Thursday, February 14, 2013

Detroit Mixed Bonspiel: Preview

This weekend, we're curling in a tournament (bonspiel) in Detroit. Woohoo! We're leaving Friday and coming back Monday. This is a good weekend to make this trip, since Monday is Presidents Day (meaning Marla's day care will be closed).

Let's tackle this in parts:

Curling

Our team is the same as at our last bonspiel in Charlotte, except the order is slightly changed. Being a mixed bonspiel rather than open, we have to alternate male/female in the throwing order, and that means I throw Second. But I think I'm still going to be holding the broom for the Skip's rocks.

Usually in these bonspiel previews, I go in-depth regarding our potential opponents, game times, how many games we might play, what it'll take to get to the final draw, and so forth. But not this time, because I haven't seen the draw! All I know is that our first game is 9 AM Saturday, that the bonspiel ends no later than 5 PM Sunday, and I'm assuming we get the standard three-game minimum. So, it's a relatively short bonspiel. I also have no idea who we might be playing, or even how many teams will be there. ... You know, actually, that's kind of refreshing. I'm looking forward to going into our first game with a clear mind, for once.

Since we're not heading back until Monday, this would be the perfect weekend for me to make the final draw of an away bonspiel for the first time. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. As always, the goal is to win a game, any game. In my By the Numbers curling stats, I have a record for "Bonspiels in which I lost every game". Right now, it's 2 out of 17. Let's make it 2 out of 18!

Logistics

We thought Detroit would make a good curling destination because we could see Amber's family in Toledo on the same trip. We're staying with them on Friday and Sunday nights; on Saturday night, Amber and I are staying in Detroit - well, Madison Heights, technically - while Marla stays with her grandparents (Amber's parents) back in Toledo.

The Detroit Curling Club is, like pretty much everything that's "in Detroit", not actually in Detroit. It's in Ferndale, 9 miles north of Detroit (i.e. near 9 Mile Road), in southeastern Oakland County.

Bowling Green would make an even better curling destination than Detroit, because we wouldn't have to get a hotel while we're up there. The Bowling Green Curling Club is only 20-25 minutes from Amber's parents, whereas the Detroit club is more like 90 minutes. But, alas, the Bowling Green club doesn't really do weekend bonspiels anymore, as far as I can tell.

Roadgeek stuff

Yep, gotta talk about this. This will be our first trip to Toledo since our NC Quick Pass toll transponders became E-ZPass compatible. That means, no more paying with cash on the West Virginia Turnpike (or the Ohio Turnpike if we venture that way)! I am WAY more excited about this than I should be. It's been a long time coming. I was curious about a couple of notes related to this, too:

Many states give E-ZPass customers a toll discount over cash customers, but some of them restrict the discount to E-ZPass accounts purchased in-state. According to their respective websites, West Virginia does not offer their E-ZPass discount to out-of-state transponders, but Ohio does. I just thought that was interesting.

My NC Quick Pass account is set up as follows: whenever the account balance falls below $10, my debit card is charged $20 that evening to bring the account balance back to near $30. If you never leave the state, that's fine, because you're never going to spend more than $10 in tolls in a single day in this state. (Unless you drive back and forth on the Triangle Expressway multiple times, I guess.) But what if you're going to a state like New Jersey or New York, where it's pretty easy to spend $20 in tolls in one day? Will the automatic account replenishment catch up in time and prevent the account balance from ever going negative? I asked the NC Turnpike Authority that question, and their response was as follows: "For trips outside North Carolina we advise an advance replenishment is made to the account to keep your account from going negative."

I'm assuming hardly anyone else thought of this, so I can't wait until someone incurs an "overdraft" fee (or something) in New Jersey/New York despite their account being linked to a debit/credit card, and then complains to the News and Observer about it.

Meanwhile, I may or may not visit a new county or two on this trip. We'll see. Friday and Monday will pretty much be standard Toledo drives.

Weather

No major snowstorms expected where we'll be this weekend, which is good from a logistical perspective (but not necessarily Amber's perspective). We may see some light snow showers on tomorrow's drive, though. Aside from that, the main weather issue will be that it'll just be cold this weekend: lows in the teens, highs in the 20s. Perfect curling weather!

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