Thursday, December 22, 2016
Some Additional Things You Might Want to Know to Survive #RootsTech 2017
FamilySearch.org has published a blog post entitled, "A Survival Guide to RootsTech 2017." The post is full of a lot of useful information, especially for those who are unfamiliar with downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. But, after years of attending RootsTech in the Salt Palace, I have a few more suggestions. Here they are:
It may be true that the Salt Palace has "free WiFi for attendees," but when there are a lot of people in the Conference Center, WiFi is not reliable. If you need a constant internet connection for some reason, be prepared with your own personal hotspot. Ambassadors (FamilySearch's name for bloggers) who are invited to the Conference, have access to land lines in the Media Hub. But entry into the Media Hub is closely monitored. Bringing a battery backup if you have one, is a really good idea.
Some people find the temperature in the Salt Palace to be cooler than is comfortable, but outside it will be cold. The weather along the Wasatch Front is highly unpredictable. The outside temperature could be a warm 45 degrees or it might be below zero. Some years, even when the Conference was in March, we had snow. If you come from a warm climate, you really do need to be prepared for cold weather.
After my first year at RootsTech, I went out and bought very comfortable walking shoes. I have tried to have the most comfortable shoes I own each year since that first experience. The Salt Palace is huge and Salt Lake City blocks are long. If someone says that something is about two blocks away, that can mean a walk of over a half a mile to go and return. The blocks are 660 feet long and there are 8 to a mile. Salt Lake City is a walking city, but only if you are accustomed to walking miles at high altitude. Downtown Salt Lake City sits at 4,226 feet above sea level. That is higher than many of the mountains that most people are used to seeing. Just think about it and plan ahead.
The events are really nice and worth attending. You should plan ahead for classes and in many cases, you may have to hurry to the classrooms to avoid missing out on a seat. Predicting which classes will fill up and which will not is practically impossible. Look at the schedule. Talk it over with someone who has been to RootsTech before and make plans but also be ready to change your plans once you get to the Conference.
Many of the attendees miss out on visiting the Exhibit Floor. For me, this is not only the highlight of the Conference but also where I spend nearly all my time. This year I will be teaching on the Exhibit Floor for different vendors. I will also be writing my blogs and talking to all my friends. The last two years, I have hardly made it out the Exhibit Hall while it was open. Make time for the Exhibit Hall and you will get a lot more out of the Conference.
Surviving Salt Lake City
I have written about this in past years and after living in Utah Valley for a couple of years I have an even more, in-depth, perspective on the traffic situation in Salt Lake City. If you want to live through your visit to Utah, you need to know that unless you have experience driving in Mexico City or Panama City or a similar location, you need to be overly cautious. Utah drivers rampantly run red lights. I have seen as many a five cars go through a red light in one intersection. Not just turning red, but red red. The Freeways are interesting. You have people that insist on going the speed limit even when the rest of the traffic is slamming on their brakes to avoid collisions with the slow drivers. On the other hand, the traffic can be moving at 10 miles an hour over the speed limit and some drivers, usually large pickup trucks, can be swerving in and out of traffic at over 100 miles per hour. By the way, don't count on the Freeways during rush hour especially if there is snow, they can be really long parking lots. Oh, if it does snow, just remember, in Utah many people have 4-wheel drive cars and trucks. When it snows, they drive faster than normal.
Salt Lake City
Don't miss visiting Temple Square. Don't miss visiting the Family History Library and the Church History Museum right next door. Take time to go to the Tabernacle for an organ practice or concert. Do not miss the Tabernacle Choir on Thursday, February 9th. at 8:00 pm in the Conference Center. Take time to look around. Salt Lake is one of the most beautiful cities in the world in a dramatic setting.
Oh, by the way, it does have its share and more so of panhandlers and beggars. It is a mecca for the homeless.
Many people wonder why we moved from Mesa, Arizona to Provo, Utah. Really now, all you have to do is live here for a while and you will know why we did. This is especially true if you are a genealogist.