Below is a post I sent to the PLATES Listserve. I plan to write something on the other activities like I did for the Erie trip last year. Bottom line despite the numerous troubles I ran into, overall I had a blast.
Well I have been reading all the reports and figured it was time I pass one along. The convention honestly ranked one of the worst I've been to and before everyone gets on the defensively accuses me of not appreciating all the hard work the Board put into this convention let me preface I had a great time at the actual convention but between having my flight diverted, I was traveling alone this year, and the hotel treating me like a second class person that didn't understand what I was talking about. First of yes I know you can't control planes from diverting and the flight crew WAS GREAT, but they overreacted when I started showing signs of nervousness/ My flight was diverted to Austin for two hours because of the storms in Dallas. I couldn't help but being uptight but the flight staff felt they kept having to reassure me. I was more worried about John Ferguson's flight being delayed but he got in early.When we finally saw each other we hugged and laughed that the incident with the airlines was our one "little glitch". I got to hotel and checked in, they had me booked Tuesday through Friday when I specifically asked them for one night at the ALPCA rate. My mom had booked the one night on her credit card When I went to check out Wednesday morning (I was moving in with Dave Kuhen which was my original plan ) the front desk said I couldn't checkout until Saturday morning. With the help of Jeff Minard and numerous calls home, the hotel straightened everything out but it drained my bank account. The cash I had on hand was it. I later found out I would get a refund for all the nights, since the admittedly screwed up my reservation. The front desk gave me a line that my debit card wasn't going to be charged until after I checked out, they lied, because when I checked my balance, the full amount was charged. It was finally fixed by Friday but because of the screw up, funds were tighter than usual. The hotel gets a D!
The convention part was great I saws old friends and made some new ones. I would like to publicly commend Clark Wothe on hosting the 1st ever Regional Presidents meeting. It was very informative and we made some great progress. Also the displays were amazing, it was hard to vote for just one. I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted but I remember the displays. I liked the breast cancer display as well,m but again they weree all very impressive.
My biggest thrill was hanging out with John Ferguson, the "Toms" Allen and Smith, Susan Allen and John and I went out to this neat BBQ place and I was given a sheriff's badge with the name "Kevin" on it, which I will explain in a minute. The highlight of that evening was definitely sliding down the slide sandwhiched between Susan and John. Hindsight being 20/20 I geuss the slide was better than being put on one of those roller coasters over at Six Flags!
The auction was a bit of a surprise for me because John Ferguson and company present me with a Mississippi #29 NASCAR License plate for all my speed demon antics at the convention. The would have presented it to me at the business meeting Saturday 7morning but my pplane was taking off longbefore the business meeting even started so the auction was the next best thing,. To top things off they made Steve Raiche present it to me and if you ever seen an awards ceremony, you know Steve's classic style of mixingf whit, humor and heart touching emotions together. It was probablly one of the nicest gestures one ALPCAn could do for another. It's rumored that a video will appear up on Youtube one of these days.
The attendance wasa bit disappointing especially since the convention was centrally located. I feel it was a good meet but I need to go on record as saying location wasn't the greatest. This isn't a swipe at the people in Texas nor is it a dig at the Board, but I had such misfortune, I had to get it on record.
Looking forward to Charleston,WV next year hope the gang recoups by then!
Justin Mattes ALPCA 6748