“We should do something for the weekend”
“Well, we should go away, how about Cornwall?”
“Cornwall? On a Bank Holiday weekend, when we can’t leave early? Are you mad?”
“Oh have a little faith, it’ll be all right.”
And so TJ's Astra Sri Nav 1.6CDTi Bi-Turbo (CX66YFL) left Wrexham at 6:00pm on a Friday night, heading for Bude in Cornwall, a small matter of 275 miles away. With directions sent to the car’s satnav by a very nice OnStar lady (just press a button and ask a real person), the fuel tank was full, the boot was very full (we don’t travel light) and along with ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed' & son #1, it was with a sense of foreboding that we hit the A483, heading south towards certain gridlock and traffic chaos… or not, as it turned out. There was no traffic. No hold-ups on the A5 or M54, the M6 was clear and even through the roadworks on the M5, there were no queues. Very welcome, but very strange.
As is traditional, roughly halfway, we stop at the splendid Gloucester Services … 125 miles down at an average speed of 63mph & 64.1mpg - not too shabby. Son#1 declares the fish n chips ‘swag’, which is a good thing, apparently. TJ declares £2.50 for a bottle of water definitely unswag. And unswigged.
Quick run down to Jct27 which marks the end of the motorway cruise and the start of the cross-country blast over to Bude. With 211 miles down, the average speed is now 67.2mph and the consumption a very respectable 62.3mpg. YFL makes very short work of long distances, and the smooth & quiet progress lulls both front & back seat passengers to sleep. Driver stays awake with the help of the supremely comfortable seat and the DAB radio which holds the signal uninterrupted as ‘Absolute 80’s’ pumps out a bit of Dire Straits. All is right with the world as the miles glide by and YFL powers on.
The fun part of the journey along the rollercoaster A361 towards Barnstaple, before picking up the sinuous A39 along Cornwall’s north coast. This is where YFL’s mighty Bi-Turbo engine comes into its own, the prodigious torque making light work of the endless uphill dual-carriageway sections, punching out of roundabouts and making the most of overtaking opportunities. The ‘Sport’ button enlivens the later single-carriageway wild & twisty bits. Arriving in Bude, at the beautiful and highly-recommended Wooda Farm Holiday Park the scores on the doors are remarkable – 277.6 miles covered at an average speed of 62.4mph and a positively abstemious 63.5mpg! Door-to-door, with an hour’s stop, was 5 1/2hrs. All passengers reported a quiet night’s sleep to this point, driver reported no aches and pains. We decamp to the delightful 'Beachcomber' holiday home as YFL cools down, ticking quietly outside…
dawns bright & breezy, so a quick game of tennis, then YFL switches from high-speed express
to urban warrior, mingling with the grockles and VW camper vans in downtown Bude and along
the coast road to Widemouth Bay. The (optional) sunroof
brings added light & (very) fresh sea air while the powerful aircon keeps things cool. Saturday night – lovely grub at the on-site restaurant/pub, YFL given the night off, driver takes a pint of Rattler and The Wooda Big Boy Burger. Man V Food... man wins. Son #1 declares 'Sausage & Chips' to be swag. '‘She Who Must Be Obeyed' declares 'Hot 'n' Sticky Garlicky Chicken' to be worth the drive on its own.
Sunday – bucketed down all day, so 10-pin bowling/Scrabble/Uno/cards/sleeping sort of a day. Sunset pics, then pizza from the on-site takeaway. Nice.
After a couple of days in & around the beautiful Bude, we head home, assuming that we couldn’t drop lucky again and would thus hit more traffic than on the way down. Leaving at 9:30 on Bank Holiday Monday, Same route, stopped for an hour in Gloucester Services, and pulled onto the drive in Buckley at 3:21pm. No traffic, again a clear run. Notably, we had managed the trip from Wrexham to Bude and back on a single tank of fuel.
Overall, 582.8 miles were despatched at an average of 61.7mpg. Including the two days in & around Bude, the average speed for the entire run was 56.4mph.
YFL didn’t miss a beat, and was magnificent on both motorway and A-roads. It was surefooted in the rain & fog on the way home, relaxed on cruise control up & down the motorways, and lusty on the twisties. It did the whole heavily-laden trip on less than a tank of juice despite the driver 'making progress'... methinks a bit of YFL-TLC is in order...