kevin_standlee: (Confusion Ahead)
I did not get the rest of my Goldfield and Tonopah photos uploaded until this morning, so here's some more about both.

Tonopah Hotel and Musuem )

I also have a couple of more Goldfield photos from yesterday.

Auto Graveyard and Striking Scenery )

I would describe Goldfield as "quirky." It has to be a challenging place to live, with nearly all services (such as the nearest gas station) 30 miles away in Tonopah, but it does seem to have some attractions, and there are still people who care about it, like those trying to restore the Goldfield Hotel to make it more of a tourist destination.
kevin_standlee: (To Trains (T&P))
This morning we slept in a bit (which for me means 7 AM instead of 5 AM), had breakfast in the lounge, and packed out of the hotel room. The last took longer than expected because lots of other people were moving out at the same time and all of the luggage carts were in use. But we eventually got everything out of the room. Lodgecombing takes a lot longer for a one-bedroom apartment than for a typical hotel room. We said goodbye to one of the best hotel rooms we've ever had and turned north on US-95 heading for Tonopah.

The driving was a balancing act. If we drove at full speed, we couldn't run the air conditioning, but if we drove too slowly, it also caused overheating. So Lisa kept our speeds down (but not too far down) and balanced that against running the AC. Even on full Max AC, it was hard to hold out the 45°C temperatures with which Las Vegas and Beatty were cursed. Beatty was our last fuel stop before we get home. I did not buy more sugar-free chocolate raisins, but I did get some very nice (but also very expensive) wild boar jerky.

Today's trip was only about 200 miles, but on occasions, both Lisa and I got really tired and had to swap drivers to try and keep us fresh. One of the stops was the Area 51 Travel Center, where Kuma Bear had an Alien Experience.

Our inability to do long stretches (particularly on a hot desert highway like US-95 in Nevada) at the end of a long road trip is one of the reasons we planned to stop at Tonopah tonight. The other reason was so we could stop in Goldfield.

Museum Day )

Heading north from Goldfield, it started to cloud up, which was wonderful. The van's air conditioning started working better, and we only had to turn it off for the last heavy climb into Tonopah, and during that climb we even started getting bits of rain. Although it was still in the mid-30s C, it was still 10°C cooler than Las Vegas, which was really very nice.

We got to the Tonopah Station Hotel at about 5:45, roughly seven hours and 225 miles after we left Las Vegas. After checking in (they gave us the same room as the last time we stayed here) and getting me some milk from Scolari's grocery next door, we had dinner in the restaurant. The restaurant had a nice rib-eye steak special that we both ordered for dinner, and we remarked as how much nicer we find these smaller places than the over-pressured places in Vegas. Reno/Sparks is the "big city" for us. Vegas is too frenetic and loud.

After dinner, Lisa and I had a pleasant evening walk — something we couldn't do in Tempe or Vegas because of the heat &mdahs; and we went back to the hotel. Tomorrow we have the last 200 miles to go before we get home, regroup, and begin planning for the Worldcon trip.
kevin_standlee: Kevin in kakhi shirt, Jacaru hat, and sunglasses (Sheriff Kevin)
After what seemed like innumerable delays, we managed to get away from Fernley about 2:30 PM and set out for Tonopah. This is the shortest of the three legs of the trip, being merely 200 miles; however, if we didn't stop in Tonopah, our next realistic stop would be in Beatty, another 100 miles south of here. That seems unwise, given that we didn't know how soon I could get off work today; besides, we've stayed at the Tonopah Station Hotel before, and because it was the headquarters hotel of our Tonopah Westercon bid, we have a soft spot for it.

Bear Approves of Our Hotel Choice )

The hotel will win no luxury awards, and unfortunately nearly all of the rooms require negotiating stairs, but it's affordable, and there's a grocery store next door. Since our room has a refrigerator, we got some yogurt to have for breakfast tomorrow. After dinner in the restaurant, we walked around the hotel grounds and surrounding areas. In contrast to the heat of Fernley and the even more heat we'll be suffering in Las Vegas and Tempe, it was quite temperate and comfortable. Had we really won that bid, the small number of people who actually might have made the trek to Tonopah would have, I think, enjoyed the mild summer evenings.

My computer connected to the hotel wi-fi eventually, although it's not especially fast, and I'm glad that I don't have to get any real work done here. Still, when we check out tomorrow morning, we'll probably make a reservation for stopping here a week from Saturday on the way home.

Tomorrow is the longest leg of the trip (300 miles to Laughlin), and we have errands to run in Las Vegas to boot.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Just before I was ready to post the previous entry, the fire alarm sounded at the Tonopah Station Hotel. I grabbed my computer, Lisa grabbed [ profile] travelswithkuma, and we headed for the exit stairs. Because of the cold outside, we went out to the minivan and Lisa started it in order to get some heat going. After a few minutes, the front desk clerk came outside and gave us the all-clear. (The cause appears to have been traced to a party being held downstairs, but it was not a fire.) The clerk told us that we were one of only two couples to actually obey the alarm and evacuate the hotel. We told her that we've been to many hotels and that this was not our first evacuation. It only takes one time that the alarm is real to make you regret for the rest of your life (which might be a very short time) not obeying it.

After the all-clear, we went back to the room and I put my computer back, and then we walked next door to Scolari's grocery store intending to get some light snacks for dinner, inasmuch as we were still pretty well fed from brunch. This was about 8 PM, and Scolari's closes at 9 here in Tonopah. The north door would not open. It is not unusual for some stores to disable one of their automatic doors in the evening. Lisa, however, noticed that they hadn't just turned off the electric door; they had bolted it shut, which is a blatant fire code violation.

We went inside the other door and asked for a manager. Lisa politely but firmly told her what she'd observed and told her that because of that disregard for customer safety, we were not going to be shopping here. The manager looked fairly blankly at us. I don't think she understood why what she was doing was wrong. I doubt she'd ever read that sign over the door ("This door to remain unlocked during business hours") or if she had, she just didn't care. Instead of buying groceries from them, we went to the hotel restaurant and had dinner there, then went and played slots. (Lisa won slightly more than $2, which helps offset some of our Vegas losses.)

I have submitted a complaint to Scolari's corporate web site and a comment to the Tonopah Valley Fire Department. I'm concerned that we're going to have to see someone get killed because they couldn't get out a lighted fire exit locked by a lazy manager before people remember that fire codes are there for a reason. We're much happier with the hotel staff, who were as horrified with our story of the paint cans in the fire escapes in Albuquerque as we were. Obviously, the Tonopah Station gets it, while their next door neighbor does not.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
Last night, Lisa and I drove south of Fernley in an attempt to find a dark and clear area to see if we could see Comet Lovejoy, taking our binoculars with us. Although it's not Reno, Fernley has too much light pollution for this kind of sky-watching. We did find a place about two-third of the way to Silver Springs where we could pull off of US-95A; however, cars coming along every three or four minutes made this less than ideal. Still, once the moon set, we had some windows of opportunity, particularly if we looked away from the road as cars went by. We think we were able to see a fuzzy spot (as opposed to hard points of light of the surrounding stars), but not a tail, using our binoculars.

I expect that the Tonopah Star Trails walk at new moon a few days ago was more interesting than usual, what with the comet being near its peak visibility.
kevin_standlee: (ConOps)
Bishop Wye

One of the most significant faults of the Tonopah Westercon bid that [ profile] travelswithkuma chaired a few years ago is that there was absolutely no public transportation of any sort to Tonopah. You could get there only by driving. No more! Trailways is now operating a Las Vegas-Tonopah-Reno route running once a day between the cities (also stopping at Pahrumph, Beatty, Hawthorne, and Carson City) with the Tonopah stop being right at the Tonopah Station Hotel where we'd said we'd hold the convention. This is scary.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
This morning, we decided that getting a bellman and getting the van to the front of the hotel was such an incredible hassle that it was easier for us to make three trips down to the parking garage with our luggage. As some of our stuff is in bankers boxes, I wish I'd brought the folding luggage cart. (The boxes are great on a cart, but troublesome to hand-carry.) We checked out and were on the road a few minutes after 10 AM.

We had no idea just how fatigued we both were until after Beatty, the start of the "long middle" of US-95 in Nevada. We limped in to Tonopah and considered calling it a day there, but felt slightly better after having sandwiches, so we pushed onward. This was a mistake. Both of us were having tremendous difficulty staying awake. We each tried spelling each other at the wheel, but it was frightening driving while having to keep shaking myself to stay awake. Lisa was literally in pain from the fatigue.

As we approached Hawthorne, 325 miles and about seven hours since we left Las Vegas, we decided to give up. The first motel on the south end of town is an America's Best Inn, and has decent rooms and about the price/quality of a Holiday Inn Express, including a wired internet connection. (There are many other cheaper properties; we're spoiled.) We bailed out 100 miles short of home. I got online and e-mailed my manager, who agreed that it was better to arrive alive. I expect to be home around Noon tomorrow. As soon as we could, Lisa went to bed. I'm going to do so as well.

A bunch of things have happened online today, including another Hugo Controversy. I don't have time to address them right now and I'm too exhausted to give them proper attention. But I will once again say that one should never assume malice or conspiracy when there are other reasonable explanations.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
Our original plans had us leaving Fernley at 2 PM, but thanks to Lisa's extensive pre-packing and my getting my work cleared by 11 AM, we left the house around 11:30 AM, although we did immediately stop for lunch at Arby's before heading east just past Noon on US-50A to Fallon and then south on US-95. The air was thick with smoke. The route south of Fallon was a road neither of us had ever traveled. Much of it is very stark, although with all that smoke, we hardly could see much of it. The two-lane road has a 70 MPH speed limit, and there wasn't a lot of traffic southbound. There was quite a bit of it northbound, much of it very likely heading toward Burning Man from the look of the vehicles and the odd piles of stuff lashed to their roofs.

This Place is Da Bomb )

Lots more photos of bombs and other military stuff in the Hawthorne Set.

We left Hawthorne still well ahead of our original schedule. But it didn't last.

Being Good Samaritans )

Having earned lots of Karma points for helping the folks stranded at Coaldale, we got to Tonopah just before 6 PM.

Lisa Shows Me the Convention Center )

Today was a relatively short leg; the shortest of the entire trip, actually. Tomorrow we had better get moving early, because our goal is Kingman, Arizona, and that's a longer trip than we did today. However, we did pretty good today and I hope the rest of the trip goes as smoothly as today did.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
The wormhole between Seattle and Tonopah's timelines popped open briefly this morning and spat out issue 6 of the at-con newsletter from the Tonopah Westercon, titled The Majestic Files. It only included the front page of the two-page 'zine, but it appears that Utah won the Westercon Site Selection in that universe as well, so perhaps the breech in the timelines is healing.

Other Headlines )

As fifty copies fell through the wormhole, I kept a few for [ profile] travelswithkuma, Lisa, and me, and went downstairs and distributed the rest of them. I was amused when one person apparently mistook it for the Seattle newsletter; however, as one of Tonopah's pre-supporters was standing with him, I hope she was able to clarify things for him.

With luck, we'll see a copy of issue 6 of The Majestic Files on soon.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
Friday afternoon, Lisa and I headed out for shopping for the Tonopah party. We had to find a Radio Shack because we wanted to connect my computer to the television in the room, and I'd left my S-Video and audio connectors at home; we thus had to buy more cables. After that, it was over to Safeway for sodas and chips. We significantly overbought because of the buy-2-get-2-free offers at Safeway.

Returning to the hotel, we were able to get a cart from the hotel to move our party supplies upstairs. Thanks to Lisa nagging me about it and the help of Kevin and Andy, we'd found that the hotel would let us have ice for free from Banquets if we supplied the containers. So while grocery shopping, we bought a box of heavy-duty garbage bags and lined three Bankers' Boxes with them, then took the boxes on the cart and got the ice. I had the "Ice Pass" that allowed access to the ice, but I misunderstood the directions and accidentally went to the wrong ice machine on the first round. We got it straightened out for the second run. I also made a third run with Kevin and Andy, to help supply the "Go Underground" party for UK in 2014 with ice since I had the cart and boxes handy. I returned the boxes to our room and the cart to the hotel, and after Lisa finished with most of the room prep, we went to dinner.

After dinner, we completed our room setup and actually opened about 45 minutes early, which is what we prefer to do whenever we host a party.

Pictures from Beyond the Tonopah Wormhole )

Just before midnight, the Doubletree Hotel's Security showed up (while I was out visiting the other parties) and ordered parties to close their doors because they apparently knew nothing about "party floors" and everyone was being too loud. I hope this confusion is resolved by Saturday night, although it doesn't affect us personally since we're not hosting a party on Saturday.

Shortly after midnight, we felt the wormhole starting to close and said good night and thank you to the remaining guests and started returning our hotel room to its "Seattle" configuration. Boy, do we have a lot of leftover soda! Lisa fished it all out of the bathtub and left it stacked on the bathroom floor to warm back up so that she can put it back in the boxes tomorrow.

Lisa says Kuma Bear is sad because the Tonopah adventure is now over and he has nothing left to do. She'll have to find him a new job.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
Thanks to Bill Burns and, the Tonopah Westercon Program Book — at least the part that fell through the wormhole — is available for all to download. The small number of paper copies will be available at the Tonopah Westercon party on Friday night at 9 PM in this universe.

Lisa, I, and Kuma arrived at SeaTac around 4 PM or so after an interesting but tiring drive from Bend. I'm too tired to post photos or do a comprehensive write-up. We got moved in with not a lot of trouble, except I had a terrible time getting my computer online. I had to spend an hour on the phone with two different AT&T Tech Support people. Both were very polite and helpful, but it took a lot of work to discover that I apparently have two different user IDs, slightly different, and used for different reasons. By then we were well overdue for dinner.

We walked to Lisa's favorite Japanese restaurant in the area, but they were doing take-out only, so instead we went to Denny's. After dinner, Lisa and I sat at the vacant fan tables area. After a little while, a gaggle of SMOFS formed around us, which isn't surprising.

More than one person seized upon Tonopah's Program Book, only to be disappointed to learn that it wasn't valid in this universe. "It's a fake!" said one person in disgust.

I said, "It's an alternate history." He didn't seem to get it. I fear that we'll see more than one such person this weekend who doesn't "get" such things. I sometimes wonder what they see in SF/F if they can't understand this stuff, but never mind. Other people have read it and laughed, which was what we wanted. Alas, there's a glaring typographical error on multiple pages, caused by clumsy work by the Time Police.

Westercon 65 is running in reverse order, so tonight was the Dead Dog Party. Later in the evening we went up to the 13th floor and were able to see fireworks displays from all around the Seattle area, including as far away as downtown. As I compose this, we can still hear some of them, but I simply am too tired to stay up and watch more. I'm so glad I don't have any commitments tomorrow morning, because I don't want to set the alarm and I don't want to get up early. Since we don't have to do anything other than to deliver the ballot box to Site Selection, we need to spend tomorrow recovering from the drive.

In the Book

Jul. 1st, 2012 10:24 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
Early this afternoon, Lisa, I, and Kuma Bear polished off the originals for the Tonopah Westercon Program Book. It's a small booklet — Westercon in Tonopah would have been a low-budget convention — and the middle eight pages seem to have been censored by something called the Interdimensional Anomaly Protection Authority (subtitled "The Time Police"), but we're happy with it. I created a PDF and printed a final draft on my inkjet printer set to its highest resolution, and then we headed in to Reno because there isn't any place in Fernley for this sort of copying work.

At the FedEx Office in south Reno, we asked how long it would take to make 20 of these, and the guy said, "Noon tomorrow, maybe." Hm. The only thing we couldn't do ourselves was the saddle stapling. (I think I have a long-arm stapler somewhere, but it's probably buried in my storage locker.) He allowed as if we did the self-serve printing and folding, he could do the saddle-stapling while we waited.

I did make a mistake here. I allowed him to talk me into using the originals from the inkjet printer rather than printing straight from my PDF. After printing them, Lisa and I decided that the cover, at least, didn't really come out the way we wanted. We got some more of the cover stock and I did one direct print from PDF, and that looked a lot better, so we re-ran the covers and Lisa re-collated them. True to his word, the guy at what I still think of as Kinko's stapled them for us and when we were done, we had 21 copies of what fell through the wormhole. We'll have them at our party on Friday night of Westercon.

Alas, it looks like we will be the only party on our floor, because we can't afford a party suite, and the 13th floor above us, where the bid and convention parties are, is all suites. So if you do make it up to the 13th floor, please venture down one flight on Friday night and see the little corner of Kuma Bear's version of Westercon.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
I find that I do have a PDF-to-GIF/PNG/JPG converter after all, so if you want to send me ads for the Tonopah Westercon Program Book as PDF, I may be able to handle them.

Remember that the usable page size (after the margins) is 7 1/2 inches high by 4 1/2 inches wide (a US letter sheet folded in half with 1/2-inch margins). Ads in proportion to that are appreciated since it makes it much easier to fit them.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
At the direction of [ profile] travelswithkuma, Lisa and I will be hosting a "Westercon that Wasn't" party at Westercon 65 on Friday, July 6. In keeping with the multiple-time-and-space themes of Westercon 65, the idea is that in a just slightly different world, the Tonopah in 2012 Westercon bid won the bid two years ago in Pasadena, and a relatively small but dedicated group of fans would be converging on Tonopah, Nevada for the weekend after Independence Day for a strange little Westercon in the Nevada desert. A little tiny piece of that other Westercon 65 is going to leak through a wormhole and our room party will be a pale reflection of what the fun-in-the-desert Westercon would have been.

I plan on having membership badges for those people who were any of the flavors of pre-supporting members of the Tonopah in 2012 bid, and I think we will still be able to sell "post-apocalyptic" memberships until we run out of the small number of shirts left over from the bid. We'll have Kuma Bear's favorite food (Goldfish crackers; a case of them is waiting for me to collect them from the Staples in Reno) and a selection of other snacks and drinks. (No alcohol; the rules for it in this universe are so draconian that it's not worth doing.)

Incidentally, our Guest of Honor, [ profile] fluffcthulhu, won't be able to attend the party, but He will doubtless be there in spirit.

I'm also polishing up the piece of the Westercon 65 program book that fell through the wormhole. Due to the small turnout, the convention wouldn't have the full-size "souvenir book", but only a simple digest-sized booklet with the schedule and required stuff like the Westercon bylaws. And I don't think all of the pages are actually going to make the trip through the wormhole, so we might not see all of the program schedule in the book.

If anyone wants to place an ad in this souvenir book, write to me immediately. There's no charge; your money's no good in that other dimension anyway. The page size is 8 1/2 inches high by 5 1/2 inches wide, with half-inch margins. I need an image that I can lay out in Microsoft Publisher. (So if you send me a PDF, it may be difficult for me to make it work, although I'll give it a try.) If you don't already have my e-mail address, you can use my LiveJournal handle and it will get forwarded to me. (Alternatively, you cann use my address, which is my first initial, my middle initial (a for Allen), and my last name, all run together.)

I need to finalize this sometime this week and get it printed. There aren't likely to be many copies, but we'll have them at the party.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
Reviewing receipts and records and recounting the cash showed that I'd neglected to enter two pre-supporting memberships into the database and a couple of $20 bills had stuck together initially, so the final revenue count for the Tonopah bid is $415. That covers all of the bid's out-of-pocket expenses, much to my amazement.

Finanical neepry about an unexpectedly non-loss-making convention bid )

In the end, we ended up only out our time and some money for gas and wear on the vehicles running back and forth to Salem and Portland. Thank you again to everyone who bought memberships to let us do so. I was flabbergasted at the support y'all gave us. Considering that I financed most of the out-of-pocket expenses on my credit card, I'm also very grateful.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
I've been toting up the expenses and income of the Tonopah Westercon Bid, and it appears that the bid's income (pre-supports of various types) is within $20 of how much it cost to put on the bid in direct out-of-pocket expenses, including renting the Con Suite, buying food and drink, taking out advertising, and buying blank t-shirts, transfer paper, round stickers, and printable magnets for the premiums, plus the cost of building the dice cage. It does not include any indirect expenses, like the multiple trips to Salem and and Portland to buy shirts, supplies, and parts, plus of course our own expenses to attend the convention itself — that's the bid committee's own contribution, you might say.

(If we were a 501(c)(3) organization, it would be worth our while to total those various indirect expenses because they'd be counted as "cash charitable contributions," but since the bid is not a tax-exempt non-profit, it's not worth it.)

Thank you so much to all of you who pre-supported the Tonopah bid at any level. It turns out that the generous people who took advantage of our post-election offers of "post-supporting" and "post-apocalyptic" memberships put us over the top, so to speak.

I plan to publish a detailed breakdown of the bid's income ($395 total) and expenses once I'm sure we've actually accumulated all of the out-of-pocket receipts and records.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
After the Westercon Business Meeting ended on Saturday, Lisa and I returned to the Tonopah bid table and put up signs announcing two new categories of membership in the Tonopah 2012 bid:

Post-Supporting ($10): Refrigerator magnet
Post-Apocalyptic ($20): Magnet and T-Shirt (Pre-supporters may upgrade for the $10 difference)

Both classes of membership are while supplies last. We only have a handful of shirts remaining, and there will be no more.

The Tonopah bid donated memberships to Match Game SF and one of the contestants won a post-apocalyptic membership. While we didn't have her size at the prize desk, we did tell her to come back to the table on Sunday because we do have a shirt left in her size.

We will not be at the table until the bitter end, because we have to check out of the room (we do have an extended 3 PM checkout), and we need to leave tomorrow afternoon and drive partway north. We also might not be there first thing at 10 AM Sunday, because we might sleep in just a little bit.

Good Press

Jul. 3rd, 2010 07:32 am
kevin_standlee: (Default)
Mike Glyer has had some nice things to say about me and about the Tonopah in 2012 Westercon Bid, including this post about the unofficial announcement of site selection results and my reaction to it during Match Game SF last night.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF Zone)
During the break between the first and second games of Match Game SF, Westercon site selection administrator Sharon Sbarsky came in and (with permission) read the unofficial results of Westercon 65 Site Selection balloting: Tonopah 31, Seattle 54, with a handful of No Preference and None of the Above that didn't affect the result. The results are unofficial until received by the Business Meeting on Saturday morning at 11:30, but the upshot is that Tonopah had a very respectable showing and Seattle will host Westercon 65 in 2012. That seems to be a good result all around. Kuma Bear is pleased at how well the bid did, and I'm pleased that I don't have to chair a Westercon, since I was going to have to do so if we won and the Business Meeting dropped it on me.

On a different subject, there appears to be a way around the "pay for internet in your room" issue here if you do things just right, but it may not always work and I'm not going to write what it is here. I'm just happy that I can compose this post in my room before going to bed, because I have another busy day on Saturday, with a 10 AM panel, the Business Meeting at 11:30, and Match Game SF second show at 3 PM (move in from 1:30).
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
This afternoon, I asked Kent Bloom (Chairman of this year's Worldcon Business Meeting) if he would be willing to preside in my place at the Westercon Business Meeting on Saturday in the unlikely-but-technically-possible case of Tonopah winning the election. That's because Tonopah did not file a bid and therefore is not an "eligible bid" for ballot purposes.

Complicated Rules Discussion )

I find it rather remarkable that so many people have pre-supported the bid and told us that they've voted for Tonopah that I actually find myself having to deal with the (still low-probability) chance of us actually winning the election!

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