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International Buggy Weekend 2014 - The Full (And Very Long) Story

This is a discussion for the topic International Buggy Weekend 2014 - The Full (And Very Long) Story on the board GB Buggies.

Author Topic: International Buggy Weekend 2014 - The Full (And Very Long) Story  (Read 19173 times)

this user is online Dave DND

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Well Buggers,

Grab a brew, sit back, and with the help of my friends, let me tell you a story about the International Buggy Weekend.

Now research told me very little about this event, and from what I could make out, its not a big promoter show like we have here in the UK, but more a group of Buggy enthusiasts pitching camp together in a different country each year and basically having a chilled weekend. Most of our UK weekends and cruises sounded similar, but when I heard that there would be near 250 Buggies, I kind of took a different view of it. This year, The Algemene Buggy Club in Holland were playing host.




Now those of you reading who were not there, probably fall into one of two camps:

1) You are new to the forum, don`t know many people and are a bit hesitant about signing up.

Ok, Most of you have all heard of me, I run the forum. But let me tell you that I am also in the same position as many of you. I have not yet met all of you and I don`t actually know that many of you. But because the forum is such a great Ice-Breaker, when I finally meet people I have been chatting with, its almost as though I have known you all for years. This trip was no exception, as many who had signed up were people I had not met - so what I am saying is don`t ever let that put you off.

or camp 2) You either don`t have a Buggy yet, or you are not sure that your Buggy is up for the distance of international travel.

Well, as you will hear later, even the best Buggies can have problems abroad, but I was firmly of the opinion that there was no way my Buggy that fires reliably on three cylinders would make the distance - but when I found out that many drivers were going Solo, and after a quick chat with my mate Chad, I blagged myself a seat for the trip, and oh my word, WHAT A TRIP !!


« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 06:50:30 PM by Dave DND »
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Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 07:58:17 PM
Knowing that Chad wanted to set off at a reasonable time on the Thursday, and that he lived a mere 200 miles from me, I was offered his sofa for the night which seemed a great idea. We spent the night gassing, as you do, and sorted out all of the T-Shirts and Fancy dress costumes that were to be a part of our trip. 50 odd T-Shirts and 20 or so fancy dress costumes doesn`t exactly pack up into a small bag, and despite Chad having removed his back seats, its was a tough job to fit them all in.



But fit them in we did, thanks to lots of Bungee straps, netting, and the clever design of the Doon with an opening bonnet.



Late that night, we also heard that Dan (Child of the 70`s) was unable to join us, as he had rushed to hospital because Gemma had just gone into labour. We felt this was a reasonable excuse and we would let him off this time. After a good nights kip, we then called round to Dan`s house to pick up some spare parts for Dave Dream and then headed off to Chorley Services on the M6, where we met up with some of the MBC crew, namely Karl and Dyliss, Lee, Allan and Vanessa, Jayson and Lawson and Dave Dream.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 08:25:22 AM by Dave DND »
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Reply #2 on: June 15, 2014, 08:19:02 AM
Snoopy and Vicky were waiting nearby on a bridge, and joined us as we went past towards our next stop that would be Rothwell Services for some food and fuel.



We even had a surprise visitor here, as Andy Robinson couldn`t resist the temptation of joining us for a mini cruise and a great opportunity to film some cruise footage.



And off we set on our next leg with Andy weaving in and out of us, with a camera pointing from every orifice.



After a good few miles of fun with Andy, he waved his farewells, and we settled down for our next cruise to Duxford



It was good to see Andy joining in with us, but next time, we must remember to tell him to turn all of the cameras on before setting off  ;D
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 01:29:20 PM by Dave DND »
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Reply #3 on: June 15, 2014, 09:03:03 AM
We arrived at Duxford after a pleasant afternoon crusing, and stopped for a fuel and coffee break



It was here that my new best friend Dyliss quietly asked me why everybody called Dave Dream "Mad Dave". I think she worked it out very quickly, I mean you only have to look at him - and yes, he did drive all the way with that mask on.



The long trip so far had thrown up a few niggles with a couple of the Buggys, for some reason Allans didn`t want to start that easily, and Lawson was having issues with the throttle return springs, but after a quick bit of fettling, we were good to go.



But not until Chad had taken a group selfie



And then it was off into the late afternoon along some very nice roads on our way to our next post of call, Harwich, where we were hoping to meet up with a few others before boarding our night ferry.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 09:21:55 AM by Dave DND »
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Reply #4 on: June 15, 2014, 09:26:47 AM
Apart from Lawson losing an Air Filter (recovered) the drive to our next meeting point was really quite good - some very pleasant twisting and turning single track roads through some very nice villages, and it wasn`t long before we pulled up outside Pizza Hut in Harwich for a bite to eat.



We were supposed to have met Flags and Ollie here, but found out that they had already eaten an hour previously and had gone off to the port ahead of us, but that was no matter, as we picked up Big Clem and his family instead.



With full bellies, it was time for the quick belt down the road and to catch our evening ferry at Harwich.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 09:28:52 AM by Dave DND »
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Reply #5 on: June 15, 2014, 07:06:04 PM
Meanwhile, a good few hundred miles up north, there was another gathering of Buggies, ready to set out.

The starting point was Agent Oranges house, where Jon, Mags, Ryan, Davydoff and two of their friends from Sweden, Stephan and Roger were ready to set off for Hull, where they would catch a different ferry and rendezvous with us in Holland



The weather was not as good as we were having it down south, and they had to nip into a fuel station to take cover.



But by this time, they were wet anyway, so decided to make a run for it



It did clear eventually, and they headed into hull for the ferry.



Where they checked themselves and the dog in, and headed off in search of the bar.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 07:14:49 PM by Dave DND »
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Clems car was just shimmering in the twilight - it looked stunning.



We eventually caught up with Flags and Ollie just outside the port, and we seemed to be the only group there



We found out that Dai was only about fifteen minutes away, so we decided to hang on for him also



Now if you are of a certain age, you will remember the cartoon Whacky Races, and thats exactly what it was like when someone shouted "GO!"



And I`m not sure what the passport office made of all of these lunatics heading towards them at full throttle



Of course, it was now time to divulge the dodgy passport photo, and Allan was clearly in tears as he handed me Vanessa`s passport



She, however, didn`t seem too impressed when she realised I had my camera in my hand also



But this was now it, we were exited, and ready to hit the ferry



And looking back, Vanessa was also now smiling, so she had obviously forgiven me

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Reply #7 on: June 15, 2014, 10:30:57 PM
Well now we know why the other car park was empty, everybody is in this que instead. Seems just about every type of auto club is heading for Holland this weekend.



Wait a minute, the guys have just spotted a camera - they just cannot help themselves



Meanwhile, I have to console myself that its now night time, and I`m sober



But at least not for long - its just turned 10:30pm and we are moving



And finally, our ferry is in sight



Most of us even got on together, which will make things easier when disembarking tomorrow



And with all the cars in place, its time to say goodnight to them, and go and find our cabins.

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Reply #8 on: June 15, 2014, 11:00:23 PM
The Ferry crossing was around 8 hours, and because its an overnight one, its a good idea to book a cabin, as it can leave you a little more refreshed in the morning. As a passenger, the cabin and crossing cost around 84 return, which I thought was very good value, but what took me by surprise was the cabins themselves.



They were really nice, and the bathroom / shower area was significantly better than I have at home.



A quick wash, and then down to the bar to have a drink with the others.







Technical issues somewhere meant that we didn`t leave port for a few hours, and after a relatively good nights sleep, I headed out to the deck to catch the sun coming up, and as you can see, the water is flat calm.



Its a busy old place though, I thought we did well playing wacky races yesterday, but it seems that these guys also play it, but on a much bigger scale.



And it wasn`t just outgoing traffic either, we had quite a few boats following us in too.



And there, in the distance, was my first glimpse of our new home for the next few days.



Time to find some breakfast and then head down to the Buggy.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 08:29:30 AM by Dave DND »
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Reply #9 on: June 15, 2014, 11:13:54 PM
We had arrived in the Hook of Holland, but despite our best attempts to stay together and disembark together, things went badly wrong. Quite a few of us managed to get out in one hit, and we pulled over about 100 yards in front of the ferry to wait for the others.



We could see over our shoulders that there were a few Buggys that had pulled over about ten feet in front of the ferry, which we thought was a little stupid at the time, and then a great procession of Lorries and HGV`s proceeded to drive in a huge convoy across their path. We figured that they were going to be there for a while, and it was apparent that the customs kiosk ahead of us were not over happy that we were not making headway and clearing the port. So we decided to leave the others and find somewhere to pull over outside of the port so we could regroup.
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Reply #10 on: June 15, 2014, 11:30:31 PM
We found a nice little lay-by just outside the port and managed to get most of us together, except the stragglers that had been blocked by the lorries coming off



And then came the phone call.

It was the sort of phone call that sends a shiver down your spine.

It was from Flags, one of the group still by the ferry.

It transpired that as Ollie had started his engine and driven off the ferry, that he had snapped a rocker arm and killed his engine. Now Ollie has one of the sweetest and smoothest engines out there, which just goes to prove that a break down can happen to anyone. None of us had any spares on us to fix this, and it seemed pointless for our group to now remain where we were, so it was decided that we should push on to the next meeting point and have a think about what to do.



I can`t tell you much about this leg of the journey, as Chad and I spent most of it on various phones trying to see what we could accomplish, and we came up with a possible solution. The solution was our good mate Patrick, who many of you know as the Crazy Guy from Belgium. You see, Patrick will not have the language barrier that we do, and will know how to explain the situation - besides, Patrick knows everybody, so may well be able to come up with a workable solution. We managed to get Patrick and Flags communicating together, and thought it best to just leave them to it. Nothing more that we could now do.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 11:32:24 PM by Dave DND »
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Reply #11 on: June 16, 2014, 08:00:24 AM
We arrived at the 1st official meeting point, some 25 miles away from our Ferry, to be met by the crew who had arrived via the Hull to Rotterdam Ferry. It was a welcome sight to see that they had made it safely.



A quick call to Flags let us know that they had been able to arrange a tow / lift from the AA to a local'ish VW classic workshop / shop / museum place arranged by Patrick. They had all the necessary parts for Ollie to do his magic, to allow him to get to the show. By all accounts the place was brilliant with the guys, eventually only charging them 40 euros for all the parts, giving them a bay to work in, tools if needed and even supplying them with drinks and some lunch - brilliant.



And then came another one of those phone calls, but this time it was from Dave Dream. He had been caught out by the wake up call on the boat, and forgotten to bring his bags down. By the time he had reached his car, he was caught up with Flags and Ollie, who sent him through customs to come and meet up with us. Trouble is, Dave had no plans, no sat nav, no idea where the meeting point was, and we couldn`t spell the towns names let alone pronounce them over the phone. So Chad and I decided that we would head back to the Ferry to recover him, and told the others to move on to the next meeting point 85 miles up the road, where we would catch them there.

As we approached the Ferry, we had an update from Dave, that Clem and Dave Doon had found him, and they were on their way to the second meeting place. This was good, all present and accounted for, except that we were now a good 20 miles behind a moving convoy.

Having such a good time by now, and nattering to each other as we went along, Chad and I missed our turning, and promptly ended up on the ring road that went around Gouda, instead of the direct route the others were taking straight through it. However, this was not as bad as it sounded, as whilst a gentle cruise is an excellent way to spend the day with your mates, the same can be said for sitting at motorway speeds giving chase, and about an hour later, we spied some cars in the distance.



And they seemed just as pleased to see us too


« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 08:10:58 AM by Dave DND »
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Reply #12 on: June 16, 2014, 08:22:58 AM
We pulled up at Nagele, our halfway stop for some refuelling



And promptly raided the shop for some lunch, so another little break was called for.



Thats what I loved about this trip, gentle cruising around 55mph, and a stop every 80 miles or so for some refreshments and a natter with your mates. It was a great way to share stories and get to know each other.



And now it was time to move on, as with the exception of Flags and Ollie, we were now all together, refuelled and ready to enjoy Holland.



« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 01:29:56 PM by Dave DND »
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Reply #13 on: June 16, 2014, 01:36:46 PM
Initially, we hadn`t expected to keep us all together as one group, as we thought that there would be too many of us to do this



Buggies behind us



Buggies in front of us



In fact, pretty much a convoy of Buggies as far as you could see



Holland is pretty flat - OK, consider that an understatement - its VERY flat, which does mean that there isn`t actually that much variation in the way of scenery. So instead, they have lots of "interesting" things dotted about, like this full size concrete house with smoke coming out, and a boat on the smoke. Very strange indeed.



But not as strange as their windmills - somehow I was expecting something different.

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We were having such a cool cruise now, and with most of the problems now sorted, my mind was starting to drift and I was beginning to wonder what I was letting myself in for - yeah, I know, a bit late for that, but in all seriousness, I had little idea of what to expect.

Chad said that if I could imagine something along the lines of the event we call N.E.W.S. with nothing more than a bunch of like minded idiots in a big field, chilling out, but on a much larger scale. Well, I was sold from that point onwards, as N.E.W.S. is still one of my favourite events on the Buggy Social calendar.

Ok, so we were going to a proper campsite, and a quick google showed that they also had B&B facilities, a bar, a big indoor barn, and they often hosted events like this. Excellent - that meant proper facilities and the chance that the toilets may still work the following morning, as unlike the British campsites we go to, the Dutch just wouldn`t put up with it if things were not good.



Another unknown to me, was the strange deal they had with the food - for an extra 10 Euros on the gate price, it would include breakfast and an evening meal for the whole weekend, which not only sounded very cheap, but did concern me a little as I like my food. But I was willing to give it a go. I was told that they also have a bar where they serve cold beers at 1 Euro a glass, and this did appeal quite nicely.



I also found out that they were building an off road track, and judging by the pictures of the large digger on the website, these guys were not messing about and I was quite looking forward to watching some off road action.




Must stop dreaming now as the next meeting point is coming up.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 08:32:59 AM by Dave DND »
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