Paul and I spent most of the day on Wednesday doing final prep for the trip...packing, laundry, I made sure we had all our meds, etc.
We napped until about 6pm and we headed out the door and were on the road by 7pm that night, now with our handy-dandy GPS unit (a Magellen Maestro). We refer to the GPS as "her" since it speaks in a female voice (not too unlike that of Majel Barrett's...probably designed that way since many modern technological devices are inspired by Star Trek).
About 11pm that night, we stopped at a highway rest stop clear across Pennsylvania and the only thing open there (even though there were supposedly many more choices available on the sign) was the Burger King (eh, it was alright I guess, though the girl working there was a bit of a dunce).
We plowed through the rest of the night, stopping roughly at about 7am in the middle of Indiana where we got some Hardees breakfast (I prefer to eat fast food we don't normally have around here when out on the road).
We arrived in the city about 8am (well, after we changed our clocks...our personal clocks were still set to 9am). Before checking in at the hotel, we checked in at the convention center and got our badges and found where our table would be.
This being the first time we walked in as exhibitors and not just as fans, this was strange for me to say the least, to see the empty booths/displays as we walked back to find where Paul's table would be.
I did take a couple of pictures of the empty exhibit hall (though they came out a bit dim...even with the new camera).
Then, it was back to the car to get the stuff Paul brought: 100 copies each of his two trade paperbacks of his strip, The New Adventures of Queen Victoria each in its own 30lb box that we had to lug all the way from the parking garage to Artist Alley (next time a small handtruck will something we remember to pack!).
After Paul left his stuff at the table (with some books displayed and the signs displaying the price), we went to the hotel to finally check into our room and get a little bit of a nap before the evening premiere of the show (some fans could buy a special "preview" version of the ticket...there were no panels, but all of the big booths for publishers and retailers were there and most of the people in Artist Alley (and some of the celebrities) were there that night.).
During the preview event, we got to meet our table neighbors there in Artist Alley: artist Tom Kelly (who did adorable sketches of Hello Kitty dressed as all manor of superheroes and Sci-Fi characters) and jkcarrier who writes and edits Fantasy Theater. Across from us was Scott Redding, a really nice artist from Calgary, AB, Canada.
During the earlier part of that night, Jane Irwin of Clockwork Game and Vogelein initiated a trade of her books for Paul's (we traded his two books for her two books and one preview). Later on Saturday, Jane happily signed the books and did a sketch in each. You can subscribe to her latest work (the Clockwork Game) to read it on Livejournal or in any RSS reader. A new page is published every Thursday and there is an archive available online so there's no excuse not to check it out (the art is fantastic and the story should be intriguing to anyone who likes history).
That night, when all was said and done at the show, we quickly headed back to the car (using the back exit to the skybridge across the street to beat the rush of people) and drove over to the Giordano's Pizza which was down the street.
This must be a first stop for many of the attendees because it was CROWDED. We had slightly over a half-hour wait for a table for two. We soon were inside and boy, was our waitress swamped by people, but thankfully we had been able to "pre-order" a pizza and soon we were good to go with a pitcher of ice water (that I pretty much completely consumed), a thick deep dish pizza with ground beef and onions and a plate of mozzarella sticks to top it all off. We finished all but two pieces, but we brought them back to the room in a doggy bag to have in the morning.
When we got back to the room, it didn't take much time for both of us to fall into a DEEP sleep!