And so it was that the wife and I left Minnesota in the late morning this past Friday. This one dude was gonna come visit our cat and dog three times each day we were gone. This would be much better than them getting kenneled. I brought plenty of music along to listen to in the car (I got a great deal at the pawn shop the day before. I love 70's and 80's music and found more than a dozen Time-Life CD's from that era available for only $1.50 each). We took my wife's brand new '08 Accord. It only had about 2,000 miles on it, but would have many more by the time the weekend was out. We made sure we had everything as we left. It was about a 6-hour drive.
I was surprised not to see much road construction as we sailed through Minnesota and into Wisconsin. Once we hit Illinois, however, there was plenty of it, not to mention having to stop and pay tolls what seemed like every 5 minutes. At one point, I realized we were on the wrong road, but quickly turned around and was once again on the "right" path. At about 5:30pm, with the sun shining brightly, we saw the hotel.
It was a state-of-the-art facility that had just opened about 9 months before. We found out during our stay that the normal price for a room was $270. Since we were attending the conference, we got it for a "mere" $149. After parking, the first thing we did was check into our room. The hotel is 18 stories and guess which one we were on? Yep, da 18th. As we waited to get our hotel keys, actually hotel cards (since they are shaped just like credit cards), I noticed a guy in the lobby talking who looked just like Dannion Brinkley. He's the bloke that I first saw profiled in the mid-90's on a show called Sightings. He was struck by lightning, crossed over, and during his time over there, had quite a few prophecies revealed to him. For more details, go here.
I was fairly certain it was him as he was scheduled to speak that weekend. After getting the "keys", we headed over to pick up our conference badges. We then headed up to our rooms and changed clothes. Deepak Chopra would be opening the conference with a keynote address at 7pm.