Well, that was fun!
We did, in fact, get to go to AWA. The drive out was about 26 hours total. Highlights included traffic jams and road work. We picked up Rah in Ann Arbor about 11-12 hours in. Then we drove pretty much “south until there’s not much south left”. On the way out, we discovered that we like Arby’s better than McDonald’s as road trip food.
We got into a NASTY traffic jam on I75 on the way south. Actually came to a full stop for at least 15 minutes. We spent a while complaining, but when traffic started moving, we got to the place with something like five firetrucks and two ambulances, so I guess on the whole our complaints were pretty pathetic.
We got to the hotel. BEAUTIFUL hotel. Sorta mediocre location in a lot of ways. Tragically, the Ruby Tuesday that was in the building with the hotel closed recently enough that some of the signs were still up, so I didn’t get any tasty burgers. Aww.
We came in Thursday afternoon, around 1PM local Atlanta time. We got our stuff in from the car and collapsed in a pile on the bed. So, there I was, in bed with my spouse and two women. I leaned over to Rah and stage-whispered “I think my spouse suspects”, which set off a round of giggles from all concerned. People who have been on the road for 26 hours will laugh at anything. (For those who don’t get it, my spouse was leaning on my other shoulder, and presumably aware that I was, at that very moment, in bed with another woman and planning to sleep with her.) (… I said “sleep”, and I meant “sleep”. Why do people have such dirty minds?)
When we woke up, we decided to go out looking for food. We found out Ruby Tuesday was gone (I weep!) and ended up going to a nearby IHOP. Luckily, the feds who had been following us the whole trip were unable to extradite, so we got away scott free! Also, I had pancakes. Mmm. I thought I didn’t like pancakes, because Perkins pancakes suck, but now that I’ve had IHOP pancakes, I’m gonna see if there is an IHOP anywhere in Minnesota. Yes, they’re that good.
Friday, we showed up sort of early to wait in line for registration, then eventually got to get our badges. We got our table in Artist’s Alley, we set up. The Alley had disappointing traffic, and our table was on one side, so we didn’t get as much traffic as people in the middle - and nowhere near the traffic of people on the other side, which was where all the long lines formed, and on the way to the exhibition halls. Argh! So, our take wasn’t so good… But Saturday, we figured out to make more space for our stickers, which sold well, and put away some of the things that weren’t selling as well. That helped.
On Saturday, we had a weird experience. We were directly across from the table where Piro (MegaTokyo) was signing… And Fireball had a longer line than Piro did. A lot longer. Conveniently, her line went in front of the part of the table where Rah and I were taking turns trying to sell stickers and prints.
Saturday’s take was better than Friday’s, actually, and Sunday wasn’t so bad. Jesse and I lost a little money on the trip (we almost always do), but we came pretty close to breakeven. Fireball raked in money; her art stuff is teh b0mb. Rah showed a nice solid profit for the trip, assuming the couple of checks she took cleared. (BTW, folks: If you later find that Rah won’t accept checks, blame the people who wrote these.) Sunday evening, Fireball finally managed to get a local place to stay before the bus trip to California… So we had an extra space in our car, which helped the guy who needed a ride “up to around Chattanooga”. Turns out that it was actually about 50 miles west - we actually made it back into Central time - but conventions are based on people doing favors, so we did it. Also, his girlfriend bought a print with the money she’d been saving up to help him get a ride home. :)
We ended up needing to sleep on the way home (horrors!), but we did okay; \$45 for a hotel room, and we got to eat at an actual Waffle House. Not great food, but food nonetheless. Then, just straight north on I75. I already wrote about the tragic inconvenience of Bush’s security detail.
We dropped Rah off in Ann Arbor, to go back to school, around 8PM on Monday. So, she missed about 3 days of classes… But she did some homework on the trip (such diligence!) and had everything planned so she could make up her work. I think it was worth it; conventions are fun.
Jesse and I traded off napping and driving the rest of the way home. This works surprisingly well if you can get the hang of it. At a rest area somewhere in Illinois (I think), we ran into a guy who was asking for gas money. He had a very fractious child who would just run away in random directions. Not like he was scared; just like he was bored. The guy had about 100 miles to go and about enough gas to make it to the next gas station, maybe. I gave him \$15. You might argue that it coulda been some kind of scam. Well, maybe it was. So far, the lifetime cost to me of trusting people in rest areas who claim they desperately need money for gas to get home has been \$15. That’s a bit under \$0.50/year. I’ll give up a candy bar a year for the off chance that some guy stranded a hundred miles from home can get home. Fair enough.
We missed a turn (I hate Chicago’s interstate labeling) and ended up not realizing it until we were about 30 miles west of where we wanted to be on I80. However… This isn’t all bad. Turns out that, if you take I80 west to La Salle, and then I39 north, you only have to make about two toll booths, instead of 5-10 or so that you take the other way, and you miss all the downtown construction in Chicago, which has nasty traffic even at 2AM, and is very harrowing to drive at night. 50 miles extra, but worth it easily. If we’d known, we’d probably have done it on purpose.
We made it back in around 9AM Minnesota time, emptied the car, and slept.
So… Another con. Reasonably successful. I think we’d have done a lot better if we’d gotten one of the better positions, but given the stuff that went wrong with our attempts to register, I guess we’re lucky we had anything at all. And it was fun. Friendly place, Atlanta.
Date: 2005-03-22 01:58:53 -0600
Oh, you traitor! I grew up in MN and have been cursed to live in GA for the last 14 years (OK I admit, I’ve grown to love it here but that is entirely besides the point). IHOP SUCKS ASS. Oh how I miss Perkins. A month or two ago a friend of mine who is also from the midwest drove 200 miles round trip to Greenville SC just to have Perkins pancakes. They are the best! And thier pastries are good too! LOL :)
Date: 2005-04-10 19:35:40 -0500
Just got to say that my husband was approached by a family who also needed gas money in Tenn and the same family in GA. Who would guess.