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Jul 11

Written by: Jeff Shapiro
7/11/2009 8:15 AM 

Sitting at work back in Missoula, I am finally feeling a bit settled. I am thinking back on the last few days with tired eyes and a big smile. It was another memorable trip with lessons learned and so many amazing experiences that it makes me glad for photos because there are many that would have been lost in the "here and now" nature of such an adventure.
After our last flight in Chamonix, Dustin and I went into the village to find some food and wine. We were soon joined by Jeff, Zippy and Katie at a little restaurant called Le Caveau. We assumed that it was once a wine cellar and it really had a cave like feel with arched ceilings and stone walls. The food was great and the company was better.

Here is what Dustin looked like after a bottle or two of red wine;-)

The next morning, we piled into the van and drove the 12 or so hours to a little town just outside of Dusseldorf called Hilden. The town had amazing character and seemed to be busy with locals and tourists. Belinda had gone way above and beyond spending hours on the web trying to find us a hotel to stay at that was rich in character but also reasonable on the budget. We ended up in a really nice little place within walking distance from the town square in Hilden which made for a nice afternoon of people watching. We had a nice night out to dinner knowing that Davis and Belinda would fly back to the States the following morning.

After Jeff took Davis and Belinda to the airport in Dusseldorf, we spent the morning short packing gliders, organizing our stuff for our own flights and taking the interior panels off the inside of the van to pound out the dents and damage that the gliders caused to the roof. We rented a brand new Mercedes 9 passenger van with 9 miles on it and were about to return it looking like it had been used in a rally race (typical). It was surprising how many dents we got out and how good it looked. Unbelievably, we would get our deposit back and were not charged anything additional. Lucky!

Last year in Griefenberg, Jeff found a pair of lace, black panties on launch. He had taken them with an agreed upon intention to give them to whichever American placed the highest in the upcoming comps for this year. Dustin brought them from Florida and because of his brilliant performance, Zippy was awarded the panties and in true form, put them on to model his placing proudly.

Americas next top super model

The next day, Zippy and Katie took us to the airport and after an unbelievably easy check in, Dustin, Jeff and I sat and talked smack until our flights boarded. We had a 10 hour flight followed by a 10 hour drive back to Missoula where we arrived at 3 am with just enough time to spare to take a 10 minute shower before heading into the hospital for a 12 hour shift. I was delirious by the time I got off work but psyched to see my family and to catch up on sleep.

Just 3 weeks until Texas. Hopefully, the currency and lessons learned in Laragne will help us to do well. Our gliders are going extremely well, we are fit and hopefully we will be fast. Can't wait for another opportunity to improve.


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