Le Tour 2006

I caught the replay of the end of the 2021 Tour de France on TV today, and remembered that I inadvertently attended the finale of the 2006 tour.

Floyd Landis celebrating his victory.

How does one inadvertently crash the victory lap of the world’s most famous bicycle race? First, one gets sent to Paris on business; then, one flies early, to cope with jet lag and to enjoy an extra day in Paris on the company dime (thanks, Clarins!); then, one chooses to go for a walk on a beautiful summer day, and then starts wondering what all the fuss by the Champs Elysses is about, and keeps walking and watching.

Not speaking any French, I didn’t ask anyone for clarification, I just kept looking around, and I must have spotted a “Le Tour de France” sign that clued me in. I stayed by the Arc de Triomphe for a small parade, then saw the riders do their laps on the Champs Elysses, then meandered with the masses to the main stage, where I was able to see Floyd Landis accept his trophy from a remarkably close distance, maybe 100 feet (30 meters) away from the presentation (albeit from the back, which allowed me to get pretty close, as evidenced here).

It was a pretty wild thing to attend, especially by accident. I’m not a big cycling enthusiast, but I am a bike rider and I know the sport, so I enjoyed this very much, Landis’s subsequent dethroning notwithstanding. I have a hundred or so photos of the afternoon. Who knew?

I liked working for a French company. Nice travel perks. (Usually.)

Day 339

We are learning as a society that extended shutdowns of communal spaces lead people to strange and unexpected behavior. We, for example, drove to Florida.

It’s twenty hours on the road, more or less, from the Upper West Side to Grandma and Grandpa’s house down here; they are up north, finishing the vaccination cycle, and the house, which has sat unexpectedly empty this winter, needed some company. So we packed up—two adults, two growing children with overstuffed bookbags, one dog, clothes and supplies and snacks and four laptops—and, nestled into our compact wagon, hit the highway for a day and a half.

I am happy to report that with good kids, good internet connections, new tires and an extraordinarily calm Labradoodle, the drive was not a big deal. With a nice overnight stay in Richmond, we almost enjoyed it (sort of). And it was totally worth it: so far, we’ve missed out on a cold snap, many days of below-freezing temperatures, and roughly two feet of snow, in exchange for sun, space and swimming. (Although Eli is a bit bummed to have missed the snow, which, fair.)

This would have been our winter break destination in normal times, flying down for a week with the family. It’s nice to anniversary the trip, even in modified fashion. Parts of it almost feel normal.

Of course, reality is everywhere, from eating every meal at home to our family drive to the curbside covid testing center on our fifth day in town. (I can only imagine how my kids will reminisce: “Remember the year we drove to Florida in the pandemic? And then we had to get tested, and we rolled our windows down outside some clinic, and we brought the dog for some reason, and all the nurses wanted to pet him, and then Dad wiped Yogi’s head off with an alcohol prep pad in case they got covid on him?”)

We have to go home soon, back to the reality of New York rhythms, apartment life, in-person schooling, and the like. It’s been nice having what amounted to a four-week vacation surrounding work and school, though, and the temporary suspension of our daily urban landscape. Until we head back, though, we’ll be fully enjoying our time in the south. Because, as we now know firsthand, wintering in warm weather while covering one’s responsibilities remotely turns out to be a pretty good plan of action.

(Previously: 1, 2.)

The decade in cities

Hitting publish on my annual Year in Cities post made me think it’d be interesting to compile the past ten years of overnight travel into a single entry.

I suspected the first decade of the century was arguably more interesting—I got my passport in 1999, and in the ’00s went to Europe, China, and Central America. But this decade I seem to have ventured as far as Australia, and to twenty-one states (plus the District of Columbia) and ten countries, so there’s some meat on these bones. Let’s see where I’ve been:

Domestic

Akron, OH
Alexandria, VA
Arlington, VA
Athens, GA
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Baltimore, MD
Bellevue, WA
Blue Bell, PA
Bolton Landing, NY
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
East Hampton, NY
Edgartown, MA
Gloucester, MA
Grapevine, TX
Groton, CT
Hanover, NH
Hawley, PA
Hershey, PA
Jacksonville, FL
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Lakewood, NJ
Las Vegas, NV
Lenox, MA
Livingston, NJ
Longboat Key, FL
Madison, WI
Montauk, NY
Mooresville, NC
New City, NY
New York
Newton, MA
North Creek, NY
Orlando, FL
Palenville, NY
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Plymouth Meeting, PA
Portland, ME
Portland, OR
San Diego, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Saratoga Springs, NY
Short Hills, NJ
Washington, DC
West Tisbury, MA
West Warwick, RI
Wheeling, IL
Williamstown, MA
Winter Haven, FL

International

Avignon, France
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hong Kong
London, England
Paradise Island, the Bahamas
Paris, France
Positano, Italy
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla, British West Indies
Rome, Italy
St. Thomas, USVI
Sydney, Australia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The year in cities, 2019

Now in its fifteenth year! Not a very exciting year, as it were, we had enough going on at home that there wasn’t much venturing going on. Next year is setting up to be more interesting.

As always, here are all the places I went in 2019 and spent the night. Repeat visits denoted with an asterisk.

New York *
Palm Beach Gardens, FL *
Plymouth Meeting, PA
Lenox, MA
Edgartown, MA *
Lake Buena Vista, FL *
New City, NY *

The year in cities, 2018

Now in its fourteenth year, because a 20-year-old blog deserves some traditions, however unexciting.

As ever, all the places I went in 2018 and spent the night. Repeat visits denoted with an asterisk. Interestingly, for the first time in many years, I don’t think we spent the night in either Livingston (with my parents) or New City (my wife’s).

New York *
Arlington, VA *
Palm Beach Gardens, FL *
Grapevine, TX
San Diego, CA *
Alexandria, VA
Williamstown, MA
Gloucester, MA *
Edgartown, MA *
Portland, OR *
Lake Buena Vista, FL *
Wheeling, IL
Orlando, FL *
Washington, DC *

The year in cities, 2017

Now in its thirteenth year, with nods to persistence and/or not knowing when to quit, depending.

Herewith, all the places I went in 2017 and spent the night. Repeat visits denoted with an asterisk. Lots of new and different visits to old places this year.

New York *
Palm Beach Gardens, FL *
London *
Palenville, NY
Saratoga Springs, NY *
Hanover, NH
Newton, MA
Edgartown, MA *
East Hampton, NY
Gloucester, MA *
Livingston, NJ *
Santa Monica, CA *
San Diego, CA *
Lake Buena Vista, FL *
Longboat Key, FL *
Las Vegas, NV *

The year in cities, 2016

Now in its twelfth year, I’m listing in this space all the places I went in 2016 and spent the night. Repeat visits denoted with an asterisk. (I’m already excited for next year.)

New York *
Lake Buena Vista, FL *
Palm Beach Gardens, FL *
Las Vegas, NV *
New City, NY *
Livingston, NJ *
Winter Haven, FL
Longboat Key, FL *
Denver, CO *
Saratoga Springs, NY
Bolton Landing, NY
Portland, ME
Gloucester, MA *
Edgartown, MA *

The year in cities, 2015

Eleventh edition! Here is everywhere I visited and slept overnight in 2015. Repeat visits denoted with an asterisk—lots of them this year.

New York
Palm Beach Gardens, FL *
Lake Buena Vista, FL *
New City, NY *
Livingston, NJ *
Toronto, Ontario, Canada *
Denver, CO
Hershey, PA
Gloucester, MA *
Groton, CT *
Edgartown, MA *
Athens, GA
North Creek, NY *