We got back from the conference yesterday - a day later than we'd hoped. My camera batteries died on the way out, so I haven't added photos of the actual conference. It was a good time, with over 200 attendees. Great chance to meet many of the people I've been chatting with on forums and lists for years. We did a talk on adding herbs to soaps and toiletries, and it was well received. Soapers and candlemakers are a friendly bunch, and always fun to gather with.
The conference was held in Tinley Park - outside of Chicago. It was well put together, with lots of great vendors, eager participants, and demos, talks, and presenters. The goodie bags included tons of samples so that we have lots of new things to try. We got a chance to see many of the people we'd met in Ft. Wayne in June, and that was a bonus.
We've decided that flying would be the prudent choice in the future. On the way out, there was a bad accident on the Ohio turnpike. We lucked out and turned into a rest stop 20 miles back - just before the back-up reached the turn-off. Below is a picture of the picnic area outside of the rest stop, with people watching the line of stopped vehicles. Inside, the building was jammed with people sitting and playing cards, eating, talking on cell phones, and one guy who pulled out his guitar for an impromtu concert. It was hot and muggy outside, but too crowded inside for us. There were no more parking spaces available, and 3 hours later when we decided to join the 10mph crawl on the road, we saw guys pushing their out of gas car up the ramp.
As we headed out, we watched the lovely sunset and crept towards the Indiana state line. I've always wondered about traffic tie ups like these. Now I know.
The trip home was another example of why we'd fly in the future. Road work, agressive drivers, and exhaustion took its toll, and when a brutal storm hit, we decided to pack it in and get a hotel room.
There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home.