Aug 042011

Call to Duty 3 – The Rebels Road Trip

The build up for CtD3 began months in advance on the UK Scenario forum, with location initially kept secret by Tim and Al. over a period of time small snippets of information were released, giving clues to the location and what could be expected from this event. Being the masters of suspense and marketing that they are, Tim and Al succeeded in building players into a frenzy of excitement!

At CtD2 Colin ‘Ghost’ Townson managed to secure his pair of pre-launch tickets in the Support for Soldiers auction, all expenses paid, ticket, food, travel and as much paint required. In hindsight, what a bargain that was!

With the location finally released as a set of islands in the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Croatia, the event was finally launched and the usual mad scramble ensued to be one of the lucky few to head for Guerrillastan (Mrcara).

Just prior to ticket launch we already had a thread running on our team forum, confirming who wished to attend, and each person having their proposed ticket money deposited in the team account, in typical Rebel organized fashion. On ticket sales going live we managed to secure our six tickets and the lucky few were in; myself, Mick ‘Tackleberry’ Beeby plus Phil ‘Sully’ Wayne, Ian ‘Venom’ Garrat, Ben ‘Timmy’ Timms, Ethan ‘Bubba’ Belfield and Jon ‘Chaos’ Harrison.

Further to ticket sales, I was contacted by Tim and asked to take a role as one of six Squad Leaders tasked with building a team atmosphere, ensuring tasks were completed efficiently and everyone looked after each other in the testing conditions we would find on location. With the information being provided on what to expect, and knowing I don’t normally have the best tolerance for hot climates; I approached the decision with trepidation. Being a Squad Leader I would need to push myself beyond my limits to set an example to those looking to me for help. Not being one to shirk a challenge, there could be only one answer to such a privileged request from Tim; ‘oh go on then, whatever you need me to do mate.’

With the CtD3 forums being opened up on UK Scenario, and Squad lists published, I was to discover that SEALS Squad 1 was to be my responsibility for the duration of this adventure.

Behind the scenes the Rebels had been discussing travel arrangements and getting funds in place for the usual group bookings. During these discussions Sully proposed that we had a little Rebels road trip and make use of his 9 seater VW Transporter. With six traveling there would be ample room for passengers and luggage and a quick costing suggested this would suit the tightest of budgets too.

Watching the CtD3 forums, and the build up to this epic event, seemed to be too much for another Rebel and, after a phone call or two, Rob ‘Papabear’ Gell decided he could resist no longer and wished to join the party! Another call from Papabear to Sully, on the viability of a seventh passenger, and we now had seven Rebels making the trip.

With time moving on, Papabear and Sully looked at detailed costings, booked an apartment in Split to accommodate all the Rebels, and provided a budget to all members for the trip and accommodation. Everything was organized, in typical Rebel fashion, and we were go, go, go. It was just a case of containing our excitement!

Just when you think everything is sorted, along comes something else to consider. After playing at SLR/Al Murray’s D-Day Mike ‘Mad Mike’ Coulter won himself a free ticket. Having already looked at the possibility of financing attendance, Mad Mike was fully prepared to get himself a slot on the Shoreline Minibus. Sully was having none of this and decided that, if he could source a luggage rack for the VW, the Rebels should all travel together and so we found ourselves with now eight on the Rebels European Express!

Finally, the day of departure arrived. This saw all eight of us meeting at 4.45am at the home of Chaos, a guest house in a little village to the south of Coventry; perfect location for everyone to leave their vehicles for seven days and board the VW. After securing luggage as quickly as possible we set off just after 5am, aiming to meet the Shoreline convoy at Folkestone for the Eurotunnel crossing into France. Through previous talks with Tim, he had kindly booked our crossing at the same time as the Shoreline vehicles.

Arriving at Folkestone we met with the Shoreline van and the two minibuses. The Guerrilla mindset started here! In the car park at Folkestone Eurotunnel Terminal everyone mucked in to help unload the van and then re-pack with all the compressors, dive cylinders, paint and luggage from the minibuses. That done we all then took our places ready to cross the Channel. All vehicles boarded the train and, once moving, we found ourselves at Calais 35 minutes later.

Since the van had to travel as freight, due to items such as compressed air tanks, Tim and Cambo exited in a different place at Calais so we then all RV’d before heading off on the start of the drive across Europe.

The journey saw us taking a route that generally went Calais > Riems > Dijon > Lyons > Mont Blanc Tunnel into Italy > Italy > Slovenia > Croatia > Split, a total of about 1300 miles from Calais to Split.

The Shoreline convoy had one or two pick ups on the way, one of which was Al’s niece, Zoe Murray, coming to play with some crazy people from the UK.

At this point the convoy was limited by the speed of the slower vehicle, which happened to be the North bus, and progress was slow. Before hitting Lyons a faulty fuel gauge saw the van having fuel problems, something remedied as fast as possible by the Rebels bus making a flying visit to services for a jerry can of fuel. After RV’ing with the two Shoreline buses it was decided that we could make better time by pressing on ahead and so the Rebels bus left the convoy and attempted to make best time for Split.

With a 130kph speed limit on most European roads, we pressed on across France, towards the Mont Blanc tunnel. We had three designated drivers and a ‘shotgun’ man responsible for satnav programming of waypoints and fast payment at toll booths. With the shortest of toilet/refreshment stops every 3 hours or so, we found ourselves entering the Mont Blanc tunnel around 00.30am on Thursday 14th July, some 18 hours (allowing for +1 hour clocks) after boarding the VW near Coventry.

After driving through torrential rain on the French side, passing through the tunnel brought us into Italy and dry weather again. With clear road in the early hours, we pressed on across Italy and Slovenia and finally crossed the boarder into Croatia. With the day now well and truly started we began to see the temperature rising as we made our way south towards Split. Information signs started proclaiming 23 deg and gradually increased until they were displaying 35 deg as we neared our destination.

We finally arrived in Split at 1pm on Thursday and proceeded to find our accommodation and settle in. After Janek, from Powerball, found us it was then a case of unpacking the VW. This was then followed by a few of the team heading to the beach for a swim whilst the rest of us went to check out the port and see where we would be meeting the next morning for the next leg out to the islands.

After this we all freshened up, donned our Hawaiian shirts and made our way down into Split, first for some food and then to try and meet up with any others that had already arrived.

The first people we met, whilst wandering the promenade, were Eddy and Staaf of Belgian team Woodfarm. Not having come into contact with anyone else yet, and knowing that the Shoreline convoy was still some hours behind us, we found a little cafe bar and settled in for some relaxing beers in the glorious sunshine.

It wasn’t long before the Shoreline Rangers found us and joined our little party on the seafront. Now we didn’t feel quite so alone, although there was concern over whether this little establishment would be able to keep enough beer flowing!

The Shoreline convoy finally arrived in Split around 9pm, with many of the travelers freshening up before joining us around 10pm. With people then peeling off throughout the evening to get some rest, a few hardcore found themselves on the beach in the early hours. After walking back with Al Murray and Andy Sables I think I found myself back at the Rebels apartment around 2.30am Friday morning!

Friday morning saw everyone up at 6am, bags sorted and down to the RV point for 7.30am. The heat was already building, with everyone feeling the humidity. Once Tim arrived he quickly got everyone organized and we moved down to the Ferry Terminal for the first part of the sea journey. This was to be a commercial ferry out to an island port called Korkula, where we would then transfer to two private boats for the final hour and a half to Guerrillastan.

Work details had been planned in advance by Tim and Al and so the first work squad took charge of getting all the luggage onto the ferry while everyone else boarded the passenger area. After the heat on the docks, the air conditioned lounge was bliss and likely to be the last bit of civilized luxury we saw for five days.

See Part Two tomorrow!

See the video trailer which is a trailer for the one hour documentary currently in production from this event to be held annually

Article by Mick ‘Tackleberry’ Beeby.

Photos by Bradlo Photography.
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