We left the worst (and most expensive off-peak) campsite yet, with fond memories of the most delicious pizza yet, and were soon on the autostrada. Very bendy, lots of tunnels and lots of viaducts; narrow lanes, no hard shoulder and slow lorries. It was not a pleasant driving experience.
We came off the motorway at Genoa to go to the factory which makes the boat cover support prop that we use to support our tailgate. Our prop was destroyed in an earlier mishap I have previously been to embarrassed about to mention. We wanted a replacement. We arrived at the factory gates at 12:03, they shut for lunch at 12… So we went off for lunch too returning at 1pm. Yes, they made the prop; yes, they had dozens in stock; no, they would not sell us one. We had to go to one of their retailers. The local one in Genoa closed at 1pm for lunch and would not open until 3.30pm.
We drove instead to a retailer in La Spezia on a somewhat straighter and flatter road. Yes, they had one, and the retailer came back with the sort of prop a plasterer uses to hold plasterboard onto the ceiling. I bought it, and we were on our way again.
The campsite is at 800m in the hills to the north of Florence. The boys were excited by the thick piles of snow lying about. Clare looked at them with dread.
Once the bikes were unloaded the first thing I did was check the charge of our leisure battery – it was at 3 bars (50-70% charge). After such a long drive it should have been nearly full. Something was wrong, but what.