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Into the West - Bouchercon 2010

As THD prepares for the coming Bouchercon in October, the current website for the Conference has posted the submissions for 2010. There is the submission from San Francisco, Cauleefornah and a submission from Tempe, Arizona. There was also one sumbission for 2011. I imagine that will turn up on the B'Con website in a day or two.

We have some thoughts. First I think this is a great idea. Posting the whys and what-fors before the sites are voted on has the enticement of encouraging as many conference goers as possible to attend the vote in Baltimore. I think these posts insure that this will occur. I know a representative from THD will be in attendance. I will have to speak with a lawyer to cede voting authority to this yet unnamed person.

San Francisco - This is a tough one, primarily because of the hotel costs. However, what you trade in higher hotel costs you could possibly save in some flexible travel options. Flying to Oakland has the luxury of being a bit closer than SFO and generally cheaper... depending on where you originate. Both airports are on the BART, and the city is defiantly navigable whether by trolley, subway, or shoe leather.

But still that hotel is $270 a night. Single occupancy? One imagines this gets pushed to $300 if not more if you share the room. Now if my compadre, Jared, comes the cost of the room is half, so staying at the hotel is less of a burden. Thankfully THD's in-laws are just across the Bay and over the mountains in Walnut Creek. A one hour BART ride means hotel cost are down to a handful of subway tickets.

The flip side to all of this is the San Francisco is a killer city. Truly one of those places you need to visit before you die. I don't think I need to elaborate on all the reasons why this is great town, except to say Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl! Even if the only thing you do is stare out the window of your hotel room, or more likely the window to the rooftop bar (there's a roof top bar... right?) the city is a stunner.

Tempe - Submission two is very attractive. Hotel is a fully $80-90 cheaper and the proposal seems to indicate that that price holds for as many people as you can cram into a room. This means over the run of the Conference you will save $300 to $350 dollars over SF. This is a lot of money... and much like Vegas I probably just pour it into the book room, but regardless it will still feel like savings. Flights are not terrible in to Phoenix. A flight for October 2008 is around $200-$260 depending on what airport I choose. Phoenix is a major destination so one imagines flights for most of the US would not be prohibitive, plus the airport looks very close to the hotel. Google maps says 5.5 miles. The notorious sprawl of the area means conference goers may miss out on seeing the city if they don't rent a car.

The added value for me is that the Phoenix/Tempe area is not really on the slate of cities I have plans to visit in my life. This would be a great opportunity for me to visit a city that I am likely never going to see. Secondarily it is a small dream of mine to visit one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most iconic building Taliesin West, which is just over the river in Scottsdale.

The Tempe proposal also benefits from having a little more meat on its bones in regards to some of the proposed tracks for the conference. It feels a little more fleshed out than the SF bid as it appears on the current B'Con website.

St. Louis (2011) - 2011? I'll be 40 when this rolls around. Can't really bear to think about something this far in advance. $160 for the hotel...Gateway to the West.... the Arch... I hate Tony Larussa.... blah.... 40 years old people. 40!


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