Last day of the Crusade 2014, and official fancy dress day. The meeting point was in a car park beside the lake – and it was at a leisurely 9.00am.
We all had breakfast in normal clothes – might have been a bit difficult for some of us to consume anything with their suits on. We had taken the Ghostbusters theme to the limit today. Paul and I were the Ghostbusters, complete with overalls, goggles, back packs and super soaker guns. Sonia was Mr Marshmallow Man, and Nancy was Slimer. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone so excited to be dressing up as a bit white ball of puff as Sonia was. She had been looking forward to this day for the last few months! We loaded the car, put on as much as was possible considering we had to drive to the meeting point, and set off.
A large hairy lion with a chequered flag pointed the way to the car park as we were driving along the waterfront. The car park was full of people in way over the top costumes. Including us. Nancy and Sonia had to inflate their costumes (Nancy had inadvertently lost a crucial piece of the inflator as she got in the car at the hotel, so had to be repaired with a cable tie and duct tape. Apollo 13 again!) and we made a grand entrance running down the middle of the car park chasing the ghosts as they wafted along. That made everyone laugh!
There was much frivolity for over an hour – everyone seemed to have forgotten we were on a car rally! There were croissants and champagne for breakfast – non alcoholic for the drivers! We then got on our way – only through France today. One country only – piece of cake! Sarah had said to follow the lead car for a really scenic route around and out of Annecy – and it really was. Then we seemed to come across it again – think we may have made a wrong turn somewhere. We spotted Chris in the Sunvil Inferno going the other way – are they lost or are we? The third time we went round, we followed the signs to the first town on the lost rather than the sat nav, and eventually left our town of origin!
We were very blasé today. Flat roads, plenty of time – should have no trouble at all. We even decided to take an non enforced caffeine injection for half an hour – and the weather then decided to absolutely pour. The car park was flooded. No problem – we have got plenty of time!
Challenge 1 today was to go to the town of Dijon, buy some mustard, and then adorn the most unlikely food with it, and eat it. We got to Dijon a lot later than we intended – social media indicated that most people had been and had lunch and left before we even got there. We worked out that we could spare an hour, so we headed to the town centre. Nothing seemed to be open – we were looking ideally for a supermarket of some description, but didn’t seem to find any. Unbelievable. You normally pass one every half an hour when you don’t want one. We decided to put the Disneyland Hotel address into the sat nav, and hope we would come across one on the way. She took us down some very narrow roads – we even passed a church that looked as if it was more on the road than away from it. Nancy spied a little shop that looked as if it might sell what we wanted, but it was closed from 1pm to 4pm. We were at 2pm. There was a lorry delivering some goods outside, so Nancy got out of the car – initially to ask the chap if there was a supermarket nearby. She was gone ages – and came back out with a jar of mustard and a box of chocolate éclairs. By this time, there were about six delivery people taking pictures of the car with their phones. Sonia didn’t need much encouragement to put her costume on again, and so did Nancy. Nancy then proceeded to pour a huge dollop of mustard over a chocolate éclair, and ate the lot! Photographic evidence in the bag – including the look on her face as it was going down! The owner of the shop decided he would like his photograph taken with the Marshmallow Man and Slimer – and even gave Slimer a kiss on the head. That pleased Nancy – I think she may keep the Slimer suit to attract the opposite sex!
Challenge 2 was to find and photograph the most unusual Mickey outside of the park. We were running quite close to time now – we still had over three hours to get to Paris, and it was gone 3pm by this time. This was when the engine decided to start playing up again. There were a few hills, and the needle just seemed to hover around that red mark. That meant that we had to have the heater on full blast, keep to 50 mph, and cross fingers and toes. We didn’t have any leeway to stop and cool down. The rain was lashing down at points – which didn’t help as we had to have the windows open to compensate for the 35 degrees temperature it was in the inside of the car. Who needs an old banger to give you heart failure! The latest time of arrival in Paris was 7.30pm, as they needed to count up the points and have the winning ceremony at 8pm.
When we left Dijon, we worked out from the sat nav that we would have an hour to spare – the eta was 6.30pm. Unfortunately the sat nav saw that we were on motorways, and didn’t take into account that we couldn’t travel above 40mph when we were going up a hill – and there did seem to be a few. There were a few tense moments when the needle was touching the red, and then we would get to the crest of the hill, and it would drop a bit as we coasted down the other side. We were taking about a third longer than the sat nav indicated we should – which put our eta at 7.30pm. This was going to be by the skin of our teeth if we made it!
We then turned onto a smaller road, and seemed to be able to keep up with the timing of the sat nav. We pulled into the Magic Circus Hotel at 7.15pm – early for us! We are used to only having two minutes to spare! We even had time to set up a photo shoot with the three ghosts heads sticking out of the black box on our roof, and Paul and I “putting them in” with our guns standing in the back of the trunk. Our own challenge for the day – getting rid of the ghosts!
After a quick change, we all waited for the results of the rally. The first award up went to the Ghostbusters the Challenge of the Day on Day one – Sonia’s rope bridge challenge. Excellent! After listening to some of the antics that some of the others got up to, we were all very proud to have achieved a win of some description. The Toytastic car won best car – deservedly so – the Big O won the Team of the Rally, and the Mario Brothers won the overall challenge with Sunvil coming a very close second.
What a fantastic weekend it has been again – and the very last one..................