by Cynthia Towers, ACB Convention Coordinator

By the time this reaches you, your plane ticket may already be in your hands, and you may be signing up for tours, affiliate meetings and other special events. Well, let me give you some information that will make your trip before convention, as well as the convention itself, an enjoyable one.

Before getting on the plane, please make sure that you have current identification. Do not lock your suitcase, only take two carry-ons and please, please, please make sure that you can tell someone how to spot your personal luggage. Las Vegas is a town like no other. Planes land 24 hours a day from all over the world bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors daily. Therefore, help someone help you by putting something on your luggage that is unique. Just saying "it's a black suitcase" is not sufficient. A large decorative ribbon, not a tiny string, an ACB luggage tag or even a brightly colored scarf will assist the volunteers and airport personnel in finding your items among the sea of suitcases that will be revolving around the carousels.

When you arrive in Las Vegas, you can get to the Riviera Hotel and Casino via cab, which will cost about $15 each way and take about 15 minutes, or shuttle, which costs $5 one way and $9.75 round-trip and can take up to 30 minutes depending on how many other passengers are on board with you. Just say that you are going to the Riviera or "The Riv" as it is more popularly known. You do not need an address -- the cab drivers go by names of hotels, not numbers. The Riviera has multiple transportation entrances. The Convention Center entrance is where tours will leave. Do not go to this one. There is an underground cab, guest parking and limousine area known as "the dungeon." Do not go to this one either. What you need to instruct the driver to do is to take you to the Riviera South entrance. This is the entrance that is just a few steps from the front desk where you will check into your sleeping room.

It is the plan to have a hotel description when you arrive rather than in your packets. You can read it in the relaxation of your room and take some time to try to orient yourself to the hotel. The Riviera has 2,000 guest rooms and ACB will have approximately 800 of them. You will probably be in the Monte Carlo or Monaco towers. These are the two closest to the meeting rooms. The hotel has three other towers for a total of five. Since there are five towers, the room numbering system is such that there are no duplicate room numbers. Rooms 1501 to 2920 are in the Monte Carlo and there is ice and soda on every floor. The Monaco is numbered 4201 to 6407 and also has ice and soda on every floor. If for some reason you are placed in one of the other towers, they are numbered: San Remo, 3100 to 3644; Mediterranean North, 227 to 939, and Mediterranean South, 358 to 1173. This is where the health club is located on the 12th or top floor. The Riviera has 42 ADA rooms, some in each of the five towers. There is also an outdoor pool.

Volunteers will be on hand to assist you to the elevator. No ACB volunteer may come to your sleeping room, on tours, to the meetings, in the buffet and possibly in the casino. ACB cannot guarantee that someone will be there each and every time you need help. So, keep this in mind as you make your travel plans.

H is for hoagies, hot dogs and hot buttered popcorn. H is also for the room where the ACB Caf‚ will be located. Come there every day from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast items will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and lunch foods will be on hand from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In between times you can go there for snacks, coffee, soft drinks and the like, or to get recharged, literally. There will be tables on the right side of the room with power strips for recharging low batteries on equipment such as Braille Notes and laptops. ACB will not be responsible for items left for recharging. Please stay with your stuff.

Stay tuned, there will be other surprises from the Caf‚!! There will be tables for sitting and eating. Or you can take your food with you in the handled bag it will be placed in. The caf‚ will only take cash. The hotel has several other restaurants, but it will be nice to have a place only for us. With the smell from the popcorn machine, the sounds of soft music being piped in and the buzz of a hungry and happy crowd, Room H will be the place to be. It is located among the meeting rooms and is a perfect location to grab something on your way to your next get-together.

Tours will leave from the convention entrance doors, which are located directly across from where registration will be. The general sessions will be located in the Grand Ballroom and will once again be set with tables. You will walk through a wide corridor that will open up into the main seating area. When you enter the general sessions, you will be facing the podium and there will be seating to the right and left. Dave Williams will once again be doing the audio streaming of the general sessions over the Internet.

You'll want to make sure you are on time for the general sessions each day, because the Nevada Council of the Blind has some sets of silver dollars to give away as door prizes. Carol Ewing and company have been hard at work to ensure that things are running smoothly and that everything will be in place for your arrival. If you and/or your affiliate bring door prizes, please see Pam Shaw at the Information Services Desk, located to the left of registration. Exhibits will be down the hall from the Grand Ballroom in an area called the Royale Pavilion. I have received tons of calls from folks wanting to be exhibitors this year. You will have a lot of selection as you go through this year's aisles, so bring your credit card and shop till you drop.

I hope I have covered the basics of what you'll need to get started. I have had the pleasure of speaking to many of you and am looking forward to a large and fun convention. If you still need to make a reservation, you may do so by calling the Riviera Hotel directly at 1-800-634-6753. Be sure to mention that you are with the American Council of the Blind to receive the $77 rate. As always, if you would like to contact me, you may do so by e- mailing me at [email protected] or by calling me on my toll-free line at 1- 800-474-3029 x00. You must hit the 0 twice. In just a few weeks it will all commence, so start practicing your best Elvis impersonation and rest up because sleeping is not an option (just kidding). I will see you in July.

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