I’m baaaack! And I’ve got to tell you … every wonderful thing you’ve heard about the Lori Foster/Dianne Castell in Cincinnati, Ohio is absolutely true! I traveled from Maine with Pam Champagne. Neither of us are seasoned travelers which made the trip itself … quite an adventure.

We knew we were in trouble the minute our feet hit the airport at 6:30am. We dragged ourselves and our gear up to this very handsome young man at the Delta counter to check in only to be told we need to get our boarding passes from a kiosk. Huh? So we schlepp the two suitcases, two travel bags, the lap top and a gimpy woman (me) backwards. After much scratching of heads and giggling we manage to have it spit out two boarding passes and a luggage receipt for each of us. Then of course we had to go back and give the nice young man our luggage at which time he hands us two more slips of paper. (Trust me when I say this is significant.)

After a quick bite and a cup of coffee we dare to venture to security. Now mind you, in Bangor, Maine they have all these snaking lanes just in case a crowd every shows up, but the 4 of us checking in didn’t really need to go through the maze and the TSA guys took pity on me and opened the barriers right next to them. Though as we pawed through the pieces of paper searching for the right boarding pass I think they wanted to send us home. (And those little buggers continued to elude us at every pass. At one check-in Pam handed her luggage stub to the woman at the gate who shook her head and smiled politely.) I can’t tell you how many times one of us exclaimed “oh, s***, where’s my boarding pass?”

The flight out was uneventful, but you wouldn’t know it by Pam’s reaction to planes. (She REALLY doesn’t enjoy flying.) Due to storms, there were a couple of pilots on our flight and every time we “bumped” over something, Pam looked between the seats at the pilot behind us. When he didn’t react, she just took a deep breath and settled back in. Fortunately there were pilots on all our flights, so this visual queue and the happy pills made the flight survivable for Pam. Me? I just read.

Kathleen, a volunteer driver, picked us up right at the curb of the airport and got us the rest of the way to the hotel. What an absolutely wonderful lady. (As were all the people who volunteered at the gathering.) But she went the extra step and had drinks and snacks for us in the car. She even drove us around the shopping malls near the hotel to show us where there were restaurants and bookstores. WICKED nice as we say in Maine.

Our room wasn’t ready when we checked in so the hotel put us up on the “privacy” floor so I could be close to the elevator. But the only way up was to use a room key at the elevator. I said it was to allow us quiet time away from the hoardes of adoring fans, but a friend explained it was really to keep others safe from us! She’s right of course. *g*

We went out to dinner with a bunch of readers and some authors who felt bad for the wayward Mainers. And of course had a wonderful time laughing with them all. I’ll tell you about the rest of the weekend in a couple of days. But suffice it to say … I’d totally go to this conference again without hesitation!

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