August 2nd, 2011
Woke up this morning bright and early around 6:30 am, though I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, as too many thoughts about the stuff pertaining to this year's GenCon were floating in my head. Did the morning things that needed to be done (showering, breakfast, grooming, etc.), and then got down to finishing the last of the packing for the trip. My back was quite sore, but the pain killers I took with breakfast seemed to help. My mother arrived at the house about a quarter to nine, to see me off, and things were well in hand.
While I had thought that we might have to taxi to the airport for the flight out of Ottawa at 12:20 pm, spross's mom had offered to take us to the airport, so I was pleased to accept. We needed to be at the airport around 10:20 am or so, but spross and his mom arrived around 9:00 am or so, and we left for the airport much earlier than I had planned. Arrived at the airport to find that the Delta Airlines desk wasn't opening until (you guessed it) 10:20 am. Steve and I sat around the airport for quite a while, waiting for the desk to open.
When the Delta Airlines counter opened for business, spross and I went through the process rather smoothly I thought, except for a couple of minor glitches. First off, it turned out that there was a check-in bag fee of $25 that had to be paid. There was no mention of this on the Delta website, and I was rather peeved about this. (Had no idea that American airlines were charging for the check-in bags these days, as I found out later. Haven't flown to the U.S. in a while, as you may have gathered.) Secondly, by the time spross and I got through and made it to the gate area, I was in some kind of pain from the right shoulder that's been bothering me for some time, and the back muscles and my right hip were also quite sore again, from carrying the shoulder bag and carry-on bag (even though I was pulling the latter along with the handle). Started to get worried about how I was going to handle lifting things and the like for the week that was to come. The security scan before the gate was fine, though I have to admit that I was worried about some of the liquids and stuff that I had on me, soaps and stuff in the suitcase. They didn't even check out my diabetes permission letter, and asked no questions about the food and snacks I had with me.
After relaxing for most of the morning at the airport in Ottawa, the first leg of the flight to Detroit boarded on time, and we went out to the plane. It turned out that this plane was even smaller than the ones we'd flown on to Indy back in 2008, with only about 60 seats or so. Very cramped, very tight, and not all that comfortable. I handled the flight rather well, and between the Tylenol sinus and extra-strength pills that I took (for my sinus allergies) and the gum I chewed on the flight, I was fine. My head popped several times, and my sinuses dripped for some time, but nothing serious. The flight was about two hours. Because of the size of the plane, my carry-on luggage had to be stored in the cargo hold, as did spross's. Not surprising, given how small the plane was, but sheesh! :(
After deplaning in Detroit, and making our way to the gate for the Detroit-Indianapolis leg of the trip, spross and I went and had a bit of lunch in Fuddruckers in the airport. The grilled chicken burger that I ate was somewhat greasy, and definitely had been fried not grilled. Ugh! Steve's wedge fries were pretty good though, and I snatched three or four of those off him. My lower back muscles were in serious pain by this time, after the jerking motion on the runway when we landed in Detroit, and I took another couple of painkillers.
After an hour and a half wait again, we boarded the plane for Indianapolis. The same type of plane (if it wasn't the same plane that we had taken from Ottawa to Detroit), so very small and really cramped. Saw that there were quite a few gamers on the plane, no doubt all heading for GenCon 2011, but didn't recognise anyone that I saw. The flight itself was pretty smooth, but the back pain had gradually gotten worse during the course of the day, and I was starting to flag and all.
When we arrived at the airport in Indianapolis, around 4:40 pm local time, we hgad to walk the length of the Indy airport to get to the baggage claim! As we walked with the carry-on luggage, my back got worse and worse, and I thought I was going to collapse. spross and I managed to make it to the luggage claim, and grabbed our suitcases, and then went in search of a cab. The cab driver who took us to the Omni Severin was an older man, 74 years of age, who had a really good sense of humour, but drove a bit slow.
We arrived at the Omni Severin Hotel - Indianapolis around 5:30 pm, and I found the hotel was sort of just as I remembered it, but with some changes due to the renovations they've made over the past three years. I received a nasty surprise when we were checking in, and had problems with my credit card. spross had to put the hotel bill on his card; I had the feeling from the look on his face and the body language that he was pretty annoyed, which was understandable given that he had also paid the airfare. We usually take care of one or the other, and the one that costs less owes money to the one who paid more. The rest of the check-in went fine, and I was tickled pink to see the hotel still had the large table in the lobby area near the washrooms serving cucumber or lemon water. Lovely. :)
The hotel room that we got was in a corner of the building, with an entrance hall into a two-room area. (It turned out the second room was a conference room, but I didn't learn that until later.) The room was quite small, compared to other double rooms I've had at hotels, but there was a fridge as requested, so that was good, and I was rather disappointed at the size of the room since I didn't think there'd be enough room to put stuff. The air conditioning units were above the entrance to the room, and literally blow the cold air around the room and on the head section of the beds. Not great, but I thought I could manage. (As it turned out, I couldn't cope that well.) Here's the view from our hotel window.
By this time, I hadn't heard from my friend, Shawn, who was going to help us go and do some grocery shopping for snacks and the like for the fridge, I tried to reach him by phone at the number I had for him. The guy who answered the phone told me every time that I had the wrong number and no such person was at the number called. Since I had no other way of getting in touch with him, and hoping that Shawn would call the hotel looking for us, spross and I did a bit more unpacking and then eventually decided not to wait any longer and took a cab to Marsh's, a good grocery that was recommended in a thread over on Twitter. What a great selection of food! We were able to combine the grocery and pharmacy shopping (disposable razor, anti-perspirant, toilet paper, and a few other items) at Marsh's, which was terrific, and managed to get everything that we needed - may have bought and spent a bit too much, around $109 or so. It was worth it.
Between the heat, walking, the plane trip, and the long day, the pain in my lower back and right leg got the best of me, and pretty much did me in. spross and I barely got back to the Omni Severin by cab, put the foodstuffs and other items that had to go in the fridge away. The fridge wasn't cold enough, despite the fact of how long it had been on, and so we called Housekeeping and they came up and replaced the fridge. By the time we went to eat at the Severin Bar & Grill, it was very late, after 9:00 pm. The food didn't get served until close to 10:00 pm, not a great time to eat an evening meal, so we didn't finish until very...late. Not a great meal, and not a good piece of filet mignon that I paid for, but was hurting too much and too tired to care.
spross and I went back up to the room, did some more unpacking, and finally managed to get to bed. I really was hoping that I'd be able to function the next day, but wasn't all that sure how things were going to shape up between my back and leg pain and the sinus allergies that were plaguing me. Thought it was going to be an interesting, if difficult, week at GenCon 2011...
So there you have it folks, the first day of the Indy and GenCon trip for 2011. Somewhat long, yes, I know, but I trust it was enjoyable. The next entry will deal with GenCon Day -1.