So the tagline for this trip has been "What happens when I give up control and ask for help?"
I've been banging my head for the last couple of days against my desire to go to Long Beach and hang out again on The Queen Mary with the very cool people of the BIL conference. It just wasn't working, Silicon Valley to Los Angeles doesn't really work unless you have a car or a rideshare – and finding someone to stay with was tricky too – I had some lovely offers, but I could tell it was going to be difficult to mix it up with being at BIL – I'm travelling fairly light, but I have a suitcase, a shoulder bag and a ukulele so it's not like I can just walk around anywhere, even when I'm in a walking-friendly city.
So I posted three options last night and went to sleep. Thanks to everyone who mailed, tweeted and commented. By the time I got up, I had a plan that covers me for the whole week through till I arrive in Austin. The only problem with it is: it *sounds* insane 🙂
So here goes – here's the bones of it:
I'm getting my Amtrak vibe back on. Tonight, I'm going to take the train from San Jose up to Seattle. I'll be staying with some friends of a friend – I've never met them, but I have seen pictures of them on Facebook 🙂 I get into Seattle at about 11pm, stay overnight and then have until 4pm to take a look around and hopefully get at least one cup of damn fine coffee!
I then take an even longer jaunt than last year's Austin to LA marathon. I'll be on the Empire Builder for 43 hours (yes, two overnights again) to get to Milwaukee, WI where I'll be overnighting on the Tuesday with the lovely Tracey @tapps Apps.
She will be flying down to Austin the day after, while I will be taking the Hiawatha Service down to Chicago and then the Texas Eagle all the way, arriving in town at 6.30pm on Thursday ready to start enjoying the SXSW fun.
So yeah. Not what I expected, but it's what has emerged. So I'm going with it. Thank you for helping me see the next right steps.