View From a Hotel Window, 10/26/18: Charleston, WV

Perhaps one of the great “view of a parking lot whilst on tour” photos: I mean, look at that! That immense parking structure! All in one place!

Tonight: Nothing! My plan is to camp out in my hotel room. Maybe go to sleep early. I am exciting!

Tomorrow: I’m at the West Virginia Book Festival at 11am! I’ll be doing my thing and then signing and otherwise loitering about. Come see me, please!

And on Sunday, I’ll be in Austin, Texas (yes, I know about the boil water alert), at the Texas Book Festival, also at 11am, but this time I’ll be in conversation with Victoria Schwab. We’re going to be amazing together. Come see us!

16 Comments on “View From a Hotel Window, 10/26/18: Charleston, WV”

  1. Some notes for first-time visitors to the Texas Book Festival (this would probably be more appropriate for the “Hotel Window: Austin” post, but … timing)

    – The main part of the book festival will take place this Saturday and Sunday, in and around the Texas Capitol building. On Saturday, there will be events from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; On Sunday, they’ll go from 11 to 5.
    – They expect around 300 authors and some 50,000 attendees.
    – The website has the complete schedule:
    – Parking: The Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 12th St. and Trinity St. usually fills up for the festival, but there is be plenty of free parking in the garages to the north – just go up Trinity.
    – John and Victoria will be speaking in the Kirkus Reviews Tent on Sunday at 11 a.m.. The tent will be on 11th St., just in front of the Capitol grounds, a little bit east of Congress Ave.
    – The other sessions can be found in tents along 11th and down Congress Ave.; in the Texas House chamber; in meeting rooms in the Capitol extension; and in some other buildings in the area. Also, be sure to check out the music and exhibitor tents.
    – The book sales tent will be on Congress, at 11th; proceeds from sales go to support Texas libraries. The official rules state that you should purchase book at least one book from here to get in a signing line, so keep your receipt in case someone asks. The rules also allow one additional book from home.
    – The signing tent is also on Congress Ave. Victoria and John will be there shortly after their talk, around noon or so. Look for signs with the authors’ names.
    – There will be some food trucks, and the Capitol Grill in the extension will be open for lunch. And, of course, there are plenty of restaurants in downtown Austin.
    – The weather is supposed to be close to perfect! Enjoy!


    In a hurry? Here’s how to tour the Texas Capitol in about thirty minutes:

    – Head towards an entrance on the east or west end of the building (the line for the metal detectors at the main/south entrance is often long; the others are faster).
    – As you’re walking towards the building, look up at the “Goddess of Liberty” on the top of the dome. The capitol was dedicated in 1888 – how did that statue get up there? (You’ll find the answer later).
    – While going in the big doors, look at the fancy brass hinges and custom door knobs. You’ll find similar hardware throughout the building.
    – And while going through the metal detectors, note that there’s a way to go through with a concealed handgun permit. Yes, you’re in Texas; yes, our lawmakers are nuts.
    – Walk down the hall towards the rotunda. Look at the very ornate, nicely restored, and slightly ugly woodwork around each of the doors.
    – When you reach the rotunda, look up. Try not to get dizzy. Take photos.
    – Look down at the floor in the rotunda; note that there are six flags represented there.
    – Find an elevator. There are two banks, one on each side of the hall, a very short distance north of the rotunda (remember, the main Capitol entrance is on the south side). The elevators are a little hidden, but you’ll see them through the doorways.
    – Take the elevator up to the fourth floor.
    – Head over to the rotunda, carefully hold on to the brass railing, and look down. Try not to get dizzy.
    – That railing you’re holding on to, that feels a little short? It was installed in 1995. Prior to that, the railing was even shorter.
    – Look at the portraits around the rotunda here – these are the first presidents and governors of Texas. Every time there’s new governor, they add a portrait on the ground floor, and shift all of the others up. I don’t know what the plan is when they run out of spaces.
    – In the rotunda, look up; try not to get dizzy. There is another floor level above you, and you can also see a spiral staircase that’ll take you between the inner and outer domes. Be glad they no longer offer tours to those levels.
    – Head north, and look down through the ‘light court’ into the legislative library two floors below.
    – If you have time, take the stairs down, and stop on each floor. Otherwise, get back on the elevator, and go all the way down to level E2.
    – After exiting the elevator on E2, head north (it’s your only option). Along the walls of the tunnel, you’ll find photos of the capitol construction and remodel; you can find the answer here for how the Goddess of Liberty was placed on top of the dome.
    – There are also some fascinating photos here showing how this tunnel was built.
    – Keep going north through the Capitol Extension. Optional stops along the way are the Capitol Grill and the gift shop on level E1, and any of the meeting rooms with one of the book festival sessions (look for the poster-board-sized signs).
    – When you reach the open-air rotunda, go outside, and look up. Try to remember where you’ve seen this before (a: it was used as a set in Spy Kids II).
    – Find an elevator, either east or west of the open-air rotunda. Go up to the ground floor to exit.
    – Say hi to the bored guard in the small elevator lobby.
    – Press the button to open the glass doors, and go outside.
    – Look around, realize that you are standing on top of a four-story, 667,000 square foot office complex and parking garage, and yet you can barely see any evidence of it here at ground level.
    – Head back to the book festival. From here you can see the exhibitors’ tents to the west, with lots of books for sale!

  2. *waves at the parking lot* Hi home-town! I had my first little teenager fender bump accident at an entry of that spiral exit from that parking structure! (We won’t think about how many years ago that was)

    Hope my formerly “home” crowd turns out well for you. :)

  3. *sees latest tweet* and yes, One Pepperoni Roll is mandatory. It’s also probably enough for a lifetime.

  4. I notice that C-SPAN2 (BookTV) has live coverage of the Texas Book Festival on Saturday and Sunday. I don’t know if they give advance notice of just what they are covering, but let us know if it looks like it will include you on Sunday!

  5. @Bob Neinast
    They probably won’t show John and Victoria’s talk, since they usually have their cameras in the cleverly named CSPAN2 / Book TV Tent; John and Victoria will be in the next tent over.
    They sometimes snag authors for one-on-one interviews and show some other bits of the festival, so there may be other opportunities to see him on camera …

  6. Bonjour Mr Scalzi,

    I think I read in an earlier post that you were going to grace France with a visit, but I’m lacking details – as a proud citizen of Froggy Land, could you share some? I’d love to come visit and have a book signed, and also make sure you’re not some sort of hoax from the internets.

    En l’attente de plus de détails :)

  7. Down here in the upside-down hemisphere our parking building arrows point in the opposite direction.
    Which of us is right?

  8. U2NhbHpp, thank you so much for all the info. As a first time visitor to the Book Festival , I really appreciate it!

  9. Well, now I’m sorry we missed your visit… we hit the book fair some years, this year a little more hermitage going on, and I’m sure we all know why…

    Glad for the successful sounding tour!! Maybe we’ll catch you at the next tour. That big parking deck is wrapped along both sides of the downtown Mall, which is not as full as it used to be. The hotel is OK, pretty good restaurants for a hotel.

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