Friday, June 29, 2018
Safely in Chattanooga
We arrived safely in Chattanooga shortly before lunchtime yesterday, after a relatively peaceful journey by road from Texas. The traffic was less bad than I'd expected after previous journeys on the same route. I think we only had three areas where traffic slowed to almost a standstill, and they cleared up within a few miles. Until yesterday, the weather had been good, too. A storm was setting in as we left Nashville behind us, and it struck with full force as we arrived in Chattanooga. There were many delayed and disrupted airline flights yesterday because of it; we had been asked to collect someone from the airport here yesterday afternoon at about 3, but by the time she got in, it was 10 p.m. Many others arriving for LibertyCon had similar complaints.
The convention doesn't begin until this afternoon, but many people arrived yesterday, to settle in, catch their breath, and make preparations. Friend and author Michael Z. Williamson was here, setting up his booth of knives and swords in the vendor area (his ancillary business isn't called Sharp Pointy Things for nothing!). More arrived as the afternoon turned into evening, vans and minivans unloading in the area between the hotel foyer and the convention center next door. The rain didn't help; art vendors in particular had to shield their wares carefully as they moved them from vehicle to building. I'm sure the hotel's luggage carts weren't designed for the weight of goods being packed aboard them - I saw several wheels that looked to be on the verge of buckling.
Our room - our entire wing of the hotel - is very newly renovated, so much so that we're the first people to use it since it was refurbished. A manager was scurrying around our floor as we checked in, supervising workers putting the finishing touches to the last rooms ("Yes, those are the right door handles, right there!"). Maids were making up the beds in several rooms, getting them ready for their first occupants. The refurbishing has been very nicely done, and the rooms and beds are comfortable and attractive - a great improvement over the convention's previous venue.
We ended up last night with a young lady sleeping on the floor of our room. She arrived for the convention without a room for the night, and only had accommodation from Friday night. She planned to sleep in her car in the parking garage, which made me angry and nervous. That's a really good way to get yourself at least bothered, if not harmed! Miss D. brought her back to our room, and we offered her our newly-carpeted floor and our spare pillows. It wasn't much, but it was a lot safer than a car in a parking garage!
The convention registration desk will open soon after lunch, with the first seminars and panels scheduled shortly afterwards. Here's hoping for a good time! I'll post updates as and when I can.