Benita In Paris

Old Jun 4th, 2013, 05:10 AM
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You all had a few challenges but seem to be holding up fine! Can't wait to read more.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 08:54 AM
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Grandmere: At Gare deLyon we were walking into the station and 70H saw this man with a large flat bed type of cart and motioned to him to take our luggage. He asked what train we were taking and took us to the appropriate waiting area. He left the cart and our luggage. He said he would be back in 25 minutes, Came back on time and took us to our train and put all our luggage on the train for us. I tipped him and off we went.

Car rental. Because we rented thru Kemwel (actually located in Portland, Maine and we live in the next town) and we lease a car (actually it is like buying the car but we actually don't) - I think it is some kind of write off for them. They have to specially order the car from Peugeot for us because it is brand new. I don't know where it is kept but it is off site and has to be brought to us. We have done this same thing several years ago. It is difficult to get an automatic and seven passenger at that. Hope this answers your questions.

TDudette. Thank you for your comment. I wasn't sure anuone was reading this.

The company that deals with car problems said she would send us a cab. I gave the phone to the lady at the Boutique (nutzo name for a sparce 7-11) and she told them to order a taxi van and gave them the address. We were taken back to TGV in Avignon to Avis. The insurance at Kemwel paid for the car so no charges (I think) and off I went to get into the car while 70H, 70 and 71 waited at the curb for me to pick them up and the luggage. As I have said, I haven't driven a stick shift in 30 years and at this age I don't appreciate a manual. The luggage and my partners in crime were waiting in an area specifically for taxis and busses. When I left the lot trying to find my way to them. I took a wrong turn down a dead-end street and had to turn around. I was in the middle of this dirt street and didn't know how to back up. At this point I hoped someone might come along to get the car in reverse. After much wiggling, turning and pulling the shift nob I figured out reverse. Drove into the lot where my party and luggage were waiting and realized I needed some kind of code or key to get into this taxi and bus only lot. There was a cab behind me honking. I very politely waved my arm in the air (hoping the taxi behind me would see a damsel in distress.) He got out of his cab, did something to the machine, and pointed for me to go ahead. Drove to the waiting bus lane, picked up passengers and luggage. We are now off to Murs.

We have dinner reservations at 8:00 p.m. Rental woman called them and told the restaurant we would be late. She suggested we go directly to the house, so that we would not have to try to find it in the dark. She gave us appropriate codes to get into the house.

For anyone interested, we are staying with Beverlyhillsluberon, at Les Plaines house. It is very lovely, large with lots of room and an outstanding view with heated pool.

We found the house and dropped our luggage and drove back down the valley to Goult. Dinner was at LaTerrace and absolutely wonderful. Best foie gras 70H has ever had.
Back up the hill and we all crashed.

Sunday: Went to store in Murs (five minute walk from house) for fresh bread and croissants. I was too late for the croissants but got some bagettes, etc for the house. Unpacked and tried to settle.

Next problem: They have wireless here so computer should have worked. We worked for several hours trying to figure out what was wrong. Called Beverly, she said she would have her friend in Joucas come by next morning to take a look and see if he could help. Beverly was home sick as a dog and couldn't make it to the house.

Next problem: 71 discovered she didn't have her pills (heart pills no less) and wondered if she left them at the apartment in Paris. So I called PP and, in deed, they found her pills. I asked them to please send them to Provence and I would gladly pay the charges when I arrived at the Margaux apartment. They said I would have to e-mail them the address. Only problem was, no internet. I called Beverly for her address to send the pills to and told her she would be receiving them as soon as the internet was working.

70 is sharing her heart medication with 71 until meds arrive.

Went to Gordes at night for pizza. Restaurant on left hand side corner after rotary going towards Murs. Excellent pizza (we each had our own), wine, creme brule with creme brule ice cream. 80E for four.

Next situation. Before we were seated, a husband and wife next to the table where we were going to be seated started talking to us and never stopped the entire meal. In fact, rather than face each other, they both turned towards us and were off and running. The woman never came up for air and her husband was right behind her. Very nice people, but I am trying to get my bearings and needed to recover from the day before.

Monday morning slept late, lazing around house in bathrobes when a knock on the door. It was Bev's friend who was here to help with the computer problem. He checked his phone and said I don't have service. So looked at modem, and lights were working. He unplugged cord from back and replugged and there was instant internet. We invited him for coffee and visited a while. I immediately sent a message to PP telling them the address for the pills.

Oh forgot, Monday morning I called the company that handles car problems and asked them to call the service station where the car was sent. They said they would but never called me back, so I called. Spoke to several people explaining my situation. After talking to several people, each one understood a little English and finally understood my problem. Then the fifth person I spoke to, said the car was at the Peugeot dealership and gave me the telephone number to call. They had taken the car over there at 8 a.m.

I called the Pougeot dealership and found a woman who understood some English who said to call back at two o"clock and ask for Gorlle (at least I thought that was what she said) sort of like gorilla.

We drove to Cavillion to the Aushan Grocery store. I thought it would take about 45 minutes with each of us going in different directions for certain items. One and a half hours later we were done. 70 and 71 looked at each item I guess. Anyway, I called Gorilla at 2:00 p.m. and found the car was all set and we could pick it up. She told me where they were and I tried to get the right names with Gorilla spelling every letter. We tried to hussle 70 and 71 up because
we didn't know exactly where in Avignon this place was. On our way 70 and 71 wanted to stop somewhere for sandwiches because they were hungry. I told them we could eat after the car situation was resolved. In Avignon, we stopped so 70H could ask for directions. I hopped out of the car and got some bananas, a bagette and wonderful milk cheese. I gave it to 70 and 71 and we had a delightful meal. Back on the road to the Peugeot dealership which wasn't that far. 70H went in and 64, 70 and 71 sat in the car. I gave him the small piece of paper with what directions I could understand from Gorilla. While we were seated in the car, a man drove in next to us. (This will make more sense later). While we were waiting for 70H to see where our car was, a worker in the service dept. came and got the man's car. Shortly after, the car was returned by the service person and the owner came to his car and motioned for me to back up because he could not get in. I backed up my car several feet. The owner drove off. In the meantime, one half hour later, 70H returned and said they don't understand me and cannot help me. 70H wanted to get a map!!!! I asked him if he asked them to call the number I was given and ask for Gorilla. He said he had not done that.

I went into the dealership and asked the woman at the desk to call the number I had written down and she looked at it and said that's my number. I told her the name I was given, like Gorilla, and she took me back to the service department. Joelle was the woman's name (ok, so I can't hear and definitely not good with accents) but my van was there and the hand brake was fixed.

While I was inside, the man in the car beside us was looking for me.

I got in the van and drove to the parked car where 70H, 70 and 71 were waiting. They told me the man was looking for me because I dented his car.

H wanted me to look at his car. I walked with him to where his car was being washed and when it was done I looked at his very small dents. It looked like a couple of car doors hit his door when being opened.

There were three of us in the car at all times and the car never shook, like hitting another car. And when 70H got in and out of the car, the man's car was not parked beside us.

I told him he could take it up with Avis and gave him my agreement number. I hid the papers to fill out an accident report. He took down my license number. The end.

What do I look like, a patsy or something. I am 5 feet 10 inches tall and as I was called by some guy at the market in Paris several years ago, A Big Woman!

70H, 70 and 71 drove the Avis car with all the groceries to the TGV. I drove the van and got quite lost for 45 minutes. Finally figured out how to run the GPS. Returned Avis car. Told guy at desk about the man, told him there was no report. He said the man was trying to get his dents fixed for free. I told the Avis guy if the man contacts him to tell him to go X$%& himself. The Avis guy said. "Should I tell him in French or English? English sounds so much better."

We transferred the groceries to the van and back to house for dinner.

I am sorry this is so long but trying to catch up.

Side note: 70H was driving me nuts while I was driving the stick shift car. It was one of those times you question why you got married. He was screaming every time I shifted incorrectly. It was not a pleasant time. But, when he drove the car with my friends back to TGV, I was told it was rather jerky and he almost had a head on collision. It made me happy he had difficulty with shifting.

Thanks for reading. Hoping for heart pills tomorrow. I may take a few myself.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 09:35 AM
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Oh, The Perils of Benita. You put a big smile on my face. You rock, Benita.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Loving this trip report... it's the bumps in the road (figuratively speaking) as much as it's the smooth sailing that causes fond memories.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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I'd like to see this saga on film! Actually, I think it could be a hoot... Diane Keaten can play you!

Love your report...admire your life actually. <GRIN>
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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We are leaving in 3 months for France...and traveling with friends. I am going to have each of them read this! I have already warned them that things will go wrong. Your trip report proves it! My goodness, I hope you have smooth sailing from here on out. Who knew the elevator situation before you left home would be the least of your problems! I am savoring every word of your report. Great armchair reading! Thanks.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 12:13 PM
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benitakaren, you are being tested! More, please.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 01:25 PM
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Thanks for the info re the porter at Gare de Lyon, Benita!
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 03:12 PM
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Love the trip report and your sense of humor in coping with situations!
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 11:34 PM
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Tuesday

70 and 71 walked to the store to pick up breads. We had ordered them on Sunday. They were horrified I had ordered 10 croissants and two bagettes. But after they tasted the croissants (which, by the way are the very best I have ever tasted, even better than Paris) they decided eight would be ok with two bags each day. Just wait until my three children and two grandchildren arrive, we will buy out the bakery each day.

Went to Gordes market. It was much bigger than I remember five years ago. I had 70 and 71 do the market on their own. I shop rather quickly. Just mosey past the junk stands and only try to only stop at Provence things. As I said before I love to shop. One time on my trip to Paris I went with daughter and her friend from Paris to that big, two level pharmacy in the 6th and spent $700. My daughter tells me, I am the only person who could spend $100 in a 7-11 store.

70 and 71 bought absolutely beautiful quilts. I bought some mighty good tasting prunes and some kind of prune in a jar. Sweet and yummy for, I guess meats, crackers and breads. I really seem to gravitate to any table with the word prune listed. At my age, I am trying to get everything moving - well everything on my body seems to be in the spiral downward motion except what I want spiraling down. Enough said.

Went to the table to buy some nougot. Picked out two kinds- small pieces. Then the guy says if you buy one more piece, I will get one free. Sounded like a good idea. The third slice was enormous and the free one was regular size. Bill was 71E. $100 bucks on nougot! I now have a lifetime supply. Beware of the nougot guy.

70 and 71 love the soap here in the house and I found it in the market so bought them some. It is called lavender flowers. Not too strong but a lovely scent.

Bought three big bulbs of garlic. We are going to roast them tonight. I have never seen such big bulbs (three in a bunch).

Also bought a top from Italy. Couldn't believe I found something that fit me. Linen, 3/4 sleeve, long, covers my butt with these big pockets down low. Sort of like something bozo the clown would wear. Oh, it's beige with polka dots. I like it. I am wondering if designers try to design the most outrageous items for tourists to buy. And then are laughing all the way to the bank.

Almost bought, and am going to when I see them again, a cork pocketbook. Very light weight, dark and light colors. Was told it is washable. Very unique. Am going to look for small purses for coins. I think they would make good gifts.

Oh, and lavender honey, my favorite.

We decided to go for lunch. Ate in Gordes at La Bastide de Gordes, Hotel and Spa. It is on the right side before the rotary in Gordes. Went down a staircase that looked like we were going into a dungeon. Beautiful restaurant. Sat outside looking overlooking the valley and towards the spot. Anyone who has been to Gordes knows the spot. There is also a terrace for cafe and drinks if you don't want food. 71 had a salad. 70 and I had veal. Four, small round pieces, med rare with vegetables underneath (the smallest potatoes I have ever seen, about the size of your fingertip) with a demi-glaze. Wonderful. I cleaned my plate better than my dog does at home. Of course a bottle of wine for medicinal purposes. We were told in Paris by our chocolate guide that wine is good for your skin. That sounded good to us. Plate was 26E. Well worth it for the view and food.

Came back to house. 70 and 71 took a nap and 70H and I took a swim. Dinner at home. Pleasant evening.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 11:53 PM
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Forgot to mention that I was informed this morning by 70 and 71 that they never made flight reservations from Marseille to Orly. When I had mentioned that I would take care of everything except their return to Paris. I had told them that flights were really cheap-that was months ago.

So now, Benita Travel Agent or as 70H says, Benita Negotiator, will be trying to make flight reservations for them. If this wasn't happening to me, I would never believe it. Oh, still waiting for heart meds. I am now definitely taking one of those pills!
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Benita the Negotiator to the rescue. Made 70 and 71's reservations today. Months ago the price was about $40 one way. Today it was $150.

Drove to Saint-Remy today. Walked around looking in stores, etc. Went for lunch at Roma Restaurant, 33 boulevard Marceau, Saint-Remy. Italian food. Very good. Bottle of wine, four plates, large salad to share, four ice cream cones. Just under 100 euros.

Joel Durand to buy chocolates. The smell just walking thru the door is intoxicating. Then next door to Le Petit Duc for Pistache Calissons. Delicious.

Went to Glanum, the Roman ruins. 70 especially enjoyed this.

Drove over the mountain to Les Baux-de-Provence. Decided not to climb the hill to the old town. Instead went to Oustau De Baumaniere. Beautiful, very expensive resort. (My husband and I and my 13 year old daughter ate there 27 years ago during our honeymoon. We paid about $250.00 for lunch and thought that was expensive. Probably would cost $700.00 for three now with wine and all.) 70H wanted to stop for a bottle of wine. We sat outside by the enormous pool. It was very pleasant, sort of like being on a movie set, nestled between the rock formations. The waiter suggested a local rose wine for 35 euros. Served two dishes of black and green olives. Least expensive thing we have done. Lovely way to spend an hour.

Back to Gordes for wine run. Can never have too much wine. Too full for dinner, just cheese, bread and fresh cherries.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Loving this report. Thanks.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 09:11 AM
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Thursday

Went to meet Beverly in Gordes at the house we rented five years ago to pick up the elusive meds. Heart pills and glocoma drops are now in the right possession and so far, no heart trouble or blindness.

Beverly gave 70 and 71 a tour of the house. Chemin des Reves. Quite different from this one but lovely. We didn;t reserve it because it only takes six people.

Off to Cavillion to the grocery store. 70 and 71 needed another piece of luggage for their shopping and we have only just begun. We all bought clothing in the grocery store. It wasn't like Walmart. Clothes , bras and panties were in the middle of the store. A couple aisles over from the meats! I bought a lovely white blouse, long roll up sleeves and another one in red. I am getting burned on my arms and need to keep them covered.

Home for lunch and a bottle of wine then off to Rousillion. I bought two beautiful dish towels. Walked around a bit, took pictures.

Then to Bonneveau (I don't know how to spell it and am too tired to get up to look for the name. ) Bought two long scarves and a bracelet. 50E We sat in a cafe for awhile for a beer.
Saw an incredibly expensive lapis ring, with citrine stones and white sapphires. Ring fit but was very large. Am considering it. Will have my daughter (40) look at it next week when she arrives. Went to a wonderful art gallery. Husband and wife are the artists. Saw a lovely provencal painting I liked. Think I can find one cheaper somewhere else.

Drove thru Apt. Didn't know it was so large a town. Home at 7 p.m. for dinner.

Nepresso machines in France are referred to as a George. George Clooney does all the ads on TV for Nepresso. I have not seen one yet, but I understand they are very entertaining.
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 01:04 AM
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Hi Benita,

You are keeping busy and not without problems! You have been in some very favorite spots of mine.

Les Baux is a place very dear to me. I stayed at Ousteau many years ago but the found Riboto de Taven across the road from them. Oustau had wanted to buy their proerty many years ago,but family would not sell it.

A different world down thata way...clean, clean air and a very laid back area.

Enjoy....
a bientot...

Joan
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 05:54 AM
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TTT
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 01:13 PM
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Friday

Decided to go to Pont de Gard. For some reason 70H decided it would be easier to drive over the Col De Murs. OMG three and a half hours later we got to Gard.- What was he thinking???

We ended up in Carpentras, stopped to see the end of the market (visited a few stalls) then cafe for lunch. 70 and 71 had cokes. 70H and I had cheese omolettes. I forgot to tell them to please cook the eggs. Don't know why the French like uncooked eggs. I don't want to see clear whites.

Then on to Avignon (we could have gotten from Murs to Avignon in about an hour). We sure took the scenic route. I don't need to see Carpentras again. What's there of any interest or importance?

Another hour to Pont de Gard. 70 and 71 really enjoyed it. Enjoyed more sandwiches and water. Then to Uzes. Great town with fun shopping. Found a great top from Paris. I am now chic, chic, chic.

70H wanted to stop at grocery store. Still don't know why. Went to Auchan in Cavillion. Did some shopping. Got back in car and it won't start. Please not again.

I am exhausted and am going to bed. I will finish this tomorrow morning. Let me just say 70 and 71 were dragging their rears into the house when we finally got home.

We are not going anywhere for several days. Have to rest from car nightmare.
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 01:26 PM
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I am still thoroughly enjoying your story! Can't wait to find out what happened with the car!
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 11:45 PM
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We are sitting in the car about 20 minutes trying to start the car, it would almost catch but wouldn't. So Benita , phone negotiator, to the rescue. Called the service repair company, told them my story. Said they would call me back. No return call. Waited another 20 minutes, called, told story, was told they would call me back. Waited another 15 minutes, no call, called again, told story. This time they wanted the vin number on the grey card. The guy at Avia Boutique told me not to keep this in the car. I stupidly thought, don't carry it with me, so I left it at home, I think he meant to carry it in my purse, just don't leave it in the car. 70H found the vin and I wrote it down. No return call, so called fourth time. Told story again, and pleaded with the woman not to hang up and please call me back. (I think she could hear the desperation in my voice). We gave her the vin number and she said she would call a wrecker.


During this whole time, the cars, in a very full parking lot, are leaving one by one. 71 says she may have to go to the bathroom. At the same time, the lights are turning off. I told her we could get out all our 1 euro coins and put shopping carts together (sort of like a wagon train) and make her a stall. Also 70 and 71 are getting hungry. 70 is contemplating starting to gnaw on the frozen pizza we bought for a quick dinner at home. Also wants to go back in the store for a cockscrew so we can open a bottle of wine (which we had many to choose from). All I am thinking is that Gorilla and I will become BFF.

When 70 and 71 were grocery shopping, they were very disappointed to not find Cheese-its in the store but found some cheese sticks which were not quite as good but ok.

So we all sat in the car eating cheese sticks, candy and water waiting for the tow truck.

A very nice gentleman and his son stopped to help us. He got out his jumper cables. Tried to open the hood. Of course, the manual is all French and we have no idea how to open the hood! He couldn't figure out how to open it either. He said the battery was just fine. He told 70H that these Peugeot 807's were the worst cars and they sell them all in Spain because body parts just fall of the car. Please don't let us lose body parts on the roundabout.

Roundabouts: They are every mile. I am sure 70 and 71 are extremely exhausted swaying back and forth for hours on end. Sort of like a continual tilt-a-whirl.

In the store, I am buying salmon. I didn't know how to tell the girl to weigh the salmon. A nice gentleman helped me out. He had lived in Pennsylvania for years and came back to France, got married and had children. He said he was a truck driver in the US and can't find a job in France. He said the union is letting too many countries in (like Romania, etc.) and it is rreuining the country. I said we have alot of unemployment in the US. He said, "America is still number 1 and France is number 2". He asked if it was easier in Paris to find english speakers, I told it was and he said in this area all you will find are French and Arabic speakers.

I am not bragging, but people just start talking to me. Maybe they are interested to see how a tall, large woman walks and talks. My daughter (40) and I can shop in a store and strangers will start telling us very personal stuff (like one lady told us about this affair she was having). 40 and I think we should start a private detective agency.

We finally made it home. As I said 70 and 71 were dragging.

Sorry to digress. Back to the car. While we were waiting for the tow truck, I said to my husband, why don;t you try to start the car again. He tried several times and finally it started. We let it warm for awhile and started to drive back to Murs. Half way, the service company called, and said a wrecker was on the way. We told her we were moving, and she was glad and would cancelthe wrecker.

Now to what we think happened to the car.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 01:22 AM
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We were told at the Avia Boutique that we could put any kind of gas in the car. When we stopped for gas at Uzes, my husband didn't put diesel in the car. He put something else. Don't know what. He thinks that was the problem. I am so thankful, beyond belief, that he put the gas in the car and not me. I would have never heard the end of it. Again, I question, why am I married? I am trying to keep a positive attitude but sometimes I just want to scream at him. But when you love a man, you love a man.

We have tried to read the car manual by using the pictures. We have reverted to kindergarten. We did read by pictures to only put diesel in the vehicle. When we got home. we ran the car for about an hour trying to burn off some fuel so we can fill it up with diesel.

Also, when we got home, 70H said, "Boy, these are difficult days we are having." Are you kidding me. I am doing all the driving and he is sitting in the passenger seat rattlling around with this huge map spread all over the dashboard trying to tell me it isn't much further.

Thank you for all the nice comments about our travels. I read everyone's trip reports but usually don't comment. I just enjoy what everyone writes. But now I understand that it is nice to know that someone is interested in all this writing. The adventure continues.
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