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Friday, July 23 - Stage 18
Thunderstorms woke us up during the night, with some hard rain and lightening! It let up for a while and we were able to have breakfast outside on the terrace, but the clouds were gathering and it didn't look good. Just as we were getting ready to leave it started raining and storming. The parking lot at the hotel had changed dramatically from when we pulled up to an empty hotel yesterday. It looked like every car in the area had converged on our hotel. We decided in order to get off of the mountain today, we needed to move our car. Jerry kept packing, as if I was going to leave the dry hotel to go out in the storm. We checked out and sat in the lobby and waited to see if the rain would ease up.
The rain finally slacked up and we squeezed away from our hotel and drove down the Col de la Faucille, about 3k from the summit. We parked right by some German fans who tried to tell us something about why we couldn't park there. Jerry ignored them and parked anyway. We walked down to a steep section and setup our camp. We were joined by Jeremy, a college student from Ohio, who is following the Tour on his bike. He saw all of our LAF signs and stopped to chat. He was sleeping where ever he landed at night and he wasn't carrying much baggage. In fact he asked us if we had ever worn the same pair of socks, five days in a row? Good luck Jeremy!
The rain stopped and everything dried out. There was the cutest Dalmatian puppy with big clumsy feet that kept jumping around. I kept going to visit him while we waited on the riders. A small group was out front, followed shortly by the peloton, once again with Postal up front. Even though it was uphill, they were really moving fast today. Lance and all the guys looked over at our LAF/LiveStrong signs again. Jerry took more pictures while I cheered. We always wait on the Postal team cars to pass because they always wave and honk at us.
We loaded up the car and were on our way to Dijon. We actually had hotel reservations from here on out. Not a single night in the car this year! What a relief. We found our hotel without much trouble and then found a cafe with a panache (our beer lemonade favorite) to relax. We walked next door to the restaurant to eat before wrapping the day. We had a great salad and noticed an American couple sitting near us as we were leaving. We stopped to talk and discovered the couple had sold their house, quit their jobs and moved to Europe to see what would evolve. Now that's adventurous! We wished them luck and as we have done with everyone else we've met along the way, invited them to join us in Paris at the 'American Village' on the Champs.