I awoke Friday morning to a beautiful sunny day. I sleepily sipped my morning coffee as I verified that my slideshow presentation was ready to go. I threw some decent clothes in a bag, packed up a couple casts I poured to raffle off at the event, and hit the road.
Driving the two hours to Eugene, I thought about my presentation. I had some cool stuff to show for my efforts, but I wanted to keep an important message as the undercurrent of the presentation: data needs to be collected and processed.
I arrived at Lane Community College shortly before 3 o’clock. I found Toby Johnson, the organizer of the event, and tested out my presentation on the computer I would be using for the event. It worked perfectly. Now I could relax.
Shortly thereafter, I heard familiar voices from the parking lot. Autumn Williams, Bob and Kathy Strain, Paul Graves, and Bob Gimlin all arrived at the same time and were making their way down the walkway chatting merrily. Smiles and hugs greeted everyone involved. The weekend had now shifted gears.
As more folks popped by to either do their “sound check” or just to gawk at the proceedings, introductions were made with excitement of the impending weekend. Thom Powell was the last to come, having only checked out of his classroom that very day before driving south.
Thom Powell and Kathy Strain
Thom and I were the vagabonds of the group, not having hotel room reservations. That’s one of the many reasons I love hanging with Thom. He rolls with an extraordinarily easy demeanor, always willing to be flexible and do what’s necessary to make things relaxed.
After the venue was locked up, it was time for some food. Autumn, her mother Sali, Thom, Dave Rodriguez, Oregon Bigfoot member Nancy, and I had a feast at the nearby Denny’s where I learned a few things about the others’ research, bigfoot gossip, and (of all things) salt. You would have had to have been there to understand, so I’ll just leave that alone.
After having our fill of Denny’s food, we headed back to the Red Lion Hotel where the evening’s festivities would be located. Arrangements were made for Thom and I to crash in the room that Paul Graves had booked before we headed to the “meet and greet” with the other speakers.
Recognize any familiar faces?
The meet and greet was a relaxed event with most of the speakers and a good number of folks coming in and out, shaking hands and talking ‘squatch. It was there that I had a great conversation with Scott Nelson about the joys of good beer (I am a homebrewer and take great pride in my concoctions), so I bought him an IPA that is near the top of my list. I endulged in wonderful, though often too brief, conversations with the likes of Guy Edwards, Dean Higgins, Steven Streufert, and other bigfooters. At one point, I was asked to participate in a live blogtalk radio broadcast hosted by Sharon Lee, but technical problems prohibited the interview. After giving up, Sharon recorded the interview, which will reportedly be uploaded to her podcast at a later date.
The meet and greet ended by most of the participants going downstairs to the bar for some drinks and karaoke. A formidable karaoke battle occurred between Autumn Williams and Sharon Lee, with no clear winner. There were smiles, dancing, and bigfoot folks everywhere to be seen. Eventually, I staggered off to the room where I’d be crashing for the night and found another party happening to keep me up for another couple hours. The night ended with me sleeping out on the balcony in the fresh air. I’m always trying to camp, wherever I might find myself…
Bob Gimlin dancing with Autumn Williams
My next blog will detail the events of Saturday at the OSS. Stay tuned…