Thursday, August 08, 2013

Some thoughts about the Winkie Convention

The following blog entry is not the work of any planners or staff of the Winkie Convention. I am an attendee, a participant, contributor and volunteer, pure and simple.
In exactly one year, the Winkie Convention will be meeting for its 50th convention in San Diego, California. The move from Pacific Grove was due to some complications and the fact that if you're serious about doing events like this, they need to be booked early. A big plus is that they're able to set this up so that the cost of attending will be much nicer than we had it at Asilomar. This way, it will be less of a kick to the bank balance for a family to attend.

We have been notified of two things: unlike our Asilomar years, the registration doesn't include meals. But more importantly, after 2015, at present, we don't know where Winkies will go. Options for venues are wide open. For those traveling, it'll be quite an adventure. To keep up on Winkies, subscribe to the Winkie Newsletter and keep an eye on the Winkie Facebook page.

But more importantly, a number of people come to Winkies from out of state. I, for one, traveled halfway across the country the past four summers to attend. Sam travels all the way from Australia and has had to deal with jetlag thanks to a 19 hour time zone difference. Other attendees have come from other countries and even further east than me.

So, for us, unlike our dear west coast friends who drive back home after the convention, we wind up expanding our time out in California to justify the time traveled.

My first year, I was quite unseasoned. My travel schedule was so tight, that when I got off my bus, I met my ride to Asilomar, went to Winkies, got registered, experienced the convention, and then had to promptly leave before lunch on Sunday.

The next year (2011), I was a bit looser. Sam and I arranged to meet in Los Angeles and travel the rest of the way together. I'd booked a hotel to stay at since we'd be arriving in Salinas the night before the convention. We stayed the night, had breakfast, then headed over to Asilomar, where we met other early Winkies. After lunch Sunday, we traveled between Pacific Grove and Salinas on the local transport, visiting the Steinbeck Center, having dinner, Sam unsuccessfully trying to call home, and seeing Green Lantern. (Also getting creeped out by what sounded like late night violence. We survived. Kind of.) We caught a 1AM bus out and split up in Los Angeles.

Year three, I set it up so I could arrive early Thursday afternoon and head on to Asilomar. Sam hadn't told me he was going, but the registration desk lady spoiled it. Thursday, I hung out with the fellow Winkies and we went out for pizza, David Maxine and Freddy Fogarty helped me replace some missing toiletries I'd left, and then I helped set up.

Sunday afternoon, I wound up hanging with my new friend Jeff Bjur, and we drove up to Santa Cruz (Goodwill and record store browsing) and Gilroy where we caught the final moments of the Garlic Festival. Then back to Salinas where I caught a film (The Amazing Spider-Man) and then caught the bus home.

That brings us to this year. I arrived in Salinas late Wednesday, where I stayed at the same hotel I did two years ago with Sam. By the time I checked out, I was quite willing to never go back. I browsed a few shops and read an Oz book over some iced tea, then waited to meet up with Sam by the time he arrived. We were picked up by fellow Winkie Tim Tucker, and we all went to In 'N' Out Burger for lunch before heading to Asilomar, where we had dinner and (the next morning) breakfast with fellow Winkies while waiting for the convention to start.

After the convention, Jeff drove Sam and me to Monterey, where we hung out at a bookstore (with fellow Winkies Peter Hanff, Michael Riley, Colin Ayres and Atticus Gannaway), and then we spotted Shawn Maldonado across the street. Jeff wound up dropping all three of us off in Salinas. We hit up the Steinbeck Center again, had dinner, and then Sam and I waited hours to see Man of Steel before heading out to catch our bus back to LA.

For some reason, there is nothing like a superhero movie that you have your reservations about right after an Oz convention.

SO, that leaves me with the question: what am I going to do next year? It'll be a whole new place to visit, so looks as if I'll have many, many options!


Sam A M said...

Jetlag is no plane IF you drink plenty of water before/during/after your flight, it's the packing and traveling and other expenses that's the problem.

If I ever go back to Winkies and IF it returns to Salinas, I am NOT having another a.m. Greyhound ride. Waiting HOURS for a bus sounds fine, but in actual time it's a BORE to get through!

John Troutman said...

Without knowing where in San Diego you'll be, it's hard to say what you can do, but if it helps, I ADORE San Diego. I went to SDCC nine years in a row, and even though I now hate that show, I still love the town.

Jared said...

Well, the convention will be at the Town and Country resort. Wherever that is. It'll be my first time in San Diego. But you should come, John!

Sam, I think you meant "problem" and not "plane."