Wednesday, February 6, 2013

SCBWI Winter Conference Part 1- The Journey

So after all the madness has died down, and I am safely back at home, I am tackling the subject of the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York this year. What an eventful weekend!

To start with, it was a transportation nightmare. I live far up in Upstate New York, and it's quite a journey trying to get down to the city. I figured I would drive 4 hours down through the mountains to Albany Thursday after work, stay with my sister that night, and catch the train in the morning so I wouldn't have to park in the city. I checked the weather report for a town about halfway through the mountains, since the roads are steep and winding, and it looked wintery but mild. Great. However, once I got a few miles past that town, a sudden onset of lake effect snow started blowing across the road, blinding us motorists and slowing traffic to a crawl. That was fine, I've driven in storms before, and the roads were still clear at that point. But after about 30-45 minutes of that, traveling at a glacial pace, not a single plow had been seen. I was coming around a downhill curve (in low gear and about 30 miles under the speed limit) when I started to fishtail and lost control, brakes locking up. Rather than steering into oncoming traffic I slid into the guard rail, spinning off onto the side of the road.

Honestly, I was going so slow that it didn't feel like much of a bump, so I thought, "hey, maybe it's not that bad." Boy was I wrong. I guess that guard rail just chewed up the front of my car. To make matters worse, it was still snowing, and that area has no cell towers. Luckily someone stopped immediately and offered to drive down to the nearest garage for me and call the police and a tow truck. I wasn't waiting there very long before the police came, and we waited for the tow. On top of all my bad luck, I was given a traffic ticket. The cop said he had no choice, since the guard rail was damaged, but hopefully I can get it reduced (he also wouldn't let me use his phone).

He dropped me off at a gas station near the garage, where I made a couple of long distance calls from a pay phone (when is the last time I've used one of those?). Seemed I would be stuck there for the night. I walked half a mile to the nearest motel, and saw 3 deer along the way. The lovely owner let me use her phone to make some more calls, as the rooms didn't have phones (how do these people live?). I arranged for the nearest taxi (about 60 miles away) to come get me in the morning, and changed my train ticket to Glens Falls. Then I had a rather sleepless night. I have never had a speeding ticket, much less been in an accident. I credit my supreme chillness in not freaking out and escaping wildly through the woods. Plus I was not wearing boots.

I arrived at Grand Central 15 minutes after the portfolio drop-off deadline. Noooo! This event was the whole reason I came! I am so grateful that the powers-that-be sitting outside the portfolio room let me drop off my book anyway. Let's hope the right people liked what they saw!

Why can't the NY Conference be in the spring or summer?

To be continued...