Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hot day at Miller Park

Sunday was hot, hot, hot! We were all trying to find a little shade between turns in the circle. It was good to have Bob and Philippe back with the group after their recent travels. And Sue Daniels rejoined the group after an extended absence. This time it was Michel who was traveling. He was off to Michigan to see Sarah. Terry & Sue were only able to play for a short while due to obligations at their church and weren't in any of the pictures that Shirley made.

We enjoyed teaching our game to a nice couple who live within walking distance of Miller Park and just happened by on Sunday afternoon. Oscar and Diana are of Columbian heritage, but Philippe, as usual, found common interests in that he had known quite a few people of Columbian extraction when living in Miami.

Anyway, both Oscar and Diana played well. At first, we split the two of them on separate teams with Danny and myself being the other two players. They soon decided that the game wasn't all that difficult for them ( or that it seemed to be VERY difficult for Danny and me!) and decided to partner with each other for the final game. Lots of fun! Hope they'll be back often.

Miller Park on August 17, 2008

With Bob traveling to see his family and Philippe gone to the tournament in Quebec,


there weren't as many people available this Sunday, but we certainly had a lot of fun anyway. As usual, Shirley was taking the pictures and did not get into any of them.

Michel is off to visit Sarah for the next couple of weeks, but Philippe and Bob should both return by next weekend, so come on out and join us next Sunday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sunday-- Back to Miller Park

After our brief mountain respite, it was back to the heat and the familiar surroundings of Miller Park in Winston-Salem. Walt and Stefanie had a little free time and made the trip down the mountain to join us as well. And our friends Ron & Doreen, from Maryland, came with us as too, along with Danny (Sue had to remain behind to help with her mom).

Josh, Michel, and Philippe also played; so, we had a nice crowd. The games were as competitive as always. Walt thought his shooting game was off just a little at times, which gave the rest of us a chance! We played from about 12:30 to 6:30, so there was plenty of time for everyone to find himself on a winning team.

We had a couple of people walk up and express interest, so we handed out a few cards and promised to play at Miller Park again on Sunday, August 17. Hope to see you there!

Saturday-- Heritage Park in Newland, NC

Saturday was another beautiful mountain day. At least ten degrees cooler than down in the "flatlands." The six of us (Ron&Doreen, Danny&Sue, and Gary&Shirley) set out to try yet another place to play. Danny knew of a park/fairground near Newland which was less than ten miles from the Crossnore home of Danny&Sue where we were all staying.

We saw some signs around town that promised a horse show at the fairgrounds on Saturday evening, but thought we might be able to play on Saturday morning somewhere in the park. As it turned out, there was a semi-abandoned baseball field in the park that was perfect for our purposes. Or at least it didn't appear to have been used in a considerable amount of time. We chose to ignore the scattered weeds and played on the surface as we found it.

It was just fine. Hard packed clay lay just beneath a very thin top dressing of what appeared to be extremely fine gravel. It was fast- but not too fast. Very good. We'll rake, pull weeds, and police the area some in the future. The field was located some ways distant from the horse arena, so it looked as though we would have been able to play even if something else had been going on.

We've made up our minds to check it out again the next time we're in the mountains. It was the most promising spot we've found so far. We wouldn't have to worry about conflicts with baseball or softball games and there didn't seem to be anyone around that our group's play would disturb. Danny is going to talk with someone in the Parks&Recreation group and get official blessing for us to play there on occasion.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Friday-- Lees McRae College

We decided to play at a different location on Friday in order to experience the variety that playing on different surfaces with different views provides. Walt, Ron, Doreen, Wayne, Danny, Sue, Shirley, and myself tried the softball field at Lees McRae college in Banner Elk. The surface was typical of a baseball field-- nice and flat with a little drag provided by the loose dust. But the views were spectacular! The mountains in the background were difficult to ignore.

The teams were pretty evenly matched and we had some good games. We had made the assumption that we could play since the college walking track and similar facilities are open to the public. The girls' softball coach came out and told us that we needed to make reservations, but Shirley went up and talked with the athletic director who told us we could finish our play. Just wanted any potential players to know you should check first. It's a beautiful place and we would not want to cause any problems should the college have something scheduled for the field.

By the way, the large picture of Shirley was taken on the hiking trail near the Linn Cove Viaduct Welcome Center. Go if you enjoy mountain hiking.

Thursday-- Banner Elk, NC, in the park

We played in the park on some dense gravel in a picnic area. The boules would hit and stop with practically zero roll. Good practice for trying to hit a certain spot, but very difficult for pointers who usually roll in for quite a distance. There were seven players, but Walt's friend, Stefanie, had some studying to do and did not join in until Shirley dropped out to take the photos you see here.

Shirley and I had just arrived at the mountain home of Danny and Sue on Thursday morning and the four of us went directly to the park to meet up with Walt, Stefanie, and Walt's mom, Maggie. We already knew how well Walt plays, and were not really surprised to find that Maggie and Stefanie both play very well also. Maggie's background was mostly lawn boules, but she seemed to be equally at home on the petanque terrain.

As you see, the park was very beautiful. We had a few people walk up and watch. One of them was from Lexington! I gave him a card and hope to hear from him in the future. Another, Phyllis, watched for a while. It turned out she was in charge of the park. She indicated that she thought there might be room to fit in a real terrain in the future. She had a few questions about the game. So of course she got a CarolinaPetanque card as well and a promise that we would do anything we could to advise or help if she decides to pursue construction.

The outing was a very nice start to a four day petanque weekend. More to come.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Saturday in Lexington

We had an even dozen players for Saturday afternoon and evening at the Joneses' home in Lexington. The play was on Saturday instead of Sunday this week because Michel's girlfriend, Sarah, was visiting from Michigan for the weekend, but she had a plane to catch on Sunday.

The gang started arriving around 1:00 PM and play began on Court 1. As more players showed up, we expanded to our newly created Courts 2 & 3. The fact that they were no more than a recently refurbished driveway space did not diminish our fun in the least. The addition of nine tons of new gravel screenings along with a little top dressing (salvaged aquarium rock from a local industry that produces small bags of colored stone for fish bowls and tanks!) made the driveways/courts very playable. A little string, a little paint on the lines, and the use of some of Philippe's Petanque America court signage gave the area a somewhat more finished look.

The usual afternoon storm gave us just enough time for a cookout supper of burgers, dogs, baked beans, chips, etc. before we resumed play for the evening session. Since play went on until nearly ten o'clock, it appears everyone was happy with the event.

We signed up another new member Saturday. Dean Johnson, from Charlotte, (above, last photo) makes our roster of paid members an even two dozen. Good progress since we started with just nine.

For those of you who weren't able to make it Saturday, there's always next time!