May 22
Great Lakes was Great!

Susie and I are on the way home from the 2000 Great Lakes Kite Festival -- Formerly the Great Lakes Sport Kite Championships but now a full-blown show event with demos, fun challenges, training "pits", mass ascensions, and an area they set aside for GKPI called the "BIG kite field"...

Crown Show
Click here for a short movie

Weekly Speciual for Update Readers!

From now until June 1, we're putting Melon Tubes on sale.

The normal price is $85 but take 20% off that, and round it down, you get $65. And remember, this is only announced on the Update and only good until June 1.

We have Rainbow, or red (with black) yellow (with black) and blue (with black).

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Melon Sale

Getting to Grand Haven wasn't easy...

  • We were scheduled for a 2:30 flight from Portland. But we heard there were weather problems.
  • We called ahead and were told our flight had been canceled. But they offered to change us to the 11:30 flight. We told them we couldn't get to Portland that soon. We live two hours away. No problem, they replied. The 11:30 flight has been delayed until 2:25...
  • So we went to the airport. I check in with five bags of gear -- 70 pounds each. Susie goes to park the car. That's when I find out that the 11:30 flight, re-scheduled for 2:25, has been re-re-scheduled for 1:25.
  • I stand in the gateway stalling for Susie to get back from the parking lot. Two times they close the door and pull the jetway back. Two times they open it again. Finally, Susie is able to get in from long-term parking and we settle into our seats -- trying to avoid the glares of our fellow travelers.
  • The four hour flight to Chicago stretches to six as we circle. When we land, we learn our connection to Michigan has been canceled. There are more than a thousand people in line for new tickets.
  • We go to the Red Carpet Room (business lounge). Instead of waiting in line, I call the reservation desk and get a flight out at 7 the next morning. Meanwhile, Susie calls hotels. There isn't one within 50 miles or for less than $200. We hunker down for the night.

Airport Lines
  • The lounge normally closes at 11. They keep it open until 2. Then we wander out into the terminal. It looks like a war-zone. People wrapped in airline blankets are sleeping everywhere.
  • We hear there are a thousand cots in the baggage area. It doesn't sound like fun. So we opt for (hopefully quieter) Terminal 1.
  • We find a piece of carpet and try to sleep. People around us have contorted themselves into weird positions to fit around the armrests on the soft benches. At 4 am, an airport staffer switches on a LOUD vacuum. Everyone tangled in those chairs tries to sit up and gets hurt.
  • We head for the tunnel between Terminal A and B. You know, the one with the cool neon lights. Behind the escalator, shuttle carts are parked. We snuggle into a soft shuttle seat and wait.
  • Our tiny plane loads at 7. From our window, we watch the baggage handlers load our bags in. Then they take them out. They try again, but it all won't fit. The handlers carry our bags off in another direction as we taxi for the take-off to Michigan.

Eventually, we made it, and eventually later, our bags made it to. Host Steve Negen of Mackinaw Kite Company met us at the Muskegon Airport and took us to a beach house within site of the flying field where we bunked with Lee and Sue Sedgewick, Sam and Ann Ritter, and Al Sparling. It's a great group, but there is only one bathroom...

Big Kite Field

So like I said before, they brought us in to fly big kites. Here is what the field looked like after Susie, Al Sparling and I finished spreading fabric around it.

And of course, we weren't the only show at the edge of Lake Michigan.

Ther Mid Michigan String Stretchers (M2S2) kept a great program going during the entire weekend. Chicago Fire flew so often we all memorized their music cues ("please don't stop playing"), fighter kites competed at the water's edge, the indoor flying competition was spellbinding, and by some fluke, my rokkaku was cut from the sky in the middle of the battle and landed in a near-by tree.

Sedgewick and Ritter Rev Stacks

My roomates also managed to keeps big stacks of Revs moving around the demo field. Here is Sue and Lee Sedgewick, and Anne and Sam Ritter doing another great show.

Beach Balls

Here is Ken Blain inflating a collection of our Beach Balls to bouncing next to the bike path.

Chopstick and Tail Basket Gruver Dragon

Here is Dan Brinnehl's Chopstick with a matching Snake Tail, a 10 Foot Basket preparing for the Running of the Bols, and Jim Gruver flying the new Dragon he brought home from Weifang last month.

We flew all weekend and had a fantastic time. Perfect winds, sunshine, great (polite) crowds), and good company. We ached from running around in the sand and from stuffing all that fabric back in bags at the end of the day, but I'm already set to go back next year.

BTW - if you are wondering how we handled all of those kites, check this out. Our new Sand Anchors were quick, easy and effective. Maybe you should pick up a few...

Thursday night, I head out to Wildwood. See you there!

Sand Anchors

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