‘Fest Trip, Day 5

It’s nearing the end of day 2 of the CoCoFest and we’ve had a good discussion about a virtual CoCo4 created using MESS and a first-timer won one of the door prizes. Couldn’t have gone to a better guy what with his luck the other day. We’re now into the auction and when that will finish, the ‘fest will be basically finished.

It’s been a blast this year. There’s been much better turnout than last year and there might be some renewed interest in some of these things. it will be interesting to see how things go next year.

I think maybe I’ll bring my CoCo setup down next year and rent a table. This year’s rates for a table were not out of reach so I think it can be manageed. That could really make the ‘fest interesting if a whole bunch of folks bring their setup down and get it running.

Well, I’m going to sign off now and pay more attention to the auction.

‘Fest Trip, Day 4

I’m writing this from the CoCoFest floor. Turnout has been quite good this year and there are a lot of folks who showed up for the first time or the first time in a long time this year. In particular are such notables as Mary Kramer (CoCoNutz newsletter) and Steve Bjork (programmer extra-ordinaire) are in attendance this year.

We had a couple of interesting presentations today along with a panel discussion of the life and times of the CoCo. The Cloud 9 guys did a good commercial on their main products (and they have some good ones).

The real cool thing is the Sockmaster has unleashed his latest secret project on the world today. He has ported Donkey Kong to the CoCo. Now that’s really cool. Seeing the CoCo running Donkey Kong brought back childhood memories. He got it exactly right. Of course, he had original Z80 code to work from so I suppose it isn’t surprising that he managed to get such a close correspondence. Even so, he does admit it was a difficult task.

Well, it’s time to sign off as the auction is getting underway. I wonder if there’s anything I need.

Update at 9:55PM CDT

I didn’t buy anything at the auction and supper was quite good even though the service was terrible initially. The real run was finding out about twenty minutes ago that a tornado watch is in effect for the area until about midnight. That’s always a great thing to hear about. Of course it doesn’t mean a twister will appear but it’s never a good sign. That’s two out of three years I’ve come down here that a twister or something resembling a twister has been involved in the trip. Interesting.

Now it’s off to relax until bed so I can take on the day tomorrow with renewed vigour.

‘Fest Trip, Day 3

Day three of the drive to Elgin was mostly uneventful as long as you consider the usual traffic snarls uneventful. I drove through rain for most of the day. That got old pretty fast but I survived it so it can’t have been that bad. I even managed to avoid rush hour in the Chicago area this year. That’s pretty impressive. Of course, I managed that by catching rush hour at Madison. I suppose nothing is perfect.

Much of the ‘Fest gang gathered at the convention centre this evening as there was much setting up to be done. Of course, it’s much like the rest of the ‘Fest as everyone stood round doing the “oooo, ahhhh” thing at everything that was there last year. It should be fun tomorrow with some new faces showing up, too.

Too bad the internet access isn’t working well in my room. The wireless access point is present and my system makes an association with it but the AP isn’t giving an IP address out. That’s a bit annoying. I could probably fix it if I knew where the AP was located but I expect I don’t have access to it. Then again, what would life be like if I had nothing to complain about.

Well, I’m for bed soonish so I can be awake for tomorrow’s proceedings.

‘Fest Trip, Day 2

The second day of the drive down to Elgin was pretty uneventful. I got mobile around 8:00 this morning and made my way out onto the highway. It wasn’t long before I encountered evidence of snow having fallen overnight and it was a bit annoying when other vehicles kicked up spray. With the strong cross wind, it was almost impossible to get washer fluid to do anything useful so I could see anything through the windshield. Still, I made it to Brandon without difficulty and stopped at the Husky there. Man, was that wind cold when I was filling the gas tank. I also had lunch and picked some eyeglass cleaning wipes up at Walmart and got back on the road.

At Headingly, I stopped for a break (call of nature) and picked up some snacks then headed back out on the road. By the time I was heading south on MB75, the road was basically dry and the wind was largely in back of me so there wasn’t much to worry about in the way of spray. The border crossing was about the most painless I’ve ever had even though there was a queue and then things were smooth sailing on I-29. At least until Grand Forks where I picked up rain and rain/snow mixed that dogged me all the way into Fargo and made it very difficult to find the exits and lanes with the wet road after sunset.

I took the usual wrong turn and had to get myself unlost before finally finding the hotel in Fargo but I’m here now and comfortable. The weather forecast is talking about snow overnight and there is a flood watch for the eastern third of North Dakota due to precipitation in the area. It shouldn’t cause any trouble with travel tomorrow, however, so I’m not worried about it.

As I said to a co-worker on Tuesday, this trip wasn’t going to feel real until I was on the road on the second day. It certainly felt real once I crossed the US border. Just one more day on into Elgin and the fun begins. To think, I’ll have to reverse this drive starting Monday. That should be entertaining.

Well, I’m off to relax a bit before bed.

‘Fest Trip, Day 1

The first day of the drive down to Elgin, Illinois was basically uneventful. The biggest entertainment was the cross wind most of the way. There was a short patch of drizzle/rain between Swift Current and Moose Jaw but other than that the weather cooperated nicely. That’s one day down and two to go for the trip there.

Now the biggest thing I need to figure out is just which route I’m taking from Regina to Fargo. I could take the usual route of going TCH to Winnipeg and then taking the Pembina Highway south to the border where it becomes the interstate highway that goes right into Fargo. I could also go south from Regina and go via Estavan and come into Fargo from the west. That would involve some roads I haven’t seen before but it also entails a bit more risk because I don’t know where the convenient gasoline stops are. I’ll have to study a map and figure it out tonight. Fortunately, I have such a map to study.

Here’s hoping the weather tomorrow is at least as good as the weather today.

Vacation Time

It’s felt like a long time coming but it’s finally here. Tomorrow I set off for Elgin, Illinois for the annual last CoCoFest. Looks like there will be a decent turnout this year. Either way it’s a great excuse to take a week or so off and since I truly dislike flying, I turn it into a three day drive instead. Not that it’s particularly exciting what with the stops in Regina and Fargo both going and coming.

Interestingly, the ‘fest occurs on March 31 and April 1. I wonder what sort of prank is going to occur on Sunday morning. That ought to be entertaining all on its own.

Maybe this year I’ll do some of the tourist thing. That might be fun. After all, Chicago isn’t all that far from Elgin. Then again, perhaps not. We’ll see when I’m there.

I hope to get a reasonably early start tomorrow although I plan to be late enough to miss the morning rush. The first leg of the trip is relatively short, ending as it does in Regina. That should give me a decent buffer against getting off to a late start and possible adverse weather conditions.

And this year, I’ve actually prepared in advance. I booked hotels at each stopover point in advance so I even know where I’ll be staying on the way there and back. Wild, eh?