Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On The Road, and In The Air

(Sault Ste Marie, MI) - Quite a day yesterday, despite missing on Mark Rutherford's pointers for the Charlevoix area!

The interview with Craig Coxe at Springs Harbor, MI was about the best I've ever had with an athlete. Many, many thanks to Craig for taking the time (about 90 minutes!), his enthusiasm, and for being so open about every topic. My experience had always been that hockey players are more humble and forthcoming than other pro athletes, such as NBA, NFL, or MLB players. But Coxe was so accommodating, and truly a fun interview. I can't wait to transcribe and even to begin posting some video interview clips.

From Springs Harbor and after lunch, we went back to Charlevoix so that we could get a ferry boat or plane to Beaver Island. We struck out on a couple counts. On Mondays this time of year, the ferry makes only one trip to and fro- and had already made it. We really wanted to enjoy each available mode, water and air. Well, water wasn't available, so we agreed that it would be better to fly each way than to miss out on a trip to this remote place. We got to the airport and learned that there was only one round-trip remaining in the day. We would take it, but these would be back-to-back flights- only a 15 minute wait between trips!

It was totally worth it! On the flight out, I was the last to board, so I sat next to the pilot on a very small twin engine propeller plane. I was extremely nervous, but went with the thrill. Took many pictures from the air. We hit the ground, chatted up local Islanders for ten minutes, then boarded again to skip back to mainland. Steve sat next to pilot for the return, and I sat at the back, shooting a collage of the plane's interior and a series of shots down to the surface. It was a study of the fixed landing gear and whatever was below: Lake Michigan, treetops, a quarry, the runway, etc. I'll load some of these later.

In the late afternoon, we drove up to Sault Ste Marie, deciding to stay in Michigan one more night before crossing into Canada. We went to Kewadin Casino, which is run by the SSM Chippewa Indians. I'm usually pretty down on non-Vegas casinos, but this one was very good. It had a huge number of slots, and a fair number of table games. But here was the best part: $1 video poker was 9-5, and the texas hold-em table was 1-2. What's that mean? High payback for longer play on slots, low stakes entry on poker. So, Steve and I could play and not feel like we were going to break the bank.

Actually, we both left with more money than we started. That usually doesn't happen, but Steve doubled his money on roulette, and I won a small amount on hold-em. We had a real laugh at the end of the night, when I was simply trying to get a metal $1 token for my dad. I put a $5 into the video poker machine with the idea that I would take one or two out of the five and play the rest, probably losing them. I got two nice ones, but then kept winning small hands- two pair & three of a kind. I would play, win, cash out, look at Steve, and we would laugh... and repeat. Nothing big. I left with ten buck, plus the two tokens. It was just the situation- no investment in winning, yet doing so.

Today we'll make tracks, trying to get to Thunder Bay. Of course, we never know what may divert our attention!

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