Ohmygod–Part 1 On the Plane? (100+ posts!)

I had planned for this to be my post #100. Why? Well, I am not really sure. Some of you out there read this story in ‘real time’ and have suggested that I publish it here. I have been reluctant to do that, however, since after I put this story out there, I do not have much left in reserve. So why now? It has become rather clear that my daily existence provides more than enough fodder to embarrass myself on a fairly regular basis, so no need to hold this back anymore. And what better reason than my 100th post? (Well post #100 actually occurred last night when a bunch of famous horses rolled through my neighborhood.)

For those of you who enjoyed my trip across the US (Travels with Ibo), I have decided to post another trip diary for one of my travels through the Loire Valley from a few years ago when I was a bicycle tour guide. Why just one trip and why the Loire Valley? Why not all of the trips that I did over the course of the six or so summers of leading trips, you ask?

Usually, I was either very busy, having fun, too hung over, or any combination of the three to ever consider writing anything. Also, I rarely had a computer with me, so that made it all that more challenging. This particular trip was different because even before the trip began, I knew that I was going to need to record the events–not so much in an artistic, romantic way, but as a way to keep my sanity. It was also a way that I would be able to have some time to myself as I would sneak off to find an internet café.

Not really near the office, but, well, nothing says ‘Paris’ more than this thing.

To put it rather simply, I was going to need quite a bit of time to myself that week. It was not just because I had only three clients (“guests”) on this trip, for I had had many “small” trips that had either been very time consuming/interesting/fun.  To underscore the implication – it is not the size of the group, it is the individual components that matter.

I can hear my mother (and Nico, my boss — scary connection there) saying: “now Jeff, don’t be so hasty to judge, you never know, it might be just a great week.” That is of course, entirely possible.  Many smarter/greater people than I have made errors in judgment before: Joan of Arc misjudged the loyalty of Charles VII, Henry Ford had his Edsel, and my little sister thought that WHAM! was an outstanding musical group. But based on the following, I am certain you will concur.

The actors:

The first, I’ll call Mr. Personality. The name is adopted from another guide’s assessment who was with him in Italy. The guide told me that I would need to bring him the following: “a bike pump, a tool kit, and a personality.” Many of the people who traditionally came on the trips had recently completed graduate school: mostly from either business school (they came early in the summer) or from law school (they would come later in the season after taking the bar). The groups would focus on vastly different aspects of the trip (MBAs wanted to be assured they were not getting ripped off and JDs were looking for someone to blame [i.e., sue] if something was not perfect). Well, Mr. Personality first went to law school, did not like it, so he dropped out and then went to Wharton for his MBA. I call that a double whammy.

Guest #2 – not much personality here either, but I will call him Grumpy.  On one of the memos to all of the guides, Nico wrote the following: “[Grumpy] works with a very good friend of mine. She really pushed him to take the trip, but described him as not very outgoing, wrapped up in his work. Please, as a favor to me/her, do your best to show him a good time.” Certainly a loaded comment there, with a lot to potentially unpack, but I was a tour guide, not a psychologist. Grumpy, when asked by Laura (another employee at he company) how he liked Paris, the Grumpster replied: “Dirty, expensive, and boring.” He would have been “Mr. Personality” had the named not already been assigned.

Then there is door number three. Ohmygod. Where to start? Laura described him as Tiny Tim. I think he looks a little more like Marty Feldman. Regardless, the term “freak” comes up often (not at all trying to be mean or cruel here, but if the moniker fits…). Just some bullet points:

This is a bit closer to the office, about a ten-minute walk or so.

  • Ohmygod showed up in the office in full biking attire (tights, jersey, shoes). Normally this is not unusual for the beginning of a bike trip.  But we were not to begin ANY type of riding for the next THREE days (and he would have no access to a bike until then). Later in the conversation, he hinted that he wore his current ‘outfit’ on the plane.

“You wore that on the plane?” I queried.

He nodded.

On the plane?” I asked not hiding my incredulity well.

Again he nodded as he was stuffing a peach into his mouth, with somewhat large pieces becoming trapped in his six (?) day growth of facial hair.

He nodded again, while simultaneously slurping up the juice that was trying to escape.

On the plane.

Oh. Boy.

  • During the course of our initial conversation, he mentioned his mother at least 6 times. Now I love my mother as much as the next guy, but he is 49 YEARS OLD! And the length of the conversation? 10 minutes, or one mention every 1:40, quite the average.
  • He left and then showed up later after changing clothes at the hotel. Still wearing the same biking tights, but a different biking shirt (bright orange this time). This get-up he wore over to the Louvre. Yes, that Louvre: Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, the world’s most famous museum, that’s the one.
  • Two mornings later (still another full day away from any sort of riding), he showed up in the first bike shirt (from plane fame) and tights (can’t/won’t determine if these are the same ones). This time he added another nice touch — he was wearing his helmet, for god’s sake. Why? I have no idea. He would have worn it out to buy some food as well, but Nico advised he should remove it since people liked to throw eggs at such a spectacle. Not getting the sarcasm, he looked alarmed and quickly, though reluctantly, removed the safety apparatus.

The Pompidou Center, just a few minute walk from the office.

  • Oh, and he has terrible breath.

There is the crew for my week in the Loire Valley.

There are several reasons to have a more positive outlook:

  1. The Loire is a great wine region–the wine is tasty and inexpensive. (I’ll be having a lot.)
  2. The Tour de France is going on.(Nothing like getting to the room after a ride and watching the end of the stage on French T.V.)
  3. And I don’t own a gun. (I do not need to explain, I hope)



About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Ohmygod–Part 1 On the Plane? (100+ posts!)

  1. PSsquared says:

    Wow, just wow. The 3rd guy sounds like maybe he should have had a chaperone. Maybe his mom.


  2. Sounds like the makings for a wonderful story! Can’t wait!


  3. Margaret says:

    Who might be on a tour is one of the reasons I don’t usually do them, but I never really thought about that from the guide’s perspective, who, as you say, has to put up with every idiosyncrasy. Looking forward to the next part.


  4. Post 100!!! Congrats!!


  5. talkavino says:

    By the time I finished reading, I even forgot that I wanted to congratulate you with the 100 posts (which is great, of course).
    But this story – boy, we are in for such a treat! I’m already waiting [impatiently]!

    Last, but not least, I think this is the third time I’m saying this in your blog, this time I’m going to shout: YOU HAVE TO PUBLISH THE BOOK! There, I violated internet etiquette – but I had a good reason : )


  6. Cheryl says:

    My mouth was hanging open as I read about the 3rd guy….I think I actually gasped when you told of the bike helmet. Can’t wait to read the rest of the story! Congrats on post 100!


  7. I was going to NOT follow any more blogs (when I follow them, I actually read them). But I DO love to armchair travel, and your blog looks like a fun, witty way to do that.


  8. Ok, you definitely have more than 6 people liking your posts…I 2nd the writing a book nudge!
    I have a question, I’m making a Julia Child recipe that calls for Madeira. Depending where you look online some Madeiras are from white varietals, some red, some red and white….do you have a good recommendation of a site or article link that explains Madeiras well?.. Thanks for any insight 😉


  9. Pingback: Ohmygod–Karma is a bit… | the drunken cyclist

  10. Pingback: Ohmygod Part Three | the drunken cyclist

  11. Pingback: Ohmygod Part Four | the drunken cyclist

  12. Pingback: Ohmygod–Call The Cops! | the drunken cyclist

  13. stephglaser says:

    Jeff — this is hilarious! Love the characterization of the “actors”. Thanks for a great laugh and thanks for stopping by and following Travel Oops! Steph


  14. Pingback: Ohmygod!–On to Chenonceaux | the drunken cyclist

  15. Pingback: Ohmygod are | the drunken cyclist

  16. This is hilarious!!! I saw your post the other day referencing the beginning of this tale and I am glad that I get a bit of instant gratification in the fact that I can read a whole bunch of these anecdotes in one sitting. Looking forward to some more laughs along the way!


  17. sagedoyle says:

    Yep I had read this before, I would love it if you had something to post on my blog, I like your style. I’ll be checking email soon and catching up maybe for real this time lol So if you haven’t already sent something, please don’t hesitate!


  18. ezpc1 says:

    Hilarious – I’m going to have to read your blog on this trip all the way through now!


  19. Shelley says:

    So fun. I’m going to read one a day. I wish you had snuck a picture of your crew! 🙂


  20. Reblogged this on the drunken cyclist and commented:

    As i narrow in on my 500th post, I thought I would revisit my 100th post (well, actually Post #101), the first chapter in the Ohmygod saga. Why now? Well, I had hoped to get the next installment up today, but that simply is not going to happen. I am hoping to get the next chapter up early next week with some new characters thrown into the mix as we head off to Champagne. For those of you who have not read any of the series–why not start now? All of the episodes are available on the menu bar up top. Be sure to let me know what you think!


  21. annetbell says:

    It is a great idea which I have been doing, too. One of my newer followers suggested reblogging post that new bloggers had not see before! Bravo!


  22. lulu says:

    I can just imagine the tales you have to tell from this part of your life. Had I been with you on a biking tour, I’m sure I’d have been one of them.


  23. Professions for PEACE says:

    Such great writing Jeff! Thanks for the fun adventures, and for making me laugh out loud. 😀 Cheers, Gina


  24. Pingback: My Writing Process | chef mimi blog

  25. Pingback: Dinner With Friends- #MWWC11 | jvb uncorked

  26. NK says:

    Oh, boy… I’m going to enjoy this series of posts. Looking forward to breaking up this week’s writing (and, judging by the number of installments possibly next week’s) with tales of this crew.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hello, after reading this amazing paragraph i am also happy to share my familiarity here with mates.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. “Oh – and he has terrible breath” – LOL! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Let me get this straight. Bad breath, obsessed with his mom, looks like Marty Feldman, and lives in biking gear. Is he single? LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Dying here!! I do indeed have quite the clear vision of your little posse 🙂 Your writing is great!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.