ALAMW 2018 – Part I (The Trip)

So I have been spending the last several days scanning books into my LibraryThing app…if you aren’t familiar with the app, it allows you to keep track of your books and trust me, I need something like that. I am STILL not done pulling all the books in from my car: I’m not bragging, but rather stating a fact.

I brought home WAY TOO MANY BOOKS.

Here is a pic of the car but you cannot tell because of the blanket in the way – there are suitcases under the totes and the car has a tailgate so the cargo is as high as the top of the tailgate.

Ignore the salt on the car – the trip made it extremely dirty. Like gross dirty. I need to take it to a car wash.

You really can’t see much there…but once the car is fully unhauled, I will try to do an “unhaul” post. This post was strictly going to be about the trip. (Some books will be mentioned of course!)

When I left to go to ALAMW, I had to go to Chicago first to pick up Shawn from her flight. She flew in from Tennessee to Chicago, and Chicago is a four hour drive from my little hometown of Grand Haven.

She flew in really late. I wanted to drive straight through to Colorado, but by midnight I was dead. I have never driven cross-country before and I didn’t realize what a toll it takes on your body.

She and I stopped at a Super 8 Motel and stayed the night, planning on hitting the road first thing in the morning. When we finally got going, it was around 10am but at least it wasn’t snowing.

Then the car wouldn’t start.

Here we are in IOWA for crying out loud, miles away from home AND our destination, and the car won’t start. Luckily I have been raised to always carry jumper cables in my car, and by the second attempt, the Honda roared to life. The MAINTENANCE REQUIRED light came on and stayed on throughout the remainder of the trip, but at least we weren’t dead in the water.

The only amusing thing around Iowa and Nebraska since it was practically all fields everywhere. Nice name for a gas station? 🤭

Shawn and I did NOT like Iowa. First the car dies, and then I GOT PULLED OVER. For going 75 in a 70mph zone. Really.

And Iowa doesn’t have traffic school. Like most states. And the kicker? If I was crazy enough to go to court and dispute the ticket, I would have to go on 3/8: my birthday! My freakin birthday.

I’ll be sending them $5/month 😂 until it’s paid off.

Anyway, we got through Iowa finally and crossed into Nebraska. Longest state EVER.

I loved getting the little notices that told me I was in a new state. I tried to screenshot them whenever I saw them.

Nebraska was uneventful. We stopped at truck stops. Got gas. A lot. Stretched my legs as I drove the entire time. My goal was to make it to the hotel the same day we left – Wednesday. Finally we got to the Motel 6 in Colorado. And our patron’s credit card didn’t work…so we had to use our money for gas to make sure we had the room for the night.

Let me just say this about this particular Motel 6: this was the CRAPPIEST MOTEL I have EVER STAYED AT.

1. The first room we checked into had beds that were recently slept in. Pass.

2. The second room was a “smoking room” (I didn’t think they did that anymore), and it had no fridge. Pass.

3. The third room had a fridge because IT COST EXTRA FOR A FRIDGE, I KID YOU NOT.

4. As we settled into the third room, it came to our attention that we couldn’t get online. This is because…


6. There were two plans: The $2.99 and the $4.99, and each was for 24 hours. For ONE device. You had to pay the front desk to get a code. Ugh.

7. There were these strategically placed signs everywhere…because it’s legal to smoke marijuana in Colorado:

I love the strategically placed fire extinguisher under the sign. Though the sign didn’t deter anyone as people were smoking it on the balcony above us.

And then there were the crazy people next door who had multiple noise complaints and security coming to tell them to keep it down. The first night was ROUGH.

BUT NOTHING WAS GOING TO KEEP ME FROM THAT CON. I could be staying in my car in the cold and I still would have gone.

There were so many books I was looking for that I made a list so I wouldn’t forget. Plus our patron helped with costs as long as we brought her back some books she was looking for…and Shawn had never been to an ALA convention before and SHE IS A LIBRARIAN! We just HAD to make it work.

Surprisingly, we did.

We spent Thursday recuperating from the horrendously long drive. I know I slept heavy because I passed out for hours. But I made sure to set my alarm and be ready for Friday evening. There was no sightseeing as we were both on a budget. We were there for the convention and the convention only. Sights could wait for another trip.

When we got there, around 3ish, I scoped out the floor. The layout can be crazy and the building was huge. The benefit to driving was being able to park in the garage and just not worry about getting back to the car with heavy totes. I even took a pic of the parking space so I would remember where we were.

I know it’s not exciting, but trust me when I say it was necessary to remember where we parked.

I was tempted to break this post up into three parts: the trip, the Con, the haul. But I think I should share the Con with you as it’s the most exciting part of the whole trip.

My pics were sometimes taken as I was walking so they aren’t always great…but that’s the reception area where we got our badges in a little area for preregistered people. I got a cool tote and coupon book for some of the booth’s giveaways and I was so ready to see the showroom floor.

And it was a thing of beauty.

My face, on the other hand, was not, so prepare yourself for pics of me with authors but of course while I’m looking my shabbiest.

First I saw Annie Sullivan like right away signing books so I hurried over to get a copy.

Gosh I look so bad in these pics but I have to share bc they are part of the trip. So excited about this one.

I saw David Levithan because he was in the Scholastic booth – he agreed to take a pic with me and it’s one of my worst ones…I brought my Instax camera but decided to just use the phone for pics.

Man, that pic is way too close but it was selfie time lol.

I also came upon Marieke Nijkamp signing her latest book and she is ADORBS with the accent and blue hair.

That is literally my bad side – I prefer to be photographed head on. But whatev. It was still cool. I hung out at Sourcebooks a lot and I loved the chick Stefani (we share a name) that works there. She was awesome. I met some really cool people in the booths and some I had met before, like Kathleen from Tor.

There’s Shawn with Marieke, too. Ha. You can see my Monster can in the pic with the lid keeper thing I use in the foreground. I didn’t notice that before.

Tara Sim made an appearance at Sourcebooks on Friday too, but her signing was Saturday. I missed it because it slipped my mind, so I’m glad I took a candid shot with her.


Anyway, that was Friday. I think that’s enough for one post as that takes us to day one of the Con. I think Shawn and I got most of the books we came for Friday, but we found amazing new treasures each day. Should I share some of my faves from day one?

Ok, why not?

This book was THE ONE I wanted more than any other book. I love Mary E Pearson. She’s a genius and I love the Remnant Chronicles. This cover is STUNNING. I mainly came for this book…though it would have been an expensive trip just for this one! 😂🤣

This pic came from my LibraryThing app because it was easier to take pics of the books as I scanned them in. I have been looking forward to this one. And that cover is just so beautiful…I cannot believe the covers they are coming out with!

Here’s a book I had heard of but was pleasantly surprised it was there:

This sounds mystical and fantasy is one of my fave genres (tied with science fiction)…I saw this book and thought, “Oh, I have got to ask for a copy of this one!” I think Macmillan was awesome with some of their books that they had. Almost every book on display was there with them…unlike other booths that had them on display but didn’t actually have the book “available.” I’ll share some of those pics on the next post – I have some very cool booth pics! I wish I had remembered to take pics more often, but what is it they say? “Time flies when you’re….surrounded by books?” 😍📚

Stay tuned for Part II, the Con…and at the end of all of this, I will have a Con-tastic giveaway! With some goodies for those of you who couldn’t drive 15 hours to Colorado like a crazy person!

Thanks for all the support and well wishes while I was gone! I’m so glad to be home and be blogging again!

17 thoughts on “ALAMW 2018 – Part I (The Trip)

  1. Cate

    Well, even though you were through a lot of trouble getting there, it still looks like you had a good time (and got some nice arcs too). What’s the initials of the con stand for? I’ve never heard of it before! I’d love to go to something like this. They don’t have any over here sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the American Library Association Midwinter convention. It’s the winter version of their ALA conference. And it was wonderful bc it wasn’t too busy and there were so many good books! I had a blast and I would love to meet you at one!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cate

        Wow that’s a mouthful! I see why it’s shortened. Aw that’s nice. Yeah, I’ve seen some where you’ve hand to hold on to your friends so you don’t lose them it’s so packed! It’s great it was good. Aw I would love too also! I definitely want to try save up for one! It’s hilarious, a lot of my friends are like “I want to go to New York”, “I want to go to California”, I want to go to a book con! 😂 I definitely have to look into all of my options and see if I can plan a trip to one!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well I will be trying to go to New Orleans for the summer one so wish me luck – and BookCon was crazy and I will NEVER GO AGAIN. But other cons might be fun? I would go with you to one in a heartbeat!


    1. The long drive almost killed me! It was awful and my legs cramped up being in one position for that long. I’ll post more about it but thanks to a free audiobook from Macmillan I was able to get home without falling asleep!
      I may Greyhound next time but I did like being able to not have to limit my book acquisition! 😍❤️


    1. So many good books! And I did have a blast…yes it was a pain to drive and yes the hotel sucked, but it was all worth it for those four days of books!
      I can’t wait to share the rest of the trip! 😊❤️


  2. klkranesya

    Sounds like a great trip, despite the ticket. 😦 Sign/fire extinguisher – I laughed out loud! (For real, not just fake LOL.) Thanks for documenting your experience. It was fun to read about your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading it! I’ll be doing part two this week and show pics of the actual con…but isn’t that pic of the sign and the fire extinguisher hilarious? It makes me think – don’t get high bc you’ll set your room on fire! 😂🤣

      Liked by 1 person

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