Convention Report: Anime Iowa (part 1)
Towards the end of summer comes one of my favorite conventions I’ve attended as a guest for the last 4 years in a row: Anime Iowa. It’s a smaller convention located in Coralville, IA, at a very nice hotel in an area that has a lot of shops, bars, and restaurants. The show is 20 years young, and organizes some great events for their VIP sponsors – like hang outs with their guests, including a Sunday brunch that is not to be missed.
This year’s show was another excellent example of a fun weekend filled with good friends, both new and old, incredible panels, and yes – sales. But before we get into the details of the weekend, let’s talk about the journey that had to be undertaken to get there. An unusual adventure I’ve never encountered before, and one that would delay several guests from getting there…and keep one from coming all together…
I was working from home, keeping an eye on the flight status because there had been some heavier rains earlier in the day around my house. Weather.com showed thunderstorms until about 5pm, with isolated showers until 7pm. My flight was at 7:40. I left the house around 3pm, in an attempt to beat traffic to the airport (rush hour starts around 3, and the amount of time it takes to get ANYWHERE after that increases by a lot), and thankfully it only took about 40 minutes to arrive. When I left the house, my flight status was on schedule. However, when I arrived at the airport, my flight had been cancelled.
The system asked if I wanted to change to another flight, and recommended the next available flight…which was 5pm. Since I’m premiere access, I figured I could get through security in under an hour before boarding would start – and I did. However, when I got to my gate, it turns out that revised flight had been cancelled.
At this point it was about 4:30pm, and I went to go stand in line at customer service to try to get another flight (because all of the self-service kiosks were not working). Thank god I’m premiere access, because my line was 4-5 people long. The economy line was over 3 hours. I quickly got to a teller, who was able to put me on the final flight of the day: 10:40 at night. Keep in mind, it only takes three and a half hours to drive from O’Hare to Coralville, but 1) I didn’t have a car, and 2) my merch was already checked in. So I settled in for a long wait and an uneventful evening.
It was “storming” at O’Hare, causing a lot of flight delays…
Thankfully, I brought a bunch of downloaded TV shows on Amazon Prime, and watched a chunk of those as my gate kept changing throughout the day. Eventually, I grabbed some dinner and ran into another guest at the show: Paul St Peter. Paul and I have known each other for a few years now, and it was nice to share some McDonalds with the man while we caught up. We were eventually joined by Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop, Star Wars Rebels), and boarded our flight.
Once in the air, the trip was relatively quick (about an hour), and we were greeted by the guest relations head herself. The group of us piled into the car and chatted during the 40 or so minute car ride to the hotel. Upon arriving, we ran into Greg Ayres, who was leading a Pokemon Go excursion at midnight. I swear that man does not sleep.
I invited Paul and Steve to my room for a quick night cap, and then it was time to go to bed. Most of the guests had been delayed until tomorrow in arriving, so their nights were much more stressful than mine. But it was definitely a rocky way to start an otherwise great weekend.
Any travel horror stories? How did they turn out? Share your tales in the comments below.