This is a weird roadtrip, because it's a two-way roadtrip.But first the Statistics
Date: 2 september 2010
Trip: Holland – Belgium – France – UK – France – Belgium - Holland
Total length: 1,172 kilometers
Duration: 19 hours
About a month ago I sold an Aero City to a guy in London, Steve, and we agreed that I would arrange a courier to deliver the game to him. I wasn't very fond of this idea because it means that I have to get good packing material from somewhere and pack the game on an europallet. And then still things can happen during transport over which I don’t have control. Besides that, getting a game to the UK by courier is pretty expensive.
At the time of this deal I noticed a Space Invaders-Qix 25th Anniversary Silver Edition cab for sale on Ebay UK. This is a cab I wanted already for some time, in fact, I almost won one on Ebay UK about six months ago. I like it especially for Qix, and SI is a nice addition. And I think that the cab is very nice looking and a dedicated ‘4-way joystick, 2 button vertical’ Mame system can be added very easily. It is after all a Jamma cab.
This time I was so fortunate to make the winning bid!
I knew that the Ebay seller, Paul, was also living in London and then the idea came up to deliver the Aero City myself and picking up the SI-Qix at the same day. I contacted Steve and he was very pleased with the idea that I would bring the game myself. So we all agreed on August 20th for the delivery and pick up. In the meantime It appeared that both guys in London know each other from a previous cab deal and that they only live 2 miles from each other!!!
Unfortunately I had to cancel the trip on the 19th because my car didn’t make it to the MOT test that day.
The car workshop needed parts which they would get on the 20th!!!! Fortunately it was no problem at all to arrange a new date, this time September 2nd. And rescheduling for the Euro tunnel was also possible without extra costs.
And here the actual trip starts.
I prepared the car on the day before, and it’s a first for me that I have to load the car before the trip:
The next day I woke up at 3.30 AM and I left at 4 AM. I had something to eat and drink with me, and the car needed something to drink also.
I don’t have many photo’s from the trip to Calais, and this is why:
The trip went well, and I arrived at the Tunnel entrance at 8.18 AM, just two minutes before my scheduled check in.
I didn’t even need my credit card to check in because there is a camera registering my car number plate and I was welcomed with my name. Nice. After a little while I could enter the train which took me to England. I used the time well with a little nap.
Once in England, at 8.25 AM local time, I took the M20 to London. South England is very nice, but they still drive on the wrong side of the road. Why?
I knew that once in London, I had to drive from South to North London, through this big city, but I relied on my car navigation system. So here I went:
Because I was driving during rush hours, the traffic was pretty awful, and there are many road works in London at the moment (or always?), even in a very small tunnel.
So I approached the ‘finish’ slowly, but steadily.
And finally, after driving more than 1.5 hour alone in London, I reached my first address, at Steve's place. We quickly unloaded the cab, I had a nice cup of tea (black please, no sugar or milk), and we talked a bit about gaming. Like me, Steve is also very fond on Japanese games, and he has a nice collection of NeoGeo games, and an Aero City Table, which not too long ago belonged to a Dutch seller named rklok (www.rklok.nl
). Rklok lives close to my place and I also bought a few cabs from him in the past. ‘My’ Aero was looking good next to the table.
One less nice thing happened at the start of this visit. I parked my car on the roadside and walked to Steve’s house, which was 50 meters away. Steve told me to park the car next to his garage, so I got back to the car. I left it only for a few minutes, but there was already a parking fine on the windshield!!! € 60!!!!
I hadn’t seen a small sign which says that I need a parking permit to park there. The guy who wrote the fine was writing another one a few cars up the road, so I shot him, I mean, I approached him and explained that I’m from Holland and bla bla bla. He told me that he couldn’t whitdraw it, but that I shouldn’t be afraid too much as it would be impossible to collect the money fom me being a Dutchman. So I decided to leave this as it is. But it’s still a bummer.
I left Steve's place after half an hour and went to Paul’s place, where I arrived about 20 minutes later, around noon. Here are some pics of the streetview during this short drive:
When I arrived at Paul’s place, we immediately went to the temporary storage where the cab was. We loaded the cab in the car, it just fitted, and I really mean just, but I could still close the backdoor. In the meanwhile I was pretty tired, so I forgot to take any pictures. I’m sorry about that, but I will make up for it with some pictures of my latest cab in the next post. After loading the cab, we went back to Paul’s place to pick up a 60 in 1 board for me, which was also part of the deal. We had a nice chat about gaming of course, mame and how we both played game sin our childhood. Paul is a very nice guy and he comes from Australia, but you hardly notice.
He is in a famous band and the latest album is in the UK Album Top 40 at the moment. He gave me a copy of it. Thanks Paul, I listened to it on the way back, and although it’s not completely my kind of music, It still is very nice. He also showed me a ‘golden album’ for selling more than 300,000 copies of an album of the band a few years ago. And finally, he also is a famous Deejay and he travels around the globe. So to be short, I bought a cab from a famous person!!
I won’t mention too much details because Paul may want to keep certain things private.
Unfortunately I had to leave him too soon, but I has a train to catch. And then disaster struck, my recent ‘home-burnt’ navigation CD gave frequent reading errors. PANIC
, I’m in the middle of London, there is a lot of traffic, people are driving on the wrong side, where the F..K am I
? Fortunately the Navigation system was able to give one direction each time before a reading error, so I had to eject and insert the CD after each direction. This took about 30 seconds each time while I was driving. I guess that I inserted the CD about 30 times or so, and I’m sure that I took wrong directions more than once. I was pretty nervous of course, but I could see on the navigation map that I was heading in the right direction.
Then I saw a road direction sign for the A102 and I remembered that I drove on that one inbound London. Phew, I’m saved.
Now it didn’t take long before I was familiar with the road again, so here are few new shots:
I even got to the train tunnel half an hour before schedule, and a little later I was driving in mainland Europe again, quickly driving home.
At 8.30 PM I arrived at the Mac at the Belgian-Dutch border, where I had a nutricious meal (guys, don’t ever take the Greek Burger with Yoghurt sauce, it’s disghousting).
And finally after a trip of 19 hours and 1,172 kilometers I arrived at home, save and sound.
That's it, pictures of the cab in the next post.