overland-underwater.com - A charity drive from the UK to New Zealand
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Final Statistics: Alex & Maz Total distance: 93,550km
Furthest Point: Rotorua, NZ Now settled in Sydney, Australia
Final Statistics: Martin Total distance: 79,698km
Furthest Point: Hobart, Australia Now settled in Bristol, UK

And they're off!!!

Written by Martin Pitwood. Uploaded 2 August 2005.

UK & France, Country 1 & 2, Diary entry 2nd Aug 2005, Total distance in UK: 160 KM, France: 1082 KM

Country One – United Kingdom

Day One has finally arrived and we’re off! None of us can really believe that the trip has finally started!

Alt NameSo the great adventure started at the first of many wondrous sights that we will visit on our trip half way round the world – the service station on the A3! Alex and Maz were sent off from Guildford from Niamh’s place complete with packed lunch (thanks Marion!) while I said goodbyes to the parents in Reading and bundled everything in a very disorganised fashion into the back of my car.

After a brief photo shoot, followed by a discussion on how we might train our photographers to push the button far enough that it actually takes the picture, we set off round the M25 (no traffic jams!) and down towards Dover.

Alt NameWe attracted a lot of attention at the docks with people asking what we were doing (it says in big yellow letters on the side of the car what we’re doing) and began handing more of our business cards out for people to log on to the web…. We haven’t yet perfected our spiel explaining who CARE International are and why we are raising money for them, but after 18 months we’re sure it’ll just trip off the tongue!

Talking of the fundraising side, we’d just like to take the opportunity of our first diary entry to say a big THANK YOU to those who have donated so far, we’re at over 6000 pounds already, and over 1000 of that was raised at our leaving party which is a very impressive sum, in addition to everyone having a great time. We were very pleased so many people made the effort to turn up (some even coming from other countries especially for this event!) so we hope you had a good time too. We think you did!!Alt Name

Country Two – France – 191km completed

Uneventful ferry trip and following a fuel stop in Calais, straight down the autoroute to get to the Champagne region to spend the night. After only two and a half hours sleep for Maz & Alex and not much more for me, we were all really tired so stopped a couple of times for coffee where we tried to fix our first catastrophic mechanical failure – but fortunately it wasn’t on one of our cars but some stranded Germans in a massive orange Chevrolet (towing a VW camper which had already broken down!) which had exploded some important looking part in the engine bay. Alex prodded it but it just crumbled even more so looked pretty terminal. Good luck to them finding a replacement part in the middle of nowhere in France! We offered them a tow to the nearest garage but they declined and we left them to it.

So we end the day on a campsite in Épernay, centre of the champagne producing region, where tomorrow we plan to visit one of the champagne houses for breakfast in a little more style than a ferry fry-up, but for now Alex and Maz have brought some bottles with them so we’ll polish them off before getting some well earned sleep.

Tomorrow I’ll be going back to Chambéry to collect the mountains of stuff I left at Christophe’s place (and try to fit it in the car!) and to say goodbye to everyone in O’Cardinal’s and Melodies, while Alex and Maz will spend a couple of nights in Morzine with their feet up, and we’ll meet up again as we cross into Italy.

Next diary entry in a few days hopefully!

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Comment from AquilaEagle
Wishing you the best of luck on your day of departure!! Keep us updated!

Cheers

Ian
02 Aug 2005 @ 11:06:54

Comment from The Mother
Well, this is it. It isn't a rehearsal. Make the most of it and have fun. The Father and I wish all of you the best of luck for a ripping adventure. We shall enjoy it vicariouosly!

Lots of love,

P. (The Mother)
04 Aug 2005 @ 08:52:08

Comment from Elisa Esposito
Sipping champagne in the French countryside... and there's me thinking that you were going to eat pot noodles and dry fruit on your trips!!! Glad to hear that you set off allright and look forward to hearing more of your travel stories! Have fun and keep us dreaming!! Love Elisa
04 Aug 2005 @ 10:21:11

Comment from Dave & Elna Caravias
Good luck you guys! It only seemed like a few weeks back when you (Alex, Maz & Max) were here in South Africa diving with the sharks! Have a fantastic time & drive safely!!
04 Aug 2005 @ 10:50:40

Comment from Kylie
Hi Alex, Today is my last day so please feel free to bully as many people as possible to donate to my leaving fund, minimum wage means nothing to me!!!! Hope you're all having fun. We all miss you. Wish I was there. K x
16 Aug 2005 @ 16:57:56