Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Flight to Forget

The trip to Laramie was absolutely brutal. The flight started out just fine, featuring good times, good food* and good company. On the drive to O'Hare, our bus' AM radio wasn't working, so we casually mentioned another source for play-by-play of the NU-OSU football game: 89.3 FM! So the Northwestern Men's basketball team listened to over one quarter of gridiron action on the best student station in the country, WNUR. (Head coach Bill Carmody shook his head in disgust when Ohio State returned a blocked punt for a TD to essentially put us away--or was it when Dan and Howard mentioned Star Trek for the 11th time?)

(*The food would become a factor later.)

Here's when things got ugly: the conditions on the ground in Laramie were too windy to land. That did not, however, prevent the pilots of our small chartered plane to circle around the Laramie airport (which neither Ray nor I actually believe exists) for almost half an hour. This circling may sound fairly benign, but it was a nightmare. Extreme banking by the pilot + heavy turbulence + full stomachs + malfunctioning air conditioning= recipe for disaster.

Nobody lost their lunch, but a few of us came dangerously close.

Finally, Denny (the "charter coordinator," and owner of a humorously ornate Cowboy belt) announced that the conditions at the non-existent Laramie airport were just too dangerous, and that we were being diverted to Cheyenne, the bustling capital of Wyoming. When we finally touched down, we faced some of the strongest winds I've ever experienced, and we fought our way through the elements into the luxurious "terminal," which essentially looked like a living room out of the late 70s. A chartered bus finally arrived, and we loaded our stuff onboard and embarked on the final leg of the journey--which ended at the Altitude Chop House. At the steakhouse, we had a very nice chat with several of the players who actually seemed interested in our roles at WNUR Sports. Nice guys.

So getting here was no fun, but now that we're here, we expect the excitement to begin.

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