GenCon 2011 has been adventure for me so far and it’s not officially kicked off. First off, this year is exciting for two reasons: 1) I’ve got a story in the convention anthology Carnage & Consequences, 2) Mike is joining me for the weekend!
To keep from having two vehicles in Indy I decided to take Amtrak down from Wisconsin to Indy. This was an adventure because I dream of doing a long train trip with sleeper, dining car, and all. The trip to Indy was to include a lounge car and have a nice spacious seat in the quiet car.
Then when I get to the unattended train depot, scan my bar code on my ticket for the Chicago to Indy leg it says something about a Greyhound bus. What?! If I wanted a bus I’d booked a bus. I wanted a TRAIN ride. Once on the train I ask the conductor as he punches my ticket for Chicago. He said that they do that if there’s track construction. I asked how I get to the bus and where the bus went in Indy – train station (which is near my hotel) or the bus station (which I had not a clue where that was in Indy). He didn’t know how it worked or anything so told me where to go to the help desk at Amtrak.
I get to Chicago after a pleasant train ride I make my way to the info desk. Standing at the desk the worker there just goes about his business. I ask about the bus. Yeah there’s track issues and there’ll be a bus outside. Well I didn’t think they’d drive it up the tracks. “Uh where outside?” It’s a big building and lots of outside there to find a bus. He points up a set of stairs – up there. F Then he’s off to help another confused patron. I climbed to the top of the stairs hoping there’s like a sign that says something about Greyhound Buses or Bus For Train stop or some clue like that. Nope nothing like that just people coming and going as if they knew what they were doing unlike me.
I overhear a woman with an older gentleman ask an Amtrak worker “Is this where we go to catch the bus that replaces the Indianapolis train.” I stop in my tracks and turn to face the trio. The employee said “Yes m’am. Just wait outside next to the blue sign for thru-booked bus and it will pick him up there.”
While waiting outside for the half hour I met several more people in the same boat or bus as it were. Their train ticket became a bus ticket. The bus pulled up – turns out my luggage that was the right size for carry-on for the train is too big for carry-on for the bus. So there with the bus blocking Chicago downtown traffic we had to check our bags before boarding. We were pleased the air conditioning worked well on the bus.
From there we went to the bus terminal where we sat for some time. I still didn’t know where I was going in Indy. Texted Aaron who googled it on his phone today one was next to the train station and the other is just a few blocks away. Well, that’s good. A new bus driver gets on and we pull out. I’m thinking this isn’t too bad. We all have our own private row of seats. We circled the terminal and pulled into the same place. I dozed off then and woke to more people getting on. There goes the private row. Luckily I got a seat mate that was nice.
I dozed on and off. I was missing that lounge car. I was missing the big seats. I was thirsty. No snack cart with water like Amtrak. I shared my displeasure with my BFF Patricia who was there to hand hold via text messages. One good thing was since I was dehydrated from half an hour standing in 100F heat next to a blue sign I didn’t have to go pee for the whole ride. By the end of it I’d had a nap and decided arriving thirsty and cramped was better than not arriving at all. Once off the bus I quickly hailed a cab and in 15 minutes was in my nice cool hotel room with a cold bottle of water. AHHH…..
Today started late since I really didn’t have anything ahead of me other than standing in line and event registration. This is exactly what I did. But first I had to get sweaty, well not really but I did. I walked 12 blocks in 101F heat to discover what I was looking for (a pharmacy) was next door to my hotel. If I’d gone out the door at the other end of the lobby it would have been the first thing I’d walked past. Pfft such luck.
As for GenCon it officially gets started tomorrow. So far I’ve scored my swag – free Magic cards, free Rift for the PC, my 4 day pass, and tickets for all the events I want to attend. The crowds are gathering but not many costumes yet. I did see one Dr. Horrible that was good and some Anime characters I don’t know.
Stay tuned to hear how my first day attending seminars and workshops goes. Who knows I might get another curve ball from fate.