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Libertycon28 AAR

Cedar and Sanford

Photo by Oleg Volk

First, let me apologize, I did write a post for last week. Somehow I screwed up posting it. I was busy enough that I never checked until it was too late and, well, it was too topical to run on any other day. For that I am truly sorry. I know a few people read me every week and expect a post every week. I’ll try to do better.

Now, on to my Libertycon experience. Mine was a lot longer than most, I count mine as starting the previous Sunday. That day I wrote my blog for last Thursday so I wouldn’t have to worry about it while traveling. Monday I hit the road for Libertycon. Well, sorta. Chattanooga is only a 6 hour drive under normal circumstances, last week was hardly normal in my life. First we went to my mother’s house to drop off pies for Wednesday, then it was off to Rogersville TN. I went there to pick up my Bonus Children. DU3 (Daughter Unit 3) and SU1 (Son Unit 1). DU1 has a summer job and could not come, DU2 has other activities precluding a summer visit but was there for a nice visit with her mother and I.

We stayed at the Comfort Inn, very nice room with all the amenities for about $100. I will be mentioning all the places we stayed and what they cost. There is a point and I will get to it later.

Tuesday we went waterfall hunting, found one, the other one we looked for turned up dry…literally. Note to travelers never select shortest route as an option on your GPS. Three hours of constant curves to travel seventy miles. Lovely scenery but, enough is enough. We wound up at Pickett State Park TN. A “rustic”  cabin with indoor plumbing and a full kitchen. All it lacked was AC and the windows wouldn’t close. At $60 a night it wasn’t bad and the isolation was magnificent, no cell service or internet, just lots of woods and trails with a small lake. We must go back there in a cooler month. My only real complaint was the wasp’s nests over the door, a call to the Rangers got that remedied immediately.

Wednesday  the 24th of June was a very important day for me. We got up early and went back to my parents house in KY. On the way we stopped at a Huddle House, DU1 and SU1 were enthralled. Apparently they have nothing like it in NH. We arrived at my parents house on schedule despite having to drag the kids out of the restaurant. My brother and his wife were there, as well as my parents. My cousin and her husband, the Minister, showed up soon with their beautiful red headed grandbaby. So we went down into the yard and with DU3 acting as Maid of Honor and SU1 acting as my Best Man, pledged our troth in front of the available immediate family.

Afterwards we walked back to the house and had a picnic. I found out something about myself that I hadn’t realized. I’m 57 and never married before. I never realized the thrill I would get from saying “Mom, you are a wonderful cook and I love your food, but MY WIFE makes the best pies”. Silly I know, but it mattered.

We gathered up the kids and headed back to another night of no electronics at Pickett State Park. Tomorrow would be the storm.

Thursday we headed for Chattanooga and realized that you can’t get there from here. Well it took a while. We still reached the Hotel by noon leaving us 8 hours to prepare for “The Wedding”. Nope, nope, nope, The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a nice historic location, someone should open a hotel there. They damned sure don’t have one now. Check in has always been allowed at 1:00 , that day they let us know that official Check In didn’t begin until 3:00, we finally were allowed to check in about 4:30.  Then we began to discover the problems beyond crappy service. (Note, all the employees we encountered were nice and as helpful as they could be, not their faults that they were too few and too little was spent on maintenance) .

First, the doors are in terrible shape, you have to jiggle them to get them to accept the keycards. The sink doesn’t drain, no ventilation in the bathroom. The stopper for the tub is broken and lying in the corner of the tub. In room 2 the shower only has hot water. There is no fridge or microwave for $150 per night. And the sliding glass door that was supposed to make this a party room will only move with a strong man on the handle, forget doing anything with it from the outside. The “Party Area” outside the room is a sidewalk surrounded on three sides by high walls and the exhausts from the AC units.  Not to worry, they took the parking lot closest to my building and set up tables and chairs classroom style in neat rows facing front. On asphalt, in Chattanooga, in SUMMERTIME. The had to demolish the outdoor pool in order to remodel the building next to it, don’t ask me why. For the first time people were allowed to get rooms in building three, rooms which have had maintenance, when they weren’t allowing the con to use it. I guess that maintenance is over now that the con can use it. Of course the hotel was full and not everyone could get a room, a lot of people couldn’t get a room, that won’t improve. The hotel sucks. Oh and next year they plan to put the gathering area under a specially built pavilion. As far away from the convention halls as they can get and remain on the property. Did I mention? This hotel sucks. Libertycon is awesome but the venue sucks and people are afraid to admit it. I have heard so many lies about how great the facilities are that I want to barf. The only advantage I see for this venue is that there will be no other events there at the same time. Not just because there is no room, because everyone else can see how badly the venue sucks.

On with my story now that I have vented about that place. We were supposed to get together and practice these very complicated wedding steps, between the delays checking in and others hitting everyone we wound up at the venue for the wedding without a clue what to do. Oh yes, the venue was changed from the gardens to the train engine because of the heat and sun. There was shade available near the engine. We were to do traditional medieval wedding vows and the Glory Road sword jumping ceremony. We wound up winging it. It turned out more beautifully than if we rehearsed it many times.

photo taken by Oleg Volk (unedited)

photo taken by Oleg Volk (unedited)

Side note of bragging and name dropping. while there were many luminaries of SF there to see Sarah and Dan Hoyt renew their vows two stand out in my mind. Toni Weisskopf graciously loaned us Hank Reinhardt’s replica of the Lady Vivamus for the ceremony and David Drake carried it to the ceremony. Sorry, gratuitous fanboy moment, I know it was for Sarah but, David Drake had a part in my wedding. Squee! I’ll return to being sane and adult now.

The rest of the con was a blur of friends, well wishers, and activity. We had a room party friday night as a reception. I think 90% of the people at the con came through. I don’t even remember most of it. I was a bit drunk with joy. It had to be joy not alcohol, every time I tried to drink something else had me running. I won’t mention any of you by name for fear of hurting someone’s feeling by leaving them out. I will not even list my attendants, or my Wife’s. We had to use the word attendants. I chose a couple of female authors for mine, Cedar chose male fans. We never learned to play by the rules.

Final analysis, go to Libertycon by all means, stay off site until they find a decent venue.

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11 comments on “Libertycon28 AAR

  1. “I chose a couple of female authors for mine, Cedar chose male fans. We never learned to play by the rules”

    Bravo. Rules were made to be broken. 😉

    Congratulations to one and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations, and good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank all of you. You might want to send Sympathies to my lovely Bride though 😉

    Like

  4. Congrats to the both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Did not get to talk to you much, but had several conversations with Cedar, fascinating lady even if every third sentence out of her mouth included the phrase “my husband” for some odd reason.
    While I agree with your assessment of the hotel, I stayed 15 minutes away for $60 a night, when people praise the venue I believe they are referring to the meeting rooms. Those are head and shoulders above what a small con can expect from most locations. I have a few mobility issues exacerbated by a recent injury from a fall, so was using a cane. I had been told there was transportation available. I did see many golf carts, invariably parked with no operators to be found. Those few running were being employed to move trash or furniture, not people. And that walk between meetings and the con suite was onerous to the point that I only went there twice the entire weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And when the meeting rooms are on one side, the consuite on another, and the designated gathering area is at the far end of the grounds, those with mobility problems might as well nor attend. I’m sorry we didn’t get to see more of each other. I would have liked that as well. Then again I can say that about almost everyone who attended. Some day I want a con, no panels, no schedule, lot’s of Huns and some authors we feel are family. Three days to eat, drink, and talk, with occasional time outs for naps

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  6. As someone in a wheelchair, I will obviously stay somewhere else. But, how “accessible” is the con itself. I want to go someday, but finances are a _big_ problem currently. BTW, has anyone warned the hotel that ADA lawsuits are *very* expensive. It sounds like they pay no attention to the subject. Fans tend to be older, and often handicapped. Doors that “don’t open easily,” and “sliding doors that require a ‘strong man’ to open,” fail both counts of safety and access. I’d hate to see the hotel shut down/bankrupted by an ADA lawsuit. Certainly, if I was passing through, stayed there overnight, and had those problems, I’d have a *long* talk with management. As a “public accommodation,” they _must_ meet ADA standards. What you are describing clearly doesn’t.

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    • The biggest accessibility problem is with distance. The actual con is mostly fairly accessible the majority of the rooms are on a long hallway in a building with a ramp. Some of the rooms are in other buildings, and some readings are in railroad cars. I did not look at whether they were handicapped accessible, it didn’t occur to me to consider it. The con suite is on the opposite side of the property from the convention facilities and annoying to reach even if one isn’t wheelchair bound. I won’t say they are not accessible but it would be, at the least, difficult. There is also the matter of distance. From what I heard the new gathering area will be about a quarter mile from the con, with poor pathways. even the nicer hotel section is several hundred yards from the con building. Altogether a poor venue for someon with mobility issues

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  7. Congratulations to you and your new wife!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you

    Like

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