Sunday, November 09, 2008

Grass roots trip to champaign

Jane and I went to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois this past Friday and Saturday. We were attending the first Grass Roots Gathering (I promise a more substantive post on this event eventually). I took this picture while we were eating lunch Saturday.

We arrived Friday evening and ate at the Steak and Shake next to the Eastland Suites hotel - where the event took place, and where we stayed (room 106). Then we met up with an old friend from high school. Patti (who was even kind enough to comment on this blog a couple of weeks ago) was the manager for the football team when I was in high school. She is now head of the linguistics department at the University of Illinois. She looked exactly the same this weekend as the last time I saw her many many years ago. We had a nice visit in the hotel lounge with her and her husband John.

The festivities started at 7 pm Friday with Fran, Brian, Lance and Bill doing a podcast format discussion like they do on the cggc blog, and we all listened, then broke into groups and discussed it, then shared with the big group. Our discussion group consisted of Lance, his dad Marlin, Laura Beth, Gill, Jane and myself. Then we had communion, and kinda introduced ourselves. There were probably 50 or so people there. Several were from Fran's church, Brian's, and a couple hispanic groups from the Chicago suburbs. But there were people there from Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Ohio, and probably some other places.

After we dismissed Friday night Jane and I headed to an Applebees and were almost run over by a car speeding to the Burger King drive-up. I think we were on Prospect Ave. Then we watched a documentary on the Warlock and Outlaw motorcycle gangs in our room.

Saturday started around 8:30 am with excellent worship. I don't know the guy's name, but it was him on guitar, Fran on hand drum, and Fran's wife Linda singing along. Then Fran spoke, then we broke into discussion groups, then we shared as a whole. Then Brian spoke, we broke into discussion groups, and we shared as a whole. I liked that format. It allowed others to have a chance for input.

We had a buffet lunch at the hotel, then some more discussion and worship, then we left about 2 pm (it was supposed to get over at 1:30).

It took us about 3 hours and 15 minutes to get to Champaign via I-69 to I-465 to I-74. We gain an hour on the way, but lose one on the way home due to time zone change.

We stopped in Anderson on the way home and met Isaac and Laura at Olive Garden. I had spaghetti with meat sauce. It was pretty good. I haven't eaten at an Olive Garden in a long time. It was kinda pricey though. We got home about 8 pm.

I was kinda mad because I downloaded some podcasts to listen to on the way to the conference, but I couldn't get my ipod to work. We dinked with it and dinked with it and finally just listened to XM radio (while we still get it for free). When we arrived at the hotel I plugged it into my computer and couldn't get it to work still. I thought it was just dead. Finally I looked at it and noticed this switch on the bottom. I turned the switch and it worked fine. Argh. At least I'm glad it works. I still don't know what the switch is for.

A nice weekend. But it was sunny and 70 when we left Indiana on Friday, and this morning it was snowing and cold. I think winter is almost here.