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2010 IPMS-USA Nationals
It's damn HOT in PhoenixThe drive would take us about 9 hours from where we live near Fresno, California, to get to the show. It seems odd to call it a show actually. Convention is probably a more apt term. Once a year, model makers from across the United States meet for this event that covers all genres of scale modeling. This year that show would be in Phoenix, Arizona. It had been in Phoenix six years earlier (2004). The first thing you should know about the Phoenix show is that it’s well managed. Perhaps that is because it is not a single chapter doing the work. In addition to the Phoenix chapter, Craig Hewitt, they are also joined by the Raleigh Williams chapter and Sonoran Desert Model Builders chapter, both of Tucson, as well as the Northern Arizona Scale Modelers chapter of Flagstaff, and the ‘Lt. Earnest A. Love’ chapter of Prescott. The second thing you should know about Phoenix is that it is HOT.
When we crossed into Arizona we immediately noticed the improvement in the quality of the Interstate Highway. What is it with California and our crappy roads? Oh yeah… we are broke. When we stopped for gas about an hour outside Phoenix on the I-10, I stepped outside our car and felt the hot desert wind hit me. It was hot. A dry heat yes, but when the wind is hot you know you’re not in California anymore Dorothy.
Thanks to our handy navigation device we cruised directly to the Hilton. The hotel was used by many of the show attendees. It was situated literally 200 feet from the escalators that took you down to the vendor and exhibition room. We arrived on Wednesday so as I found out later I had already missed one of the busiest days (for vendors) of the show. Obviously there are many more ‘hard-core’ modelers than I would have estimated arriving on the first public day of the show.
The Hyatt – Great hotel! Whoever in the club made sure that the parking fee was included in the IPMS room rate should be commended. We also opted to bump up to the corner suite for $20 extra per night (my wife found that on the Hyatt website) which gave us some needed space for our daughter, Emily.
Downtown Phoenix – This is a very nice area that the convention center is located in. Yes it’s right downtown in the high-rises, but there were city ambassadors on bikes to give info and directions to Starbucks, restaurants, etc.
The Convention Center – This place is huge. But as I said; literally you walk from the hotel lobby directly across the street and down a bit to the entrance to the Convention Center. A few more feet down the escalator and you are standing in front of the registration area. The center is obviously very new and shiny with lots of space. The organizers did well to secure as much space as they did. We learned from a club officer that the space this year was less than in 2004, but cost more. Inflation I assume, but odd that in these financial times this would be the case. Especially with all the hullabaloo about Arizona in the news of late.