Since we knew we wanted to be in Austin early in the day to get as much out of the festival as possible, the eight of us piled into two cars and left Norman at 4 am on Thursday morning to drive down to Austin. It was a long drive... mostly because I tried to stay awake the whole time for our driver's sake and so I only napped for the last hour.
Once in Austin, we checked into our quaint little La Quinta ten minutes from downtown (next time we do this, I think we are all definitely forking over the extra money to stay downtown-- it would save so much time and we'd be able to get more sleep), spruced up a bit, and then headed to the Driskill Hotel, AFF headquarters.
The Driskill is this gorgeous turn-of-the-century hotel with marble floors, crystal chandeliers, and stained glass window. Check-in was downstairs in a small room off the lobby, along with a little cafe that charged too much for a cup of bitterly strong black coffee. At the end of the lobby was a grand staircase, which we got to walk up every day, since most of the convention rooms were upstairs (although a few were in another hotel down the block).
To be continued...