it was by train, apart from one 200km bit which I did by bus, taxi, and dodgy smuggler man, so technically this covers the term “road trip”.

I was trying to leave Aleppo in the north of Syria, but the train had been cancelled for the foreseeable future and no-one could tell me where the bus station was (Asking tourist information where the station was, the assistant replied “ask someone”, when I mentioned I was asking her, she said “I don’t know, just follow a bus”. Hmmmm, all bus signs are in Arabic and Aleppo is a big city). After getting on the wrong bus and going to some rundown neighbourhood, I decided to get a cab to the border of Turkey and cross the border on foot.

Not knowing how long the no man’s land between the countries were, I asked the border guard, he asked if I would like a lift so flagged down the next car, and told the driver to take me where he was going, to Antakya. I think the guard’s machine gun may have helped sway the argument. The driver was called Jusef, he spoke no English, I spoke no Turkish or Arabic, so I had no idea where we were going or if he was going to bum me into submission. I was a tad concerned when he gave the Turkish border control guards a present, and the customs officers did have a GOOD look at his car, but found nothing. Strangely my bag was left alone.

Once through we drove to Antakya, where he pulls up at a petrol station. Well, by petrol station I mean a concrete bunker with a kid with a watering can full of petrol. He reverses into a garage, points for me to get out, the takes me into this bunker, where I sit at a big wooden table with an old Turkish matriarch, who just stares at me. And stares, and stares. Some other people come in, they stare too. My ringpiece was already getting twitchy, as this wasn’t mentioned in the Rough Guide. I’m wondering what Jusef is up to, he’s locked himself in the garage with his car, and my bag. After about 30 minutes he comes back, points to the car and off we drive to the bus station. Strangely the car smells of petrol, so I’m guessing he was smuggling petrol through as it’s dirt cheap in Syria, or there was something in my bag. My stuff was all there when I checked, so I was ok. Sorry for being suspicious, Jusef!

But hey, I made it, I didn’t die (unless I’m a ghost, woooooo), and if you get the chance, go to Syria, it’s amazing. Ok, don’t go now unless you like getting shot.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 14:24, Reply)
Since there are a lot of car journeys on this QOTW, let's go for a cycling trip.
Three years ago I had just got engaged and wanted one last hurrah. With the Best Man we jumped on our push bikes to ride from Southampton, camping in the New Forest, and ultimately ending up in Swanage. No great distance by car, or even by bike in fact (about 75 miles each way on the route we took) but as the question says, its all about the voyage, innit?

We have some stunning scenery in this country, and a lot of the time we miss the bulk of it, nipping from point A to B and missing the stuff in between. Being a local I thought I knew the New Forest relatively well - frankly I had no idea how epic parts of it can look in thundering rain and lightening when you're trudging along an unlit road with the weight of a tent and all your necessaries in the panniers behind you. It feels... refreshing.

The following day couldn't have been more different. The sun was blazing, and we pushed on down to Bournemouth and Studland. There's something rather satisfying about going the slow way round - the ferry to Studland isn't a means to an end, but a mini adventure in its own right. Bournemouth promenade is a pleasant little roll along the seafront rather than a battle against noisy families, screaming children and angry chavs. I guess what I'm saying is the whole trip brought childish wonder at the world back to me.

The campsite in Swanage plonked us right at the very top of their site, perched on the top of the hill. A bit of a pain for getting to the shower blocks and food/drink on weary legs, but did lead to some rather impressive views.

I now enjoy journeys much more than I did before, and am hoping to attack the Lon Las Cymru in the near future, for no other reason than its there. I still drive - of course I do - but I don't enjoy it. If I can I would much prefer to be on foot, on a bike, or even on a train, just soaking up the world.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 11:53, 3 replies)
Wavy lines and suddenly it is 1995 again
A month before I headed off to University to study drinking and girls, I headed out on the road with a good friend, on a motorcycle tour of the Southwest.

Highlights included crossing a super deep river channel on a floating bridge and looking up at tankers that were just parked there. Falling asleep on a garage forecourt and sleeping in my leathers for three hours in burning hot sunshine, it was like sleeping in a sauna and was lovely. The low flying plane on Bodmin Moor that felt like it could have touched us as it flew over our tent was amazing.

However, it was the last long day of the trip and I was starting to feel the effects of not having been for a poo for four days. I can't tell you why this was the case, I had just not managed to squeeze one out. Suddenly my tummy started to growl and I knew that it was going to be a biggy. So I made my gentle way over to the bushes away from our tent and settled down for a Squat and drop. It was hellish, a back log of road food and bad Ginsters pies. The resultant puddle of semi liquid toxic waste was still growing as a Landrover pulled up next to me. Two local Cornish farmers were sat in their landy, laughing at the very embarrassed biker squatting in the bracken. Have you ever had a conversation about biking with two strangers while your naked bottom pours forth vile toxic filth? I did that morning.

I managed to clean myself up and head back to the tent, the Landy had stopped next to our tent to have a chat with my friend while I was finishing and the bemused look I got when I arrived back at the tent said it all. The rest of our trip continued and ended at a rally where a Black Sabbath tribute band blew us away with Iron Man, but that is another story.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 9:16, Reply)
Bloody American Hotels
Travelling with the then missus on a roadtrip through the US we got into an almighty fight about no idea what. Pulled into a crappy hotel on the side of the interstate in some god awful bible belt town with her still giving it some.

Paid for the room and set about doing the you're right, I'm wrong dance whilst drinking a few bottles of wine. Finally got round to the make-up sex and am down south rummaging around when I notice some blood. Best deal with this in a mature and honest way whilst ensuring minimal embarrasment on her part, I pop up and casually announce that there is a bit of blood down there. She replies with "well, it's not mine!"

And do you know what? She was right. Turns out I had got a bleeding nose and turning on the lights it would appear I'd had one for quite some time. It looked like we'd slaughtered cattle on that bed and we made a rather sharpish exit the next morning.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 6:35, Reply)
When Supreme Crow and I went on Holiday to Belgium last year. A Pearoast from /ot.
It was a fucking BEAST of a Journey. Crow felt at the time the words epic and surreal were appropriate for the circumstances.
Initially it was "Hey, lets catch the eurostar".
*Poppet gets a text from Noel about the 5 hour waiting time for eurostar*
"Fuck that, lets get a coach"
*Poppet and Crow try for at least half an hour to organise a coach only to be told all are full.*
"Bugger. Erm, we could try the ferry?"
"haha, Ferry funny, but okay."
*crow makes some important phone calls and we have a way to, wait for it, CALAIS!*

So we catch the Javelin train from Kings Cross to Dover. Carlos, who is apparently an old hand from Dover, and the old massive man snoring in front of us, give us very specific directions and helpful hints about where to stay if we're stranded, then we race to the port in a taxi only to find massive fuck off queues and that we're not getting on the one we're booked for. But we'll get on the next one definitely.

We waited for about an hour, which is really quite good all things considering, and the police take care of a very angry romanian man who was shouty and cranky and unintelligible, in a way that's actually very nice of them, considering they would be well within their rights to arrest him for basically attacking them which was a bit frightening.
We get on the boat.

We sit on the boat for an hour.

THEN the boat leaves. HOORAY!

We get to Calais. It's dark. And cold.
Fuck. What now?

WAHEY! it's a BUS! To Bruxelles. But it's shut. And dark. But the engines running?
And then a veery nice Israeli man tells us that the man on the bus is supposed to be taking illegal aliens from France back to Belgium if they arrive, but if they *don't* then we can hitch a ride. Crow remarks that we may as well be illegal aliens and would we please be able to tag along with them?
So we wait another hour in the freezing cold weather, being entertained by a very anti-fluoride conspiracy theorist.

The bus driver, at midnight local time, decides that he can take us to Bruxelles Aeroport for 15 Euros each. BARGAIN. So on we hop.
And we drive. Half fall asleep, get to the airport, find no trains are running to Midi for 2 hours, so we kill time by stuffing our faces, looking confused, and trying to get tickets.
We catch the first train, flag a taxi and arrive at our destination after our very french driver works out the Flemmish names for streets.

at 6 in the morning. And the hostel is not open.
So we make a snowman to pass the time,with dead leaves for hair and sticks for arms, and are finally let in only to be told to dump our bags and come back at 2PM even though we REALLY NEED TO SLEEP.
But we smile and go on our merry way anyway because what else can we do?
So we went to the Atomium, and the comic museum, and went shopping. Sort of. And then we made our slow, limping way back to the hostel, whereupon we discovereed they did not have a communal kitchen. So we had a nap and before going out to get some food before we ate the small children visiting the hostel.

Finally sleeping in those beds was like lying down on the most comfortable, luxurious beds anyone has ever built in the history of the world. At least, it was for me. I think Supreme Crow had to put up with my snoring.

Quite honestly an ace journey. One of the more surreal ones from my time in Europe.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 6:27, 3 replies)
College coach trip
On a college-organised coach trip to Amsterdam, we were arriving at Dover when two of our party realised that they had forgotten their passports. Instead of heading back to London to fetch them, our tutor insisted that we carry on regardless and hope for the best. At every border check the two students in question wedged themselves into the footwells while we covered them with coats and bags.

We were instructed to be as loud and annoying as possible when the officials came. It worked every time - when faced with a coach load of rowdy and obnoxious British teenagers, the checkpoint staff were so keen to get rid of us that they waved us straight through. So we successfully smuggled two people in and out of several countries. On the way back I'm pretty sure that wasn't the only illegal cargo we had...
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 2:17, Reply)
I have only hitch-hiked once. I had but closed the door when the gentleman pops in a christian sermon tape and tries to convert me for the two hours of travel.

My mum had always warned me about hitch-hiking, but I expected bleeding in a ditch somewhere was the point she was trying to make, rather than a pop quiz on the meaning of Easter.
(, Sun 17 Jul 2011, 1:33, 2 replies)
coach class
i love going to spain, but i don't like flying. i'm not scared to fly, but it really disorientates me, which i don't like one bit. the only viable alternative in my case is to travel by coach.
between 29 and 34 hours on a coach jammed tight with other holidaymakers, including small children and crying babies, having to use a chemical toilet. sounds like hell, doesn't it?
it isn't. i love it. the holiday isn't just about the hotel and beaches for me, it's also about the journey. i've met many lovely people on coaches, some of whom i'm still in touch with.
when i was 17, i got an unexpected windfall of about £2k and, much to my parents' horror, buggered off to spain on my own for a fortnight. the journey was progressing normally, until we neared paris. now, the coaches usually take the ring road to avoid paris, as the traffic is abominable. however, we were 2 hours ahead of schedule and our driver "got lost". the upshot of this was a lovely detour to the eiffel tower, lit up like a christmas tree in the warm night sky. it was the first time i'd seen it up close and it was beautiful. we've never made that particular detour since.
nighttime on the coach is my favourite time. snuggled in my seat, the rest of the passengers sleeping quietly, watching the lights from small french towns and villages shining through the window as we pass by. there's something very serene about the whole thing.
some of my more memorable experiences have been:

sneaking a couple of joints onto the coach and getting stoned at the evening meal stop in montpelier, before trying to climb up a large ornamental rock wall.

meeting "big fred from birkenhead", who helpfully got my pillow down off the overhead rack for me, resulting in him being whanged on the bonce by a tupperware box full of chicken drumsticks, thus earning me the name "the flying chicken" for the entire holiday.

drinking a bottle of red wine on the ferry and vomming spectacularly all over the carpark at french passport control.

meeting a very dotty but utterly lovely old lady who was sat next to me and being supplied with pernod and lemon for most of the journey. our impromptu singsong was much better received than it probably should have been.

playing coach bingo and winning 3 bottles of wine and a striped blanket.

the worst thing i can think of was when i went to malgrat. i got really badly sunburned on the last day and spent the entire journey home lying flat on my stomach on the back seat of the coach, worried reps periodically coming to check on me. good job there were fewer passengers going than coming home, really.

i'm off again in about 6 weeks, on my own once more. i will most certainly be going by coach. despite the length of the journey, the occasional crying baby or noisy spoiled child, i wouldn't have it any other way.
(, Sat 16 Jul 2011, 22:19, 2 replies)
Amsterdam 1994
We use to go to 'The Dam' as a rite of passage on our respective birthdays. There was 4 of us in all. We had a wail of a time on a long weekend, taking in the humours and sights (naked bloke cycling down a cobbled street at 3am on a bike with no tyres is a particular one). Anyway, the last day, we were all skint except for 'sensible Adrian' who, as usual had sponged off everyone all weekend, only to produce a bit of cash on the last day. Which he duly spent on hash (for himself) and a bottle of best Thunderbird. So we were kicked out of the hotel at 11am and the flight wasn't till 7pm ,so off to Vondel Park to watch the world go by and a few free rock bands play there. I was a scorcher, really, really hot, to whit, Adrian, who, BTW had suffered from and impacted bowel most of our stay, an impacted bowel to the extent, the nurse at the hospital, where he visited several times, had asked if he was some sort of 'special English' pervert who enjoyed being fisted whilst shouting 'no, its further up,nurse!' as they searched for the phantom poop.
I digress, Adrian who tucked into his spliff and super strength wine with gusto. We sailed through customs with Adrian visiting the toilet on several unsuccessful occasions and boarded the plane. We didnt know but a symptom of an impacted bowel is dehydration, as Ade had been quaffing to himself in 80f sun all day, he was rather dried out. as the plane de pressurised as it came into Birmingham poor old greedy/pervy Ade had a seizure, not a massive one, just one of his 'moments' really.
We all got marched off the plane at Brum, Ade got stretchered off. I got strip searched after a '..hope they dont find that 'kilo of coke' in his stomach' jibe (I was very young at the time) all in all it was one of our 'Holiday History' moments. I could go on about the 'Jolly Boys' japes. Many more like that, no really, there is :(
(, Sat 16 Jul 2011, 22:11, Reply)
Edinburgh to Alpe D'Huez and back again:
Prologue (three hours before leaving):
Heriot-Watt University beer festival. Attempting to get sufficiently drunk to sleep most of the way to Dover.

Arrival of the coach:
Drunk. Myself and the other Edinburgh participants load our skiing stuff onto the coach and depart. Sleep to Glasgow.

One hour in:
We have reached Glasgow and taken on the rest of the people. Drinks have been cracked open despite the warnings of the drivers concerning the limited capacity of the onboard toilet. The drive to the Alps is estimated to take about 28 hours.

Two hours in:
The bladders of some of the heaviest drinkers start to give way and a large group of people make their way to the toilet, causing the drivers to re-iterate their concerns about its capacity.

Five hours in:
All and sundry are drunk. The toilet is full but this is not a barrier to the general company continuing to use it. Before long the floor of the toilet (which I have the pleasure of being sat next to) is swimming in urine and other things less delightful. The drivers largely oblivious to this.

Seven hours in:
People are starting to fall asleep and many dares are taking place. Eyebrows are being shaved in fits of wild and entirely original abandonment and one individual, not content with this, decides this would be an opportune moment to experiment with some self-piercing. On his scrotum. He now appears to be sitting very uncomfortably and is making whimpering noises. He is also sporting a single eyebrow and (in between clutching himself and attempting to numb the pain with a rapidly diminishing supply of vodka) is threatening all manner of hellfire and genital-related injury on the individual responsible. I point out that this is unlikely to provoke a confession, but he seems unamused.

Ten hours in:
General sleeping coinciding with the alcohol being mostly gone.

Twelve hours in:
We have arrived at Dover, and are preparing to board the ferry. I have been eating seasickness pills by the handful in preparation which I combine with several pints before we actually leave the dock and I proceed to the observation deck, where I stay for the remainder of the ninety-minute voyage voyage - apart from a brief trip below to acquire a large amount of duty free pisswater masquerading as lager.

Thirteen and a half hours in:
The coach drivers meet the returning students at the door of the coach and they are not happy. We are informed that 1. "The toilet has been locked and will remain so for the rest of the journey" and 2. "No alcohol may be brought on this coach". We refuse to board the coach without our alcohol and under pressure from some irate ferry staff, the drivers are forced to give way.

Sixteen hours in:
The effects of the toilet closure are now being felt. Various empty bottles are being pressed into service in a way they were not originally designed for. The more intelligent members of the party are waiting for the drivers to announce that we will be stopping shortly before drinking furiously in order to use the toilets at the service stations.

Twenty hours in:
The drinkability of urine is being discussed.

Twenty hours and one minute in:
With the utterance of "I could just do wiv a nice pint of piss", the drinkability of a collection of different urine specimens is put to the test. In defiance of the laws of natural selection, the individual concerned does not appear to suffer any ill effects.

Twenty two hours in:
I have not slept for approximately thirty hours, and am feeling the strain. Fitful dozing is interrupted by a game apparently called "let's see if we can keep him awake". I do not share their enthusiasm for this game, but this does not appear to matter.

Twenty six hours in (near the foothills of Alpe D'Huez):
We stop for more supplies. For supplies, read alcohol. Snowing heavily.

Twenty six and a half hours in:
The drivers ask for quiet as the negotiate the treacherous road up to the ski resort. We want to watch Top Gun, and disagree. The drive up the mountain is accompanied by an extremely loud amateur rendition of "Highway to the danger zone".

Twenty seven hours in (at the resort):
The drivers declare us to be the very worst group they have ever had the misfortune to drive. An air of pride is generally present.

The trip back:

(, Sat 16 Jul 2011, 21:46, 6 replies)
Forced to be a girl for a week...
My wife and I had a camping trip planned with two friends. The night before going away, we went to a fancy dress party. I was dressed as a sexy French maid.

The camping stuff was all at the house of our two friends (so far as I knew) as we were going for the week in their camper van, stopping at various places.

So, after the fancy dress party we went back to our friends' house to stay the night and set off on our camping trip the following morning. I was still in my sexy maid outfit.

I awoke the next morning, expecting to change into my normal clothes. Instead I was informed that we must have 'forgot' my case with all my clothes in.

Long story short - I found myself being dressed as a girl, in clothes I thought were borrowed from one of our friends, as a supposedly better option than wearing my French maid outfit to go home in.

Or so I thought - my wife had promised that we would go back to our house, get my stuff, let me get changed and head off camping.

Apart from a few times at fancy dress and once or twice suffering the embarassment of being made to try on a dress in a shop, I had never been out in public as a woman.

So I was incredibly nervous as I was pretty much dragged out the door and into the camper van in girl's clothes.

I was so nervous in fact, that I didn't notice we were going the wrong way, and we were on the motorway before I realised that we weren't going back to our house to collect my normal clothes. I was told that I would be spending the entire camping trip as a girl.

That trip was simultaneously the most exhilarating, sexiest, scariest and most life-changing one ever.
(, Sat 16 Jul 2011, 21:44, 5 replies)
Bristol to Dublin on nowt
As a teenager I once htch-hiked to Dublin to raise money for CLIC.

I didn't really fancy it, but my best mate's gf was dead keen and he bottled it at the last minute, so I stepped in.

I had precisely £30 to last the estimated 2 day journey, much of which went on tabs and pasties before we even left Avon.

On our trip we met a fantastic bunch of people, but to keep it short I'll only relate a couple of tales, viz:

Bert, who not only got us free transit on the ferry by letting us hop in his car but told us a fantastic story. He was on his way to Eire to meet his first true love. He had left her behind in the company of his best mate while he went off to fight in WW2 (best mate had flat feet or smth). He was wounded in Europe and captured as a POW, but officially listed as KIA. After a year or two of mourning his gf ended up very close with best mate and they married. After the war Bert was released, and on his way back home met a lovely Belgian woman, who he brought back to the UK and married.

The two couples remained close and regularly spent time together, Bert in Cornwall and his ex in Eire with best mate. As the years passed Bert's wife passed on and he spent more and more time with the other couple. It became clear that his original lady still had feelings, but they couldn't do anything about it for obvious reasons. Then one day best mate passed on too. Bert had picked us up on the way to a) mourn his friend, but also b) move in with his original beau. The car was full of his worldly possessions and he was very philosophical about losing a friend but finally being with his first love.

Second amazing lift came from a couple of Irish guys who drove at least 150 miles out of their way to drop us at a convenient place for hitching. They were on their way to their kid sister's funeral. When they heard we were raising money for CLIC they gave us a carton of tabs, a flask of tea and a load of sarnies. Turns out she died of leukemia and they were happy someone was raising money for it. They were awesome.

Length? About 300 miles
(, Sat 16 Jul 2011, 21:39, Reply)
Not me,
but a friend I work with had taken one of the kids out for a walk up the mountains and a BBQ. Great summer day made an even better car trip, the smell of fresh BBQ's a cooking wafting in through the window as the little car climbed the mountain.

A great day was had, the kids dog especially enjoying the mountain streams. After the long trek up and down the mountain, sweet sweet burgers and sausages cooked to a crisp.

They then packed up and started the journey back. All stuffed and uncomfortably full the smell of BBQ's on the way down soon became sickening. Closing the window only seemed to make matters worse and circulating the air in the car didn't help either. As said friend commented to kid about horrid stench the kid asked what the crackling noise was.

And why smoke was coming from the boot? As she hastily pulled in the car they managed to extinguish the fire by spraying dilutable juice all over it. The car still has a funny smell.
(, Sat 16 Jul 2011, 21:13, Reply)

This question is now closed.

Pages: Popular, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1