Bloomington - Chicago - Phoenix
Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
9Trip End Jan 23, 2012
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Where I stayed
The Wigwam Resort
I packed (including my clubs) on Sunday, January 15 and readied for my trip. The weather was going to be highs in the mid to upper 60's to low 70's. I figured I could handle that in January. I packed some warm clothes, but mainly shorts and golf shirts.
I left early Monday, January 16 (6:30 am) for the roughly two hour drive to Hinsdale where Skip lives. The plan was to have his daughter, Kate take us to the airport (Midway) and fly out on Southwest Airlines (paid for by the Tequila Company, thank you very much.)
I arrived at Skips right on time, about 8:30 and Kate showed up about a half hour later and took us to MDW. Check-in...smooth. Security...smooth, except I was randomly selected for further screening. No problem. No use, getting mad, just deal with it.
After Security, Skip and I grabbed a burger and a beer, and headed to the plane. We took seats about halfway back, Skip on the aisle, and me on the window. A nice man came by and asked to sit between us...of course..it was a full flight.
I slept most of the way to PHX, but the last half hour I was awake and noticed the man next to us had an iPad like mine. I asked if it was the 1 or the 2. He said it was the 1, and he was having some "synching" problems with it. Skip and I tried to help him, for which he was very grateful. I told him I used my iPad to blog when we went to Egypt, Israel and Jordan last year. He said, "Very interesting. How long were you in Egypt, and what brought you there?" I told him about 10 days and it was always on my bucket list to see the pyramids. He said, "I spent quite a bit of time in Egypt, and actually wrote a book while I was there." I asked the name of it. He said, "The Holy Family in Egypt " and it outlines the time Jesus spent in Egypt. You know, Harrod the Great and "the massacre of the innocents"... killing all the young boys of Bethlehem in an effort to kill baby Jesus. That's when Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt. Amazing. Going to have to get the book and read it. I told him about Laura being in Seminary School in Princeton. And he told me his company also made a documentary about his book for several TV stations. He was also a lecturer in "life after death." That's what he was in Chicago for...to speak at a conference about life after death.
We continued our great conversation while he said he had just come back from France and Italy where he was doing a documentary on "biblical relics." How fascinating! He even showed us video of some of the documentary as we taxied from the tarmac to the gate. After getting off the plane, Skip and I waited for him and got his name and email address. His name is Paul Perry and his company is Paul Perry Productions. Look him up. Interesting fellow. Figure if nothing else, maybe Laura can use him as a reference if she does any Biblical research. You never know who you are going to meet on an airplane.
We got picked up by a limo driver who took us the 25 minutes out to The Wigwam resort in Litchfield, AZ. It's about 20 miles west of PHX.
The Wigwam was built in 1918 for executives of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Goodyear found that the Phoenix valley was excellent for producing cotton which was needed for their tire production. The three golf courses were built in the 1930s, two of which by famed architect, Robert Trent Jones. The place has been sold several times, but most recently (about a year ago) to Jerry Colangelo, the sports team mogul. They have 320 rooms spread out over several acres of land. Very nice. The rooms are spacious, almost suite size, but the bathrooms are in need of updating. I'm so bad about that...I've inspected thousands of hotel rooms in my life and now it's just a habit. Can't walk into one without inspecting it now.
Skip and I got checked in and shown to our room (253). Got settled and headed to the bar for a cocktail. We knew some of the people in the bar were also going to be at the fantasy camp. Ballplayers can just tell other ballplayers.
We met out front about 6:30 to go over to the opening reception which was being held at the White Sox Training Camp facility. Greeting us out front was Bill Melton, former White Sox player and current post game TV analyst on WGN, and later with Comcast. He was the main character and director of the camp. We also met Ron Kittle, sort of co-captain of the camp, and all round great guy. He had his 20-something son with him. At the dinner/reception, we ate at his table. It was all very low key. They had drinks for us at the camp before a traditional ballpark dinner, brats, burger and ribs. All very good. Then they introduced Tom Paciorek, who told some lame jokes, but was funny, nonetheless. He spent 18 years in the majors, but only 3 with the White Sox. Some White Sox fans will remember Paciorek as the guy who replaced Ron Kittle in a game in 1984...a game with the Milwaukee Brewers that lasted 25 innings (the longest game in ML history), and proceeded to get 5 hits in 9 at bats, a record still today for most hits in a game by a player who didn't start. Now there's a stat you don't see very often! He later became a color commentator with Ken "Hawk" Harrelson.
Several other former White Sox players were there, including Kevin Hickey, Carlos May, Mark Salas and several others who I can't remember.
Skip and I got a ride back from the young Comcast post game broadcaster, Chuck Garfein and another guy (can't remember his name) who as actually an ISU grad. We had a good conversation on the way back to the resort. Good guys, both of them.
Skip and I had a cocktail at the bar and headed to bed. Skip had a long day tomorrow and I had at 10:22 tee time at the Gold Course.