Friday, October 08, 2010

Commuting to downtown Richmond to blog the tea party convention

I grew up in Bon Air right across the James River from Richmond and, as a twenty-something, commuted across the river to work in Capitol Square. Every time I'm at my parents' home in Midlothian and have an early downtown event such as the home school convention for many years, it would bring back memories of jockeying the Downtown Expressway.

This morning I smiled at the thought as I jockeyed into position to merge with the many vehicles zipping by, lined up for the toll booth (because of course I didn't have exact change), waited-waited-waited to pay the 70-cent toll, finally handed over my dollar bill and got change, shot out the other side to merge with 5,000 cars coming out of what seemed like 20 lanes into three as we crossed the river, merging onto the Downtown Expressway and heading for the convention center. I was determined to get here early to get a good parking spot so I wouldn't be parked next to I-95 blocks away from the event. Bingo! I'm about 10 spaces from the entry door.

Those living in Northern Virginia would think this commute is a piece of cake and, in comparison, it is. Suffice it to say I was happy to leave at 6:30 a.m., park, and have plenty of time to set up and get a feel for how this convention is set up.

Convention Hall A is the main speakers venue, bloggers row is to the left of the stage, with vendors lining the walls. Americans for Prosperity has a booth at one of the doors -- assistant director Charles Kelley got here as early as I did.

I'm very familiar with this exhibit hall because it is the one used by Home Educator's Association of Virginia (HEAV) for the Vendor Hall during their annual homeschool convention. It's also been used by the Republican Party of Virginia for events.

Jamie Radke, executive director of the Virginia Tea Party, stopped by earlier to say hello and said they had 2,300 registered for the event. Just talked with Jeb Wilkinson, Mike Hodge, and Andrew Vehorn who are bustling back and forth preparing for the day.

Two volunteers were here to help with the blogger set-up. One is a new homeschool mom and we talked curricula and all things involved with teaching kids at home.

It's like a bee hive in here with last-minute preparations. I believe we're about an hour away from the start of this convention.

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