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Overland UK to Australia 1969 - John de Figueiredo and Brian Ridgway

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John in Le Havre Brian in Le Havre In Le Havre

En France Monday 1 September

Arrive at Le Havre too early for me. (Odometer shows 76624). New week, new month, new country, sun shining – hazily at first. I both wake and get up at ten to seven. Summoned to car deck by public address system to find "Royal Wave" at the head of a queue of cars waiting to disembark, packed in so tight they can't get round me. The rest of the car deck is completely empty. Leap in, engage reverse and drive smartly into the car behind – idiot! Too early – no damage. Manage to find correct gear and drive off. Remember to drive on right. Park in front of Thoresen office. Walk round harbour and a bit of town. Change some money, have breakfast at romantic Café Le Southampton and write up diary. Begin vigil. Brian will be surprised that I've made it.

He duly arrived and we set off. Fan fix gave up again on the southern outskirts of Paris. What to do? Finally, out with radiator, small piece of tinfoil to make "interference fit", hammer fan flange onto shaft (not very good for the bearings) and hope. We make it to Auxerre in the dark.

Next morning it is raining. We discover that the tent is waterproof. The rain has stopped by the time we get up, but tree-covered camp site causes drops to fall from trees. We consume whole packet of cornflakes for breakfast and off we go. We collected two hitch hikers just outside Auxerre who suddenly decide to go to Geneva. Arrive at lovely camp site in Geneva just in day light.

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