We decided to aim for the hotel we'd booked, the Hotel des Lacs at Celles-sur-Plaine in Alsace, and stop early if we really couldn't make it. We arrived in Calais at 16:15 local time, and hit the autoroute.
It was a long, hard slog, with a brief supper of service station sandwiches rather than my envisaged leisurely meal at the hotel's award-winning restaurant. At last, after dark, we left the motorway and travelled through darkened villages, then along a winding road through the misty forest. Mountains and lakes were intermittently visible through the fog; Howard disappeared around a bend ahead and I was alone in this eerily timeless place, apart from a pair of glowing eyes glimpsed up a track branching off the main road.
Howard found the village and I found the hotel, as is our usual procedure. It was a quarter to eleven, long after the ETA I had supplied, and the building was shuttered and dark. Trying not to panic, I looked up the hotel's phone number and spoke to the proprietress. She was warmly welcoming, and within minutes had come down, let us in, opened the garage for our bikes, and shown us to a well-appointed double room where we were able to enjoy a bath! before turning in.
We were late, we were tired, but we were back on track.