Coleman ComfortSmart Cots, Target WaffleWeave Lightweight Blankets

By the time I knew they were handing out cots, it was too late: They had already run out. The person at the Help Desk at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport said he'd never seen so many people camping out there. (Thanks to Mike Trei for the above photo.)

The day had begun on a less dire note. When I woke up Sunday morning at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel, I looked out the window and saw some pretty snow flurries.

Not long after, it was a snow squall, and soon after that, it was a snow bomb: a complete whiteout. I thought it was charming: The hotel is mostly glass, and everywhere I looked I saw a bright and white and glorious spectacle. Then people in the elevators started saying their flights were canceled—or seriously delayed. I got worried, so I called the airport.

They said my flight was running on time, so I headed for O'Hare. But the minute I got to Gate E17, I received a bad-news text from the airlines—the first of more than twenty.

Twenty-nine hours later, my two-hour flight was completed, and I found myself back home, typing this story.

At one point, while looking for a cozy floor spot to sleep on, I got an email from Technical Editor John Atkinson, saying his flight was canceled. John being John, he decided to rent a car, but there were none to be had. But John is smart, he did something that a thousand other stranded people didn't think of: He took a train-from Chicago to New York City. I was completely impressed (and jealous) that he thought of it, and more jealous, still, that he pulled it off. John was in Brooklyn before I got out of the airport.

tonykaz's picture

I'm sorry for all that inconvenience, Big Shows can lose more than a week.

Stereophile's Axpona 2019 reporting was the best Show reporting I've ever seen from any Industry. Nice Work.

I happen to benefit because I got to have a nice Chat-up with the Nocturne/Quad 57/Linn LP12 guy that John Atkinson visited and mentioned : Tom Okeefe...

...who is from my Home Base Town, has a decades-long shared history paralleling mine yet I never met the man. Our paths crossed a good many times and we seem to have many shared acquaintances, tastes in gear types and leanings.

Tom Okeefe is the Turntable Set-up Technician for Overture Audio in Ann Arbor, Mi. who hosted a Headphone Show I attended and where I inquired about turntables, discovered DACs are Boring ( a quote from Jason Stoddard himself ) and that my hearing is tapering off around 8k ( I immediately pursued relief from the University of Michigan audiologists -- successfully ). I promised to purchase something from Overture but haven't done so yet ( probably get around to it after I migrate to the South Florida Tropics "God's Waiting Room" & "Incubator for Old People" )

Shows are greatest for Meeting People, even people we might've met zillions of years ago but but somehow missed.

Nice talking with you Tom Okeefe, if you happen to read this.

Tony in Michigan

ok's picture floyd's "a momentary lapse of reason" album cover.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Sorrow" :-) ........

Jason P Jackson's picture

I did a stint of volunteer work at a homeless hostel that looked remarkably like that. I was an electronics and communications student at the time and seriously considered using the services. Partying in Sydney circa 1989 was costly (I'm aware of how selfish that idea was so no need to point it out)

Ortofan's picture

... it didn't occur to a New Yorker that taking the train was a travel option.

jmsent's picture

...but that kind of weather can delay the trains too. And that's one hell of a long train trip, especially on Amtrak.

John Atkinson's picture
jmsent wrote:
that's one hell of a long train trip, especially on Amtrak.

20 hours, but it was relaxing. The seat was comfortable and reclined enough to let me sleep; I could work, thanks to the train having WiFi; and the cafe car had Stone IPA!

It turned out that 5 other passengers in my railway car had had the same idea as me when their flights to NY were canceled.

I last took this train in 1984 and I think things have improved. The only drawback is that when there is a single-way track, the Amtrak trains have to give way to freight trains traveling in the opposite direction.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

jmsent's picture

...when I took that trip many years ago. Glad to hear they've improved it.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Could you (JA1) please check your show report about ATC? ....... The active version you describe, I think is ATC SCM 50 ASLT ...... The price of that speaker is about $30,000/pair ....... Your price quote and model designation may not be correct :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Hi JA1 ....... I just got a reply and clarification about model designation and pricing from Lone Mountain Audio, about ATC ....... Thanks :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Sleepless in Chicago :-) .........

pwf2739's picture

I spent four hours on the tarmac and our flight to Charlotte, NC was number two for take off when the pilot announced the airport had been closed and we had to return to the gate. I didn't bother standing in line with the 10,000 other people trying to rebook their ticket. After about 20 tries, I finally got through to customer service on the phone and re booked a flight to Augusta, GA. Once there, I rented a car and drove to Charlotte. My bag made it back Monday afternoon. I realize this was more of a freak snow storm, but moving AXPONA to late April or early May would greatly reduce the possibility of this happening again. Of course the future dates are already confirmed I'm sure so that is probably not possible. Outside of trying to get home, I thought AXPONA was really terrific.

jmsent's picture

...Munich starts on 5/9, and many Axpona exhibitors also go there. It's already tight, and moving it any later would likely effect participation. Axpona tried to move their schedule to the Fall, but the exhibitors pounced on that idea too. So I think they're stuck with those dates for the foreseeable future. That was really a freak storm. 36 hours later and there was no evidence left that it had ever happened.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Surprise 'polar vortex'? :-) .........

chtgrubbs's picture

No technical specs or "sleeping impressions" about the Coleman ComfortSmart Cots?

Herb Reichert's picture

no review samples

Bogolu Haranath's picture

They did not want JA1 to measure the 'vibrational' behavior :-) ..........

Dcbingaman's picture

I got up Sunday morning, saw the snow and headed directly to O'Hare for my flight home to STL. They delayed and delayed and then cancelled it a about 2:00pm. The whole airport shutdown at once ! I headed to the check-in lobby to re-book, but the kiosk all went belly-up at the same time and I realized O'Hare was a disaster. Nobody was going to get out until Wednesday or later. I had the wife call Southwest and got the last flight out of Midway. I got into STL about 3:00 am Monday morning.

The scene at check-in was unreal ! Lot's of blue air from people in tropic wear realizing that their trip to Turks and Caicos for easter was a bust. They had to call in the Chicago Police dept. to quiet the natives down !

The show was great - more people than I have ever seen in an audio show. Lot's of good stuff to see and hear. i especially enjoyed talking to Victor Kung of VK Music and Elekit. He is a treasure and an very insightful tube man.