How better to gauge the nation's Rugby World Cup mood than put a man in a campervan and tell him to get lost?
Matt Johnson gets tantalisingly close to his hometown: Wellington.
The Hutt Valley. Wellington's black-jean buffer state; Te Marua Speedway the jewel in its crown. A 'family' speedway. Where children can discover the joys of crushing cars in a Monster Truck in a safe, kiddie-friendly environment.
The Capital lay beyond it. But the convoy of Camper-vanned fans we'd encountered further north on State Highway 2 had abandoned us. Clearly, many of the Australians and Americans arriving for tomorrow night's match were flying in. A once in a lifetime experience if you struck an (unusually) breezy day in the fair city.
In Naenae, our potato fritters arrived wrapped in Former All Black Justin Marshall's opinion piece. Along the second-hand bookstores of Jackson Street, glossy and dog-eared, more Former All Blacks stared into the window of the Kea Kaha-mobile from the covers of their autobiographies. Inside the Victoria Tavern, Former All Black Jeff Wilson and Former All Black Marc Ellis were talking heads for competing television channels.
Outside, I thought I caught a glimpse of Former All Black Bernie Fraser, looking a little lost. His beloved Athletic Park corner now a canteen in a resthome. Local papers were leading with the scoop that Jesus himself may have been an All Black.
Which in my book, given it's been several millennia since his last selection (and the fuss he always makes at practice), makes him a Former All Black too.
So try this. Close your eyes and have someone read the following list to you out loud:
Former All Black Kiri Te Kanawa.
Former All Black John Key.
Former All Black Olly Olsen.
Former All Black Tinky Winky.
Former All Black (insert own name here).
It's difficult to find three words in our lexicon that trail in their wake such gravitas and instant authority. Going by this list, I could listen to Tinky Winky's televised comments about the breakdown for hours; forgive John Key his foibles simply because he was good under the high-ball back in the day.
Perhaps the island of 'Former All Black' should be a country everyone is allowed to visit? Maybe we could have an amnesty of sorts? Open the borders.
That's why I'm proposing that this Saturday, September 24th, be known forever more as national 'Former All Black' Day. A day when we can all be F.A.B. When, if only for 24 hours, it's naturally assumed we all know what we're talking about.
That way, come Sunday the 25th, we'll all be ex-Former All Blacks. At least until next year.
* Follow Matt across New Zealand at his RWC Road Trip blog or on twitter @KeaKaharoadtrip.