On the edge of Barcelona, another dreaded toll booth loomed and as we approached, a puzzling event occurred. No ticket came out of the machine. Considering the automated toll system and the absence of a human-being - J looked at the barrier and considered his options. Initially he reversed backwards and into another bay - still with no available ticket. The car in-front seemed to get through without a problem and J knew that he had a 3 second window to make a decision. With the will and telepathic ability of 'everyone in the car,' J sped 0-100 mph through the barrier and as it began to lower it was the roof-box that felt the impact with an almighty bang.
Adrenalin was high and out of courtesy and fear J stopped the car (leaving enough time for the Spanish mafia to get his registration plate) and it was only when the rest of Spain drove through unfazed and a guard nonchalantly lifted up the barrier and added it to the pile of broken barriers and English flags at the side of the road, that J felt it was okay to continue. A sinking feeling of dread washed over the car as we edged closer to the next toll gate and feared imminent arrest.
Later in the journey we looked up and saw that K's unfolded sleeping bag was flapping in the wind and perhaps there was a problem with the roof-box. Naturally the clip from the front of the box had been annihilated off during the barrier impact - and the guard didn't even have the courtesy to tell us! Thank god K's half eaten roll matt didn't fall out - otherwise a very sternly worded letter would be making it's way to the embassy as we speak.
Luckily N's impeccable Spanish at the exit barrier meant that we were, thankfully, not arrested and carried on our way, ever cautious that our worldly belongings could fall off the car roof at any moment.
Accurate representation of roof-box security precautions