. This year, my road to the
in Dallas may be a long and winding one.
alumnus and Bluejay basketball fan. I also represent
. These three interests converge over the next month to create a crazy, hectic road for me from
to Dallas, TX.
I have decided to blog daily about my road trip. It starts with a day at
committee meeting in Washington, DC. My family will then join me for the 4-day
in New York.
meeting. Following the NADART meeting, I plan to hit first and second round games wherever the
play. That will be 3+ days in one of eight cities -
. I won't know until
which is March 19. I currently have rooms booked in each of these cities.
So I will pack my bag for two weeks. It will be full of suits, dress shirts, ties and Creighton Bluejays apparel. Unfortunately, that is just a bit too long for me to travel by carry-on. I'll probably have to pack a little laundry soap as well!
I hope to update this blog at least daily and perhaps more often if events warrant it! So check back for updates.
So the trip to Washington, D.C. went fine and my meeting ended a bit early. I went to Union Station
to see if I could get on a train for NYC earlier than the 5:00 PM train on which I was booked. I had read that Amtrak
will allow you to move your time up and that's what happened to me.
I got on the 2:00 PM Acela Express and arrived at Penn Station in NYC
shortly after 5:00 PM. After a rain soaked walk from Penn Station to my motel (about 4 blocks), I checked in, unpacked and checked on the arrival times of the rest of the family.
The South Dakota delegation was experiencing some delays but the DC group was set for an on time arrival. I call an old classmate that I knew was coming in for the games and we met up at on of the Bluejay bars.
The South Dakota delegation did not make it in on Wednesday evening and were scheduled to arrive late Thursday morning after another Delta disaster.
We did not get out of the basketball games until after midnight. Judy and Sarah we tired. Alex was ready to rally with a bunch of friends. We turned in for the evening while the night was just getting started for the rest of them.
Our group of 15 had a great meal and a wonderful time and unique dining experience. The steakhouse lived up to my very strong billing!!
We hustled back to the Creighton team hotel
(eventually taking 2 pedi-cabs) from the show to go to the Birds of Pray
After mass, it was a quick dash through the pizza parlor on our way to the Garden
for the championship game. Providence was in a "must win" situation to get into the NCAA tournament and they played like it. They executed a very shrewd game plan, slowed the game down and hit crucial shots.
The Creighton fans had nothing to hang their heads about though as their team played hard and in front of a staggering number of Bluejay faithful. Every other team in attendance was surprised and the number of fans who had made their way from Omaha and other points around the Midwest to follow their beloved Jays. It made it a lot of fun for all Bluejay fans.
We headed back to the motel to pack, knowing that the 6:00 AM wake up call would come too early. It did but we made it to Laguardia in plenty of time for Delta to delay our flights - mine to Minneapolis then Los Angeles and Judy, Alex and Sarah's to Minneapolis then Sioux Falls.
We all had a great time despite the championship game loss. It was great to spend time together as a family. It was fun to renew friendships with CU buddies for all of us. Especially enjoyed seeing my classmate Bryan Beam and his sister. Also had the son of another great Creighton friend join us for the weekend.
I am hoping to catch my connection to LA as I write this having sat at the LaGuardia gate for 45 minutes while mechanics were fixing the intercom.
Update 7:00 PM CDT, 3/25/2014
So I made my connection to Los Angeles in Minneapolis. I arrived in Los Angeles about 1:30 pm local time.
That gave me enough time to watch some basketball and time for a workout and before our dinner that evening.
We ate at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes
. Before dinner, we enjoyed quite a show. God was entertaining with a beautiful sunset, whales and dolphins. It was magnificent.
After a very nice dinner, we made our way back to our motel, The Portofino, in Redondo Beach
. I was exhausted and ready to call it a night.
I had a golf game at Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles
the next morning. Trump National was a spectacular course in a breathtaking setting
but it probably wasn't the place to play your first golf game of the season. Every teebox had a view of the ocean (and very little view of the fairway!).
We played on a perfect day, 72 degrees and a breeze blowing off the ocean. The huge American flag can be seen from every point on the golf course. I like that. The golf course is a true gem. It is everything you would expect in a championship course overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It did kick my ass!!!
That evening brought another nice dinner and an early bedtime - which was greatly appreciated as I was still somewhere between Eastern and Central Daylight time!
Wednesday was an all-day meeting followed by dinner at Jay Leno's The Comedy and Magic Club
. It's a comedy club, so the tables are small and the food is mediocre. That seems to always be the case at these places. But the entertainment was great. I laughed for two hours straight.
The next day was a meeting until noon and then more golf. This time is was historic Palos Verdes Golf Club
. Built in 1924, this course had beautiful ocean and mountain vistas throughout our round of golf. It was a much more forgiving course as well and I appreciated that so early in the golf season.
My golf partners for the two days were great. I enjoy golfing with someone who loves the game but does not take themselves too seriously. Jim, Jason and Jim were just that - great partners who loved golf and played quite well.
After an informal dinner with some NADART friends who were still in town, I moved to the Hampton Inn near the airport since I had a 6:00 am flight the next morning.
My flight to San Antonio was early but went well. I made my connection in Salt Lake City and arrived in San Antonio about 1:30 CDT. I rode to our downtown hotel with cabbie Martin who turned out to be our escort for the weekend.
I knew that rides to and from the AT&T Arena were going to be a challenge so I talked to Martin about taking care of us. He did just that for our entire stay in San Antonio including a ride to the airport for Alex and then me on Monday after the basketball games.
Since Rachel and Andrew and Alex did not arrive until later that evening, I had the day to myself. After doing some laundry (a must on a two-week trip), I headed for the Riverwalk
. I found a sports bar
and planted myself at the bar for the evening.
While patrons would come and go, I could strike up a conversation with anyone about college basketball as I sat there watching three televisions. The cocktails were good, the food was adequate and the view of the basketball games was tremendous. I was happy!
Both of the flights made it in on time and we all met up at the Doubletree Hotel
bar where we were staying. Everyone was tired but ready for some Bluejay basketball.
We got going late the next morning and took off for the arena at about 10:30 am. Nebraska and Baylor tipped at 11:45 and we wanted to watch it all.
Baylor beat Nebraska
in a very ugly basketball game. Creighton took care of business against Louisiana-Lafayette
to set up a matchup on Sunday against Baylor which scared me right after seeing Baylor play. They were long and athletic, just the combo to cause a matchup problem for the Bluejays.
After a break at the only sports bar for miles between sessions, Alex and made our way back for the Providence/North Carolina game. That was a great game as UNC pulled it out at the end
. Iowa State took care of business against North Carolina Central
setting up a UNC/ISU matchup on Sunday.
We met up with Rachel and Andrew, who went out to dinner with some friends who drove down from Austin, for a nitecap at the hotel bar. We caught the last two games of the evening on TV.
Saturday was a fun day in San Antonio. We started at the Alamo, followed by lunch at a other sports bar on the Riverwalk with some Creighton friends. Next we went to the smoke shop to get some cigars (which we never smoked) and then to Pat O'Brien's
piano bar for music and mint juleps
Then it was back to the Riverwalk to the Creighton bar for a pep rally followed by a walk to Mi Tierra
, a rather famous San Antonio Mexican restaurant. By then, we had all had enough to eat and drink and we turned in for the evening.
Sunday was game day - Bluejays and Baylor. We had lunch and watch games at a great bar called The Esquire
. Excellent traditional cocktails and original cocktails were their specialty. The cocktail perfectionist would appreciate the big square ice cubes that started every drink. I enjoyed watching the mixologists who only mixed cocktails - they were not distracted by taking orders from the patrons. Other servers handled that task. I highly recommend The Esquire
if you get to San Antonio.
From ther, we made our wat to the AT&T Arena - the site of the masacre. Unfortunately, the Baylor Bears mauled the Bluejays
. It was a tough matchup for Creighton but they did not have their "A" game that night and the final 30-point margin reflected that.
I will save my reflections of the Bluejays magical season for another post but you can find Coach McDermott's post-game talk to the team here
and a good analysis of how most Bluejays fans felt after the game here
We had a post-game meal at Mi Tierra and then back to the motel. Alex had an early 6:00 AM flight and Rachel and Andrew had a 9:00 AM flight. I did not fly out until 2:40 PM and went home by way of Atlanta. I arrived back to Sioux Falls at 9:20 PM completing my 13-day junket.
Delta had totally destroyed my bag on the NYC-LAX leg of the trip but I felt more wiped out than my bag looked. It was great to sleep in my own bed!