How to Dirtbag the HC Convention (and alternatively, how to live the high life)

For some odd reason, people keep asking me if there are discounts available to attend the HC convention.  But I can’t give them one, because the HC convention is FREE.  No charge.  We don’t make a dime off this thing.  We don’t even accept swag from vendors.  We actually spend money driving around to places and hosting this web site and so forth.  We do accept meals and drinks from people attending though.  Feel free to buy us food.  I’m hungry.

You don’t need to rob banks to attend the HC convention. But if you do, hips back, shoulders forward, pursed lips, couture pose!

Anyway, since many of you live out of vans, I figured I’d give you the heads up.  If you’re trying to get through the convention on the cheap, here’s pretty much the minimum to get by and still have 99% of the fun:

  1. Make your own food, but save $9 to get breakfast at the Vandalian on Sunday morning.  Cantrell’s is preparing breakfast for those who pre-order it, but everyone will be moseying around together eating at the campground regardless of whether they eat the Cantrell’s breakfast.  There’s a nearby Kroger and Walmart south of Fayetteville.
  2. Skip the rafting on Friday.  You won’t be able to see me, because I’m going rafting on Friday, but more people will be climbing than rafting, so you won’t feel left out.
  3. Camp at Cantrell’s.  Yes, you *could* camp somewhere else, but the $7 a night rate is the cheapest camping available.  So you might as well camp with us.  If you’re REALLY scrimping, there’s free rustic camping offered by the NPS, but you’ll spend more in gas driving your mattress-carrying van to and from us than you’ll save.
  4. Don’t forget any gear.  This is probably what nails people.  For less than $45 you’ve covered your camping, and you’ll probably need another $50 for a week’s worth of gas and food depending on your tolerance for ramen, but coming all this way to Fayetteville only to discover you left your climbing shoes at home will instantly nail you for more than you were planning to spend the entire trip.
  5. DON’T SPEED ON INTERSTATE 19.  This is the most heavily ticketed highway in the universe.  West Virginians LITERALLY DO THE SPEED LIMIT.  If it says 55, you drive 55.  60 and they literally might pull you over, 65 and they will definitely pull you over.  Again, whole price of the trip = 1 speeding ticket.  More than ten over here and in West Virginia is a misdemeanor or some bullshit.

But what if you want to enjoy the fact that you’ve been working a real job?  What if you want to live a life of luxury?  Well, there’s certainly nothing stopping you. Based on my visits to the New, this is what I would throw my money at:

  1. Buy a t-shirt.  Fact: The most effective way to buy happiness is to spend money on planning experiences, having experiences, and remembering experiences.  So it won’t be just an object, it’ll be an object that reminds you of all the routes you crushed.  Pick one up Saturday night at the pub, or any other time you see Madaleine running around.
  2. Pre-order the Thursday-Saturday Cantrell’s breakfast and the Saturday night Cantrell’s dinner.  Nancy’s cooking is really good y’all.  And hell, eat out all the time!
  3. Go rafting on Friday.  It’s fun, and you won’t feel weird about not climbing for a day, because this is the New after all, one of the most famous rafting destinations ever.  Worth the $89 if you have it.  Also it includes lunch.
  4. Stay in a cabin.  Maybe a really nice cabin.  Forget bugs and heat!  The on-site cabins are more basic, but in Fayetteville, you can get as fancy as you could possibly want.  Multi-million dollar cottages over looking the gorge?  Why not?
  5. Drive fast anyway.  Fuck ’em!


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