Bad Kissingen 4x4 Show 26th - 29th May 2005
Jayne Wright reports:
As with all of the events I have taken part in since we joined the CTOC three years ago, this trip was meticulously planned right from the start. For months beforehand Andrew and Sally Davies had been making numerous telephone calls and arrangements to make sure everything about the trip to Germany went smoothly.
We met up with the others at Dover a relatively uneventful journey. We picked up the dulcet tones of Craig McCarthy and Andrew on channel 5 and all met up at the SpeedFerries check-in. The group consisted of Andrew and Sally Davies, Craig and Kirby McCarthy (inseparable), Tim and Mikey (another inseparable pair!), David and Carolyn, Sean and Karen (with Seanís mum and dad, Rita and Les, in tow), Nick Leadbetter and Ben Stowe, Mark Graveson and myself. Seven Camel Trophy Land Rovers lined up waiting to get the ferry was a fine sight. There was a Freelander, two Discoverys, three Defender 110s and a Hi-cap. We certainly turned some heads but this was just the beginning!
The ferry crossing was very smooth which was a bonus as it was Benís first time on a ferry. I donít think he would have gone anywhere again if the sea had been as rough as I have seen a couple of times before!
We convoyed on to Lokeren where we stopped over for the night. We arranged secure car parking for the vehicles and the truck stop where we had our evening meal was spot on. The next day, we made a slight detour from the mundane motorways and drive cross-country for a change, going through villages with people waving at the convoy, which was highly amusing. As time was moving on, the decision was taken to get back onto the motorway for the last leg of the trip before we got to the showground. As we got towards Bad Kissingen we contacted Neil and Toni Armitage on the CB who guided us into the campsite on an ex-army base camp. We had a prime position right next to the off-road course. As the show had already started that day, Jochen plus two others and Toni, Neil, Kerry and Toniís brother-in-law were already there. We threw up the tents on some very uneven ground right in the middle of the off-road course and I mean right in the middle. We were literally feet away from the course and had to cross it to get to the club stand!
During the show, Jochen and the Deutscher Land Rover Club were charging people to be ferried round the off-road course. Over the four days they made over 3,600 euros to go towards sending Madeleine, a very sick little girl, to Florida for dolphin therapy. I am sure you will be right behind me in saying a huge well done to everyone that was involved and what a success it was. I donít actually speak any German but I could tell that the girlís parents were very grateful.
This German 4x4 event is definitely different to our shows. There appeared to be lots of vehicles but there wasnít the same amount of stands or stalls. One thing I would recommend to anyone who is thinking of going next year would be to invest in a shower bag. On the weekend we were there I think they had a mini heat wave as we monitored the temperature at 39 degrees at 9.15 on Saturday morning! It was too hot to do anything but in contrast to this the showers were freezing cold, there was no hot water at all! You may think a cold shower would be welcomed after a hot day but this certainly wasnít the case. You ended up going from one extreme to another and it really took your breath away. This is where the shower bag would come into its own. You could leave it in the sun all day and it would have been lovely and warm by teatime!
Monday morning came all too soon and we had to pack up and move on. Our aim was to be up and away before the sun got too hot and we headed cross country to the Mohnesee dam, made famous by the Dambusters. We tried to imagine what it would have been like to see a Lancaster bomber on the horizon, having to run for cover but knowing there was very little you could do. We then convoyed on to Eerbeck. We set up camp in the middle of a peaceful pine forest. We feasted on Chinese banquet at Yolanda and Marco Du Buissonís house. They are a very nice couple and are passionate about Camel Trophy. I think Ben would have liked to stop longer and watch every single DVD that Marco owned but we didnít want to outstay our welcome.
On Tuesday the group visited the Arnhem war graves and museum and then convoyed on to Gerard Blankestijnís, who competed on a number of occasions. Another warm welcome and more Camel Trophy. Even someone who is only slightly interested in Camel Trophy could spend a long and interesting time in this company! We got a few more hours driving under our belts before we started looking for our next camp-site.
Wednesday brought shopping, a smooth ferry crossing and the inevitable goodbyes. I think everyone was a bit sad to be leaving each other after having such a good time. It was strange as we drove down the motorway and one by one the convoy depleted. As we were driving off alone, there were a couple of loud bangs and Mark shot onto the hard shoulder. The off side front wheel bearing had collapsed. The Freelander was loaded onto a transporter and it made a sorry sight. I suppose it could have been worse. The trip it was exactly 1,500 miles since we had set off a week ago. What a week!