I’m in Reno for the Internetwork Expert Mock Lab Workshop which begins tomorrow. Actually, it could have begun today if my personal losing streak had come to an end. A couple of weeks ago IE contacted me and advised that they were offering a free day of training to those who could make it to Reno by 9 am on Sunday. My flight was scheduled to arrive in Reno at 11:30. I couldn’t get any earlier flights. Michael at IE said that was not a problem. The training would break for lunch until 12:30 so just try to get there by then and you can sit the second half of the training.
The training is in the Grand Sierra Resort. This hotel is located about 5 minutes from the airport. There are free shuttles leaving from just outside of the baggage claim area at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour. My flight was about 15 minutes late and I had to wait for my luggage. Still, I walked through the front door of the hotel right at 12:30. I was told that I could not check in yet, and I told the man that was okay but is there an area where I can leave my bag. He went to check and then came back and told me that he could check me into my room. That’s not really what I wanted to do, but it would save me some time later. After checking in, I asked where the IE training was. He told me that it was in the Cascade Room. He told me that it was on the 10th floor and that I should look for the letter M on the elevator. WTF? I was already late so I jumped on the elevator. I dropped off my suitcase in my room on the 8th floor and then jumped back into the elevator to get to floor 10…or ‘M’. There was no letter M (although there was a C) so I went to the 10th floor. I walked every inch of this floor and did not see any meeting rooms. I asked a hotel worker where the Cascade room was and he told me that it was on the Mezzanine level. That explained the ‘M’. He also told me that certain elevators did not stop at this floor. That explained why I did not see the letter M in the elevator. That still did not mean that the 10th floor was the same floor as the Mezzanine.
I got on the correct elevator and saw a sign proclaiming “CCIE Bootcamp” (IE is running a 10 day bootcamp this week as well) outside of a room. I popped in and saw a handful of students but no instructors. It was just after 1 pm at this point. I waited outside the room a bit and walked the hallway. I popped back in again but no instructors. I decided to head back to my room.
I was starving so I ordered some room service. I decided to just unwind and get some studying done. I was working on 3 hours of sleep and was travel weary.
The rooms at the Grand Sierra (and the whole hotel) have seen better days. They are spacious and comfortable, but look like they really miss the 70s. The view isn’t exactly breathtaking. 🙂 The rooms are a good value for the price (about $70/night). There are a couple of downsides though. Internet access is offered, but only via a wired connection and for $12.95 for 24 hours. My company is footing the bill, but it’s pretty lame that they don’t offer free and/or wireless Internet access. The other downside is that although they have a decent gym on site, it’s not free. You can pay $10/day or $30/7 days to use it. Oh well, at least I saved money by not needing to rent a car.
The good news is that the food is good. At least the room service food I ordered was. Of course I was so hungry that they could have fed me anything and I would have eaten it.
So I was tired and full. Can you guess what happened next? Yup, I made up for the 3 hours of sleep and took a nap. I woke up in time to catch the last quarter of the Lakers-Celtics game. I then went on a quick caffeine run (there’s a 24 hour gift shop in the casino area that has convience items). I’m typing this up and then hitting a multicast COD.
One potential pitfall for tomorrow is my ability to use wireless which I will need for the training. I have been using my wife’s laptop at home since my hard drive melted a few weeks ago. Before I left I installed a new hard drive and tried to install Windows XP. My Windows disc is pretty old and scratched so my install kept failing. Before I went to sleep (for 3 whole hours) I downloaded and burned the Ubuntu ISO. During the layover in Salt Lake CIty I installed Ubuntu on my laptop. While in the terminal I was unable to get the wireless to work. No worries, I packed my old ThinkPad so I have a backup machine. Unfortunately, I pulled my Cisco wireless card (rocking the B radio!) from the laptop before I left home. I thought that I threw it in my bag but I cannot find it now. I think that I have figured out the wireless on Ubuntu, but I don’t have any WLANs to test it on.
I will definitely blog my experience, but I’m not sure if I will be able to get daily blogs up as I will be trying to get as much training in as possible over the next five days.