Wednesday, September 9, 2009
All I can say is thank goodness Darrell, Jesse and I took two vehicles to Dragon this year and that I took a load over to Jesse’s the night before. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have all fit.
It was a frantic Thursday morning packing all the ‘little things’, taking care of the babies (the 4-legged, fury kind) and packing up the vehicle. We finally made it to Jesse’s around 8:45am. Our next stop was the Chick-fil-a at Eagle’s Landing. After a good breakfast, we stopped by the QT to top off the gas tanks and then we were on our way to the Marriott.
It was an easy drive into the city and we reached the Marriott without incident. We unloaded both vehicles in the Marriott pull through. Darrell stayed with the luggage while Jesse and I went to park the cars at our favorite AmeriPark Parking Deck. At this time, I must point out that the Marriott Bell Staff really needs to practice loading luggage onto the carts. If they would just unload the vehicle and then load the cart, it would cut down on the number of times they had to unload-reload-readjust-add luggage-move this piece-unload–add luggage, etc. It also would have saved my Diet Cokes from taking a dive across the Marriott drive. Then again, maybe there is a soda vortex located the luggage drop-off of the Marriott. I personally witnessed 2 separate incidents of drinks rolling across the drive and neither of those was mine.
Anywho, we parked the cars and headed to the lobby for check-in. There were already several bell carts full of luggage waiting in the lobby but the lines for check-in were short and moving well. It was only 10 minutes before I was at the counter. Luckily, the rooms were ready and they were on the 9th floor. The 9th floor is the key here. When we made the reservations, we specifically requested the 9th or the 11th floor. The 10th floor of the Marriott is an open meeting/event space.
Let me explain. The elevators in the Marriott are divided to go to different floors. There is one bank of elevators for the 1-17 floors, one for the 18 – 41 floors and one for the 42-47 floors. The 10th floor is special. It is the only floor that ALL elevators stop on – no matter which one you are on. From the 10th floor, there is a centrally located, spiral staircase that goes up to the 11th floor and down to the 9th floor. Therefore, we could take any elevator to the 10th floor and simply walk down to the 9th floor. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal and probably isn’t until you have been waiting for a elevator for 30 minutes and are ready to commit a felony just to get someone off the elevator so you can on. But I digress….
We were swiftly checked-in and the luggage was taken to the rooms. Did I mention that we had so much luggage that it looked like we were moving into the Marriott for a 3 month stay? You laugh, but I am not exaggerating. Once in the room, Kindra and Callie walked over from the Hyatt and joined us. They had left SC at 4am to get into Atlanta before the rush hour traffic and they nearly made it. Regardless, they arrived before we did.
We talked and caught up on everything. I organized the room. Organizing the room is a very important chore if (1) you have as much ‘stuff’ as we do in a room and (2) you expect great numbers to be gathering in your room from time-to-time.
It wasn’t long until Paul, Bob, Steve, Hal and Anita joined us in the room.
Since there were several folks who had not been to the top of the Marriott, we decided to take a ride up and check it all out. The skyline of Atlanta is awesome as always but in the Marriott, it is the interior view that is a sight to behold.
Once we were back to the room, Bob wanted to don the new Emperor mask. This is a project of Jesse and Darrell’s that I have blogged about previously. Everyone wanted to see it, so the boys went down to Jesse’s room to ready Bob for the unveiling and the girls stayed in my room. It wasn’t very long until everyone came parading back in. I will admit. The mask looked good. Real good. Many pictures were taken.
Bob wasn’t the only one to take his turn in the Emperor’s mask. Hal had his turn to play as well…
Finally, we decided to start walking over to Benihana’s for the traditional Thursday night dinner. On the way, we passed the Alabama Garrison’s trailer transport they brought to Dragon. We all agreed. We want one of these!!
We arrived a little early at the restaurant and slowly everyone came trickling in. The Thursday night dinner is the first time you get to see a lot of people – sometimes since last year. It’s a great time. Once everyone arrived, we occupied 2 over-full tables. There were 17 of us, counting me. A great turn out!
After dinner, several of us headed to Pre-Reg for badge pickup. It was a long 2 ½ hour wait but the sun was down and it was not so hot. The hardest part about it was staying awake. Darrell and I arrived back at our room around 11:30pm. I took my over-the-balcony picture for the evening and headed to bed. I was exhausted!