We’ve had a crazy busy few weeks, so it’s about time I get on the blog and write about it. In the short break since my last post we’ve managed to cram in visitors, send part of our family off on an 800 km hike & complete a full mini-tour to Spain. It’s been no idle hands and lots of activity for the Wheelingit crew!
First up were our motorhome visitors, Kate and Iain from Tales From The Scenic Route who passed through SW France just a few weeks ago.
We first met this lovely couple boondocking somewhere in the SW desert of the USA in what seems like a lifetime ago, but what was really just a few years back. We immediately got along of course, as most traveling people do, and then ended up bumping into them again hither and thither as we roamed around. A typical example of the RVing community we so enjoyed in the USA.
Kate & Iain Are Now Touring In Their Motorhome Across Europe
But their story didn’t end there.
Kate and Iain continued their travels, hopping all over the world until they eventually decided to move to Europe and fulltime here. Having excellent taste they got themselves a Carthago, a rather larger one than ours but almost identical in form & perfectly suited to their fulltimer lifestyle.
Their purchase was several months ahead of us so they became a great source of info before we moved, graciously sharing the knowledge they’d gathered as well as answering endless silly questions from us along the way. They were definitely an inspiration for our own Carthago purchase a few months later.
We’ve been planning a twinsie meetup for months, missing each other several times in France and Spain before we finally managed to lure them into our driveway with promises of food and abundant wine on their way through SW France. Not many pics from our time together (isn’t that the ultimate proof of a good time?), but we chatted late into the night and had a blast all around.
They pushed off a few days later on a major summer adventure (which I won’t spoil by spilling the beans on here), but which we’ll definitely be following closely as we plan to do that route ourselves in a few years. If you’re curious check ’em out on their blog & Instagram. We wish you good travels, guys!
I Plan For a Mini-Adventure With Dad
Their departure came just a few days before our own, and by “our departure” I mean dad, me and the 12 paws. Our goal was a 1,672 km mini-adventure through the North of Spain.
We had plans which would take us across the wild Northern Spanish Coast and back into France along an inland ancient pilgrim’s route. It was going to be epic, a little crazy and at a pace that would be WAY faster than anything I’d ever done before. Plus we would end up experiencing SO much stuff it would take us days to process afterwards.
In just over a week we passed through multiple amazing landscapes, visited many incredible Cathedrals, saw tons of remote and fascinating towns, took the motorhome high into the mountains and squeezed her through some insanely narrow streets (thank goodness her mirrors can fold in, is all I’ll say about that one for now!). It was a trip that would end up being exhausting, fun, crazy, gorgeous, at times frustrating, but in the end an amazing experience all around. I’ll be detailing it ALL on the blog.
But why wasn’t Paul coming?
Paul Was Already On An Epic Adventure Of His Own
Several weeks before all this (yes, I seem to be time-traveling a bit a la Doctor Who here) Paul went off on a secret mini-adventure of his own, with HIS dad.
It was actually a plan that was hatched more than a year ago at a happy hour in a Florida RV park. Paul’s dad was scheduled to have his second knee replacement operation, so the boyz came up with the thought that if rehab went well they would walk the Camino De Santiago together. At the time it was just a feather of a nutty idea, but it would go on to simmer, boil and then finally blossom into full life when Paul’s dad flew over in early April to make it a reality.
Now for those who don’t know about the Camino, it’s an ancient pilgrimage route that dates back to the 9th century. As the story goes, a shepherd named Pelayo was led by the stars to the remains of a body in a field. The local bishop declared the remains to be those of St. James (first of Jesus’ Apostles to be martyred) and ordered a church built on the site. As word of the sacred burial ground spread, pilgrims started to visit from all over Europe, and thus the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James was born.
There are actually many different routes you can take, but the one Paul and his dad decided to do was the 800km (~500 mile) Camino Frances, arguably the most common or best-known trail, which starts at St Jean-Pied-De-Port in France and crosses the Pyrénées before traversing northern Spain to Santiago De Compostela.
They Started Walking The Camino In April
Paul’s dad arrived in France on 10th April, and after allowing a few days for him to settle into the European timezone, we packed up LMB for a short 1-night trip with Polly to take the three of us into St Jean-Pied-De-Port.
It’s a relatively easy ~3 hr drive from our place and there is a really basic, but perfectly situated city campground (Camping Municipal Plaza Berri, EUR 11/night plus 3.50 for electric) just steps from downtown. We arrived in the afternoon and as soon as we’d parked the rig, the boyz made their way to the Pilgrim’s Office to get their Camino Passports (you collect stamps in it as you go, and it’s required for pilgrims wishing to collect their Compostela at the end of their pilgrimage).
With that final Camino prep work complete, we just ambled around for the rest of the day. We explored the super cute downtown, strolled along the pretty riverwalk and then settled into LMB for drinks, dinner and a rather restless night (mostly nerves and excitement) before they started off the next day.
This also marked the first time we’d traveled (and slept) with 3 people in the mini-rig and although it was super tight, it worked out just fine. In addition to the two fixed beds in the back, LMB has a large Queen-sized drop-down bed in the front, which worked perfectly for Paul’s dad (and later for mine when we did our trip). It took a little coordination to squeeze everyone in, but we managed.
So We Planned to Meet Up With Them In LMB
Paul and his dad have been walking the Camino ever since (the end is only a few days away now!!), and it’s certainly been an adventure. Our goal was to meet up with them in the motorhome for a visit in the second week or so of May, thus combining their own little epic trip with a father-daughter epic trip of my own.
A good plan, no?
I won’t be covering their Camino walk (that’s their own personal pilgrimage), but I’ll definitely be giving you all the juicy details of the trip we made in LMB to see them. It should make for some good stories….