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Sunday, July 18 – Stage 14
It seems our luck is improving. As we made it to Nimes last night and searched for our hotel, we found the Tour finish area for today. It was only about 3k from the hotel, very nice! Since we were so close there was no need to get the bike out, we just moved the car closer to a spot where we could make a quick escape when the stage concludes.
We packed our rolling cooler with drinks, snacks and some of our LAF t-shirts and walked down to the media area. We spotted OLN announcer, Paul Sherwin, and called him over. He chatted with us for a while and he commented that “Lance is stompin”. We walked down further and found Bob Roll. We had spent some time with Bob at the Tour de Georgia, and he is going to help us with an LAF fundraiser in Birmingham, hopefully later this year. Bob gave us his thoughts on the Tour—“Homeboy is kicking some serious ass!” He is always good for a laugh! Bob chatted with us for a while and other Bobke fans stopped by to tell him hello. There are so many Americans here this year and it’s great! We made plans to try and meet up with Bob during the rest day and then he went back to work.
Jerry and I strolled past several restaurants and had breakfast/lunch at a bakery. It is so much easier to just point in the case at which sandwich or salad you want instead of trying to order from a menu when you don’t know much French (our own fault). We spent the rest of the afternoon talking to people we met and I got to pet a few dogs. This wonderful couple we met from Madrid had their two dogs and I got to hold the miniature greyhound, Bing. He was so precious, but it made me miss my puppies!
We decided not to even try to see the riders cross the line because there were so many people and I had to get smashed up against the barricades just to see a blur of jerseys. Instead we watched it on the giant TV. Today’s stage didn’t affect the overall GC, and it was just kind of a stage to move the race closer to the Alps.
We were able to get out of town pretty quickly and headed for Grenoble. The Office of Tourism was closed when we got into town so we just walked into a hotel and tried to get a room. They were booked but called and found us one at another hotel. They gave us directions, and it sounded simple, but the one-way streets and train only streets had us driving around for a while. We drove on the train tracks, in the bus lane and the wrong way down a one-way street before we found the hotel. We were very happy to unload and go to bed!