Monday, March 14, 2011

March Madness

Greetings, Family and Friends:

Been missing us?

Second week of March means it's time for us to go to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament.  So, Tuesday, 3/8, we loaded up Tuzigoot and headed for Sin City - with pure intentions.  First time out in Tuzi since our August Canada trip.  Only one problem to deal with - had to replace relief valve on water heater.  Because of weather concerns and our softened driveway (due to winter snows), we parked Tuzi at KOA in Albq and loaded up there for our departure.

Spent the night at RV park in Williams, AZ, got to LV early Wednesday afternoon.  The previous Sunday I'd invited friend Dick Reinert to fly out and join us, then followed up with e-mail en route.  He decided to fly out on Wed.  I picked him up that evening and we went to arena in time to catch the Lobo women's team's game late in the first half.  They beat/upset third-seed Wyoming to advance to Friday's semifinals.  Good start for a hoops weekend.

Next morning Dick and I went out to the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge.  We both have been following this project for several years.  I was there in December soon after the Bridge opened and posted a report and pictures on 1/9/11, which you can see by scrolling down to the posting previous to this one.

Thursday afternoon we (Susie, Dick, and I) saw the Lobo men beat Colorado State and thus advance to the semifinals where they would play BYU.  Good, close game.  When we left the arena we planned to buy semifinal tix, not being confident enough to buy them before the Lobos actually qualified.  Ticket window signs said SOLD OUT.  There were a few scalpers in the crowd milling around outside, but they were asking ridiculous prices.  We went back to Tuzigoot, got online, and bought some tickets that met our criteria for reasonableness.  Dick said, Well, we're here for (Lobo) basketball aren't we?

Friday was hoops-saturation for Dick and me.  Four games: men's and women's semifinals.  Susie and daughter Heidi went shopping and did wedding planning - for Heidi, in June. 

Lobo women got blown out by TCU, so that was disappointing.  Men's game was a classic thriller - especially the first half.  We beat BYU twice in the regular season.  They had lost only one other game all year.  You may have heard about this Friday game.  Jimmer Freddette, BYU's likely national player of the year, scored 33 points in the first half -- hitting shots from everywhere.  (Had text message from Jeff suggesting I throw something at Jimmer.  He also said Malia was watching hoping to see us in the crowd.  We were at an altitude where cameras don't roam, though.  Also out of range of Jimmer.)  But, Lobos kept answering, tailing off a little at the end for a halftime score of 47-42, BYU.  Dick and I were exhausted.

Right at start of second half, our senior, leader, and tenacious point guard (guarding Jimmer most of the time) went down with a knee injury and played no more.  We faded a bit, but put up a valiant effort.  Jimmer ended up with 52 points.  We ended up with no Lobo team in the Saturday finals.  Silver lining: Didn't have to buy a ticket for the finals.  We did stay for the other semifinal game, another thriller, as San Diego State U beat UNLV.  SDSU has lost only twice this year - to BYU both times.

Saturday Dick and I drove out to the Grand Canyon Skywalk.  I had been there two years ago -- report here -- but was ready to go back.  Fantastic structure and spectacular views.  Susie and Heidi shopped and planned some more.

Here's this year's picture of the Skywalk:

As you can see, the adjacent cliff-edge is unprotected.  Here, Dick takes a peek, 4000 ft. down.

Please rotate your head or your computer 90 degrees.  Easier than me trying to get blogger to get the right orientation.

Next picture: Oops!

Where'd he go?

Basketball was also part of this trip.  On the way down we listened to UTEP play Memphis for the championship of the Conference USA.  Dick's son Scott and family live in El Paso and are big UTEP fans and they were at the game, played in EP.  As the game wound down we started to lose reception so we pulled off and parked to listen to the last minutes.  Another heartbreaker - UTEP lost by one point on two late free throws. 

We speculated, maybe UTEP and UNM will both be in the NIT and play each other.  And, lo, it came to pass.  It was announced Sunday that they would play Tuesday night.  So, we moved our departure up a day in order to get home for this game.

Meanwhile, as we drove back to Vegas we listened as SDSU soundly beat BYU.  We figured UNM had pretty well exhausted BYU the day before so we, UNM, could take partial credit for sending BYU out of the conference with a defeat.

Dick flew home on Sunday.  While reading the Sunday paper I noticed that The Dodgers and Cubs were playing an exhibition baseball game in Las Vegas that afternoon.  I went, Susie and Heidi did wedding planning.  Dodgers lost in 10 innings, but it was a pleasant afternoon.  We had dinner at Heidi and Joey's, along with Joey's sister and her husband.  The news about the NIT pairing was out, so we packed up and headed home Monday morning.  Got to Gallup for the night, from where this Tuzigoot posting comes.



Susie and Rob