The BotCon Report: Days 0 Through 2
by, 28th June 2013 at 12:45 AM (536 Views)
Planes, Shuttles and Amphibious Vehicles
(I apologize for the lateness of this post; I simply haven't had the time to get it together!)
June, 25 2013
Load the car, pack up Alexa-1, make a quick stop and get some gas for Scamper. After some last minute running around, we're on the road and on our way. Frankly, we were leaving a bit later than I would have liked; I was hoping to be en route at 7:45 at the latest but it didn't happen. The trip to General Mitchell Airport was uneventful until we started getting near Lomira. Then it got interesting fast.
We hit rain. And I do mean, we HIT rain. Apparently, we ran head first into a thunderstorm, which made travel more than a little tricky. The lightning and backwash from the many large vehicles that were in front of us didn't help matters, either. So now it was 9:20 and our Garmin was saying we'd be at the airport at 3 minutes to 10. Then it was 2 minutes to 10, 1, the hour proper.
Bit of a problem here: our flight left at 10:40. We hadn't even checked in yet!
The rain slacked up a bit when we got to Mitchell (gee, thanks, weather). We got to the parking lot, hopped on a shuttle and headed to our carrier. This time we were flying Delta, which I haven't done since 1999. Yeah, it's been a while but I digress. We got ourselves checked in, grabbed our boarding passes and headed to the gate.
Now as we checked in, the kiosk alerted us that our flight had changed. Still in a hurry, Prime shrugged it off as did I. In fact, we thought it was referring to our return flight, as the kiosk was saying we'd be heading to Atlanta! That wouldn't happen today: we were due to hit Detroit then San Diego. Like I said, we both pretty much shrugged it all off and headed straight to the gates. But before then, we'd have to go through security.
I just adore going through airport security. Really I do. /sarcasm
Thankfully, this time it was pretty easy; every time we've flown via Mitchell, Prime and I have no problems at all. (Other airports could use a little work to be quite honest but that's a story for another day.) Once we were through security--I did the pat-down while Prime went through the scanner--we ran to our gate. When we got there, we stopped. As it turned out, we did get here pretty early.
It seems Delta changed our outbound flight: instead of hitting Detroit, we were going to Atlanta then heading west. We wouldn't have a huge layover, either. We'd only be stuck in Hotlanta for about half an hour--maybe cutting it close? Hoo, boy. But yes, our flight time had in fact changed and we were at the airport early. That took quite a load off my mind, believe me.
Prime figured we should go ahead and let our shuttle service in San Diego know that our itinerary had in fact changed, so I had to make a call. After popping out my cell and being on hold for what seemed like forever, I got that ironed out and here I sit, tapping away on Alexa-1. Prime's on the Nintendo Zone wi-fi via his 3DS; it seems that airports want to charge you if you have a laptop or the like. But hey, that's fine with me. More time for me to pound out a blog entry. (Prewriting a rough draft makes the editing process a lot easier.)
The rain's all but stopped now; it's overcast but not terrible in Milwaukee. The gate area is starting to fill up quite a bit so it isn't as quiet as it was earlier in the morning. Now it's just the wait for our plane. I'm nervous, to say the least; I never really have been a good flier. In fact, I wouldn't mind having a Golurk around to fly me where I'd want to go. I'd trust his navigation skills more than some humans!
As of right now, I'm surprised at how alert I am. I think I got about 5 hours of sleep, give or take. My brain wouldn't shut up, as always. Doesn't matter how tired I might be before the Con, I still can't sleep. I swear, it's worse than Christmas Eve.
I could sleep right now, though. Airports have some of the worst taste in music ever. It ranks up there with elevator Muzak. No joke. And I envy Prime right now, as he just got to watch the first Mystery Dungeon ep/commercial on his 3DS. He sucks. ;P
About an hour to go now. Soon enough, we'll be in San Diego, heading to a Padres game before crashing for the night. I hope to grab some pics, as I've never been to Petco before. The last time I saw the Padres play, it was in Miller Park and that was a long while ago. I do hope to hit one of the shops at Petco; they have to have something--a pin at the very least--with Trevor Hoffman, for Primus sake! Yes, he was the closer for the Padres for a ridiculously long time, but he spent some time with the Brewers and got save number 600 while wearing a jersey for the Crew. So yeah, want something of his badly.
And now the sun is trying to peek through the clouds. Hard to believe that two hours ago, we were in the middle of a downpour. But it's time to board so I need to wrap it up.
What a trip. Man, what a trip.
When we arrived in Atlanta, we were late and had to hurry to our connecting flight. By the time we got there, our jet was being boarded but thankfully they hadn't gotten to our section yet. Prime and I got into the queue and waited to get on board…and waited…and waited…
Yeah, we had passengers who weren't supposed to board yet standing in line. Guys, seriously: if it ain't your time to board, DON'T GET IN LINE! We had to go around the knobs who were holding up the line but got to our seats and were on our way.
Flight was uneventful except for the end; Delta was having some trouble connecting the jetway to our plane. We had to sit on the plane for a solid fifteen minutes while they dinked around with this thing. Once it was attached, Prime and I seized our bags and jetted. We needed to get to our shuttle.
By the time we hit ground transportation at the San Diego airport, it was nearly 7PM. Now, we had tix to the Padres game and that started at 7:10. To say I was getting antsy would be putting it mildly; I really had no desire to miss the game. When the shuttle arrived, we hopped on board and got to the hotel. Once off the shuttle, we asked if the driver wouldn't mind taking us over to Petco Park so we could catch the rest of the game. He agreed. However, we hit technical difficulties and didn't manage to get to the ballpark until 8:30 that night. The game was heading into the seventh inning but to be honest, I did not care. I was in Petco Park holding a bag of pins and eating soft serve ice cream from a souvie helmet.
The Padres lost, unfortunately. But it was still a lot of fun to be there. After the game, we headed back to our temporary home and crashed. Yeah, exhausted would be putting it gently.
June 26, 2013
I had to be up early, as I was taking the Wednesday tour--I'd be touring San Diego by trolley, hitting the harbor in a Seal amphibious vehicle then spending some time in the world famous San Diego Zoo. Thankfully, my friend DA helped take care of that by calling us at 6:45 AM. The alarm was set to go off at 7, so there was no point in trying to get any extra sleep. I got up a bit later I had to be in the Atlas Foyer of the Town and Country Resort at 7:45AM and since this place is enormous, I was out the door of our hotel room pretty early. After wandering about the resort grounds and getting lost a bit, I made it to the Foyer, got checked in and hit the town with a group of other robot loving geeks.
If you're ever in San Diego and you get the chance, take the Old Town Trolley Tour and the Seal Tour. They are definitely worth your time. I had a lot of fun on both and loved taking in the sights and sounds of the city. That took up most of the morning so it was early afternoon by the time we were on our trolley, heading to the Zoo. I was pretty excited to head over to the Zoo, as I've never been to one before.
If you get to this area, hit the Zoo. It's absolutely beautiful and there's a great variety of different animals to see and photograph. But I warn you: if you're only in there for a day, hit the panda exhibit very early. I wasn't able to get there in time and the line was atrocious. As in, backed all the way to the very start of the trail. But I got to see a Malaysian tiger so I'm not too disappointed, really.
Also, if you go make sure you bring sunscreen. I ended up with some minor sunburn on my left cheek--no, not THAT one!--and my ear. Nothing too bad but enough to be annoying. I'm sure sunscreen is sold in the Zoo, but you don't want to pay their prices for it, trust me.
When I got back, I met up with Prime, who had been helping out with the BotCon customization classes. I hung out, chatted with Prime and my other friends then we all hit a nearby sports bar for eats. Once we broke up that little party, I headed to the lobby to await the arrival of my friend, DA.
When he got here, there were hugs, laughs, long chats and the usual awesomeness. As a result, I got to bed fairly late, which wasn't such a hot idea; I'd have to be up early again to take the Sea World tour. But hey, sleep is optional at a convention!
June 27, 2013
I got up a bit later today than yesterday and even though I got a bit more sleep, I'm still pretty tired. But again, sleep: optional. Just as I had done yesterday, I got dressed and raced out the door, heading to the Atlas Foyer. I got inside, got checked in, hopped on the bus, got my ticket and was on my way to Sea World.
Now, many years ago--as in, back when I was a stupid teenager--I had a chance to go to the Sea World in Florida. But my parents said it would have been too expensive to pay for the tickets and only use them for a day. At the time, I agreed but I couldn't help feeling a bit cheated.
I don't feel that way anymore.
I can now say that I've been to Sea World, that I've seen the orcas swimming about in their tanks and that I've been able to look a bottlenose dolphin straight in the eye. I can now say that I've seen penguins being fed and watched belugas as they've paused to take a quick gulp of air. I've watched as a walrus was fed, seen a polar bear rub its face with its great paws as it swam about and seen a crowned crane in flight. I've watched as people got completely soaked by breaching pilot whales and orcas. I've touched a chocolate chip starfish and heard a dolphin chatter. Yes, I was only there for a day but what a day it was. It was more than worth the admission price and I'm very grateful to have gotten the chance to do this. It sounds crazy, but the BotCon tours have opened doors for me and given me an opportunity to take part in things that are once in a lifetime to me. How lucky am I to get the chance to do this and at a convention that celebrates my favorite toy franchise, no less?
I got back to the Town and Country at five today and hopped in line for the Collector's Club Store. Prime, who had just finished up helping with today's customization classes, caught up with me and took care of our order form, including totaling everything up. Once he was done with that, he spotted our contact in the UK and struck up a conversation with him, which was continued in our hotel room. Kinda nice shooting the breeze for a bit, I tell you. After a while, he headed back to his room and here I sit, tapping away on Alexa-1, trying to perfect this blog post.
All in all, it's been a blast and technically it hasn't even started yet! Tomorrow is official start of the Con, which means I'll be getting autographs, buying swag and attending panels. Sure, I won't have eaten or slept but that don't matter. I'm getting my plastic crack fix! So until next time, TRANSFORM AND ROLL OUT!
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