2 February ’05, Tuesday. Life has it’s up’s and down’s, and we have followed that roller coaster... Right now, we’re on a high, and all I have to say about that, is HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME !!! Our travels from Naples (Pompeii) was really quite interesting. The whole time we traveled the major toll road, which stayed close to the Mediterranean coastline. We will be back to see Italy later next year, but for now, we will be moving through it as fast as we can. The scenery it really spectacular, with all the little hill-top villages and the wonderful mountains that seem to come all the way down to meet us at the next corner. Just prior to getting to Genova we started to travel through a long series of tunnels, which continued all the way to Nice, France. I would guess that we went through at least 100 tunnels that were from 25 yards long to over a mile in length. Fact is, we went through so many that we missed a tremendous amount of the best scenery in Italy and the French coast. Next year, we definitely will not be taking the toll road… Prior to hitting the tunnels, we did see some hill top communities. Some were made up of a small amount of buildings including a church, and others were at least a hundred or more structures all hanging onto the top and sides of the hill. It was hard to guess the age of these villages from the toll road, but they have been there for some time, that is for sure. Again, next year we will take the time to visit some of these, as they are really beautiful and offer a lot of history for Italy, which we look forward to learning. Prior to arriving in Nice and then going down to Pompeii, we were in snow, but then thank God, we traveled out of it. The weather turned warmer (at least a little…) as we headed to France and as we crossing the border, we were back to having the snow alongside the road. We are supposed to be in the sun belt of France…The Cote D’Azur…the Gold Coast…where everyone wears a bathing suit…to work and the beaches…some topless…all with dark tans… (Ok, I’m getting carried away…)… well, it has turned out to be just about all true… Fact is, we have decided to stay here instead of continuing on to Spain. This campground is in Antibes,
just west of Nice, and it seems central to just about everything we might want to do. Besides, it has a covered indoor swimming pool and hot tub..I just hope we find time to use them. About 30 miles prior to France, we stopped for lunch at a roadside park. After starting back onto the road, “Bumble Bee” started bucking, spitting and had a complete loss of power. “Not Now Bumble Bee” !!! Well, we nursed her all the way into Nice and finally had to find a garage to see just what has happened to our little “Bumble Bee”. Now, you have to understand, we had no idea as to were we where and were we might find a garage, and IF, they would stop everything they were doing to help us out…. As luck would seem to have it, we did find a VW garage, and we did find a young man that would take a minute to come out to the van. He got in, started the van up, stepped on the gas, and said to me to take it around the corner to the garage. He jumped into the passenger seat, and gave me directions. Now this is in a area were the streets are narrow…I mean VERY narrow. I made the first corner, squeezed between cars parked at the curb, and then he told me to park just to the right around the next corner…BUMP..GRIND…TINKLE… OH SHUCKS…!!! Yep, I hit a parked car...damn near tore off the bumper, and did put a long dent in both of our cars…SH__UCKS !!! Well, what do you do ??? A young man came out of the VW garage and you could tell it was his car even if he couldn’t speak English. He didn’t seem too upset, but… To make a long story shorter, he asked for 100 Euro to cover the damage…and yep, I TOOK IT !!! Now, what about my problem??? “We can’t fit your van into the shop, so we can’t help you…sorry…”SORRY” ??? I got in and got the heck out of there and followed Louise’s directions to the nearest campground. Just prior to arriving at the campgrounds, I did find another garage, and he told me to come back in the morning, and they would see what they could do for us. It turned out to be “WATER IN THE GAS”, and it has made a mess of the carburetor. Well, a new gas filter and a clean up of the carburetor and we are now back on the mend for a while longer. I will have to get a gas tank cleaning and a new carb, but that will have to wait I guess, as this mechanic can’t do it, and he doesn’t know anyone who will or can….well, we’ve gotten this far, and I think we can continue for a little longer…I’ll find out anyway… As it is, we have decided to stay here in Antibes until the 21th of Febr., and then head to Utrecht for our APK inspection.