I’m back, safe and sound. From reading through my friends’ list, it looks like at least three others also went to conventions this weekend, not including those who went with me. 🙂 The following is a day-by-day convention report, for those curous. I’m cutting it, to be friendly to flists.
Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Go Northwest, Young Man
Shon was running late, and did not get to my place until almost 10:30pm. For those who have read my Anime Expo 1997 and Anime Expo 1998 reports, you know that I’m kind of a stickler for leaving as early as possible, if we’re going by car. Plane travel doesn’t have much of a problem, because they generally depart and arrive on time. When you drive, there’s all sorts of factors involved with planning a long drive to a convention. This time around, we would also be promoting and broadcasting Japan-A-Radio live from SakuraCon, so there was about 150% more crap to tote around than your average convention trip. Jody and Teri (Teri was a last minute addition… literally) were already ready to go, so when Shon got there, we repacked my trunk as quickly as possible and got on the road, because Jimbo was waiting for us up in San Francisco.
A bit of background: I worked from 9am to 5pm earlier in the day, but in order for me to beat traffic, I get up at 6:30am and am usually out the door by 7:30. After we picked up Jimbo, it was a little after midnight, and I was already starting to feel fatigue after we moved from I-80 to I-505. When we hit I-5, I was in some serious hand-to-hand combat versus sleep, so when we hit the foothills of Mt. Shasta, I pulled over and stretched, then handed the keys to Jody at 3:30am. He said that he was surprised I lasted that long. He had the misfotune of driving through Shasta’s summit… where it was SNOWING. I was dead asleep, and Jody asked Teri to nudge me awake so I could see how bad it was coming down. I guess Jody was a little nervous about it, and all I remember is looking at the snow and repeating what my dad told me: “Slow it down another 10 miles per hour.” Then I conked out again; possibly out of wanting to be ignorant, but I think it was because I was just dead tired. When I woke up the first time afterward, we were already approach Yreka.
Yreka’s interesting. It’s this small town-almost-city that is the last point for gas/food/lodging before you enter Oregon. I really hate driving in Oregon, second only to actually being in Oregon. To my friends in Portland, I remind you now that I never consider Portland to be in Oregon… it’s that anomaly city that should really be annexed into Washington or something. Portland is awesome, but the rest of the state is pretty horrible. After we gassed up and Jody had a little verbal argument in getting the keys to the gas station’s bathroom, I fell back asleep and woke up near Portland. My arm was also numb, because Teri was sleeping on it! A full arm pins-and-needles almost brought tears to my eyes, but it was nice to have blood flowing in there again. Once my fingers said hello to the rest of my body, I sat up and asked Jody if he was tired. He looked like he was, so I had him pull over and I took the keys right before we crossed the bridge into Washington. It was just before noon. Seattle/Tacoma is a mere 160+ miles away from Portland, so I figure we’d arrive right around 2pm. With a good 6 to 7 hours of sleep, I was refreshed and ready to drive.
There’s a reason I wrote the Great Northwet on my blog at Unwound. It rained so hard that I could barely see cars ahead of me. I was nervous that some moron was driving with broken brake lights or something and I wouldn’t see it in time to avoid them. When we made it to Tacoma, the rain cleared up quite a bit and that was the last time we saw rain the whole weekend. We pulled into the Marriott at 2:17pm and checked in with all our stuff. I made all my “I’m safe” phone calls to friends and family (as did everyone else), and made plans with a friend to have dinner in downtown Seattle. We checked out the convention setup and I could literally feel the pre-con excitement from the staff (though some were dead on their feet). I miss convention staffing, but I don’t miss it.. if you catch my meaning. We talked with the convnetion vice chair about arrangements and found our table, but we were having problems with the internet connection. I spent as much time I could on the problem, and I had to leave to drive up to Seattle to meet my friend for dinner.
Driving in downtown Seattle by yourself is not something I would recommend for tourists. If you can, take a bus, a taxi, a limo, whatever. Seattle is more confusing that San Francisco in terms of the city’s layout. I got lost going there and I got even more lost coming back. The friend I met up with (and I’m leaving it as anonymous as possible out of respect) was really patient with me as I navigated the city streets and drove underneath a huge building (and over I-5 at the same time) to get to the cafe we agreed to meet at. I parked, got out and had an awesome dinner with an equally awesome conversation. In honor of my pal,
… or so I thought.