Details of my trip down to Kumoricon in Portland, Oregon during the Labour Day long weekend.
Friday, August 29
I left home just after 2:30 PM and headed for the US border. I had the radio on to see which crossing had the least wait time. Peace Arch and Pacific Highway had each an hour and thirty minutes and Aldergrove had thirty. So I drove the extra half hour out to Aldergrove to take advantage of this, only to find it was not even a ten minute wait!! Even better, the US Customs and Border Protection officer waved me through fairly quickly.
Made it to Bellis Fair Mall in under a half hour to use the bathroom, eat and do a quick check for any items I forgot to bring.
Got onto the I-5 past 3:30 PM and made the long-ass drive down Washougal, which is in the southern part of the state. It was pretty much uneventful aside from the traffic through Seattle and outside Olympia. Made use of the rest stops to check my map and relieve myself. I almost missed my exit off the I-5 to the I-205, but made it just in time. Whew.
I arrived at my friend’s house after 9:30 PM with just under half a tank of gas left. Wow. I drove 480 KM (298 miles) on almost half a tank. I love my Toyota Yaris. Spent the night at my friend’s house before heading out in the morning for the convention.
Saturday, August 30
Got to the Kumoricon just before 8:00 AM. Took a us a while to figure out how to get into the parking lot, which was a challenge. Then there were the fan girls. I drove a friend of mine, Joey (yes, the famous Joeyblondewolf2) another friend to the hotel while the rest of our group were in another vehicle. As we were driving by registration lines outside the hotel, the fan girls found us. For those of you who don’t know, Joey has a massive fan boy/girl following based on her YouTube videos. And our friend didn’t make it easier as he kept shouting at people getting out of their cars. At least I don’t have Illinois plates…
I had to get into the line for pre-registration and our other friend had to line up for full registration since he didn’t do it online. And Joey wandered off since she had already picked up her badge the previous evening. Then I got a text from the rest of our gang saying that their car ran a flat and would be delayed for a while.
I finally got to the registration table at 9:00 AM only to be told I’d have to go to another table for my badge. Then I was told to wait. Joey enquired with another table and found that I’d have to wait in yet another line to get my badge. I wasn’t too happy about this. Isn’t pre-registration supposed to skip the lines except to pick up your badge?? So I was just so upset and so close to asking for someone in charge, that the girl at the table just gave up and handed me my badge. This was an example of poor setup. However, they did have people with signs advertising the end of the line and provided assistance for those who needed to step out of the line for a bathroom break.
Me and Joey meandered around the hotel since there wasn’t anything to do at the con and then made our way next door to the Lloyd Center, a mall, to get some breakfast. We wandered around further and checked out Hot Topic and Victoria’s Secret and picked up a little something for one of our friends.
We returned to the hotel and met up with everyone. We walked around some more and checked out the dealers room. When we found the last of our friends, we gave him his gift and his reaction was priceless [no link]. I think he liked it.
Later on we drove back to our friend’s place to nap and change for the evening. It was a scenic drive as we missed our exit and took the OR-84 into Gresham. Once we returned to the convention, we took some more pictures and then made our way to the mens room with the left over cream from breakfast. Video explains better than words [no link].
Sunday, August 31
Woke up later than usual and traipsed over to the hotel for the second day of Kumoricon. We wandered around the convention and tried out the creation station to do some drawing. I drew Roy (no surprise there) and Joey sketched out some Junjou Romantica. After that, we returned to the Lloyd Center to peruse the stores again before heading back to the hotel. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening taking pictures and recording video. Other than that, the day was pretty much uneventful, except for our adventure through downtown Portland to find food. We wound up at Pizza Schmizza and had Pizza Hut-esque greasy pizza for dinner.
Monday, September 1
Got to sleep in this morning and drove back into Portland for the last day of the convention. Wow, this weekend went by pretty quickly. Not much was happening today, and the creation station was closed since Joey wanted to finish her picture. I watched Joey do some karaoke and then waited for our group to come by and get ready head back to their homes.
In the afternoon, the rest of us piled into my car for a special gift for Joey. It was a long drive to where we were going, so we had to blindfold Joey about half way out. As we got closer, we had Joey believe that we were going to Canada, and the poor girl was so anxious to get out and see what was going on. We ended up in Newport, on the coast. and parked the car and then helped Joey out to her surprise.
Joey had never seen the ocean before, so we took her down on the beach and right up to the waves. It was pretty cool since we arrived after 7:00 PM when the sun was setting, so the ocean and horizon looked really nice.
Overall, Kumoricon was a decent convention, especially for a first visit. It could’ve used better organization, but they did have some neat panels, especially for those who are into the creative arts. Photographs from the event are available on Gallery.