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BOTCON  -  SORTA  NEAR  CHICAGO
(griffin's 2015 BotCon adventure)


- FRIDAY  12th  JUNE -


I actually woke up early this morning, at 7am, but I spent the morning processing and posting up photos, checking the weather channel and washing clothes so that they could hopefully be dry before I left the next day, because it wouldn't be able to wash any more clothes until Monday or Tuesday.
It was also a worry to see that there might be storms over the next two days, especially around Chicago tomorrow as I needed to fly there in the morning.

Just like yesterday, I was a couple hours late to leave. I wanted to leave by 11am, but ended up leaving at 1pm.
At the front desk while waiting for the taxi to show up I asked the person at the front desk about the hotel being so remote... and they said that it used to be apartments built for the "nearby" hospital, and was then bought up and turned into a hotel, used mostly by visiting doctors and patient families. Apparently their shuttle bus that is out the front is only used for taking people over to the Hospital (it's about a Km away, on the other side of the river), so doesn't go to the airport... so looks like another taxi tomorrow when I check-out.

Despite leaving the hotel late at 1pm there was still plenty of time for the Speedway museum, plus maybe some shopping on the way back... but if those severe storms come early, I might have to head back sooner than planned, and that would be a waste as it is my last day here.

Just as I got to the Speedway a little after 1pm it was starting to rain.

Check out the Indianapolis Speedway Museum and car show here.

I left the Speedway grounds a little after 3pm and it had stopped raining by now, but it was now very humid, and very warm.
On the map above, there is a grey patch to the left of the Speedway... that was a shopping district about 1.5km away, and I had decided to walk there before getting a taxi back to the Hotel.
There wasn't any major chains there, but there were a number of minor chains that I wanted to check out... plus a couple of fast-food chains.

Since I had to walk through several suburban streets to get to the Shops, I had to walk on the street because there was no pedestrian pathways on these streets, and I didn't want to risk walking on people's lawns... especially since this is (bogan) motorsports heartland, and they have the right to bear arms and shoot tresspassers. I'd rather take my chances on the traffic and just keep looking behind me to make sure no cars were coming.
About 25 minutes later I was at the shopping district and a fair bit of it was either empty or really rundown.
I checked out some of the small chain stores and Dollar stores that were noted as having some discount clearance Transfomers toys show up at lately but I didn't find the ones I was looking for (Final wave TF4 Power Battlers and second wave Kreo from last year)... on the other hand, I ended up finding something that was an obscure loose end that I didn't even think I'd ever find, so it was never even on my list.

It's the second 2-pack of Battle Masters from a TJMaxx store, using the "Silver Knight" Optimus remould and a new remould of Megatron, so that they both have arm weapons.
It's rare, but hardly something collectors care about.

Next door was a Kroger's grocery store, which must be a fairly big chain as they had their own "generic" brand of products throughout the store.

I love checking out the cereals and chips sections of American grocery stores, as they have so many unhealthy breakfast cereals compared to us, and so many more varieties of chips, including ones that we have (Pringles).
.........
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This was an accidental find while walking through one of the aisles looking to see if they had any toys in the store (I couldn't find any).  A large variety of fruit flavoured snacks, including a Transformers variety.

.

Of course I bought a box. They weren't that good though.

Along with some other unusual snack items to sample (which I didn't end up trying until I got into Milwaukee the next day, because of what I ate later in the day).

The Doritos were very unusual.  The pack was very heavy for its size, and these snacks were very 3D in their shape.  I didn't like the flavour though, so I ended up tossing half of the pack.
So many of their snacks are spicy... which is good for me, so that I don't get tempted to sample everything that catches my eye.

Outside the grocery store was a couple of fast-food chains, including one on my list that I hadn't tried before - White Castle.
But first, Arbys.  I think it was 2008 when I last tried them, and I wanted to have a look to see what it was like now.

Back in 2008 they were one of the more healthier looking fast-food chains, with "burgers" of slice meat instead of patties of meat.
Their menu still looked to be one of the less fattening franchises by not having fried meats, but some of the options on there were starting to look a bit unhealthy by having fried items included in them, including fried chicken (not in the photo below)... because fried chicken is huge in America.

These two caught my eye.

So I ordered a Smokehouse Briskit and a fried Chicken sandwich meal with curly fries and drink.  They were all very nice.

Next door was the White Castle I mentioned earlier, which I had wanted to check out ever since that Harold and Kumar Movie made them famous (it was in the title).
To be honest, I've never been able to sit through either of the H&K movies, as they are just a bit too "stupid funny"... but the name of that fast-food chain stuck in my head enough to have it on my list of well-known franchises in America to try.

It was disappointing though, as their menu is just sliders (mini-burgers)... and they weren't very good. They don't come with sauce, so when you try to put sauce on the burgers by opening them up, they tear apart from the melted cheese on one side of the meat, and the fat-soaked bread on the other side... which was quite soggy and disgusting.
At least that was one thing ticked off the list, which I don't need to look out for anymore.

This was the menu board, showing all the different Slider options available... including a party box of 100 of them!!!

This was a photo of what I bought for my dinner (yes, just half an hour after the Arbys meal), which was a medium "original" Slider meal (4 sliders, fries, drink), plus a chicken-ring slider (just so I could see what a chicken ring is), and a small serving of "onion chips" (basically union rings that are cut in half before crumbing and cooking.

While eating dinner I saw this banner behind me... waffles and fried chicken - a famous American combination.

At 6pm I was mostly finished, so I packed up the rest and put it in the bag with the food I bought from the grocery store and went outside to look for a taxi, as I saw a couple parked outside the shopping centre when I first arrived.
There weren't any around, so I looked for a building with an address for the taxi company, and ended up being back at the White Castle.  It was a lot easier this time now that I knew what crazy questions were going to be asked... and when I gave them the address they knew that it was a White Castle, so I waited about 10 minutes and the taxi was here.

So I checked out 4 different stores for toys this afternoon, including a Dollar Tree which didn't have any Kreo (but a staffer in there said that he remembered putting some out a few days ago, so I only just missed out), and now I was on my way back to the Hotel for my last night in Indianapolis.
It had been an okay start to the adventure this year, but could have been a lot better. If it wasn't for the Transformers Exhibit yesterday, this would have been a disappointing leg of the trip, as the rest pretty much dragged down down the average for these 2 days and 3 nights.

Back at the Hotel at about 6.30pm, I was tired, smelling of all-day sweat, and my stomach was stuffed from a fair bit of food at the White Castle and Arbys.

I was so tired, that I didn't pack before I went to bed 10pm, so I set the alarm for 6am, so that I would be up early enough to do the packing that I would have done before I went to bed if I wasn't so tired.

Tomorrow is just a travel day, with a plane and two trains to Milwaukee... which won't leave me with enough time to do much when I get there.


Go to next day - Saturday 13th June.

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***All pictures in this convention report are mine unless noted. Any that are borrowed, have the source credited/noted.  If you want to use/borrow any of my photos, please credit the source as well. I try to take as many of my own photos as possible, and usually only resort to using others if I failed to get something, or my photo wasn't clear enough.

OZFORMERS - The Australian (and Asia) Transformers Fansite for News and Interaction (started way back in 1996)
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BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
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To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au