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The Bucket List Trip - Final Leg

Steve Kirby  | Published on 10/1/2018

Hello to all my Healey friends.  If you have been following my articles in HMN and/or my blog, you probably know that I am on the final leg of my six-month Bucket List Trip in the UK and Europe.  But the last month has been anything but dull.

 

I checked out of my cottage at the end of August and hit the road for a 35-day adventure that has not disappointed.  First, I headed down the western English coastline, though Devon and Cornwall, eventually reaching Land’s End at the far southwestern tip of England.  Then across the so-called Jurassic Coast, through a number of beach resorts and into the New Forest.  Some of you might now that a giant Swap Meet is held there every year called the Auto Jumble.  I missed that by a week but did stop at the National Motor Museum and was able to see the new Top Gear exhibit as well as the great cars and motorcycles in the main Museum.  The Top Gear area was a real treat, with many of the star vehicles on display and a great twenty-minute highlight video.

 

Those guys were truly crazy! From there it was on to the Goodwood Revival for all three days of nostalgia and racing.  This is an event that should be on every car guy's Bucket List.  It was my third or fourth time and everyone has been bigger and better than the last.  Since I was driving the Jag, I got to park in the pre-66 parking lot, right by the entrance.  With over 2000 vehicles, it is a fabulous show in its own right.  The first day we parked next to 12 Facel Vegas! The Revival has grown so much (160,000 people each day) and has added so many more attractions that I saw less racing in the three days I was there than on any previous visit; and had more fun.  Yes, I did dress in period costume each day.

 

After the Revival closed on Sunday I took an overnight ferry to St.  Malo, France (very comfortable), spent two days there, visited Mount St.  Michel and then headed south down through Brittany (gorgeous coastline) and on to Bordeaux.  Bordeaux was a great find….  all the best things of Paris compressed into a one square mile pedestrian zone….  monuments, great buildings, fountains, cobblestone streets, romantic squares with outside cafes and much more.  I could have spent a few days there.

 

But no, it was on south toward the border with Spain to start a three-day Atlantic to Mediterranean crossing of the great Pyrenees mountains.  You really should read the blog to get the full impact of this journey but let me just say it was the best three days of driving of my life.  Absolutely stunning scenery at every corner (and over all twelve of the mountain passes I traversed).

 

Upon arriving on the Med side, I took a couple days off, then headed up around the French and Italian coasts with stops in Avignon, France and San Remo, Italy, finally arriving in Florence last Sunday to meet up with seven other Jag XK owners for an eight-day tour of Tuscany.  More on that next month.

 

So far over 6000 kilometers (3600 miles) since leaving the Cotswold’s 24 days ago (and just over 10,000 total miles)! Much to my pleasure, the Jag is performing like a champ.  I had an exhaust manifold to pipe gasket blow while at Goodwood, and an email to my Jag Club friends in England resulted in them finding someone to fix it in one day, only 20 miles away! What are friends for? I few more days in Tuscany, then over to the Adriatic coast, back across Italy to Genoa, drop the car and head home on October 4.  My Bucket isn’t empty yet, but the water level is a lot lower than six months ago.  Final report next month, see you all soon.