Thursday, July 23, 2009

STAGE 19 OF 2009

Stage 19 of the 2009 Tour de France begins at Bourgoin-Jallieu located near the heart of the Rhone-Alpes Region and flows 110.6 miles to Aubenas; a town that sits on the edge of a rocky ridge overlooking the Ardeche Valley.

I’m publishing this Blog a day early as we are traveling for two weeks and I will be without an Internet on Friday Morning ….I’ll add the story and awards lists as soon as possible. LATE BUT HERE ARE THE NUMBERS FOR TODAY:

Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd took advantage of the course today and beat all of the top ten to the finish line except for Lance Armstrong who increased his advantage over the others by having the same time as Cavendish who took his 5th Stage Victory today. Tomorrow is Mont Ventoux...another MOUNTAIN day!

The leaders are:

#1: Alberto Contador

#2: Andy Schleck +4:11

#3: Lance Armstrong +5:21 (4 seconds less than yesterday)

#4: Bradley Wiggins +5:36

#5: Andreas Kloden +5:38

Our Jerseys were awarded today to:

Top Team Overall: Astana

Maillot Jaune: Alberto Contador

Maillot Vert: Thor Hushovd

Maillot a Pois Rouges: Franco Pellizotti

Maillot Blanc: Andy Schleck

Our 2004 Journal continues without a slideshow as we elect to head into Paris and beat the traffic for tomorrow’s Final Stage of the 2004 Tour de France….

Saturday, July 24th, 2004 On the road to Paris

On the road early, we decided to skip the time trails at Besancon and beat the traffic into Paris on the A6 Tollway. Had light rain off and on most of the way to Paris. At a roadside stop half way to Paris we found the “fishing” jacket that Jim has been looking for; he wanted something with lots of pockets but sleeveless. They are great for traveling. We also made a stop to drive through part of the Fountainbleau Forest and the village of Barbizon, the birthplace of “plein aire” and ultimately Impressionism, just south of Paris.

Arrived about 1 pm and found our hotel fairly easily; having a detailed map of Paris from a previous trip helped. We are staying in a district that is new to us; Montparnasse. It has the fifty-nine story skyscraper and also a very large cemetery. Jim decided on the hotel because it was featured in a recent movie with Matt Damon called “Bourne Identity”. The name of the hotel is “Hotel de la Paix”; a very nice hotel that has all the amenities except air conditioning. But, no bugs to speak of so we’ve left the windows open. We’re on the fourth floor, but there’s an elevator; our room is located on the backside so it’s quiet. Spent the afternoon watching the Tour de France on television and then walked over to the neighborhood Cathedral for a beautiful Mass celebrated by three priests. After Mass we walked to Chez Clement’s for a delicious dinner to celebrate being back in Paris again.

We enjoyed walking the streets of Paris. The streets are lined with trees and life has a special quality that you can feel as you walk the broad sidewalks lined with outdoor tables at the cafes and individual shops for every imaginable thing that you can purchase. They have small homes and apartments, very small refrigerators and prefer to shop daily for food in their neighborhood stores. Occasionally a small grocery store but mostly it’s the bakery, the butcher, the wallpaper shop, the stencil shop, the framer, etc., etc., etc. It’s always a joy to experience the sights and sounds of Paris again.

This evening I found out that I was missing something from my luggage. I’m always after Jim when we leave a hotel to make sure we don’t forget anything. Well, this evening I searched high and low for my vitamin pill box; going through all of the suitcases several times. I finally called the hotel in Beaune and sure enough; I’d left them in the room. Fortunately we will be driving right past that city on the way back to Provence on Tuesday. Would have made it the rest of the trip as the pill box only held a week’s supply; but will be nice to be able to stop and pick up the box on Tuesday. This is probably the only city that we will visit on the trip twice with the exception of Madrid at the beginning of the trip. Somebody was watching out for me!

Parking has always been a problem in Paris like all large cities. The cost of parking in an underground garage is now 21 euros for twenty-four hours. We decided to risk parking on the street and after several different tries have finally gotten a spot right in front of the hotel. I was concerned about the hot weather, but we’ve been blessed with cooler weather since we arrived in Paris. Hate leaving things in the trunk of the car when it’s ninety degrees outside. We’re enjoying about seventy degrees at least for a few days.

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