Day 1 - Let the challenge begin!

What a night. Between the three of us we must have got at least 3 hours sleep! Not every team had the same idea of an early night, and some seemed to prefer to spend time in the hotel corridors until the early hours. Fun!

Breakfast at 0630, which was very ..... continental, before packing up the car. Have we forgotten something, it seems to fit better this morning? It seems the French have a sense of humour. The cars of Midlife Crisis and Team 101 Grumpy Old Men had been given an additional unwanted accessory - wheelie bins on the roof! Next onto the Muster point. It was great to get all of the cars together and compare bangers. Some living up to the name "banger", take a bow Team 119 Aberdeen Angus (all the way from Aberdeen) and Team 107 Plain Lazy. Others hiding their worn mechanics behind perfect new paint jobs, Team 102 Smack my Beach Up and Team 122 Dumb, Dumb & Dumber to name a couple.

Just after 8'o'clock and it was time to release the bangers onto the French. Luke climbed on the top of our little Volvo and set the teams on their way. Today's journey is vast, around 600 miles so the challenge is pretty simple. Take a photograph of ten different types of animal along the journey. It's not as easy as it sounds; think about it. Shortly after getting on our way we sent out the SMS challenge. On check-in we'd got the impression that some teams were nervous about the idea of venturing into Paris.

We don't like to disappoint! The SMS challenge, get a photo of ALL team members, your car, and the Eiffel Tower. Bonus points for getting right close up to the tower and capturing the base in the pic, and more points for getting a Parisian to pose in the photograph. Easy!? Well we decided to prove it by doing it ourselves.

Paris, the city that road laws forgot? No lanes, no etiquette, no consideration - a test of will. And so I'm now fully broken in and ready to become a Paris Taxi driver if the need arises. Look forward, ignore your wing mirrors and constantly use your horn (and cow noise siren if fitted, which we have).
The Arc de Triomphe island was my personal favourite (give way to traffic NOT on the island, ha!), along with the Champs Elysees. We then upset the locals by blocking a taxi rank in an effort to get the photo we wanted. Before we had outstayed our welcome we moved on, and found the other side of the Tower much more civilised, where we posed at leisure. We were joined by Dumb, Dumb & Dumber and witnessed them getting the full points total. They told us their next stop was the zoo. An early favourite for the prize perhaps?

A quick lunch outside of Paris where we stopped to chat with a few other teams including Team 123 the Doggers and Team 107 Plain Lazy who had chosen to give Paris a miss in the Bedford Ambulance. Now we press on, eating up those miles through France onto tonight's camp site.
Just an update on Team Trevs, Steve has called to say his team mate is out of hospital and is flying into Lyon! He is going to pick him up and meet us in Andorra tomorrow night. This one is already developing into quite a story.

Who will be the early leader? Only time will tell.

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