Saturday, November 25, 2017
What do you need to know to come to #RootsTech 2018?
Even though I will not be physically present at RootsTech 2018, I am still very much interested in what is going on. I have been to all the previous years of the Conference. When I started coming, we were living in Mesa, Arizona and now we live in Provo, Utah. So I am acquainted with traveling to the Conference and staying hotels and also traveling back and forth to my home each day of the Conference. I do have a lot of suggestions about Utah, Salt Lake City, and the Conference because of my previous experience.
First of all the weather. Salt Lake City, Utah is just over 4000 feet above sea level and parts of the City are much higher. The City is also located between two high mountain ranges and is well known as a skiing destination. This means there is a really good chance of snow, but certainly very cold weather conditions. However, once you get to the Salt Palace Convention Center where the Conference is held, you will be inside all day. So think about having layers of clothing and some way to carry a coat or whatever.
Also, remember that you will be walking long distances. Even if you arrive with a car or by train or other transportation, you will have to walk. Salt Lake City's blocks. Each block in downtown Salt Lake is 1/8th of a mile. The Salt Palace is almost two blocks long. Think about it. Also, if someone says it is only two blocks to a restaurant, think again.
If you are driving in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area, you might be aware that there is a major traffic issue. Traffic on the freeways moves at over 80 miles per hour down to a dead stop. It is very important to check an online traffic indicator to see conditions before you get stuck on the freeway. Also, people in Utah generally disregard traffic lights. We have seen as many as five cars at a time run a clearly red light at one intersection. Do not pull out when the light turns green until you are sure that traffic has stopped.
There is a light rail system from the airport to downtown. If you decided to take the train, be aware that they can be delayed. We have been left standing in blowing snow for almost an hour until a TRAX light rail train appeared. It also fairly common for people or cars to get smashed by trains and TRAX. This ties up traffic and the trains for indefinite periods of time. The downtown TRAX light rail is free in the downtown area. We have used the TRAX and train system to travel to downtown Salt Lake from Provo many times. It is convenient and avoids having to find parking.
Parking in downtown Salt Lake is not particularly expensive. There are a number of lots around the Salt Palace. But some of them are limited to a specific time and parking tickets are expensive. Watch carefully.
Over the years, I have spent more of my time on the exhibit floor rather than attending or teaching classes. You may want to make sure you spend enough time with the exhibitors. That is where all the new programs and such are taking place.
There is a lot to see and do in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area. If you have time, you might want to plan a day or more at the Family History Library. It is just a block away from the Salt Palace (long block). It is crowded during the Conference but it is worth the effort. The Salt Palace is across the street from a large shopping mall with dozens of restaurants within walking distance.
You will miss a wonderful experience if you don't visit Temple Square and the surrounding museums and libraries. If you are a genealogist and a skiier, then an extended vacation is almost mandatory. There is transportation to the ski resorts, but be prepared for the high prices.