<VV> Tim's Buffalo Report

mhicks130 at cox.net mhicks130 at cox.net
Sat Jul 29 14:47:58 EDT 2006

I too will not be sad to leave Buffalo but I can't totally agree with Tim on all his points.

My registration was completely cheesed up.  I wasted a good part of Tuesday and a little on Wednesday trying to get it straightened out.  I registered online the week before so I'm not totally surprised but it did seem to take a Herculean effort to get things fixed AND I never got my XXL Chino polo shirt because they didn't have any.  I ended up getting a tote and hat instead (both quite nice actually).   On the other hand, I got talked into doing the autocross at the last minute and that got taken care of quite efficiently.  Overall I think the convention stuff itself was fine.  The registration had its problems but I liked the locations of events.  The valve cover races on the ship was fun and the park for the show was beautiful and had a playground for my son.  It was a long walk but they supposedly had a shuttle.  That would be my one convention complaint, communications weren't that great.  They weren't bad but some of us are easily confused and need help.  The autocross was a drive but there were really good directions in the autocross packet and the facility was great.  I had a wonderful time (but really bad times, if you know what I mean).  The convention was worth coming to just to hear the guys from the Tonawonda plant talk about building Corvair engines back in the day.  That was fantastic!!  I wish we could have had more time for the VV meeting too, it was too short.  I did get to thank Garth for trying to keep things under control here though.

The downtown location was inconvenient in some ways but fun in a lot of others.  I was never worried about my 9 year old, maybe because I've spent more time in cities than Tim.  Maybe I wasn't driven to the edge of insanity because, well, you know, I'm already there.  Buffalo's roads are a bit confusing because they aren't laid out on a north/south-east/west gride because of the lakes and all.  I found my way around OK just using the free maps available at checkin.  My only beef with the directions given out was that I would prefer to have a map printout available with the directions - I'm a visual person.  Oh, and the directions to the park from the hotel had a typo in them.  I figured it out pretty quickly but I would hate to be a person uncomfortable in a downtown area trying to figure out what's wrong the directions.  Niagra Falls and the locks in Lockport were fun to see and the countryside around the city is really beautiful.  Plus they have pretty good food here.  The Pearl Street Brewery was within easy walking distance and it was fine for kids and the food and beer were quite tasty.  

I'm not in love with the hotel but when you need a facility that can handle as many people as us and have places for the vendors and seminars, your choices get limited.  Even so, I don't think the hotel is very good.  The rooms are a little small, the "hi-speed" internet is as slow as my old modem, no fridge, no free breakfast, very limited channels on the TV, none of the good things I've come to expect from a decent hotel.  Plus it is the most bizarely laid out facility I've ever seen.  It's difficult to find your way around and very easy to get lost.  The parking was messy (fire retardant material falling from the ceiling) but it was great otherwise.  It was fantastic seeing all those Corvairs parked together and seeing guys hanging out with the cars.  The stupid parking pass things only worked once in a while BUT the attendents seem to handle it well.

So, thumbs up for the convention, thumbs down for the hotel, overall thumbs up.


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