I’m on a Greyhound bus, leaving Washington DC. I had a great visit, reconnecting with my cousin Mark Stiles, his wife Barbara, son Dan, and daughter Christina. While I was up in Delaware playing the DDGC, poor Dan was stuck in a town decimated by an unusual storm called a Derecho. Generally thunderstorms pass an area in a front that moves fast and clears out relatively quickly. Derechos move fast, but follow one another sequentially and cover vast areas. The only analogy I can think of is a wide paintbrush. Normally you use it to cover as broad an area as possible with each stroke. If you were to turn the brush sideways, it would cover a smaller area, but put down more paint, and that’s what this storm did.
Dan used the term “Biblical” to describe the storm, he said that it was as if the sky was constantly lit up by lightning so as to almost appear as a full moon night. I was sleeping in a hotel with ear plugs and the thunder was still loud and powerful, pounding through the walls. The next day there were trees down everywhere. At the tournament we cleaned the fairways in our warm ups, but in the city the trees took the power lines down with them and it was reported that 1.5 million people were without power during 115 heat index days. People lost all their food as refrigerator fell silent and warmed up. It wasn’t much fun at all for 4 days in Mark’s neighborhood. Fortunately the outage didn’t last the full week that was forecast, as I slept Tuesday night, the whirrs and buzzes that all the appliances we like to take for granted came back on and stayed on. Never have I appreciated power for air conditioning so much. The sweltering heat was oppressive. Relief was wonderful.
I took the next few days easy and enjoyed our newly appreciated power supply to stay cool, venturing outside only to practice putt or run to the store for food. Because it was so hot outside I decided to bring the practice basket inside to practice putt. Having played Reny and Hornets Nest, I knew that I needed to practice putting to an elevated basket. There are several greens where you might be putting up at a basket several feet above you, and if you haven’t done it, it can be pretty awkward. So I put the basket at the top of a flight of stairs. I removed a framed photo from the wall to be sure I wouldn’t damage anything, and started putting. I quickly discovered that this was going to do more than help me putt at steep upward angles, it was also going to be a workout because after every two putts, I would have to go up the stairs to retrieve the discs. Two putts, up ten stairs, and right back down. It wasn’t a very hard put, but I still missed some, and I decided to do ten push ups for every missed putt. I committed to doing 100 putts, missed 8 and did 80 push ups, and 50 trips up and down the steps. Pretty good workout and practice. I’m hoping I’ll feel more confident on those elevated baskets!
The next day I was invited by those really cool Disc Outfitters guys, Brian Cooke and Joel Provencher, to play a round of disc golf at Rockburn Park. It was of course very hot, but the course was fun, and they brought along Rick to complete the foursome. Somehow I ended up with the lead by one stroke after it was all said and done. The course was fun, though less than it’s best due to a few fallen trees from the storms. After we were done we hopped in the car (AC!) and headed to a place called The Green Turtle for some brews and appetizers. A great selection of beer was available and they got me some Maryland Crabmeat sliders – Yummy stuff, I wolfed them down and we shared some stories over some fine ales. Then off to their retail location where I met some cool peeps who help them run their disc golf products and silk screening equipment. Then Brian continued the hospitality at yet another fine drinking and dining establishment. Thanks guys!
So after those few days I had made plans to hook up with Steve Ganz for a round of golf at his home course, Franklin Park, about 30 min from Leesburg, VA. He texted me the night before and said another World Champion would be joining us. It turned out that Avery Jenkins and Leah Taylor were staying a few days with Leah’s brother who also lives in Leesburg. Well the heat wave hadn’t broken yet, and we played a round from the long tees to the long baskets in the 100 degree heat. It is a fairly wide open course with par 4′s and 5′s. It was a lot of fun to watch Avery throw some HUGE drives, making it look pretty effortless. We all had fun and Leah was really cranking them out there. Needing to get out of the heat, Steve treated us to some great food and beer at Fireworks Pizza in Leesburg. Yummy pizza and some really good IPA really hit the spot.
In talking to Avery and Leah I learned that they were heading down to Worlds about the same time I would be and I told them that I thought they would be welcome at my cousin’s place. Barbara indeed welcomed them into their home and we were spoiled by having an extra car for a few days as Mark had left for a work conference in Korea. A highlight of our time together was a trip to Flying Dog Brewery for a tour of the facilities. One of the most in-depth brewery tours I’ve ever had, we got to taste and touch all the ingredients used in their brewing process. Barley, hops, and even some of the yeast, as well as some wort from actual batches of beer. After seeing the huge vats, filtering, bottling, and packaging rooms, we went back to the tasting room to use our six tokens for some samples of their finished products. Let me tell you, if you like IPA’s, you have to try these beers! They had so many good ones it was hard to pick a favorite, but I would have to go with one called Double Dog- a super good, super strong double IPA- yummy! Then to top it all off, a gentleman named Kenneth, who Avery had email correspondence with regarding the tour, showed up and gave us some special treatment. A full pitcher of really good ale, and a complimentary trip to the gift shop for a few classic shirts. An awesome time that I will recommend to anyone who likes good beer. Barbara can’t wait to take Mark there.
A few more courses and a few breweries later and all three of us thanked our hosts and said our goodbyes and now we are riding the same bus down to Charlotte to start our practice in earnest. I haven’t been on a bus ride this long ever, the closest being the ski buses I enjoyed in high school, but most of those were just a few hours. I’m hoping I can get some sleep during this 9 hour ride, but not until we get past Richmond where we have to switch buses. Well, that’s it for now. More to come from Charlotte soon… JB