Paige's Tour Diary 2002-2003|
Week 20 - Taylor, MI THE LAST STOP!!!
Well, we decided to stay in Louisville an extra night since it was going to be REALLY cold in Michigan on Sunday night. We were very concerned about our water freezing up. And trust me I am usually quite cranky if I don't get a shower! Unfortunately, that meant that I had to miss Leslie Bohn's baby shower. I heard that it went well though…and Mary Von Krueger did deliver our gift!
We arrived in Taylor late Monday night. Boy was it cold there! I can't wait to get home to sunny Florida. Walter Ray didn't bowl until Saturday and we had a lot of time to kill before then. If the weather was better I would have been out doing something…but it was so cold I didn't want to leave the motorhome!
On Wednesday Cherie Criss, June Jaros and I took Sherri Wilson out to lunch and gave her a few little "goodies" for the baby they are expecting in May. I just love to shop for baby stuff…it's all SO cute!
We had some company this week. Bill Mueller (aka "Subway Bill" - his family owns a Subway store) was out to see us. Jan Hymer and her two sons (Randy and Tim) stopped by with a couple of their friends on the way to the Detroit airport. They just happened to be flying out to Vegas and surprised us. Walter Ray played horseshoes against Randy in the 70's. They have known Walter Ray longer than I have! Amy and Alan Francis (more horseshoe friends) came out to see us also.
Our Webmaster Steve Summerlin and his wife Paula came down on Friday and spent the rest of the weekend. It is always great to see them. Steve works so hard on our site, we want him to know how much we appreciate it. So with all this wonderful support…how could Walter Ray NOT bowl well?
As many of you know, Walter Ray won the World Championship! I was honestly in shock. This year has simply been a "dream season" for Walter Ray and I am incredibly proud of him. It's not possible for me to imagine a more wonderful ending to the season than what happened in Taylor.
We started the drive home grinning ear-to-ear and we didn't even get cranky when we got up the next morning and our water had frozen! We just laughed. Trust me…we were happy! I'll tell you how happy we were. We were so happy that we forgot it was our anniversary. We were driving back to sunny Florida with stupid grins on our faces and "bed-head" in such a stupor that we BOTH forgot that March 11th was our anniversary. Oh well, I couldn't get mad at him, since I forgot too! (Note: I realized we forgot on the 13th - hmmm…still in shock? Lol)
Our water finally thawed somewhere in Tennessee, so I did get to shower before stopping to visit my grandparents again. We had a nice visit and then got back on the road, since we wanted to get through Atlanta. We left Chattanooga around 9pm, got through Atlanta and stopped about 11:30.
We finally got home on Tuesday. Boy were we happy. The weather was gorgeous! Not a snow bank in sight….ahhh, heaven. I don't know how I will feel in a couple months, but right now I couldn't be happier to be doing laundry and catching up on "stuff"!
I sure hope that you all have enjoyed my little "Tour Diary". I don't know if I will do it again next season - since by now you probably all get the general idea. Guess I will decide when it gets closer to time to go back out. I have a few ideas for some other things I want to do next fall…but I'm not telling! *evil giggle*
Thanks to all of Walter Ray's fans that have been so supportive. It has been really nice meeting many of you throughout the year. I especially think it's neat when I see someone wearing a "Deadeye Diehard" button! Many people have come up and told me that they enjoy reading my articles also, and I want to thank everyone for that.
Don't forget about us over the break. Since it is such a long one…I am planning on putting Walter Ray to work. If you are interested in scheduling an appearance, contact me at Paige@WalterRay.com
Have a great summer everyone!
Week 19 - Louisville, KY
On the way to Louisville, Walter Ray was scheduled to do an appearance in Bristol TN. The appearance was scheduled for 5 to 7 on Monday the 24th. We had planned on leaving on Sunday afternoon, stopping to see my grandparents in Chattanooga TN and then go on to the appearance. Walter Ray got sick and suggested postponing the appearance, but I didn't have the heart to do that, since they seemed so excited he was coming! What ended up happening is I drove all the way to Bristol TN a trip of about 750 miles! I had never driven the motorhome more than about 200 miles before (just long enough to Walter Ray to take a nap), and I had certainly never driven so much around towns. I normally only drive on the freeway! Boy was that an experience (one I don't want to repeat any time soon)!
After only getting to stop by for a quick brunch in Chattanooga, we hugged MamMaw and PapPaw and got to Bristol by 4:30. The appearance went well. All who attended really seemed to enjoy it. Our thanks to Tim Flannagan and Belmont Lanes for inviting us! We had a good time.
Mary Von Krueger and I went shopping for Leslie Bohn's baby shower that is scheduled for next Monday…it's a surprise and we are all looking forward to it. I just love to shop for baby stuff! OK, I just love to shop for anything. While we were there we also got a few goodies for Brad Angelo's wife Michelle who is expecting their second child.
Saturday night we were invited out to dinner by Rob Alley - Marketing Manager for the PBA. It was quite a group! Mark Oquist and his wife Cheryl were there. Mark won the Odor Eaters Sweepstakes and had struck for $10,000! They are a very sweet young couple and we were very happy for them. Mr. Healy and Mr. Berger from Combe (parent company for Odor Eaters) were there and seemed to enjoy the whole week. They were sure a nice couple of guys. I enjoyed meeting them. Rudy Kasimakis (fellow Odor Eaters team member) was also in attendance. Peter Levy and Frank DeSecio famous marketing/promotion gurus were there also. My apologies to the gentleman who was sitting to Frank's right - since I don't know who you are! LOL Since I was sitting on the opposite corner of the table from the mystery gentleman, I never had a chance to introduce myself! Whoever he was…he seemed very pleasant!
Since it was the Odor Eaters Tournament I really wanted Walter Ray to make the show. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. Walter Ray lost in the round of 16 to newcomer Michael Fagan (by the way - I think he is "one to watch" in the future…has a very nice game).
It's only 360 miles to Taylor MI. But it is supposed to be REALLY cold there and we are in no hurry to leave the balmy 40 degree weather here in Louisville.
Week 18 - A Week Off!
Our week off started out pretty busy. Rick Steelsmith and Justin Hromek along with Tim Criss and his family came over for a couple of days. The first day the boys' golf outing was rained out, so they rented a golf game for Playstation 2 and spent the afternoon fooling with that!
I'm afraid I wasn't much of a hostess that first afternoon. After getting a new computer and having some major problems with it, I was extremely behind on my WalterRay.com stuff! I was trying really hard to get caught up on website business. My company seemed to understand. It was driving me crazy.
The boys got to play golf the next day so Cherie Criss, daughter Amanda and I went to do a little shopping at Target. I just love Target! We had figured out about what time the boys were going to be done and went back to the club a little before that so that Amanda could whack a few balls. I think she would have stayed out there all afternoon if we would have let her.
After a quick lunch the company went up the road to Burlington, NC and I was SO happy that I didn't have to go too!
The rest of the week was spent catching up on paperwork and website stuff. I did get out to play a little golf and Walter Ray played a couple times more than I did. The last afternoon I spent getting the house ready to leave again and getting organized for the appearance Walter Ray was scheduled for in Bristol TN.
Week 17 - Orlando, FL
Our 1200 mile trip from Dallas took us from Saturday afternoon until Sunday night around 10pm. Some chick who was lost for a while once said, "There's no place like home." She was right! If I had been any happier to see my house I think I may have had an accident.
Just as I was settling in for a little "hometime", Walter Ray says to me, "Rudy Kasimakis and Jim Tomek are coming by to spend the night…that's not a problem is it?" Well…I guess not - IF YOU ARE A MAN!! Since I am not, it was a minor issue. I like Rudy and Jim and they were, of course, welcome in our home…but, it meant I had to get my been in the car for 1200 miles, hadn't been home in about a million weeks, butt up off the couch and get the guest rooms ready at 10 o'clock at night. They weren't coming until about midnight - so at least I had some time. I threw the sheets in the washer and made sure there were clean towels and the like available. They showed up, we chatted for a while and then everyone went to bed - late!
The next afternoon they went on over to the tournament in Orlando (about 1 ½ hours away). I was mortified because I didn't have anything to fix them for breakfast, but we had been gone so long - there was no food in the house. Then it got worse. When I went in the guest room to strip the beds and get the dirty towels to wash, I noticed that both of them had used the liquid pump soap from the sinks to shower with. I had forgotten to make sure there was soap in the shower! I can see Rudy now telling everyone that Walter Ray may be leading money winner…but he is apparently too poor to buy soap. Aaaargh!
Walter Ray went over to Orlando on Wednesday to bowl practice and pro am. He came back home that night. Since he was on "B" squad and didn't bowl till 5pm on Thursday, we didn't take the motorhome over there until Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, we also brought it back Thursday night. Walter Ray missed the cut by 5 pins. That was the first cut he had missed all year and he was VERY disappointed. His goal was to go the whole year without missing cash…and he was SO close. Oh well, he is still having an incredible year and we aren't complaining!
I have talked Walter Ray into taking a week off. So, we are skipping what would have been Week 18 - Burlington, NC. I know that some folks will be disappointed that he isn't coming there…but trust me, he needs it. Ok, forget him - I NEED IT!!
Week 16 - Dallas, TX
We really haven't got to do much of anything "fun" on this tour segment since Walter Ray has been bowling so well (no - I'm not complaining…just making a comment), but I did insist that he let me stop in Big Spring TX to see the Ringeners. Phil Ringener and his family were "trailer trash" on tour with us for years, until a jet-ski accident ended his career. Though we don't see them as much as we would like, they are still among our very best friends. After an 1100 mile drive from So. California, we arrived in Big Spring around 9pm on Monday night. We parked at the Bowl-A-Rama bowling center that Phil and Jill recently took over from Phil's dad. They had done a lot of work to the place since I had last been there and it's looking good.
Tuesday morning I taped my appearance on Phantom Radio and had a real good time doing it! That Phantom just cracks me up. Around lunch time Walter Ray started saying we needed to get on the road since it was another 300 miles to Dallas. I wasn't ready to go, so Jill and I hatched a plan. We unhooked the Jeep and sent Walter Ray down the road. I did a little shopping in Big Spring and then when Jill got off work she and I drove over to Dallas. Those 300 miles really did fly by since Jill and I were yakking all the way! Jill stayed with us until Thursday when her family was able to join her in Dallas. We had a great time.
The Dallas stop was a little like "old home week". We got to see a lot of people that we hadn't seen in a while. Mark Williams and his wife Debbie were there. Ron Williams (aka "King of the Hill") was also there, my good buddy Bill Oakes even made an appearance!
Walter Ray didn't make the show in Dallas…but that's OK I still had a great time! I sure do miss the "good old days"! We took off on Saturday after Walter Ray lost his round of 16 match. I probably would have tried to talk him into staying (since Phil and Jill were there), but he said the magic word "H-O-M-E"…and I jumped in the motorhome and started hollering for him to hurry up! 1200 miles from now I will be in my house! Happy happy, joy joy!!!
Week 15 - Fountain Valley, CA
We left Las Vegas on Friday and went to Apple Valley to visit Walter Ray's brother Jonathon and his family. It was a short 3 ½ hour drive over to their home in Apple Valley…but Apple Valley wasn't what I was expecting! I was expecting orchards and apple trees, what I got was desert and stories about mountain lions and snakes. Who names these places? I really liked Jon and Diane's home though, it was really nice. It was great to see them. Their girls (Amy and Sarah) have both grown up so much!
We had a nice visit there with a round of golf on Saturday and an introduction to a new board game (that I am now addicted to). The game is called "Sequence" and it's a lot of fun. Not real complicated, so the kids can play too!
Traveled another 1 hour and 45 minutes down the road and we were in Fountain Valley (which turned out to be a VERY good thing). With some good support from his brother Jon and sister Cindy, Walter Ray made it to the show. Jon's wife and daughters came for the show also and Cindy was back too! Of course we were all ecstatic with the outcome. Besides Walter Ray's first title - I think that this US Open win was the most exciting. It was so important for so many reasons: Player of the Year, top 8 in the point list, going over 3 million in earnings (where is that money anyway???) etc. It was absolutely wonderful, I really couldn't have been happier (unless Leslie hadn't wanted to interview me *smile*).
We didn't make it to Disneyland…but I got to see one of my favorite "characters" (just kidding Troy)! Our old friend Troy Kendrick came out to see all of his old friends, including us. Early in Walter Ray's career, he and Troy roomed together for a short time. Troy is more fun than most anything legal that I can think of, and some that aren't legal! I really missed him and it was GREAT to see him.
We had a LONG way to go to get to Dallas, so after a quick celebratory lunch with family and friends we hopped in the motorhome and headed east!
Week 14 - Las Vegas, NV
A quick 7 hour trip down highway 95 to Vegas got us ready for week 14! Wow…is that ever a desolate drive. I don't think I could stand to live in the desert. I need "green stuff" to be happy.
I have to let everyone know how proud I am of myself. We were in Reno and Vegas and my total gambling damage was 50 cents that I put in a slot machine while waiting to be seated at the coffee shop. I really love to gamble, but am not very good at it… so usually I have a larger deficit. Since we had just bought the motorhome and the new Jeep to tow behind it, I decided that I should refrain from "wasting" money. Some people have said to me, "Yeah, but what if you had won?" That is technically possible, but rarely happens to me! So, I decided that it was better to be safe than sorry.
We wanted to get to the strip to see Penn & Teller…but it never happened. Walter Ray bowled well again, which was a good thing, but it meant that I didn't get to do anything "fun". He was supposed to let me do some sightseeing as a reward for how "good" I was being (by not gambling), but we just didn't have time.
We did get to see some friends again this week. Our good horseshoe friends Bill Perry (from Bishop, CA) and Don Weaver (of Las Vegas) came out to help cheer Walter Ray on. Walter Ray's brother Jonathan was supposed to come up for the show from So. California…but didn't make it. We plan on stopping by to see him and his family on the way to the US Open…so it will be OK.
The show didn't turn out exactly like we wanted, since Walter Ray lost in the first game to Patrick Allen. Patrick bowled well and threw the ball great in the 10th to lock Walter Ray out. Walter Ray bowled a good game…but just plain got beat. He is having such a great year, I am VERY proud of him and happy for him. Some of the TV crew is starting to tease me about being a "regular" on the telecast…I sure hope that continues!
Week 13 Reno NV
It was a little less than 500 miles from Medford to Reno. We went back down to Sacramento on Saturday night to visit with that branch of the family a little bit more. We got there Saturday night and stayed at Walter Ray's sister Barbara's home. We stayed at Barb and Dan's until Monday. Dan helped Walter Ray with some minor audio-visual problems we were having with the motorhome (we couldn't get picture from the DVD). He also helped me with some computer problems I was having switching from my old computer to my new one. Dan is just an "electronic whiz-kid" and we were taking full advantage of his skills. Barbara has been doing glass bead work and she let me make a bracelet - purple of course! It was a nice time, and then on Monday we headed for Reno.
There was a bit of a family reunion in Reno with some extended family that Walter Ray and I enjoyed getting to know. Walter Ray's dad's cousin Gretchen and her husband Tom were there. Walter Ray's grandfather's brother Uncle Rodger was also there. He is getting up there in years - but is sharp as a tack and physically seems fine. Another cousin and her husband also came out. It was a fun week, getting to know all of them and Walter Ray had extra support!
When Walter Ray made the show he called the "Sacramento Contingent" and a whole bunch of them decided to come up. I had to ask Dave Schroeder (TV coordinator and "king of seats") for 20 seats! I was mortified; as I have never had to do that before. Fortunately, it was the National Bowling Stadium and there was plenty of seating. Walter Ray's mom sat with me on the show and Dave got everyone else seats together on one side. Walter Ray made it to the title match, before losing to Bryon Smith. Bryon bowled a fabulous game to win his first title….and I wish to congratulate him. Bryon and his wife Mariah are two of the sweetest people I know. We have recently gotten to know Bryon's parents Charlotte and Gordon, and now I know why Bryon is such a good guy! They are truly "good people". Walter Ray said to Gordon, "I was glad to see Bryon win his first title, I just wish it was a week I wasn't on the show." Ha, ha. I said, "Doesn't EVERYONE win their first title against you…I think it just means you are IN the title match a lot!" We were all laughing and teasing Walter Ray about so many guys winning their first title against him. It was pretty funny.
Another kind of funny thing happened when we got ready to go Sunday. Walter Ray had gone down to pick up his check and I decided to help him get the "outside stuff" (cords, hoses etc) ready to go - since I was done with "inside stuff". Well, I managed to trip over the curb and do a "face plant" in the parking lot. I bloodied my nose, filled my palms with gravel and gave myself a couple of pretty good bruises. When people asked me what happened the next week, I told them Walter Ray was really upset after he lost to Bryon and "took it out" on me. Interestingly enough, people just laughed when I said that…I couldn't get ANYONE to believe me. That's the last time I try to help him with his stuff!
Week 12 Medford, OR
It was only about 400 miles from Tacoma to Medford, it took us a while. We had an appointment on Tuesday morning at the Monaco factory. We just sort of "hung around" the little town there, went to a movie and the mall. We thought that they were gong to fix our leak and send us down the road. We were wrong! They decided they needed to keep the motorhome, so we went back grabbed some stuff, unhooked the Jeep and went on down the road to Medford.
So, we were staying at a hotel in Medford. I forgot how much I disliked staying in hotels. I just really like the convenience of being in my motorhome. Also, about ¾ of the time we can stay at the bowl (or within walking distance anyway), so I don't have to go early to "watch the other squad". After 17 years, I barely want to be there when Walter Ray is bowling, much less when the other squad is!
Dale Williams from nearby Roseburg came to visit this week. He is Walter Ray's cousin on his father's side. He was very nice and has a great sense of humor. That is important if you are going to hang out with me!
The great Marshall Holman sent Walter Ray packing in the round of 32. Marshall bowled great and had a blast kicking Walter Ray's butt! I have to admit that it was fun to watch the "Medford Meteor" do his thing. As an added bonus we got to see our friend Terry Chouinard (she was Marshall's girlfriend when I first came out on tour - back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). Terry hasn't changed at all, and it was REALLY great to see her again.
The motorhome got delivered on Saturday and we were off to Reno.
Week 11 Tacoma, WA
After our ridiculously long drive we were finally in Tacoma for our first stop. I now know why it is so green and pretty there…it NEVER stopped raining the entire week! We felt like prisoners in the motorhome. I really wanted to be out of there and we were stuck.
We also found out that the leak in the bedroom was NOT fixed. We had taken the motorhome into the Leesburg FL service center while we were at home to have a recall notice taken care of and the leak fixed. I sure hope they did a better job on the recall than they did "fixing" the leak. We were able to get an appointment at the factory service center in Coburg OR, so we will be taking it there on the way down to Medford.
Walter Ray bowled well in Tacoma. Norm Duke shot "300" against him on the show! It was very exciting to watch. Norm and his wife Karen are good friends of ours, so we were very happy for them.
We got off to our usual "early" start (around 11am) on the day after Christmas. We drove about 750 miles that first day. We did stop in Louisiana to eat supper at one of our favorite restraints - Copeland's. The best Cajun cooking we've ever eaten.
On the 27th we went from Louisiana to the west side of Texas - about 800 miles. Nothing fun today…just miles and miles of Texas.
Day three took us to about 30 miles east of Palm Springs, traveling about 700 miles. Walter Ray let me stop at Camping World (toy store for RVer's) in Tucson, AZ. Things are starting to get a little tense in the motorhome. As I have said before, I don't travel well and we have gone about 2250 miles in three days.
December 29th was a "light" day - we only drove about 500 miles. We stopped in Sacramento, CA to spend a little time with some of Walter Ray's family. Two of his brothers live there with their families and his Mom and another brother came over from Scotts Valley to visit also. After a quick visit we left on the 30th and headed north again.
On the 30th we only made about 400 miles, as we had to detour over to highway 101. There was snow on the pass near Ashland and we couldn't get through that way. Instead we went up a windy little road that I didn't care for much. We did get to stop and see some good friends in Eureka (Bill and Sharon Paddock). Also, Walter Ray showed me one of the houses that he "grew up in". It was a really cool old place! I was truly an awful person by now and it was about to get worse.
The last day of the year was quite unpleasant for me. We had 700 miles to go in order for Walter Ray to bowl a 7pm pro-am in Tacoma. Unfortunately the road we took was NOT fun at all. It was Highway 199 from Crescent City, CA to Grants Pass, OR. When we were getting off 101 onto this road there was a sign that said "Not advisable for vehicles over 30 feet" Hmm….our motorhome is 40 feet and we are towing a car - that makes us considerably over 30 feet. Not a good sign. The road follows the Smith River through a gorge and it was VERY scary. I am looking out my window off the side of cliff to a raging river and thinking I was going to die. At one point Walter Ray said to me, "Yes the road is windy, but isn't the scenery beautiful?" I screamed back through clenched teeth, "How the hell should I know…my eyes are closed!" Needless to say, that was the longest 100 miles of my life. I think I actually wept with happiness when I saw the Interstate 5 sign.
We arrived at the bowl at 10 minutes to 7. Walter Ray quickly changed clothes and ran into the bowl. He didn't even have time to park the motorhome properly, he just left it on the street. As soon as he closed the door, I lay down on the couch and went to sleep. I never thought that just riding could make a person so exhausted.
About 3850 miles in 6 days, is not my idea of a good time. I don't think it was much fun for Walter Ray either since I was so "cranky". I survived, though I don't know how. Driving from stop to stop should be a breeze after this - yeah right!
Our holiday break was short but enjoyable. I guess I was "good" because I got a bunch of presents! We had Christmas at my parent's house this year. We knew that we had to leave on December 26th…so I didn't do any decorating at all this year. No tree, no lights, not one single fake deer in the yard. We have heard a rumor that the tour will start one week later next year. I hope it's true!
Even though our break was short, it was nice to be home. Christmas was a lot of fun with my parents, Walter Ray's father and our good friends Dick and Skitch Koenig.Dick was kind enough to bring the turkey for our Christmas dinner…and my goodness it was good! We opened presents, ate like crazy and then went home and packed the motorhome for the LONG trip out to Tacoma, WA.
Week 10 - Uncasville, CT
We left after the show on Sunday and drove 1200 miles south to get home. We got home Monday night. Tuesday it rained and we were SO disappointed. I was really looking forward to some nice warm weather after freezing to death for weeks. Wednesday was gorgeous and we played golf - in shorts - in December (Florida is a beautiful thing). I just walked around all day saying, "It's so nice here, it's just so nice." Thursday morning Walter Ray left for the Tournament of Champions and I got to work. I had a lot of organizing to do, and catching up on paper work. I also spent three days "power shopping" to get my Christmas stuff done. I was really busy, but happy to be home.
Walter Ray lost a heartbreaker to Robert Smith in the round of eight and was very disappointed. I think he REALLY wanted to make that show.
He got home Sunday night and now we will be pretty busy until Christmas. We will have to leave the day after Christmas to make the 3600 mile trek to Tacoma. Walter Ray has a pro-am on New Year's Eve.
Personally, I detest the schedule the PBA has us on. I am sure they have their reasons for the way they are doing it, but with us being off ALL summer (March to October) you would think they could have us start a few weeks earlier and give us the holidays off. We all missed Thanksgiving with our families, east coast people (who are driving) will have to leave the day after Christmas to get to Tacoma to bowl on New Year's Eve. That pretty much SUCKS in my book!
Week 9 - Albany NY
We left Long Island on the Sunday following Thanksgiving….how smart are we? The biggest travel day of the year. It could have been worse though, there was a busted water main in Yonkers that had the Long Island Expressway closed for hours. Fortunately for us Tim Criss heard about it and we were able to take an alternate route. It was about 200 miles, which normally I would be pleased about, but driving on Long Island makes me crazy! I just hate it…the RV is just too big for that place.
Monday we took the motorhome in to get it worked on. Unfortunately, they weren't able to find the leak in our bedroom. So, we just went and picked it up and went back to the bowl. Monday night our water pump froze. We had no water all day Tuesday while Walter Ray tried to get it thawed out. He had no success so Tuesday night I went over to take a shower at my old trailer, now the property of the Von Kruegers. I told Kirk I wanted my trailer back. I was NOT a happy camper at the time!
Wednesday we took the motorhome back to see if the water pump had burned itself out or was just frozen or what. The shop called a few hours later to say, they had put it in the service bay for a while and then it thawed out and was fine. Another trip back up the road about 25 miles to pick it up and back to the bowl again.
The rest of the week went pretty well, until the now famous "flash incident" on the show Sunday. Needless to say, I wasn't happy about that…but we have discussed it to death and I don't think we need to go there again.
Since there are a few days between Albany and Connecticut, we have decided to go home for quick break! I am going to stay home and Walter Ray will fly back for the Tournament of Champions. I have to get ready for Christmas…haven't even started my shopping yet, and I am usually DONE by Thanksgiving.
Week 8 - Long Island, NY
Every single time we come out to Long Island in an RV - I SWEAR I will never do it again! But I do. We crossed one bridge where I swear there was not more than 6 inches clearance on each side. The traffic is crazy and then there is the whole issue of clearances! Large vehicles can only take the Expressways so we were on the L.I.E (Long Island Expressway) when there is a sign that says "Vehicles over 12'2" must exit". Ok, fine….so we are trying to figure out how high we are. I have the owner's manual out and it says we are 12' (but that was before the satellite system was installed). So, I tell him to get off. There are no signs saying what to do next. So, he goes straight across the intersection, thinking it will be like a frontage road….right back on the Expressway! Aaaarrgh! Now we are in big trouble. Suddenly, it's like a double deck road with signs saying clearance 12'2". I am thinking we are 12'4". Walter Ray can't very well back up on the freeway, so he says, " I think they usually give you a little allowance". And proceeds to drive under this overpass thingy. I am muttering all of the bad words I know quietly and waiting for the sounds of metal on impact concrete. They don't come….I guess Walter Ray was right. I suddenly have the urge to use the bathroom, but am too scared to move. After a couple more scary incidents we finally arrive at Melville Bowl where the RV's will be staying this week. There is very little parking at Syosset Lanes (where the tournament is) so we are staying "off-site" this week.
Fellow motor homers Tim and Cherie Criss had a potato chip truck hit the car they were towing on the way out to Long Island. The truck never stopped or anything and they probably wouldn't even have known except for the kindness of another trucker who got their attention and told them to get the license number of the truck. She (yes, there are lady truck drivers) also gave the Criss' her cell phone number and told them if they needed a witness to call her. I was scared to death, but I guess we were lucky.
We, along with the Criss' (with daughter Amanda), Steve, Sherri and daughter Sarah Wilson, went into New York City to see the Rockettes Christmas Show. We really enjoyed it. After the show we went to Rockefeller center to see the tree and watch the ice skaters. The tree wasn't lit yet, so that was a little disappointing. The ice skaters were fascinating to young Amanda Criss, it was fun to watch her watch them!
We had our first snow this week and found out that we had an option in the motor home we didn't know about….a pool in the bedroom. I noticed that some items on the counter in the bedroom were damp in the morning when I got up. As the day went on, the snow on the roof started to melt and the leak got progressively worse. It was coming out the bottom of the window frame, but there wasn't any water running down that side of the coach…so we are afraid it is coming from the roof. Walter Ray got up there and swept all of the snow off the roof and the leak slowed and then stopped. We have an appointment for Monday morning in Latham, NY to hopefully get it fixed. We have a list of about a dozen things that need to be fixed, but the leak is the only "major" problem (aside from the slide keeps popping the circuit breaker). Getting something new with about a million mechanical and electronic parts seemed like a good idea at the time! Lol
About 200 miles to Latham…armed with directions from someone who lives on Long Island and has a big motor home - hopefully not as scary as getting here!
Week 7 - Springfield PA (outside Philadelphia)
Well, we did it! We got a new motorhome. We picked it up on Monday morning. Things got a little complicated, but we eventually figured out the logistics.
Kirk VonKrueger (the PBA's Director of Tournament Operations) and his wife Mary decided to buy our truck and 5th wheel thereby rejoining the ranks of the tour "trailer trash" (no….no one is offended by this term - all of the RV folks out here use it). They used to have a travel trailer years ago, when Kirk was bowling on tour and their kids traveled with them. Anyway, we left Grand Rapids after the show on Sunday. Kirk drove us about 150 miles back to the Detroit area with Walter Ray riding shotgun and offering helpful hints. They dropped us off at a hotel and they continued on towards Springfield. Monday morning we picked up our new Monaco Windsor and followed them up the road. About 600 miles later we arrived safely in PA.
It didn't take long for Walter Ray to "break in" the new rig. His first attempt at backing into an extremely tight parking space left a nice scratch on the back bumper. : ( I knew it would happen eventually, but I was hoping it would take a few weeks! Lol
The bowling wasn't much fun this week as Walter Ray's string of match play appearances ended at 6. He really struggled on Friday after making the first cut. So, at least he cashed. It could have been worse!
Off to Long Island….only 170 miles, but a VERY scary trip!
Week 6 - Grand Rapids, MI
Back to beautiful Spectrum Lanes this week, it is truly a lovely center.
We were fortunate enough to have a few friends around this week. WalterRay.com webmaster Steve Summerlin and his lovely wife Paula were with us again (as they were last week). Paula made me a fabulous Winnie the Pooh afghan. It has my name on it and everything! I was SO excited…since I am such a huge Pooh fan. I took a picture with my new afghan. Click here to see it. Paula is so talented. I can barely tie my shoes and she can design her own patterns and make blankets! Wow!
Kevin Smith also came by to see us again. He is now officially a "bowling groupie". If you go to two tournaments in different cities….you are a "groupie"! Welcome to my world Kevin.
Sunday found us back at the show….Hooray! Unfortunately, it was Eugene McCune's week. Walter Ray didn't really have a shot he was very confident with and never really challenged in the title match.
Week 5 - Taylor, MI (outside of Detroit)
Well, here we are half way through the first segment of the 2002 tour. So far we haven't had any snow. Just a few days here and there of cold weather, I am not complaining. It could have been a lot worse by now!
I am still motor home shopping and am narrowing the contenders down every time I go out looking. I don't understand why they don't make that one "perfect" model that is everything I want! I'm sure there is a "custom" job out there somewhere…but Walter Ray would kill me if I even thought about going there! I have already gone up a level or two from where I started looking. Who couldn't have called that one? : )
We met a very talented young lady this week. She is Helen Longino and she is an airbrush artist. She did displays of many of the bowlers for Taylor Lanes and she also created some "wearable art" shirts for herself. Click Here to see some pictures of her work and some other pictures taken by our fabulous webmaster Steve Summerlin.
We got to see some friends this week. WalterRay.com webmaster, Steve Summerlin, and his wife Paula were in attendance all week. Another horseshoe buddy, Kevin Smith, also stopped by. We also got to see our friend Bill Mueller (a.k.a "Subway Bill" - 'cause his family owns one). It was great to see everyone!
The PBA was lucky enough to have "Mr. Hockey" (Gordie Howe) throw out the first ball of the telecast. If that wasn't kewl enough….Walter Ray WON his 35th title! It was a great week.
Off to Grand Rapids next. Only a couple hundred miles! Happy, Happy. Joy, Joy!
Week 4 - Vernon Hills, IL (outside of Chicago)
Dave Traber graciously opened his home to the bowlers for a party on Monday night. We had a good time eating great food, drinking a few cocktails (well, some of us were drinking anyway), and enjoying having a good "yak session" before the tournament started. We took a few pictures….click here to see them.
Tuesday I went motor home shopping with Mary VonKrueger. She used to sell recreational vehicles and is an invaluable resource for me during this project.
Late Tuesday evening I started to feel REALLY bad and by Wednesday morning I was sick as a dog. Three days and four boxes of Kleenex later I started to feel human again. Walter Ray was so sweet while I was sick. He took good care of me. Of course it was probably because he was feeling guilty…since he gave it to me! When he gets sick, he feels "sorta' bad" for 7-10 days. When I get sick, I get "way sick" for three.
The truck was back in the shop this week. A quick $1620 later it returned with a new alternator, belts and gaskets. Our coolant leak had come back and it turned out to be the gasket that goes from the radiator to the engine. About 10 hours labor to replace a piece of rubber that probably costs around $1.50!
Walter Ray made the show and finished second to Danny Wiseman (who almost shot 300). It would have taken a miracle to beat Danny that day. He was smokin'! Congrats to Danny he bowled great.
Off to Taylor, MI a "quickie" trip….only about 300 miles!
Week 3 - Memphis, TN
We arrived in Memphis with our newly redesigned exhaust system installed and working well. I'm no longer afraid we are going to gas ourselves when we run the generator.
I learned that there are other people in the world with the nickname "Deadeye". During the week we met a big Walter Ray fan whose nickname was "Deadeye Deb". She participates in shooting competitions! She was thrilled to get a chance to root for her namesake and I really enjoyed talking to her.
We also had some horseshoe friends come out to watch. Susan and Shannon Foster were there most of the week. Maxine Griffith and Marlene Ray two top pitchers from Tennessee also came by. These two ladies are among the top pitchers in the state and also happen to be identical twins!
Susan Foster didn't know a lot about bowling before she came to the tournament. After watching a few games she turned to her husband and asked, "Why does that chicken come up on the score machine sometimes?" We were laughing like crazy! Shannon explained to her that it wasn't a chicken, but in fact a turkey and that it came up when a bowler got three strikes in a row. We had a lot of fun the rest of the week hollering, "We want to see a chicken", "Where's the chicken?", "Come on Walter Ray we need a chicken!" etc. It was too much fun!
There may be a new motor home in our future. After checking out Del & Carolyn Ballard's brand new beautiful rig….we are thinking of switching! Kewl…shopping!
In spite of a slight cold Walter Ray bowled well this week. He beat Chris Warren in the round of 32, and then lost to Brian Voss (the eventual tournament winner) in the round of 16. I am very pleased with Walter Ray's performance so far this swing. He is doing very well, and hasn't missed a cut yet.
About 600 miles down the road to Memphis! I can hardly wait to get started……NOT!!
Week 2 - Blue Springs, MO
Short drive (hooray) to a suburb of Kansas City and we were ready for week two. I noticed some "stuff" leaking out of the truck when we were parking and the next day when we went somewhere there was another puddle of "stuff". Though Walter Ray wasn't too concerned I was, and made him take it to the Freightliner shop. It was only a loose hose clamp. We are happy!
Walter Ray made the cut in Kansas City, but lost his first match to Wes Malott. Walter Ray didn't bowl poorly, just plain got beat. Maybe Memphis will be better.
With their beautiful children Hannah and Evan getting close to school age, we heard that this may be the last tour segment for Steve Jaros' wife June and their twins. That makes me sad, because I sure like June and will miss the twins a lot.
Well, I will close for now. We are sitting in a muffler shop somewhere in southern Missouri getting our generator exhaust pipe fixed. Walter Ray's temporary fix was fine, but we needed to get more permanent repairs made. He's coming out of the cashier's office now….140 miles to Memphis and we will get going again!
Talk to you soon,
Week 1 - Wichita, KS
Our first drive (about 1400 miles from Ocala to Wichita, KS) was "mostly" uneventful. We did have a bracket on our generator tailpipe break. From the looks of the thing afterwards….I'm guessing dragging your exhaust pipe on the ground isn't exactly good for it.
After a few temporary measures to secure the exhaust pipe, we arrived (along with about 10 other RVs) in Wichita and set up "camp" for the week.
Walter Ray made the show in Wichita, bowled very well and got beat by Dave D'Entremont (the eventual tournament winner). Our congratulations to Dave. He has been working very hard on his game lately and it is definitely paying off. Losing is always disappointing, but it does take the "sting out" when at least it's to someone you like.
We found out that we were going to have some new additions to our tour soon! Parker and Leslie Bohn are expecting a baby. Jason and Shelia Queen are also anxiously awaiting the arrival of their baby girl. Sarah Wilson, adorable daughter of Steve and Sherri, proudly proclaimed that, "My Mommy has a baby in her tummy!" When I asked her if she wanted a brother or a sister…she said a "brother named Hannah" Hmm….poor kid. Gonna' be tough on the playground for him! Our congratulations to everyone expecting a new addition to their family. We wish health and happiness for all!
We also got to meet the Barnes' twins Troy and Ryan. My goodness are they cuties! I stole Troy away from Lynda one day and didn't give him back until the block was over. I was hoping she would forget she had two when she came! : )