European Escapades





I’m not sure what it is, but it is true that amongst the motorhome fraternity there are a group of people that are chocoholics. Fortunately I’m not one of them. You may find this a strange statement, especially from the people that know me, but it is true in this sense at least. When we use the term chocoholic, we are not talking smooth velvety, melt in your mouth chocolate delights, but a far more insidious addiction that involves two fairly innocuous blocks of yellow plastic that enable the sensitive vertigo afflicted amongst us, to level up the motorhome when on an unlevel pitch. The latest group of chocoholics we came across were encountered in an aires in the town of Hauterives, and they took their passion to the extreme.

Looks Wonkier With The Chocs Personally
Looks Wonkier With The Chocs Personally.

They arrived at the parking area around five in the evening, we watched from our van window as they pulled up about twenty metres away from us. A standard parking manoeuvre from both motorhomes and in the beginning they both looked like normal couples, but then the obsession began to show itself. Two brightly coloured levelling blocks came out from the motorhome garage and were placed behind two wheels on one side of the van and then the fun began. Reverse back and attempt a fast revving jerk forward motion to hopefully arrive safely on your chosen block position and there you have it, a level van. But what’s this? The blocks have not levelled the van… Disaster strikes and the position of the blocks have to move and the manoeuvre started all over again. Why do we know this? Well the experts amongst you will know that besides the standard bright yellow blocks, a chocoholics next favourite implement is the dreaded spirit level. This never lies about your actual alignment and a chocoholic will always want perfection. This lot spent ten minutes trying unsuccessfully to get a level van, before having a conflab in the middle of the parking lot about their predicament, discussing novel and quirky ways to deal with their issue. The result was a lot of waving of hands in the general direction towards the other side of the parking area. All implements packed away and the motorhomes were moved with vigour to the new agreed upon location where the whole process was started all over again, with the usual gusto and more loud revving of the engine as the perfect level site was strived for. Unfortunately for this group of chocoholics the second site was just as uneven and lumpy as the first, comparing it to a poorly maintained billiard table I used to play on at home. It was obvious to the group by then that the four of them were in no position to resolve their predicament themselves and so they enlisted the help of the French couple that were parked to the left of us back on this side of the parking lot. Another long discussion and gyration of limbs and they were on the move again, this time parking right next to the poor French couple that it seemed, had the only flat area in the whole car park. Except for the one yellow choc used on one of the rear wheels to give that perfect state of equilibrium.

The Offending Beast
The Offending Beast.

I know it’s a little awkward to cook in an uneven van, the fat in the frying pan slowly drifts to one side as you try and cook a nice steak, or when you empty the sink and you have a slight slope away from the plughole, the water hangs around unless you sponge it towards it. I for one don’t like to sleep with my head lower than my feet, but you get over it and as I said it was not a bad a parking area in my opinion. But the two couples were finally sorted and happy, both from the chocoholic and the spirit level gods perspective and peace settled onto the contented aires community once again. So did all this angst and consternation make for happy chocoholics? We can only presume so as we saw them about half an hour later heading off into town for what could only be a well deserved dinner in a local restaurant.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011 at 12:49 pm and is filed under Travel Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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