Velogal's Blog

Monday, July 18, 2005



Oh, Baby – the traffic jam coming down from the top last night was monumental! Every vehicle in the world was parked on top and everyone headed down at the same time… Well, it felt like that.. I stayed kinda late doing my blog and stuff. So I missed the last gendarme convoy at 8:30 pm… Oh, Man, I knew I was in for it – but that’s just how it is at the Tour if you wanna go to the top. The Tour organizers offered the Press the option of taking the ski lift up, but with all my cameras, lenses and laptop, I had to drive my car. I don’t know if it helped those folks who took the lift or not.

There were three separate camper or RV accidents, so we sat for hours. I ended up being in the middle of this big, yelling, vicious stand-off between two car drivers. As I said, everybody uses both lanes down. Well, it seems that this woman wanted to pull out into the passing lane, and the guy driving in that lane wouldn’t let her over. She kept trying to bang into his car with her bumper. They both stopped in the middle of this line of traffic, and were screaming insults at each other. Then the car in front of them moved to the middle of both lanes and stopped – not letting anybody go anywhere.

Now, picture miles and miles of tired, angry, hungry and drunk drivers behind us – nobody moving because these of three cars. We are talking almost an hour of sitting: all three of them stubbornly refusing to move forward. The old, beat-up white van right beside me was full of drunken guys, clasping their foreheads and swearing. Their solution was to honk their horn non-stop. Like it was going to do any good. Different drivers walked down the line to argue, plead, implore and threaten the three drivers to get going. Nada…Rien… Nothing.

I wasn’t about to get involved in this drunken insanity – nothing I could do or say would have done any good. So, I turned my CD player up loud and played an old Eagles CD (only one I have with me), plugged my IPAQ into the cigarette lighter and played a zillion games of Jawbreaker. Finally, a gendarme van came screaming down the mountain with flashing lights and sirens - made them all move over and move their arses. Then we encountered all the stoppages from the accidents and stupid drivers.

I got to my hotel outside of Pau at 3:15 in the morning. Opened the door, turned on the lights and was greeted by an indignant cockroach, who had claimed ownership of the dark room. Squished the cockroach - inspected under my bed, between the mattresses, inside my sheets, under my pillows and in the bathroom. Piled my stuff up on a kitchen chair in the middle of the room, hoping the chair legs were too slippery for cockroaches to climb and went to sleep. C’est Le Tour…

Oh – today was rest day. What did I do? Went for a drive.

The photo is the fireworks on Bastille Day - seems kinda appropriate for last night...

3 Comments:

  • Aloha Velogal,
    This is just the best ever, most honest backstage story I've ever read. You really take us there!
    It is so great to watch the race and then see what is really happening through your words.

    The cockroach soundsa like a B-52 special.
    Thanks Coach!
    Shirl

    By Anonymous Shirl, At 3:09 PM  

  • Aloha Velogal,
    This is just the best ever, most honest backstage story I've ever read. You really take us there!
    It is so great to watch the race and then see what is really happening through your words.

    The cockroach soundsa like a B-52 special.
    Thanks Coach!
    Shirl

    By Anonymous Shirl, At 3:12 PM  

  • Hey Velogal!

    Just remember, all the comforts of home are here waiting for you. Enjoy the "experience" and continue giving us the real scoop.

    Business idea....lead groups from the US to watch/experience Le Tour. Show them the way! Teach them the little things. Teach other teachers! Reap the rewards.

    Keep the great reports coming!

    By Anonymous Mark, At 10:56 PM  

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