Wednesday, November 25, 2015

And the road home from Atlanta is paved with...delays!

For those of you just tuning in, the record of my trip to Altanta is here. I arrived in Atlanta safely, late last Thursday, after a 13 hour day, what with traffic and all. We set up the booth for AAR/SBL on Friday and the conference opened on Saturday. Yesterday, Tuesday, the exhibit closed at noon.

Once a large conference closes, mayhem ensues. Everybody wants to get torn down, packed up, and outta there as quickly as possible. Usually it's because they have a flight to catch. Well, of the four of us, one lives in Atlanta, and the other three of us drove, so the flight deadline wasn't looming. But, I had to get the van out of valet parking before 3:00 or pay for another day, so we wanted to get done. Because everything sold so well (thank you!), the teardown went well. In fact, we were waiting for them to bring our stuff out of the storage so we could pack up. Huh? Well, when you set up, you have to put all the empty boxes and crates on a skid and they store it someplace, fire regulations and all that. So, one of the first things they do is bring up the storage skids—usually!

That wasn't happening, so I went looking (along with other vendors!). I found the foreman, who was frustrated. Apparently the freight elevator had ceased working! Not a good thing. But, they had managed to get it fixed and our skid was soon to be delivered. Sure enough, 5–10 minutes later it showed up.

We still had to skid everything up, even though I drove. The loading dock is down one floor, so they move the skid down there and then it goes on the van. No problems there—until the guy decided he wanted to just load the skid on the van instead of unstacking and restacking. Oops! Too tall. Tear off a few layers and on it goes. Pack the stuff we took off around the skid and I'm ready to go.

I asked the guys standing there about the fastest way to the Interstate. Mistake! They gave me bad directions! I lost 20 minutes trying to get unlost from following them! Oh we go into the wild construction zones of I-75 and I-65! I had hoped to get to Louisville before stopping. Originally, I had hoped that would be around 9:30—10:00. As the traffic moved slowly through the construction zones around Chattanooga, I started hoping for 10:30. It looked like I might make it as I pulled onto I-65 in Nashville. That is, until about 20–30 miles south of Elizabethtown (E-town to those of us who know). There was a 16 mile section where the lanes split; I chose the one with the exits, figuring that if there was an accident, the exits would make it easier for them to clear the road. Bad choice! About 5 miles into it, traffic came to a dead stop. For 27 minutes! And there was no cell phone coverage, so I couldn't even look at what was happening on Google maps. I still don't know what it was, because once traffic started moving, the lane was clear. I hit Louisville around 11:00 and stopped a bit into Indiana.

Today I took off around 8:00 or so and hit the offices in Winona Lake before noon. No problems! I hope the flight out tomorrow is as uneventful!

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