Day 2: Saturday, 20th July 2013
After the excitement and hustle of Friday’s day one, day two of the Caravan of the Force tour was a far more sedate affair. Starting the day with a much-welcomed breakfast at the Holiday Inn Bexley Heath we left London on Saturday morning and headed the 60 miles southeast towards Rochester and the Holiday Inn, our home for the day. We had time aplenty to enjoy the hotel and make the most of the time to rest, relax and finalize the plan for the following days, which we knew would be packed.
On the late afternoon we travelled the short distance into Rochester and visited Rochester Cathedral and Rochester Castle, which was hosting an outdoor event with live music, fireworks, and a flyby by a World War II Spitfire. Full from a perfect Italian meal and with “Land of Hope and Glory” ringing in our ears we couldn’t have hoped for a better end to the second day.
Day 3: Sunday, 21st July 2013
Sunday, 21st July, day three of Caravan of the Force and a day that couldn’t have been more different from day two if it tried. An early start and with a full breakfast in our bellies we left Holiday Inn Rochester and made our way down to the coast to Dover, where we would board our P&O ferry The Spirit Of Burgundy and take the 90-minute journey to Calais. And luckily for us, thanks to James’ organisational efforts and the presence of Maureen and Jeremy, we travelled the only way the galaxies best bounty hunter and his wife would expect to travel — first class, with a champagne toast as we entered the thick fog of the Channel towards Normandy and the port of Calais. And not forgetting a blast of Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday as we began our journey.
Arriving in France (and quickly adjusting to driving on the “wrong” side of the road!) we headed down to Lille where we checked into a very pleasant Holiday Inn and made ourselves at home with a light afternoon lunch before heading on out into Lille and the town garrison, where we were hosted by Arnaud Miralles and the fantastic and enthusiastic members of the French Garrison. There we spent a fascinating few hours as their guests, taking some spectacular photographs in the boiling hot sun and enjoying their great company.
Swapping gifts we all discussed the forthcoming show in Essen and made plans to catch up again in a few days. Heading back to our hotel we freshened up, managed to send some content back to our anchorman Justin LaSalata in the States who is looking after Jedi News in our absence and enjoyed a delicious evening meal and chat before a well-earned rest ahead of day four.