I have watched from the distance each year as the International Space Development Conference came and went, often with some really great announcements, and visitors.  This year, I submitted an abstract describing my work on “Developing Sustainable Biomes”.  First the early research on hydroponics, then aquaponics, then composting, rain catch, and oh, so much more.  They approved my abstract, and invited me to make a 15 minute presentation at the conference in St Louis, at the Union Station Hotel.  WOW!!

So, with months to prepare, I started gathering my materials.

  • Pictures, notes, PowerPoint presentation prepared and rehearsed: check!
  • Vacation time: check!
  • Vehicle trip-worthy: it would be a 3000 mile drive round trip – check!
  • Hotel reservations: check!
  • Cash/Credit Card reserve: check!

As my departure day approached, there were some itchy little details that were threatening to get in the way.  I discovered a broken motor mount, but ordered parts, and four hours later it was done.  Then there was my father.

I recently moved into his home to assist him since his retirement.  He is fairly independent, but gradually forgetting things.  He has given up his car, so he purchased a mobility scooter.  But he has been having difficulty dealing with the lack of purpose lately.  I worried a bit as I was making my preparations.  Though, when the time came, all was well, and I spoke with him several times during the trip – all was well.

Paint Prep

Then, I received word that the city had questioned the Bus in its parking space on a friend’s side yard.  So it was necessary to take time to visit the DMV and get answers I had been putting off.  In reality, while I received a few answers, some left more questions!  But the powers that be have been temporarily satisfied.

Ultimately, I was only able to plan for one day at the 5 day conference.  Disappointing, but I would make the most of it.  I had hoped to have time for a little sight-seeing while there.

The drive was mostly uneventful, until I got to Oklahoma City and discovered one of my tires was showing metal from the rubber.  Well, 2 new tires and 2 hours later I was back on the road.  Arriving late afternoon Friday in St. Louis.  I crashed on the bed with the tv on after a gruelling 28 hour trek.  Having stopped for only 6 hours sleep, and a few food and potty breaks.  The hotel was pleasant enough, providing a bed, tv, and microwave.  Though, I still ate out.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early, cleaned up, dressed and made it to the conference around 10, and was able to park right outside. Though I fed the parking meter every two hours, it was worth it.

They had set up an exhibit area in the hall.  There were 3d Printers, embroidery, drones, a couple museum exhibits, and the displays from the Student Settlement Competition.

I quickly found the room I was to speak in, and made sure I had everything I needed.  No worries!

My presentation wasn’t scheduled until 3pm so I had some time, and set in on a few presentations.  One that caught my eye was Bryce Meyer, “Space Farm”.  Sadly, I only caught the last 10 minutes or so, but was intrigued and got his information and vowed to look him up when I got home.

At the end, I met Al Globus, one of the NSS Directors, and we talked briefly.  A very personable man, I remembered his name from threads online where we had traded comments on several occasions.  We grabbed a pizza and were about to enjoy lunch, when he was asked for an interview by a young elementary school girl.  I let them finish, wished him well, and returned to the conference.

All in all, I only had one day to spend, and part of that was the registration, room check, lunch, and browse the exhibits.  It was enlightening on several levels, not only in how my presentation was received, but the breadth of the conference, and those who attended.

Now that I am home, I am eager to get on with my work, finish the bus and prepare for it’s exhibit next year!  See you in LA!