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 Belgian Winter Trip

Jonny Loot here reporting in for the Yorkshire Boys (plus two escaped Lancastrians, the Tills). After traveling over on the Hull/Rotterdam ferry our party of 8 jeeps and some of the Manchester boys we made a steady journey to the rally start and hotel, come on you don`t think we were daft enough to sleep in tents!
belgium1.jpg (73308 bytes) Houffalize was the jump off point saturday morning. In 1944 this was held by the German SS and the Americans had a right ding dong routing them out.

After a late night testing the Belgian beer with a few of the locals "Hands across the water" and all that, Saturdays route was 65km of snow covered tracks and roads through stunning countryside, I`ve taken part in the winter rally for the last 8 or 9 years and it just gets better.

The Belgians sure know how to run an event with every road juction marked with arrows and a road book supplied, no pressure to be anywhere on time, it's a case of drive, chill and enjoy.

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We had a slow morning run as the larger vehicles suffered from wheel spin in the snow and ice but with bulldog sprit we all took to pushing............... "ever pushed a GMC out of a ditch?" All this added to the enjoyment, our dinner time stop was La Roche. This is a small town located in a deep gorge with a river running through, it was a late dinner at 3 oclock due to hold ups. 

La Roche realy took a pounding in 1944 when it was heavily bombed by the Americans in a plan to route out the Germans. There are some great pictures in the museum there and the guy who owns it is always very helpfull in answering any questions, it's worth a vist if you're in that part of the world.

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Saturday night is party night, after a warm up in the swimming pool and a sauna and all being very reserved we popped down to the disco and night club where our Belgian hosts had live entertainment, "a right good night" as they say in this part of the world.
Sunday was a shorter run out with just the morning route, at this point I must note that it's still snowing and the drifts across some of the farm tracks are jeep bonnet height! belgium11.jpg (79308 bytes) belgium12.jpg (72230 bytes)
belgium14.jpg (77221 bytes) Our small breakaway group stopped out, not returning for the dinnertime meal at the hotel as we wanted to get in as much jeep mileage as we could. 

We spent the afternoon on near impassable lanes, at one point we had to A-bar two jeeps together for 8 wheel drive up one snow covered track. Sunday night was an early one, with a pizza in a local restaurant.

On monday morning we traveled to Luxembourg to the museum in the centre of Diekirch, again worth a vist. Sadly two or three of the rooms where closed for central heating to be fitted but the rest was excellent, again off on the road and up into the Netherlands for our overnight stop at Overloon to the Marshall museum. This is now housed in Liberty park.

This holds one of the best collections of vehicles outside the US and a must for military vehicle enthusiasts, it is all kept in a massive heated building with large dioramas, wide walkways and fantastic exibits. 

If you look it up on the web the information is not up to the overwelming display of machines from early war right through the 50's and into the 80's and 1990's.

Our goup then had to say goodbye the foreign lands and return to old blighty and the real world! 

Over the years I`ve learned that events are made by people and people make the event and for one I can say that the Belgium Military Vehicle Trust are some of the most welcoming people you`ll find. 

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WELL DONE BMVT and THANK YOU to all the organizers and participents ..............PS if you've got military vehicles, don't park it up for the winter get out there and use it! 

Article by John Gray