After a week off over the Fourth of July I headed out to my next tournament in Albany, New York. I was fortunate to have my dad drive with me as I started this six-week leg of the tour. The 23-hour drive wasn’t something I was looking forward to, but we made it through. So what exactly does a 23-hour road trip through the northern/northeast United States entail? Well, in one paragraph or less: one night in Toledo, Ohio, a side trip to Niagara Falls, two stops at Tim Horton’s for Timbits (diet starts next week), several vineyards in upstate New York, about $3,000 in tolls, one night in Rochester, NY and an early 5 am flight home for my dad.
To explain further, Niagara Falls was only about 45 minutes off of our path so we decided we needed to see what all the hype was about. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting but I’ve decided Niagara Falls is New York’s version of Mt. Rushmore. You go there, stand at a lookout point, and there it is; it doesn’t exactly do anything. However, it was nice to look over the river and see that the Canadian’s were just as amazed at a giant waterfall as we Americans are. We left Niagara Falls and continued on our journey. To my delight, Rochester, NY was home to several Tim Horton’s. If you have never been to a Tim Horton’s and overate on their variety of donut holes (a.k.a Timbits), you are truly missing out. Timbits probably aren’t the breakfast of champions, but they sure are good. On our last couple hours of the trip, besides finding Tim Horton’s, we also found ourselves driving alongside massive vineyards. It was hard for me to understand, and for most people to believe, but apparently there is more to the state of New York than just New York City. Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that I may need to pick up a part time job to pay for my toll expenses. With the amount of money I have to fork over every time I change roads these streets should be paved in gold. One time I accidentally drove through the EZ Pass lane and I am fairly confident the state of Indiana now has me on some sort of watch list.
After our 23 hours together I left my dad in Rochester and he flew back home. I drove to Albany and straight to my housing for the week. This time, instead of private housing, we were given the option to stay at some college suites for the week which I decided was a good idea. This was the first time I really realized that I was not in South Dakota anymore. My GPS says “1 mile until destination” and I felt the need to lock my doors and not make eye contact with anybody on the street. Don’t worry, Mom, at the last minute I turned the corner and was relieved to find a normal college campus. I found this quite often in Albany; one nice neighborhood directly adjacent to an extremely bad one. Overall, the city wasn’t bad, just different. Every street we drove down was lined with 3 story buildings where the lower level was usually a restaurant or bar and the upper stories were living spaces. However, they were so close to each other that I think they sometimes shared a wall. Every “house” had a stoop and that’s where everyone hung out at night. Like we spend time on our back patios, they enjoy the evenings out on the street. I guess it is the difference between rural and city life. Todd and I decided that some of those “hole in the wall” restaurants probably had the best food in town, but of course we kept driving to the well-lit mall area and enjoyed the local P.F. Chang’s. Not only were these downtown areas a little to sketchy for our liking, but I definitely wasn’t going to risk the embarrassment of parallel parking. So, the lesson learned in Albany this week? We may not share a waterfall with Canada or be home to America’s largest city, but we also don’t have to spend half our salaries on tolls or share our bedroom wall with the neighbor.
Overall, the week worked out well. My dorm wasn’t Caesar’s Palace, but for $150 for the week I was as happy as a bug in a rug. As far as my game this week, after 16 years of playing golf, it never seems to amaze me. I don’t know how the first day everything can seem so easy, and the next two days so hard. I know some people call that the “beauty of the game,” but I just call it frustrating. Nonetheless, I was happy to have Todd out here with me this week and I think it was good for him to see me play in this new environment. As always, we are trying to never stop the process of continuing to learn and improve in order to keep getting better. I am on to New Hampshire for next week’s event! Have a great week everyone!