I have returned from my trip to the FCF convention in Dallas. The brief overview:
Wednesday (July 25) I drove down to Little Rock, where I had dinner with msminlr and Morris at their home and we had some good conversation. I shared some of the peaches I'd bought somewhere in northeast Arkansas. I wanted to get closer to Dallas so I'd have more time there on Thursday, and I thought I had time to get to Texarkana, but when I reached Arkadelphia I felt very tired, so I stopped there.
Thursday, I drove to Texas, stopping for barbecue at a Dickey's in Greenville, and made it to the hotel without incident. Friday we had a tour of the Dallas Zoo (including brief looks behind the scenes at their tiger and cheetah exhibits), followed by a membership meeting and dinner at the Southfork Ranch, a tourist trap that claims to be the set of the TV show Dallas. It turns out that it was only the site of some exterior shots; none of the interior of the house was used on the show at all. The house had some very fancy furnishings and decor, but it was much too small to even be called a mansion. Fans of the TV show would find it quite a let down, while those like me who couldn't care less about some dumb TV show thought it was silly. The barbecue dinner was good. It even included live "cowboy music", a troubadour who did quite a professional job working a room that was for the most part pretty indifferent. Even though it wasn't quite my kind of music, I respect the fellow; he did a good job and it was fun. I talked to him a bit and he gave me his card, which read "Yancey Stevens and the City Slickers" (the City Slickers, in this instance, was one guy who sang along a bit and was a foil for the comedy part of the act). Saturday we had speaker presentations and the first ever art show associated with the FCF convention. This was anchored by two professional artists who between them produced images of all 36 currently recognized species of cats. About 4 other artists had some work on display as well. I ended up missing some of the more interesting speakers because I was busy with the art show. The banquet was quite good.
There was some drama at the convention, but overall, it seemed to be much more harmonious than usual, and I am hopeful that FCF will be moving forward more effectively than it often has in the past.
Sunday, I drove down to Tyler to visit FCF Vice President Brian Werner's Tiger Creek, and then went on to spend the night in Mena, AR.
Monday, I visited two FCF members' facilities near Mena. Then I drove back to Little Rock, where I treated msminlr and Morris to dinner at a local Mexican place. I'd meant to drive on to Memphis or so, but I was overwhelmed with fatigue, so they put me up for the night.
Today, I drove home. I have gotten all the pictures copied onto my hard drive, but I have a bunch of work to do to get the pictures I owe various people off to them. Top priority is to try to catch up on sleep, so I'm done with this for now. There's a lot more to say about this trip, and I will try to get to it. We'll see how it goes.