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Saturday, December 14, 2019

My RootsTech 2020 Survival Guide

The very first thing I learned after my initial visit to RootsTech 2011 was to wear very comfortable walking shoes. The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah is nowhere near the largest convention centers in the world, but it is still sizable enough to engender a lot of walking. In addition, it is located in a rather large walking city and depending on where you end up staying or parking, you will have quite a long walk just to get into the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Of course, some of my suggestions about attending the RootsTech Conference are the same as the ones I wrote about in previous years but the all bear repeating.

Another thing I already knew was that the elevation of Salt Lake City is just over 4000 feet above sea level. Parts of the city are well over 5000 feet. The RootsTech 2020 Conference is also being held in the middle of the Winter from February 26th to the 29th. The altitude can bother some people but the weather can stop the entire city. The average temperatures of Salt Lake City are a high of 45 degrees and a low of 31 degrees. The average can be misleading. The hottest February temperature recorded is 60 degrees and the lowest temperature recorded is -14.1 degrees on February 7, 1989. The lesson from this is to dress in layers and expect extremes.

Don't miss the keynotes. Although the people featured may not be familiar to you, you will find all of them to be extraordinary. A lot of the people who attend RootsTech come for a wide variety of classes but I would suggest that you spend what time you can in the Exhibit Hall. I will be in the Exhibit Hall most of my time at RootsTech either helping with The Family History Guide, presenting at the MyHeritage booth, talking to people in the Media area for Ambassadors, or visiting with the exhibitors and people in the Exhibit Hall.  By the way, the Exhibit Hall has a lot of seating if you just need a rest.

Find a way to carry what you need for the day. I use a shoulder bag or a backpack. My latest shoulder bag is extremely comfortable to carry and so I can have my computer and accessories plus whatever else I decide I need for the day.

Parking is a challenge. There is some parking underneath the Salt Palace Convention Center but the cost of parking all day can be a consideration. One option is to find free parking next to a TRAX light rail station and take the TRAX to the area of the Salt Palace, however, this means more walking.

Food is always a consideration especially if you have a chaotic meal schedule like mine. The concessions at the Salt Palace are quite good but there may be a wait during the lunch hour and if you are late (like I am sometimes) they may close down or run out of food. Sometimes a place to eat is also at a premium. There are a lot of restaurants within walking distance of the Salt Palace but this does mean more walking. We usually end up eating at the food court at the City Creek Shopping Mall. It is a couple of blocks away but has a good variety of faster food restaurants.

Driving in the Salt Lake Valley and in Utah Valley is an experience. The freeways are regularly stalled due to accidents and slowdowns from the volume of traffic. One thing to be aware of this year on the freeways is that the Highway Patrol has initiated a zero-tolerance for speeders. You can get a ticket for driving one mile per hour over the speed limit. The Salt Lake Valley and Utah Valley to the south may be the US Center for red-light runners. You need to be overly cautious when your light turns green to make sure that the cars coming from right and left have actually stopped before going through the intersection. We have seen multiple red-light violations in one day. One time we saw five cars go through the same red light. Stay safe. Don't assume cars will stop.

You can always rest in the Exhibit Hall so make sure you come by to say hello to both Ann and me.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be there this year for the second time. Went in 2018. Can’t wait to go back. Hope to meet up with you James.