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Group trip to DEFCON 20.

edited August 2011 in General banter
So I had a ton of fun at DEFCON 19 this year.  I wish I could have brought you all with me.  We'd of been a perfect fit for entering the beer cooling contest or figuring out the secrets of the badges this year.  Few people came up to me and said "i3Detroit? are you one of  the redbull guys?".  Our name precedes us. While talking with some fellow Great Laker's at the Saturday pool party, one of them (I forgot who... free beer *sigh*) mentioned traveling by train instead of plane to Las Vegas.

"Hackers on a Train": a con on the way to defcon?

Think about leaving from Detroit then to Chicago then onto Las Vegas. about 30-35 hours one way, but we'd have the ability to bring stuff, sleep, drink, eat, and if we work some PR magic maybe setup a soldering station enroute. 


  • Enough of us and we can take over an entire car. Are discounts avalible if we buy the entire car?
  • I could be up for it.  I have never gone.  Probably can't get enough time off to train it. But I would be willing to meet everyone there. 
  • I don't think there is a train directly to Las Vegas.
  • when I looked into amtrak back in 2007 the train went to cali then to vegas, unless it was a bus from cali :\
    Then its hackers on a bus!
  • In general, AmTrak is a wretched way to travel across the US.  I wasn't even particularly impressed with taking it to Chicago for work, back in January.  It's riddled with massive delays and inefficiencies; every layover or change of trains takes 4-6 *hours.*  Frankly, I don't have that kind of time to waste in my life.  IMHO, the only ways to travel long distances are either by car, or air.  In the case of air, Southwest's prices beat AmTrak's, for distances over 200 miles.

    I would encourage everyone to consider an alternative plan.  Next year, HOPE, SoONCamp and Defcon are all pretty much back to back.  Some of us are already planning to make the Grand Tour of all of the summer Hacker Cons.  Just an idea.
  • The Wolverine (the Detroit->Chicago run) used to be a better run train. Usually only half-full in either direction and no massive delays. Since they travel over the same rail as a lot of freight traffic, they have to wait on sidings for higher-priority freight traffic, of which has been increasing the last few years. So the usually half-hour late Wolverine can get to be up to six hours late. I stopped taking it when I was stuck on that train for 11 hours, two of which were on the bridge just outside Union Station in Chicago because of a cascade failure of freight delays making our engineer go past his allowed shift hours, which made us have to get another engineer, who also ran past his allowed shift hours, rinse, wash, repeat. Fun pulling into Union Station at 3:30 a.m.!
  • The main reason the train method interests me is we can find ways to entertain our selves enroute and no one would be stuck driving.  Sadly, after a little more digging I found that Amtrak puts you on a bus for the last leg... That kind of ruins it for me.

    Flying saves time but the goal here is more fun and less money.  My cheap flight on Spirit to LasVegas for Defcon 19 was a mistake and I will not fly them again.

    An RV roadtrip could be another plan.  I think it will take a little less time to drive than by train. (~35 hours). If we had 4+ drivers driving straight through in 6 hours shifts it could be done.  I have no idea about RV rental rates and fuel costs.  I'm not sure about how much it costs to park an RV around the casino or if we could still crash in it while parked at the con.  The big win here is we would be a mini-hackerspace on wheels.  That could be awesome if we can access the RV and still be close to the con.
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