Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:49 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:11 pm
Posts: 415
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
We have driven safely on the left for 2964 miles in England and Scotland. That proved remarkably easy to get used to, and David got really good at negotiating traffic circles, of which there are thousands. Except for the major multilane motorways, or M’s, the “narrow road” label is really true, particularly in a wide American motorhome. But British drivers are used to it, stopping to let us and others pass through a narrow section, taking turns when necessary, and nearly always staying well on their side of the road.

(One example of the British driver’s courtesy and consideration for the other guy: on the Continent, flashing your headlights at another driver means “I have rights and I mean to exercise them,” e.g., to drive through this narrow section of road ahead of you or to go as fast as I want in the passing lane that you, a slower driver, are improperly occupying. In Britain, though, flashing your lights at another driver means “You may go first through this narrow section” or, as you are attempting to merge with traffic on the M, “Come on into the lane ahead of me; I’ll actually slow down to let you in.” And that attitude is common among truckers as well.)
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We are grateful that our only road-related momento is a scratch on our awning support. We are pretty sure we will return to the British Isles some day, certainly to London, maybe to Ireland, which we missed entirely; but we’re really sure we won’t be driving a motorhome when we do it. In fact, we deliberately left all our British maps and camping guides at the last campground.

But lest we leave you, dear reader, with the mistaken impression that this trip was all anxiety, please know that we love England still and had a great time. We hope that we have not overused the words “quaint” and “charming,” but quite frankly they apply to every village, town and old city centre we were in. Every one has buildings older than anywhere in the USA.

Most of the housing stock is built of stone, is very old and (often) is quite run down. But some has been well kept and updated, and some is quite new--although often in that row-house style of house-after-house-exactly-the-same for long blocks. Single family homes are rare; two-car garages even rarer. Many homes have a name, ranging from countless instances of “Rose Cottage” to “Butt House.”

We saw some wonderful sites: not only all the places we had wanted to see (except for Peterborough Cathedral) but also many more that the National Trust and English Heritage plans (or “schemes”) alerted us to. Having to make reservations ahead of time proved to be relatively easy, although rather time-consuming, and if we had it to do over again, we would change only a couple of the choices we made. The campgrounds were always clean and well kept, and we felt safe everywhere (maybe a bit less so in Portsmouth and Glasgow, which were just too empty). We had WiFi coverage in most places, which helps a lot, especially when making reservations at campgrounds, and we didn’t have to stop at a single MacDonalds to use their free WiFi. We found Starbucks in every major city and in some small ones; aside from London, the record was Edinburgh, with six. Their shortbread chocolate chip biscuits (cookies) are wonderful, but the prize goes to the shortbread caramel chocolate frosted torte at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. We had some memorably horrible, soggy fish and chips and also some too-hot-to-eat, crispy, tasty fish and chips. And we had perfect sunny weather for the first whole month, followed by typical off-and-on rain for the second month . . . which we didn’t allow to interfere with our plans much at all.

We will be spending a few days in Denmark and will post about that and then a week in Lillehammer, Norway, where we have a granddaughter and storage for Rover waiting for us. We will post again when we have added it all up (which is something we are not looking forward to this time).

Rover 2002 24ft RB

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