Chapter Four Crossing France
As If They Were Never Here
My arrival here in Saint Amand-Montrond must have been about 13 or 14 o'clock and the stage crew had already done much of the work but further construction and sound checks continued for three or four hours. Tony Bram's Orchestra then played from about 18 o'clock until about 3 and I think I did fall asleep before it was over but I have no idea how that could have happened as you bet the band was loud.
When I got up this morning, there wasn’t a trace of the band. They had torn down the entire kit during the night, loaded it back into the trucks and rolled back out of town. There wasn’t so much as a paper cup left blowing around on the town square.
Today the objective is to find the exact path of the Le Tour de France riders and get a good vantage point for pictures. They will arrive here about 15 o'clock and they ride, I think, about one hundred and seventy five kilometers on this stage so they actually maintain a better pace on their bicycles than I can pull on Haximoto for most days. I will get on-station well ahead of time as I'm sure access will get closed off to prevent conflicts with the riders.
I'm not a huge fan of Le Tour but Lotho is and it's a great pleasure to be his reporter for this. The budget is completely blown by it but it's been huge fun and hopefully it is giving you a good taste of France and Le Tour as it is sure giving me one. There's no way I'll stay here again tonight as the rates are ok for tourists but way too much for this adventure so I will roll for Tours as soon as I have got the race covered and there's still enough sunlight to ride. From here out I will be burning for the coast as quickly and as cheaply as possible but the route will take me through Le Mans and I know you want a report on that: Haximoto on the Mulsanne Straight.
Unfortunately, Haximoto was feeling a little sick yesterday with a noticeable loss of power. She didn't want to idle, particularly when she was cold, but she was not misfiring at speed. There is no sign of smoke so the rings have not gone bad but that wouldn't have happened quickly anyway. My theory is that some water may have found its way into the tank during the storm so I'm going to continue making for the coast as I don't think there is much else to be done. Fuel floats on water so there's no way to siphon it out and she wouldn't run at all if there were much of it. We shall see how things go today as I ran most of a tank of fuel through her yesterday so there will be another report tonight.
We also have a brief medical report as I do think I busted somethin' in me right dog. The foot is still quite painful and this may be like when I took a fall skiing and Lotho was saying don't be a pussy, let's ski. We did ski but, sure as hell, my thumb really was broken. I've been saying don’t be a wimp to myself about me dog but it shouldn't still be hurting and walking on it makes it worse. I don't think there's much to be done about that either so this is just a status report. We're a bit damaged but the adventure continues.
The iPad is fully charged for video and the camera is fully charged for pictures. I believe all is in readiness for Le Tour.