Drive to Kona

By Mick Holien

Undeterred by a volcanic blast sprinkling inches of a mysterious white-grey ash onto lands in her wake, the traveling exploits of M and M (Mike and Mick) continue with that eventual bowling obligation in Kentucky awaiting.

Realizing we needed to join our teammates in Louisville by Thursday, we also saw no reason to hurry.

Erringly driving down a deserted Interstate east from the top of Sunset Hill to our respective valley exits, Mike headed south through farmland now being utilized by truckers while I did my all too usual home drive-thru.

But we quickly discovered that all flights around the northwest had been cancelled until further notice.

Finally getting booked on a Wednesday flight, we settled into our seats convinced all things being equal we would arrive with a bit of leisure time prior to competing in the National Bowling Tournament.

After flying at an increased altitude just above the ash plume for a couple of hours, came the announcement that the 737 was being grounded in Minneapolis because the engines had taken in too much ash to continue.

Wonderful I thought facing a longer drive south than from our ultimate Chicago destination.

But quickly came the announcement we would be immediately be reboarded in order to make it to Chicago where we rented a car and continued our southward odyssey some 300 miles away.

Alternating drivers we rolled in the early morning hours and now facing the team event was short hours away. For me just getting was enough and my scores indicated I was less than interested although a couple of shifts in additional tournaments proved fruitful.

This is not my first exposure to Mount Kill ah way ah.

Twenty one years ago the Grizzlies traveled from Hilo, the rainy west where we spent our first three days, across the Big Island highway to beautiful Kona where they competed in a tournament beating Hawaii Hilo but losing to Valparaiso and Wisconsin in Blaine Taylor’s final UM season before accepting an assistant’s position with Mike Montgomery.

It certainly is difficult to visualize those roads we traveled on now being covered with huge pieces of lava permeated by acid rain.

I’d rather visualize the Island in its former state.

Just sayin’

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