Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Travelling To Gen Con 2014

So it started almost like part of my normal daily commute. In other words it started early.

5:30am departure to pick up Greg and then pick up Liz for us all to get into the airport for no later than 7:30am.  Or at least that was the plan.

As it turned out my body clock woke me up 20 minutes early and I ended up leaving the house earlier than planned too. Meant I had time for a brief stop off at the local supermarket before picking up Greg.  So far so good.

We were at this point about 20 minutes ahead of schedule and Liz had already messaged me to see where I was. "At Greg's" was my response and sure enough when we got to Liz's (probably 25 minutes early by this point) she wasn't ready.  10 minutes later though we were heading for the airport.

All good and so things continued to be.  Airport check-in had been done online so it was really just a bag drop then get through security. Unfortunately the print outs of the tickets were poor so we had to go back down to check-in and get new ones. Not big deal.
Security was strangely quiet (I'm used to it being mobbed when I travel for work) and we got through that with no hitches.

Quick browse of the retail offerings, a quick (expensive) breakfast and we met up with a fellow Gen Con traveller - Jon Hodgson, artist and art director extraordinaire for Cubicle 7.  Jon and I met during the 1st Chapter and he's a genuinely decent bloke. He was going to Gen Con for work reasons, something admittedly I hoped I still was but hey that's the 1st Chapter...

We spent an hour chatting about the con and what to expect including a minor critique of my "buy list" and that 3 hour wait largely sailed by.

Flight was on time and we headed for the gate at the perfect time to board.  Nothing of any real consequence to report.

The flight was a non-event other than it did seem to take an age but that's because it did.  Food - passable, comfort - Ok.  I read some of Mazes & Monsters (separate post on that to come) and I also dozed off at times which felt like a good plan to offset any jetlag.

Connection in Philidelphia went smoothly and we had enough time to sit and chat and drink beer (well Greg and I did).  The airport in Philli is more like a mall with some airport stands attached.  You could almost buy anything there including (to our collective amusement) a Harley Davidson.

I'd heard before that internal flights in the US feel like getting on a bus/train in the UK.  There were certainly elements of that to this flight as the crew seemed to be less regimented in explaining the safety detail etc.  There were some other Gen Con goers on the flight, nobody we knew and knowing that 50,000+ people would be attending there was very little desire at that time to engage.  Perhaps a bit bad of us but hey we just wanted to get there...

And so there we got. Flight was on time, bags were quick-ish for collection and we grabbed a cab into town.  Dropped Mr Hodgson off at his hotel en route and to then we got to the apartment.

Positives - Lots. Big roomy space and thankfully (for Liz mostly) a decent sofa to use as a bed.  I did offer to take the sofa but Liz declined the offer. Decent kitchen and so on.
Negatives - It's tired (and I'll feed this back to the agent) and in need of a freshening up in places.  Biggest thing though is that there's a smell...  Not oppresive but it's there and we can't identify it either.  It's not a big deal though as it's not disrupting sleep etc.

Other positives are the location both from a proximity to the convention centre perspective (sub 15 minutes leisurely walk) and the facilities around us.  Not least of which is Square Donuts.com which is right next door.  Great coffee and donuts which was perfect way to start our Wednesday.  Great comic/game store round the corner too and we took advantage of the nearby Farmer's Market for me to pick up bananas to at least attempt something healthy...

There is no such thing as a "local" supermarket from what we've seen so far but the Big Red Liquor store next door does soft drinks and snacks as well as beer - Sierra Nevada Summerfest being our choice.

So yeah, we are here and settled in.  No apparent jet lag either other than some aches (mostly me but that's nothing new),

I'll not commit to doing a day by day post but wanted to get something up to signify our arrival at what promises to be the Best Best Four Days In Gaming Ever.