- 10 Oct 07, 05:22 AM
Macon, Wednesday, en route to Paris - 400 kilometres down, 400 to go.
At this stage of the trip, with the sunny pitches of the south disappearing in Le Bloggernaut’s dusty wake and the bug-battered bonnet pointing towards the autumnal north, we’d expected to feel as glum as Lemmy in a library.
Instead, our chuggathon up the autoroute has seen the pair of us so sparkly-eyed and perma-smiled that we could pass for aged members of a particularly bad-looking boy-band.
So gaga are we with anticipation of what Paris will bring that almost nothing can disturb our happy equilibrium.
A French lorry tries to pull out and pass straight through us, as if we were a mere fly-splattered phantom? We ease onto the brakes and wave the snarling clown on.
Le Bloggernaut’s wing mirrors suddenly flip inwards in the face of a stiff wind as we pass Avignon, leaving me with the vision of a bat wearing blinkers? We merely wink at each other and chuckle at the old girl’s playful sense of humour.
Ben’s mood is so benevolent that he sits there uncomplaining as I sing the line from the Beatles’ “Savoy Truffle” a thousand times as we pass Montelimar.
I’m feeling so bouncy that I don’t even mention the fact I’ve now driven 3,800 miles on this trip while Ben has yet to do a metre.
In a petrol station just south of Valence, Ben even gives a cheery wave to another motorist, which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you find out that Mr Dirs Senior’s parting words to his son each time he left for university were simply “Trust no-one.”
For the moment at least, the nightmare that will be piloting our massive mobile chateau around the honking streets of the capital lies dormant.
We’ve heard about this campsite in the Bois De Boulogne, but we’ve also had a spine-tingling warning about that particular part of town from an old boy we met back down south.
I won’t go into the full details of what he said, but the grizzled tent veteran made it clear that certain parts of our anatomies would be at risk from the sort of attack that those certain parts would very much want to avoid.
We shall see. In the meantime, let the suggestions pour in for places to meet pre and post match, and ideally for a grassy spot for a spot of touch rugby too.
The rugby ball in the van gets tossed around at motorway service stations – there’s nothing like slicing a garryowen onto the cab of an articulated lorry for getting you back on the road quickly – but it’s been so long since either of us were on the end of a decent passing move that we’re thinking of changing our names to Chris Oti and Jonathan Webb.
Which one of us is which? I’ll let you decide.
Tom Fordyce is a BBC Sport journalist travelling around France in a camper van with Ben Dirs. Click here to search for all of Tom and Ben's blog videos.