- The most turbulent, nerve wracking, heart pounding so happy to land in at newark flight of my travelling life.
- The hostel I stayed at this time had the worst beds I’ve ever seen.
- Four days of slogging across the sweltering city is a hell of a fitness regime.
- Bought some amazing gems, but it feels like my preferred seller there isn’t quite what they used to be.
All in all, a good trip, if incredibly exhausting.
5 am in NYC. The city’s actually quiet, and only the shift workers and maintenance workers are out in force, and us few who have to take the SBS M60 to LGA for flights. As it so happens, my carefully prepped route was literally derailed when the red line to 110th was offline due to a…derailment, earlier in the trip. ( no one was killed, minor injuries.)
Security on this trip seemed awfully concerned about my jeans, namely the rolled cuffs and I have no idea why, but largely zip through the theatre of security known as TSA with ease, as hey, I’ve done this before. Boots off, belt off, jacket off, empty pockets, throw in bin, shuffle forth, arms up, swab hands ( sometimes) and done. It’s not that complicated though it seems my fellow travellers sure feel it’s a complex song and dance. Still the habit of showing early for flights served me in good stead, aside from sleepily trying to check in at Delta airlines for an American flight.
I was feeling exhausted and grim for most of the travel day, and nodded off the instant we started down the runway. A quick turn around in Charlotte NC airport, so quick I really didn’t even have time to shop or get food, (and more later on the relative lack of eating), and off to Chattanooga Airport.
A short wait and KC and C picked me up and we were settled at the hotel in short order. We had to slumber party it the first night due to a minor booking hiccup, and I was so tired I’d have slept on the bare floor if needs demanded. I was beat.
We went to a rib joint, Sticky Fingers, for dinner, and I ordered but I was just tired-off kilter. But it was a good mood all around, and a nice gentle walk into the Con crew.
I only got a few people’s names, because fatigue left me with some serious case of Dory-brains and eventually I’ll figure it all out.
Us women rocked that rise and shine, and we were up and ready by 8 am to go to Prentice Cooper Range, and we looked at the downpour and we were going to…ahem, soldier on. I got some good instruction as a complete newbie on gun safety. It put me at ease, as much as a canadian lass who honestly isn’t much of a gun aficionado could be. I was game for the experience, and I had a great time. Not so much a fan of the pistol thing that had such a kickback that it nearly took out my expensively repaired teeth, mind you…Anyway. I did my country proud. Or didn’t embarrass myself, and I’d definitely go back next year.
We hauled up to the hotel to rest, regroup, eat, and the day was a blur of panels, and meeting people. And rain. The rain this weekend was relentless, sporadic cloudbursts that seemed timed to nearly drown me.
The Choo-Choo is a strange and delightful hotel, of old rail cars on their rails, in rows, reno’d into suites, shops and a pizza car. My train-obsessed 4 yr old would have lost his fuzzy mind upon seeing it. A strange perk, was at night, the torches get lit, and the fountain ponds come alive with the croaking chorus of amorous frogs. Fifty shades of ribbit. KC’s daughter was clever to come up with the idea of using her phone flashlight to light the way, to avoid stepping on amphibians.
Saturday went on with long room parties of hilarious tales and awkward tales and general con absurdity. I staggered to my room at 3 am, and missed a few sunday morning panels.
Sunday loomed less busy, and I was able to catch more panels, including one with KC on it, about traumatic brain injury that was pretty fascinating.
At one point I was running through the torrential rain down the walkway of the hotel to a cheering crowd as I hoped the door was unlocked. It wasn’t.
More dinners, scored a starbucks city mug for Tennessee, and back to the hotel to sort and pack, and regroup. I napped, then joined the crowd at Rodizio ( brazilian steakhouse), and staggered back to the hotel to pack, and pass out.
Home was via Atlanta, an hour delayed getting in, but the ATL flight was delayed by 30 min too, so I legged it, thankful for my familiarity with Hartsfield-Jackson, and the foresight to offer up my suitcase for check in when they ran short of carry on space.
Off to Buffalo, where the plan was to stay two nights, but after some sightseeing and a..hostile hostel, I called it and booked the ticket home that night on Megabus, and came home to Toronto.
Damages: shattered two pairs of sunglasses, lost my iphone earbuds.
Gained: inspiration, new friends, and writing for more anthologies.
A massive thanks for KC for making this happen. I am forever grateful.