Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Trip to Tonopah

Lisa and I are at the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah through tonight, having driven down from Fernley. It took us about five hours to make the drive, but we did stop several times along the way.

Mizpah Lobby

The Mizpah is a beautifully restored historic hotel. It does have the quirks that one might expect of such a place built in the early 1900s, though. While it's handicapped accessible in that there are ramps from the sidewalk to one door, it's a bit challenging to negotiate. Our proxy for this is using a luggage cart to bring our things from the parking lot. The lot itself is mostly hard gravel, which can be difficult. However, we were able to roll the cart from the van through the ramped door.

The hotel's front desk, however, is only reachable by stairs. I asked about how they handle someone in a wheelchair, and the clerk said that they will come to you through a side door from the office if you cannot actually reach the front desk, and that if necessary you can ask the bartender in the lobby bar to get the front desk's attention.

Mizpah Elevator

There is one elevator in the lobby serving the five-floor hotel.

Mizpah King

We're in a king bedroom, which includes a desk (visible to the left of the bed) where I'm working today. There are two power outlets easily accessible between the desk and the bed. I did bring a 1-to-4 power strip, though, as I normally do, because I have multiple computers, a phone charger, and a CPAP machine.

Mizpah Wi-Fi Test

Wi-fi is better than my home connection, especially the upload speed.

Mizpah King

There's three-drawer chest...

Mizpah King

...and a fairly typical closet. Neither of these things should be taken for granted, as we've stayed in hotels with neither of these things.

Mizpah King Bathroom

The room has a standard bathtub and shower. Some of the rooms in the hotel have old-fashioned claw-foot tubs, and apparently some may have only showers. (We haven't toured the place yet.) If you decide to stay here for Westercon (assuming we win), you may need to inquire if you have particular needs.

Mizpah King Bathroom

Among the amenities is one I've rarely encountered: lip balm. As Tonopah is 6000 feet altitude and generally quite dry, this is a good thing to have. I'm kicking myself for forgetting my sunscreen.

Pittman Cafe

We had dinner in the hotel's main restaurant, the Pittman Cafe. Lisa counted around 60 seats, including the large table in the foreground and counter seating out of shot to the right in this photo. Also, she noticed someone getting a meal served to them at the lobby bar, so there is a potential for overflow seating. The hotel also has an additional large dining room for special events, the use of which will be one of the things we'll discuss with the hotel during negotiations.

Mizpah Hotel Wine Rack

The restaurant had this wine rack on display. Neither Lisa nor I can evaluate the selection, being non-drinkers.

Mizpah Hotel Coffee Service

I got a good night's sleep in the room, and woke up and got to work on the Day Jobbe using the wi-fi. While there is no in-room coffee (nor a mini-fridge), I did take liberal advantage of the complimentary coffee service provided on each floor. I popped down the street for a few minutes to grab a breakfast sandwich from the Giggle Springs mini-market. Lisa told me later that she had trouble sleeping and in the middle of the night sallied forth to the other mini-market one block farther north, which is open 24 hours, and got herself a snack there.

This morning, Lisa is out and about taking photos while I attempt to get work done. I'm sort of tied down until early afternoon, when we have an appointment to meet with the hotel and convention center to discuss some questions we have and to give them a better idea of what we're looking for and what we expect our members would like to have.

Terrific Downtown Tonopah

Looking out our forth-floor room window (windows open fully, and in a real emergency, provide access to an outside fire excape) north along US-95 (Tonopah's main street), you can see some restaurants and service stations over the roof of the Mizpah Club casino (which is across the driveway from the hotel). In the distance is the power tower of the Crescent Dunes solar thermal power plant, glowing with the light of reflected sunlight that melts salt that is the heat transfer/storage for generating power. You shouldn't look at the tower for very long, or you'll get a spot on your retina. This power plant is why the subtitle for Tonopah is "A Bright Idea."

I do not expect to have a lot to report this weekend. We're collecting large amounts of still photos and video (what you're seeing here is just my camera phone; Lisa is taking serious amounts of photos) that we'll need to review, index, edit, and comment on before we can say more about it. But I will say that so far this seems to be a nice older restored hotel, with friendly staff who have told Lisa that they deal with multi-hundred-person events a few times a year, so we can say with some certainty that this isn't just a pup tent in a parking lot the way some folks initially reacted to our announcement. In fact, I can say with certainty that there are more places to eat within relatively easy walking distance of the convention center, at a range of different types and prices, than there have been at a number of past Westercons I've attended.
Tags: hotels, tonopah, westercon
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