This wasn't a problem though, because the Driftveil Drawbridge was actually where I had to go to catch a Ducklett. I nabbed a female and named her Odette, for the heroine of Swan Lake (har har har).
Upon reaching Driftveil, home of the many hotels, I held off challenging the gym until I'd done everything else in town and leveled the team up high enough. At this point I was still trying to keep Bandit and Bester caught up to the primary team, and also took the time to train N's Zorua and evolve it to a Zoruark.
This meant going to Nimbasa's stadiums each day to battle the trainers there, and to Castelia to challenge the Royal Unova passengers, as well as the guys at Game Freak. There was also quite a lot of running around in various grassy bits and level-grinding.
In fact, I spent so long traipsing around Lostlorn Forest looking for rustling grass that I caught several of each of the elemental monkeys, plus four Vespiquen and two Roserades. Those should all be great for the GTS, though I kept a trio of girl-monkeys with flower names for myself.
Speaking of the GTS...it seems that the DS Lite doesn't get along with the WPA2 wireless security standard. Which means that either I have to ratchet my network (and all the devices on it!) back to plain old WEP, or forget about using the game's WiFi based features at home. ARGH.
Speaking of WiFi, I also took up management of Join Avenue, an indoor promenade of shops whose development is greatly hastened by use of the WiFi stuff - trading or battling and the like.
People you've connected with come walking down the avenue, and you can either invite them to open whatever shop they tell you they want to open, or you recommend a shop to them based on what they say. If you get it right, that shop's popularity goes up, and so does the avenue's. As the shops rank up, they sell more stuff.
Problem is, of course, that I can pretty much only use the WiFi connection features when not at home, which is really hampering me. Without hooking up with other Trainers, only a couple of fans come to your Avenue each day. I'd even try battles, since I wouldn't mind losing if the battle has an ulterior motive.
It's nice, though...you can buy a meal or a haircut to make your Pokémon more friendly, or basically buy them stat increases, or get Berries or Moomoo Milks or other items not sold at PokéCenters.
Eventually the team was leveled enough to face Clay in the Driftveil Gym. I still had to use more potions than I liked, though. So once again, I took my time before challenging the Mistralton Gym, going up Route 7 and through Celestial Tower, as well as back to Nimbasa and Castelia to hit the trainers there.
Once the primary team was up to around level 45, I hit the Mistralton Gym. All the Flying types fell easily to a single shot of Discharge from Tesla, even Gym Leader Skyla's team. By this time I'd begun to concentrate on my main team and stopped training the secondary and field Pokémon.
At that point most of the team had achieved one evolution, and it was time to start thinking about final movesets.
-CarterQ: When I realized I didn't really want Flare Blitz (it carries a painful stat penalty for its use), I decided to just let him evolve to an Emboar, and have him remember Hammer Arm (a lvl 1 attack only an Emboar can remember). I also decided against teaching him Blaze Burn, since it only has 5 PP and has to recharge on the next turn.
So he ends up with Flamethrower, Flame Charge, Hammer Arm, and Strength, at least until it's time to take on the E4.
-Tesla: I might not actually take him to the E4, but his final moveset is going to be Signal Beam (against Grass types), Thunder Wave, Charge, and....dunno. I was going to level him to learn Tunder at lvl 56, but Charge Beam might make more sense.
Peculiarly, TMs in this game don't go away when you use them, the way they used to. Once you've got one you've got it, and there's no penalty for using it as often as you want. I kinda miss the old way, despite the obvious advantage.
-Clary: I was waiting for her to learn Leaf Storm, but once again, it has only 5 PP and carries a huge stat penalty. I might just keep Magical Leaf, or again, look for a suitable TM.
That means she ends up with Leech Seed, Sleep Powder, Giga Drain, and....something. Either Magical Leaf or something like Energy Ball.
-Clyde: I waited for him to learn Earthquake at lvl 48 before letting him evolve to a Krookorok. None of the Dark attacks he'd learned besides Crunch were all that great, so I ended up teaching him Shadow Claw. That has an increased crit rate, and he has the Scope Lens, so that should make for a lot of critical hits. Plus, the E4 is all Dark and Ghost and Psychic and the like, so that should be a good off-type attack for him.
That makes his final set Crunch, Shadow Claw, Dig, and Earthquake.
-Tallow: I still like the set he achieved many levels ago...Night Shade, Hex, Will O' Wisp, and Fire Burst. That burn-and-hex combo just works too well to give up. Plus, Night Shade is great for catching lower-level Pokémon without fainting them.
I just found a Dusk Stone in the Strange House, so I should think about giving him his final evolution. But I want to be sure about Fire Blast first. I've yet to do the math, but it might also turn out that Shadow Ball would do more damage than even a high-leveled Night Shade.
-Odette: I'm still waiting for her to learn Hurricane at lvl 55, and then she'll have her final set - Surf, Rain Dance, Fly, and Hurricane.
Next up in terms of Gyms is Drayden in Opelucid City. I'll probably want to get everyone up to lvl 50-55 before going in there.
I should probably also train up the cute little Vanillite that I traded from my nephew after scouring the GTS for a Tepig for him. An Ice type would be a good thing to have against Drayden, not to mention the new Champion, Iris (of all people). I'll need to look into potential movesets for him.
And then it'll be time to take on the last Gym, which should be the Water gym in Humilau City. Possibly Tam Plasma will raise its ugly head first. Guess I'll find out!
In other news, GameStop no longer buys or sells Gen III cartridges. So there's no hurry to clean any of those games out, because now my only option for selling them is eBay, or possibly the forums on Serebii or Pokéfarms.
I do still want to clear out Platinum, though, and resell that. I'll have to borrow my nephew's clunky old DS, but I'm just grateful I don't have to buy one.