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    Dartplayer Dot Net :: View topic - The Thorn Report
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    The Thorn Report
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    Post new topic   Reply to topic    Dartplayer Dot Net Forum Index -> PORTLAND AREA Dart Association (PADA)
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    Thorn
    Gunner
    Gunner


    Joined: Jun 02, 2006
    Posts: 3278
    Location: Rip City

    PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    DARTING UP THE PACIFIC COAST, Part IV: The Thrill of Victoria

    The agony of defeat--no darts at sea, a broken toilet, no Catalina Island--almost made me think this cruise wasn't worth it...

    But there were plenty of bonuses along the way--like a room with window, free booze, and the weather--perfect for watching the Oregon and Washington coast all the way past the Olympic Mountains...



    And into Canadian waters...

    We arrived early Thursday, but the ship was scheduled to stay until 11:30 pm! I triple checked this departure time because, for once, it gave me time to see the pubs at night--and hunt for darts. Plus, thanks to my pre-cruise efforts online, I had a local player meeting me that afternoon!

    Since I've been to Victoria many times, I had no need to rush out to do the tourist thing. So, I hung out on the ship or just outside the port until it was time to meet my contact...









    Now, it is always a pleasure to meet people through darts. I've had so many unique experiences in new places because of the people that have helped me find and spread the game. Sometimes the meetings are planned, other times they're just random encounters. But, my hope is the fun feeling is mutual--for them, and you...

    I was thinking about that, outside the pier, waiting, when the black BMW rolled up and rolled its windows down. I dipped my sunglasses and smiled at them. They dipped their sunglasses and smiled back...

    In a moment I was introducing myself to a lovely couple while adjusting my seat back, and we quickly formed a plan to take the scenic route back to their place before hitting dart pubs that night...

    For anonymity sake, let's call them "JMS"--the best reception committee yours truly could hope for...



    Driving along the waterfront, we stopped at some park and briefly watched the paragliders ride the wind of the Juan de Fuca Strait...







    But soon we arrived at their home for an early happy hour. After some get-to-know-you conversation about this, that, life, and darts, we retired to their home board and threw a few legs...



    Combined, JMS are two solid players and a formidable mixed pair--one expert, one expert-to-be--and their hardware collection continues to grow...



    After an hour or two, all warmed up and warm and friendly, we headed out for one of their favorite venues and eateries to see some of the local Victorian dart scene...

    Over and double out.
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    Thorn
    Gunner
    Gunner


    Joined: Jun 02, 2006
    Posts: 3278
    Location: Rip City

    PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    DARTING UP THE PACIFIC COAST, Part V: Better Late Than Never...

    We whisked off to one of the local league venues, the My Bar & Grill, below the Howard Johnson hotel. It was Thursday, and that meant 20 cent wing night--talk about perfect conditions for darts...



    We shuffled in, ordered a few buffalo baskets and Canadian craft beers, donned our flights and got right down to shooting on My Bar's double dartboard area...

    As we traded triples and doubles, more and more patrons came bustling in, and friends of JMS were in no short supply...



    Most folks were playing bingo along with the disc jockey, and we got ourselves a couple cards and blotters...



    As luck would have it, we won, and got $20 off our bar tab!

    We continued shooting and drinking and eating all night, amid all the playoff season hockey talk and happy people...



    It was so fun, I almost lost track of time--I had to be back by to the ship by 11:30, no later. So, at 11:15, it was time to say our grateful goodbyes to the bar...



    As we zipped across town back to the port, JMS and I crammed in all the conversation we could. We passed the illuminated parliament buildings for all of British Columbia, who's motto, "Splendor sine occasu”, means “splendor undiminished"...



    And then the port appeared. The ship was still there as expected, and at 11:25, I still had five minutes...



    But as soon as we pulled up to the drop-off turnaround, and as we said our goodbyes, a port security man hustled over...

    "Are you Mr. Smith? Please, hurry, the ship is waiting for you."

    With a quizzical look--was I late?!?--and a last quick thank you to JMS, I slung my satchel over my shoulder and slipped through the gates and onto the dock, speed-walking for the gangplank...

    The security man said, "You better run!"...

    Now, it's a big mistake to make an entire cruise ship wait, let alone miss the boat. So, I was worried and puzzled as I hustled to the machine that goes "bing" and saw some impatient looking ship security crew...

    No other passengers were still boarding. I must have been the last one on the boat...

    But after getting a more positive response from the x-ray machine man--"You made it! We were waiting for you!", "Am I late?", "No, it's 11:28, two minutes to spare."--I was just happy to have made it back on board. Although I was confused as to why I was told to run...and seemed to be late...and before I even got back to my stateroom, the ship was pulling away from the wharf...

    You see, normally, passengers are expected back at a certain time, and the ship leaves 30 minutes after that time. Like I said, I triple checked that passengers were to re-board by 11:30, and I was on time...

    Oh well, no biggie, I thought...actually, I worked it, getting the most out of my dart night in Victoria...

    Until I went up to the disco--which was really hopping with people partying, being the last night of the cruise. As soon as I met someone new, they said, "Oh, are you Adam Smith?! You're the one that held up the whole boat?!", "What?!?", "Yeah, they made a bunch of announcements to see if you were on the boat yet." And from then on, everyone I met was like, "Oh you're Adam!". I got a laugh out of it at first, but then I got a little peeved at Princess for making me look like an idiot when I wasn't even late! I'd have to talk to their customer service people about that...and the toilet, and missing Catalina, and never hearing back from the cruise staff about finding a dartboard on the ship...

    But, all in all, it was just another wrinkle in an otherwise smooth cruise. I boogied the night away with lots of people who were better dancers and better looking than me...



    One couple, after getting to know me a bit, even wanted to get their picture in the Thorn Report...



    In the morning, we'd be in Vancouver. As usual, my plan was to be last off the boat, maximizing my stay with one last big breakfast, before disembarking into downtown to catch my two o'clock bus back to Portland...

    Over and double out.
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    Thorn
    Gunner
    Gunner


    Joined: Jun 02, 2006
    Posts: 3278
    Location: Rip City

    PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    DARTING UP THE PACIFIC COAST, Part VI: The Land of Blackhorse...

    Last time I was in Vancouver, BC, I had the pleasure of meeting Blackhorse. But this visit wouldn't afford the time or opportunity--the departure time on my bus ticket left me little more than a walk from the port to the Greyhound station, but maybe I'd stumble across something 'darty' on the way...

    After lounging about the boat as late as they'd let me, I trundled off the ship,"bing", and through the congestion of customs and bumbling travelers...

    It was gorgeous day, and I found the nearest coffee shop with free wi-fi to google-map my trek across town...



    Downtown, I had surprisingly little luck finding more than a few microbrew pubs or restaurant bars opening for lunch, none of whom had boards. So, I dragged my bag on, through some seedier stretches, up the hill toward the bus station. I was just a few blocks away, and about to concede that this dart adventure ended in Victoria, when I stumbled past this facade...



    And, lo and behold, I had found one of, if not the dart supply store for Vancouver players--it also doubled as an antique shop. Giddy with unexpected luck, I jingled the bells above the door and crept in to scope it out. I talked to the ladies working there, and yep, they knew Blackhorse...by his real name...







    I bought some rose-and-skull flights for my buddy Bones, and a few thorny ones for myself, before thanking them and wandering out, pretty pleased with such a find...

    And, they told me that a pub by the Greyhound station had some steel tip boards! I still had a few Canadian dollars and an hour to spend, so I slunk over to the Ivanhoe Hotel for a dive bar burger and some more snooping around...



    The place was a classic--with just the right amount of regulars lurking about in the dark, shooting pool and talking hockey, hoisting cheap beers and avoiding the perfect weather outside...





    I sat, munching my burger and fries by the two boards in the well worn dart area, imagining the battles of days gone by. Wondering if maybe Blackhorse or other SEWAnauts had had some wars here...

    I broke my darts out just long enough to hit a DB, before shouldering my satchel, extending my bag handle, leaving the tip, and strode out, grabbing a last shot of one of the more friendly locals on my way...



    The bus ride back across the border was pleasant, if not long and uneventful...

    In retrospect, it was a pretty sweet mini-adventure, this cruise. Some things went wrong, but more went right. And, besides the great people and dart places I found, and dirt cheap cost, I even got some onboard credit for a future cruise--after letting Princess' customer service department know about my troublesome toilet...

    Ah, traveling. Here's to the next adventure...

    Over and double out.
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    Thorn
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    Joined: Jun 02, 2006
    Posts: 3278
    Location: Rip City

    PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    THANKING SEWA AND MY READERS!

    A long time ago, I started posting about darts. At first, it was just local stories in the Portland Area Darts association website, and then here at SEWA, where my cyber persona, "Thorn", was born. Back then, I did a lot of remote reporting based on league results and stats, but slowly it morphed into my pursuit to find darts in exotic places, and eventually became focused on travel and darts.

    During my research of future adventures, I stumbled across a new website, "Darts Around the World", which was devoted solely to the same themes: darts and travel. I made contact and after being a guest on one of their podcasts, I was invited to add the "Thorn Report" to their site--and it seemed like a perfect fit. And with all due respect and appreciation to the creators, moderators and members and guests of SEWA, I had been thinking about starting my own blog or website for some time. So, the "Thorn Report" is moving to a new home:

    http://www.dartsaroundtheworld.com/

    I'd be honored and grateful if you continue to follow my reports and share my new location with your friends and potential new readers. And, be assured, I am not leaving SEWA, and will continue to participate in topics and support SEWA's mission to be the best darts forum on the internet, and spread the love of the game.

    As an incentive to keep your readership, I still have a back log of stories from this summer: the PADA Outdoor Shoot, Yellowstone Park, Hell's Canyon, to name a few, and a return to the South Caribbean and, hopefully, my first visit to New Zealand!

    Also, the new "Thorn Report" may be seeking your participation--so if you are traveling to unusual places and find a dartboard, be sure to take some pictures! Frankly, I'll be upset if you don't! Plus, your discoveries might just get featured in the "Thorn Report" at "Darts Around The World".

    As always, thanks for reading and thanks to SEWA for helping me grow my blog!

    Over and double out!


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    PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    MORE THANKS...

    I just wanted to thank Charis publicly for having a little "thorn in the side" of her website, Global Darts (http://www.globaldarts.de/globalDartsEN/index.html).

    She's rolling out some of my old SEWA World interviews, and many of you are the star guests--so I thought you should know! She's going to try to add more pictures to them this time, and any of you who are featured in an interview should contact her and send some photos--I will send her everything I can find, but many of you never sent any, so now's your chance. I think she will do them in order, so if you need to review what number you were, just scan back through pages 1-3 of the TR for the first eight interviews, and the next five can be found in the Stories Archives between August 2008 and March 2009...

    Lastly, just an fyi for any of you who missed it, my blog is now being featured on a new website, DartsAroundTheWorld.com,. You can always 'travel' by visiting us and enjoying a podcast or post...

    Over and double out.
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