Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Plan B Activated

We were at the auto shop as soon as they opened (it's right next door to the hotel). As we rather expected, they didn't think they could look at it until later in the day, so we had to switch to Plan B. After confirming online that they had a small (10') truck available, we walked the 3 km or so to the U-Haul dealership and paid $700 to rent the truck for a week. This is expensive, but less expensive than renting a sufficiently large cargo van from any of the car rental companies in Elko would have been, and there were no U-Haul cargo vans available in Elko.

After collecting the U-Haul, we drove back to the hotel (stopping to pick up a padlock for the truck's cargo box), moved out of the hotel room, and then drove over to where the Astro was parked and trans-loaded the convention gear.

Minvan Into U-Haul

The 10-Foot truck is clearly overkill, but it certainly is much easier to load and doesn't require Lisa's 3-D Tetris skills. OTOH, we couldn't plug in the electric ice chest because there's no power in the cargo box, no connection from the box to the cab, and no room in the cab for the cooler. There was barely room for Kuma Bear up front with Lisa and me.

After getting the SpikeCon stuff and our luggage into the U-Haul, we turned the keys over to the auto shop and set off for Utah, stopping to get breakfast at the Starbucks inside the Red Lion Hotel/Casino.

We made decent time, and could have done even better on the high-speed sections of I-80, but the truck has a speed governor and can't go faster than 75 mph. (The speed limit is 80 mph in many places.) Still, the driving was easier than you might think. The U-haul handles more like the Rolling Stone than the Astro, but it's okay.

Around the time we finished the crossing of the salt flats east of Wendover after crossing into Utah, the mechanic called. Not to Lisa's surprise, the diagnosis is the need for a new water pump/fan assembly. Estimated cost $450. They don't expect it to be a problem for us to collect either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. (I think the latter is more likely.) We'll make a reservation at that same motel next door, and as long as we get the U-Haul back by the time they open on Wednesday morning, we should be okay.

So on we pressed for Layton. Unfortunately, we were several hours behind the schedule we would have been had we been able to get to Wendover yesterday, and that meant we got to the SLC area in the teeth of the afternoon commute/getaway day traffic. We finally got to the Home2 Suites around 5:30, about three hours later than originally planned and $700 poorer (not including the repairs to the van, which don't really count).

We unloaded our personal gear and most of the Tonopah stuff into our hotel room, leaving the Match Game gear on board. Had we been on the original schedule, we would have had time to go shopping, but time had run out on us, for we were scheduled for a guest of honor dinner at the nearby Golden Corral, which did suit us as we'd had nothing to eat but the breakfast sandwiches at Elko this morning.

We had to leave a little early to go get MGSF running. Lisa and I headed over to the Convention Center, where we met up with Scott Sanford, and while they started working on getting the tables and chairs on the stage arranged along with the tech tables, I walked back to the Home2 and brought the U-Haul over. I handed the keys to Scott, and a bunch of folks volunteered to unload the gear (and there's a lot of it) while I returned to the Home2 and changed into my game show host costume.

As I expected, we started at 9:30 rather than the announced 9 PM, for various reasons. But the show really went quite well, and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves. It went really well, and we gave away prizes and Lovely Parting Gifts.

After the show ended, we had many willing hands to "strike the set" and put it back in the rental truck. Here is the one bright side of having to rent that truck: we can store the gear in it pretty safely locked up in a way that we did not feel comfortable doing in the minivan. That means we don't have to try and move all of the gear back into the hotel room, but can leave it in the U-Haul. That's good because our hotel room is the site of a room party on Thursday night, that being the only night we can hold a bid party.

It was a frantic day, and there will be a day of financial reckoning later, but we managed to pull off everything we promised today. Tomorrow won't be any slower, with the opening ceremonies, initial Westercon presentation after the Opening, site selection opening, our bid table, a room party, and the shopping trip we'll need to do sometime in the afternoon. How we're going to manage it, I don't know, but I do know that we have to get a few hours of sleep now.
Tags: astro, match game, minivan, nasfic, spikecon, westercon

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