the most unique Convention Center parking i’ve ever experienced
I should have known something was off when I wasn’t able to load the truck the day before leaving, as per my usual quilt show routine. Instead, it rained last night so I waited to load the truck in the morning. The Raleigh quit show is fairly local so no big deal. Or so I thought…
Four hours later I finally arrived at the Raleigh Convention Center only to discover that I have no clue how to get in to the underground loading garage. Don’t get me wrong. I was warned. The show coordinators did a fabulous job providing the information ahead of time. However, as soon as I got here, the directions made no sense. And because the convention center is still technically closed, all the outside doors were locked. So, I reread the directions and tried the drive again. Nope. Didn’t make any more sense the 2nd or 3rd time around. So, back to the convention center to hopefully flag someone down inside.
As I walk back to the door who happens to round the corner but my fellow vendor crew! After making sure I’d driven around the minimum 3 times I had officially earned my “newbie” stripes so they could let me in on the secret. Sadly, I’m sworn to secrecy as there’s no way to know if you’ve yet passed the newbie test. Ha!
After getting the truck unloaded, the mad dash booth setup begins… for 2 hours. Then at 5 PM, a voice comes over the loud speaker information us if we are parked in the loading dock, we need to move. The amphitheater is having a concert and need to make sure things are locked down. Dutifully, I leave my booth half way set up and go move my truck.
Now, the thought process was to move to the general parking garage across the street then come back and work on the booth until they close at 6. What WAS the plan.
The garage has an 8-foot clearance. Crap. How tall is the truck? Quick call to hubby. Need at least 7 feet, 2 inches. We’re good to go. Hotel parking is on the 4th floor for the Marriott… Residence Inn. I’m staying at the Marriott City Center – literally ONE BLOCK AWAY. Double crap.
Called Marriott to find out where to park. “You’re expected wait time is 12 minutes.” Triple crap! Hold music……………… Texting the hubby letting him know my growing impatience. Hold music………………. Check the clock. 5:24. Quadruple crap! Fine. I’m going to leave the truck here. If I get a ticket, I’ll deal with it.
Back to the convention center with just enough time to rearrange the booth and grab my essential items. I should have time to finish things up in the morning.
Head across the street to the correct Marriott hotel to check in. Stephan at the front desk was very polite and welcoming. However, he had no idea where to park my 7-foot 2-inch clearance quilt show transport device. Off the valet! Yes! There is a 9-foot clearance entrance 2 blocks up.
Simply “head up Lenoir, turn LEFT on S. Blount. Stay in the left lane and it will lead you directly into the garage.” Perfect. I grab the truck from the wrong Marriott parking, head up Lenoir, past Wilmington, to the light at S. Blount – a RIGHT turn ONLY. We’ve officially moved past “crap” language.
So, using my crafty quilting sense I deduce there’s a garage nearby that has a 9-foot clearance. Turn in. Park. Gather ALL my bags and head for the hotel… 2 blocks away.
Now, I lift weights. But deadlifting a 45 lbs. weight and hauling nearly 75 lbs. in 6 bags strapped to your person is whole other ballgame. I made it ½ block. By the time I made it back to the truck (now dragging said bags) I’m near the point of simply sleeping in the truck. And hyperventilating. Definitely near hyperventilating. Time for another hubby call.
You know, in times of mass stress and anxiety overload, it’s always good to have that one person you can always rely on to talk you back down to reality land. For me, that person is the hubster. Once my pulse and breathing had returned to normal, I realized the nice valet probably meant for me to turn on Wilmington and not S. Blount.
I decided it was either pull out a spare quilt sample & get comfy for the night, or I could test my Wilmington theory. And you know what, I was right! The entrance to the Marriott City Center hotel is in fact on Wilmington. No newbie requirement. I’ll give you that one for free. 😊
So, after all this turmoil, what did I learn?
- My crafty quilting sense is much better suited to fabric.
- Downtown Raleigh has entirely too many parking garages for any sane ‘out of towner’ to comprehend.
- A shot of Jameson with an Irish Mule chaser goes down so much smoother after a day like today.
If only this was the first parking drama I’ve encountered. At least this one didn’t involve the police! Apparently, parking garages and I have a rocky relationship.
- Quilts, Parking and the Law. OH MY!
- My best tips for attending a Quilt Show!
- Complete list of all the Quilt Shows around the world
- Everything else you need to know about Quilt Shows
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