IMTEC98 Behind the Scenes at RBBI's Coverage
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Behind the Scenes at RBBI's Coverage

I couldn't resist saying a few words about my trip and experiences. I flew up Wednesday on SouthWest Airlines out of Tulsa. Trip was fairly uneventful, but a little bumpy. I did meet an old friend I had not seen in about 10 years on one leg of the flight.

I flew into Midway and rode the metro train downtown. Besides being lost and heavy on luggage, I met a travel group from Mexico in town on business. One gentleman spoke English and at it was comforting to know they were more lost than me. The metro dumped me out at the Roosevelt Orange Station - not the place you would like to be after dark. I drug my luggage a couple of blocks to the hotel (Best Western Grant Park) and the rain began to pour down.

I stayed in this hotel last year. It was pretty run down last year and it did not look like much had been fixed since my stay. I liked the line in the Fodor's 97 Chicago Guide Book:

"While not exactly pretty, this is a good value for travelers attending functions at nearby McCormick Place. The mauve and gray rooms are plain, smallish, and have an anti-septic feel - still they are functional. "

That more than I could say for the exercise room. The only exercise bike was broken, the pool was drained and full of chairs. Construction noise seemed to peak about 3 am each night as crews moved large equipment below on the road and backup alarms almost blew me out of bed. One night a fan on the roof failed and screamed like a fire siren all night. At least it drowned out the construction noise.

The hotel guidebook suggested I jog in the park across the street, however it said I should "be prudent and not jog at night."

I did get a corner room (801) overlooking the park like last year. I made a nice panorama photo of the view from 701 last year.

Bottom line, for $105 a night and another $15 a day in taxes, this place is not too customer oriented.

I did enjoy meeting a number of friends, several for the first time face to face. I've spoken with a lot of people in the industry over the internet and its nice to see them in person. I also enjoyed having many people recognize my RBBI shirt in the hall and approach me with comments about the web site.

With the show being smaller, I tried to move my flight out up earlier on SouthWest. I called the national office and they wanted over $80 to move the flight. I decided to go to the airport and plead my case. After waiting in a long line, they told me their was plenty of room on a flight leaving shortly, but they wanted another $84 from me to board. I was flying on a discounted ticketless program and they said I had to upgrade to full fare to board. I whined a while and finally gave in. Then they told me I had whined too long and my luggage might not make the flight. Guess they are not too customer oriented either. Maybe the move to Orlando will help?

I arrived back home to Stillwater OK about 5:30 pm Saturday. I was tossing around my stuff and trying to get ready to hit the computer, then at 5:50 the power surged and failed. We were out of electricity till after 10pm. Two transformers had blown in our neighborhood.

Sunday, I got up and went to church with the wife, planning on hitting the computer hard later in the day. I fired up the computer Sunday evening, shortly later the tornado sirens sounded. I opened the front door to see this tornado going by. This photo is from the Stillwater Newspress and also appeared on the cover of the Daily Oklahoman. I took several photos myself, but have not had time to develop them.

After this tornado roared by, the sirens blew again about an hour and a half later as another tornado came by. Then again about 3:30 am Monday another one went by south of town. We are a little concerned about tornadoes because this house was totally destroyed by one in 1990.

Monday morning things finally settled down and I went to work scanning the photos, writing and posting the report. I finished late Wednesday.

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