Thursday, January 11, 2007



It was a very short trip to Atlanta. It was a mere three hour drive to the north part of the city. After some of our long stretches of driving, three hours is a piece of cake. We travelled to the suburb of Marietta where we stayed for two nights and days. We had some catching up to do with paperwork and housecleaning before we headed home. It was nice to have a couple of days to relax in one spot with no travelling. We met with Chris Simpson on Tuesday and did an interview with her for Rogers Sportsnet. We have got to know Chris the past three years and she is a wonderful person. It is our pleasure to say we know her. On Wednesday morning we were at school bright and early. We went to the middle school that our young author friends attended. Darren Elliot met us at the Duluth practice facility which is where the Thrashers practice. He drove us to the girl's school which was way on the south side of the city. I don't know if I could ever get used to some of the driving you have to do in these big cities. Of all the cities we have been to, I would say that Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Atlanta have the heaviest traffic. It certainly makes it hard to maneuver, especially when you are in a 37 foot RV. It was a pleasure to meet with the girls again. They entered a junior authors contest two years ago and won with their story "The Life of Dan Snyder". They worked very hard writing and illustrating their book and we are very proud of their effort. Graham gave a brief talk to their classmates after they introduced him. We were presented with school t-shirts which we will always wear with pride. We returned to Duluth just in time to catch the end of the Thrasher's practice and then got a chance to visit with a lot of the guys.
That evening, Graham was part of an on ice hockey clinic for young players that is run by the Thrashers and spoke to a group of young hockey players. He hasn't played any hockey this year and it was his first time on skates. He said he was just glad he didn't fall. The nice thing about coming back to Atlanta is visiting with all the friends we have made. I was able to go out for supper with one of those new friends Mark Holland, while Graham was at the hockey clinic. It was also time to finish cleaning out our fridge in the RV and Mark was the recipient of the contents. Graham the food police was happy he didn't have to throw anything out!!!
The next day we finished getting the RV ready to leave behind in Atlanta. We had storage arranged courtesy of Michele and Wayne Daniels. Wayne was storing the RV for us at his United Van Lines business. It was nice to know that the 37 machine was going to be safe and sound till we returned to Atlanta in February to pick it up. I finished getting everything packed up to take home. I had managed to do most of my Christmas shopping along the way and got it all organized too. I sure was glad I brought along an empty suitcase to haul everything home in. It was a tight squeeze getting the zipper closed. Before we knew it, it was time to head to the rink. Graham spoke briefly to a group of season's ticket holders and was very well received. We met a number of them when he was finished they were so kind with their words. I would like to also thank the lovely lady that gave me the gift basket with all the honey products. I'm sorry, I can't remember your name, but the honey was delicious and I would love your recipe for the lip balms. I make them too and that recipe is a good one. We also enjoyed the homemade cookies and could taste the hint of honey baked into them too. Thank you for your generosity.
The Thrashers beat the Penguins putting our home team record at 10 and 4. We are now at stop 14 with 16 to go. We stayed at an airport hotel for the night and easily made our way over to the terminal for our morning flight. I was pretty anxious to get home to see everyone and wasn't happy that we were delayed for three hours. Oh well, such is life and we made it home safe and sound for the Holidays.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and we will be back in the New Year with reports on the next leg of our journey. Thanks to everyone for your responses to our website and most of all thanks for taking the time to read it and send your thoughts and comments along to us. I don't have time to respond to all the emails, but will try and get to as many as I can.
Graham, LuAnn, Erika, Jake and Dawn, (and our little Robbie man too)

Graham's Game Report

Dec 21, 2006
Philips Arena
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Atlanta Thrashers

Tonight was our first visit to an Eastern Conference team and a firsthand look at the newest young guns in the NHL. The Thrashers who have been either red hot or ice cold this season, were coming off a shootout win in New Jersey which had halted a five game skid. They prevailed again tonight in a 4-3 shootout win over the Penguins who have also been struggling. The Thrashers looked in control for the first half of the game building a 2-0 lead on goals by Niko Kapanen and Ilya Kovalchuk. A turnover allowed Jordan Staal to walk in all alone while shorthanded and he quickly converted the opportunity to halve the lead. Atlanta regained a comfortable 3-1 lead late in the same penalty when Slava Kozlov's wrister from near the boards eluded Thibault . Scoring sensation Sidney Crosby's tap in with 45 seconds remaining tied the game after he had assisted on Ryan Malone's goal earlier in the third period. He showed several flashes of the brilliance that should make him one of the all time greats in the game as his line at times seemed unstoppable controlling play for extended periods of time. After a scoreless overtime we saw why the Thrashers are a good bet in any shootout. Kari Lehtonen stopped both the Penguin shooters and Slava Kozlov snapped one over Thibault's glove and Marian Hossa found his five hole for a quick extra point. Kozzy is threatening to catch Jusse Jokinen's 12 of 15 shooting for the Stars as he has upped his mark to 10 of 13 in the shootout. Pretty amazing shooting stats in any league much less facing the top tenders in the world. The Thrashers look like they are playoff bound for the first time but still searching for the consistency of champions. It was great to meet up with many Thrasher friends both on and off ice this week and a fitting way to wrap up the first leg of our tour as we return home for a Christmas break.

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