21 April 2006

NCAA Northeast Regionals, part 1



Here's a better writeup, I hope, on my trip to Ann Arbor. On that
Thursday night, I bought a ticket to Ann Arbor, which had me transfer
in Cleveland, stop in Toledo, and the transfer again in Detroit. My bus
was scheduled to leave at 12:15 am, but was delayed due to a staff
shortage in Chicago, which held up all the other buses. My schedule was
a rather busy one, with, I believe, three buses assigned to it. I was
on the second bus. The first was strictly continuation passengers from
Chicago and other points west of Pittsburgh.
I got on board alright. There's always a step placed under the
coach's stairway, so good on Greyhound for that. And good on them for
not challenging me (as they sometimes do) about sitting in the back of
the bus, rather than the ADA-mandated seats up front. Thing is, the lavatory is in the rear, and I don't want to be stuck on Route 7 somewhere near Hubbard, OH, needing to drain the ol' liver. No, indeed. So, I was able to find a seat with relative ease.So, on to Cleveland, which was, as rides go, pretty harmless. As well, there's always a great view of downtown, including The Jake. I'm not hardcore into baseball, but I am fascinated by the buildings
used for the sport.
Once I got into Cleveland, I used the facilities,
and then just waited to board for Toledo. Nothing terribly exciting
about this part of the trip, and when I got back onboard, I slept
rather deeply until we got to Toledo. At that point, I woke up briefly,
but then slept until we got to Detroit, got up, switched buses, and was
on my way to Ann Arbor. I also slept through part of this leg of it,
being woken up by the PA when we got into Wayne, a pretty nondescript
suburb of Detroit with a beat up, curbside Greyhound stand. We were in
and out of there pretty quickly and painlessly.
From Wayne to Ann Arbor was mostly interstate, but was slow as
molasses, owing to a massive multi-car accident in Ypsilanti.
The freeway wasn't totally blocked, but we slogged on at about five
miles per hour for about half an hour past all the fire trucks and HVA ambulances.
Do I still have your attention? Good. So, I get into Ann Arbor,
maybe around 9:30am. Maybe? Ann Arbor's main "gate" is curbside,
although there appear to be two more doors on the inside, just like a
big-city station. So, I exit, and with about five and a half hours to
kill, I head inside and start asking the attendant questions pertinent
to my trip. Where's the local bus depot? What's the taxi situation
like? Where are we in relation to downtown? Blah blah blah. The kindly
man points me to the Convention and Visitors Bureau right next door, where another lovely person fields more questions from me, and sends me off with a few packets.
Killing a few hours, I just walked around downtown a bit, which
was fascinating. Typical college town, I thought. Pretty big, though.
But hey, this is outer suburban Detroit, basically, so what would I
expect, right? After a while, I decided to head for my hotel, and for
that, I grabbed one of Ann Arbor Transportation Authority's buses, which they call "The Ride". At this point, everything had gone very well, but, as I always do in a foreign (to me) city, I got a little tense when I explained where I had to go. I think the driver might have been a little
concerned about my disability, and being able to walk a long distance, but he made sure to drop me off at the correct place, which was Wolverine Tower . Not sure what this even is, maybe a dorm, but it's a tall, dark, ordinary
and isolated skyscraper off of Eisenhower Parkway with "777" written in
white at the very top, hence its nickname as "triple seven".
So, I get off, and look around for a bit, and locate all the
hotels, which are pretty much on one block, so I walk toward them, and
find the Courtyard by Marriott. I go in and ask when checkin is, and I
am told 3:00, so I have several hours. I sit down in the lobby and just
veg for a while, checking my backpack to make sure I havent lost
anything. Determining that I'm OK, I just sit for a while, and
eventually doze off, which oddly no one notices or at least cares
about.
After a while, I head on out, and settle on Damon's for lunch. I go toward the door, hold it open for a couple of guys exiting, and one of them almost knocked me over
trying to reverse it so he was holding the door for me. Seeing as I got
there first, I continued holding the door, and they continued trying to
coax me in, while I continued trying to coax them out. Odd how some
able-bodies really hate being helped in any manner by a disabled
person. I suppose there are guys in general that hate being in the same
position with a woman.
Anyhow, I got in, and the gracious waitstaff sat me down
quickly, and I started off with a water with lemon, my favorite drink.
I eventually proceeded to order a Big South Burger. Very good, but
rather heavy, and I had ordered swiss cheese istead of American, but
did not get it. Very small blemish in an otherwise wonderful foodie
experience. I asked my waiter to deduct the cheese upgrade, which was
fifty cents, and he kindly did so, twice over. I finished with a slice
of chocolate cake, and then went back to my hotel to wait out the rest
of the time (45 minutes, I think). I got in, and quickly dumped my
backpack.
I went back out and had the front desk call for a cab to take
me to Crisler Arena to watch the practice, which, unusually, was open to the public. I went in, sat on the floor level for a while, and four
of the girls on the Pitt team walked on over and said hello and we all
flapped gums for a bit. Other than that, it was a fairly unorganized
session of practice, done in twenty-minute rotations, throughout all
four apparatus. No full routines, really. Girls more or less just
mounted, did maybe one or two skills within a routine, and dismounted.
Kind of chaotic, but still loads of fun to watch, because I was up
close. After about ten minutes, I was politely reseated behind a cord,
up the stairs a bit, to watch the rest of it. No one had told me my
original seat was not OK. That was alright. The new seat was, in some
ways, better. I was further away, but could see all four of the
apparatus better. Crisler is a large facility, which is meant for men's
basketball. It is very well lit, almost too well lit, but it was neat
being in a big venue like that.
This report is becoming wordier than I thought, so I'll just
leave it here for tonight. Sayonara.

2 Comments:

Blogger Rae said...

Man, you're the king of getting around on the bus!

23/4/06 00:02  
Blogger Cory said...

I have a huge thing for buses, both greyhound and local http://www.nashvillemta.org/ style buses. Just a weird childhood fascination, I guess. I can also stare at maps and atlases for hours. I'm a nerd that way.

24/4/06 07:04  

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