First things first – my favorite part of this trip so far has been coasting down the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky and seeing the Prius’ info screen look like this:

The readout shows the blue power arrows pointing back toward the battery (meaning the the gas engine is off and the in-wheel generators are charging the battery) and the car is getting more than 99.9 miles per gallon.

We arrived in Louisville and headed right for the convention center.  We got most of the booth setup and headed out to the hotel. 

I booked a business hotel, Wingate by Wyndham, mostly because I knew I might need their business center (free photocopier, computer and printer use) and they offer free wired and wireless Internet access.  And the room is pretty huge:

After a bit of shopping (snack cakes to pass out at the show) we met Michael Manley from Funeral Business Advisor for dinner.

He had some great ideas and we’ll continue the discussion at our first vendor dinner on Tuesday evening after the show.

After dinner, we hit Wal-Mart and Lowes.  We were missing some simple items for the show:  cleaning wipes, an additional wire shelf and carpet.

That’s right, we hit the road for Kentucky without knowing what we’d use to cover the floor!

Luckily, Lowe’s had a remnant piece 12-feet wide and 14-feet long, marked down to just $42 because of a slight defect:  7 fist-sized holes caused by a forklift tine.

We still bought it, partly because I’m frugal, but mostly because my skill with a straight-edge, a utility knife and a roll of duct tape turned the 12×14 piece into a 10×14 piece with a perfectly disguised seam partway through.

We also had to create a new sign, since I accidentally forgot our fabric sign at the workshop.  Black foam board, peel-and-stick foam sheets and some quick-thinking turned into a pretty nifty sign.

Here’s the result of our hard work:

I especially like the way our beautiful, expensive-looking carpet (don’t tell anyone how little I spent) contrasts with the black of the side railing and the cover I made for our fake mortuary cot:

And the $130 we spent on a closet organizer and a few extra shelves turned into a custom-looking tradeshow display, quite to my surprise:

Even better, when we returned for the opening of the show, our neighbors from Hilltop Computing were there, including Final Embrace reader Spencer Guilley!

The show ended at 8:00 pm and we’d already sold 6 covers with promises of several more orders tomorrow from guests who visited today.

Many of the expected funeral directors haven’t yet arrived (Monday was only the kick-off reception) and a large number of our visitors shared that the decision-makers from their firm would be arriving on Wednesday.

We’ll sleep late tomorrow, have a leisurely lunch and hit the convention at Noon for a 1:00 pm Expo opening.