Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Matthew's Kumoricon 2021 Report: Part 6 - Days Four - Six

 




DAY FOUR

Going into the final day in Portland, we took the majority of the morning cleaning up the hotel room and figuring out when exactly we were going to head out to the Portland Japanese Garden.

Our view from the hotel room


The cleared out Oregon Convention Center

We checked out shortly after 10:30am and headed west past downtown, up the hills, and into the parking lot of the Portland Japanese Garden. Our objective here was to wind down and decompress before we headed back to Eugene and Medford.

And we picked the best day to go as it was nice and crisp.

A close up of the foliage in the fall

The Sand and Stone Garden

The Flat Garden

The Moon Bridge

[The cover photo for this part of the report is from the Mt. Hood Overlook near the Pavilion Gallery.]

After some photo-ops throughout the garden, it was time for us to make the decent back to the entrance. A quick stop to Starbucks to load up on light food and coffee was needed before making the drive to Eugene.
 

Since we had gotten to the River Valley Center first, Dalton, Nate, and I walked around the mall and shopped around before meeting up with Ryan, Jeriko, and Jeriko's friend for some light gaming and an hour of karaoke in a giant room with just the six of us. We wanted to stay longer but we had dinner over at Izakaya Meiji Company. plus the drive back to Medford to check into another hotel for the next two days.

Speaking of Izakaya Meiji Company, it was a Japanese izakaya inside a building straight out of old-school Americana with country music and American set pieces serving Japanese food - I didn't think of it at the time, but it felt like I stepped into the Amazon Prime Series The Man in the High Castle. This was the spot that we wanted to go when I made this same visit in November 2020 during my PC pickup trip but instead went next door to Slice Pizzeria and Bar. The food was alright with the highlight being the Fried Chicken Teriyaki Burger as well as the hot lemon tea that woke me up and got me ready for the part of the trip that I loathe - driving through the mountains between Medford and Eugene AT NIGHT. Oh, did I mention AT NIGHT IN THE POURING RAIN?

It took us some time to reach Medford and our second hotel and after dropping off some people back home I immediately passed out knowing that we had a day and a half of rest and relaxation...



DAY FIVE

I woke up way late to miss out on the cinnamon rolls over at Rooster's, so instead we parlayed breakfast into brunch over at Jasper's Cafe after starting the transfer of all of the videos that I was bringing home to edit.

I love coming to this burger joint every time I visit Ryan in Medford. This time around I tried the Chuck Wagon Burger - "Fried egg and maple glazed bacon smothered in country gravy with tots, cheddar cheese and green onions."

Loaded Sidewinder Fries

The Chuck Wagon

After lunch/brunch we went over to the Rouge Valley Mall where Nate picked up some video games for his new Playstation 5 and I got me a Promised Neverland t-shirt over at Spencers. But if the fatigue that I felt while I was at the convention was annoying, this wave of fatigue bugged the crap out of me to where as soon as we got back to the hotel room I passed out, woke up to say bye to Jeriko and his friend as their flight back to Southern California was the day before we left, passed out again, and woke up to find out it was evening with Nate and Ryan playing Weiss Schwarz to pass the time. 

The evening consisted of ordering out of Noho's and bringing it over to the Rouge Valley Fun Center to eat some delicious Hawaiian BBQ in my car because they are still closed for dine-in since the beginning of the pandemic. 

My food on top of my car

Our game of choice tonight was mini-golf between me, Nate, and Ryan in a "CCB Mini-Golf Shootout." For the most part I right behind the two until we reached a hole that placed inside a cave setting with some unforgiving and hidden slopes that eventually I took a 8 on that hole and made in a two-person race. Nate barely won by a stoke with some added drama at the 18th hole with the movable pole that swings over the hole.

Ryan and Nate on Hole 1

Once the game was over and we had to leave because it was closing time, we meet up with Dalton and his family over at The Gypsy Blues Bar, a bar that he loves going to and I could see why. This is where Nate found the "slot machines" courtesy of the Oregon Lottery and lost his only buy-in while I was able to win enough money to keep the drinks flowing throughout the night as we celebrated and played some pool and more pinball.

The pool table at The Gypsy Blues Bar




DAY SIX

The last day (technically half day) saw us finally going to Rooster's to just order a cinnamon roll and to watch Nate totally fail in eating his and adding another food item to tease him on. After a Freddy's run to pick up more Mountain Dew Green Apple that'll probably show up over at Anime Los Angeles in Long Beach in two months, we got everything packed away and ready to head off so that I could make it back home in time so that Nate can get back home at a reasonable time.

The final stop in this journey was Luigi's Italian Sandwich and home to the "World Famous Garbage Grinder" and one of the best grinder sandwiches that I've ever had.

The Garbage Grinder

Even Dalton's Pepperoni Grinder and Ryan's Pastrami Grinder looked appetizing although I'm trying the Ultimate Garbage Grinder before anything else.

A map of all the visitors to this fine establishment with our mark imprinted

After one last set of goodbyes we head off over the mountains and back to California.

Nate, Dalton, Ryan and I posing in front of the establishment



When we got back to Sacramento I thought this is were Nate and I would part ways, but since he was hungry and still had at least two hours ahead of him, we went down south to Delta Shores to get one last meal in, which I suggested Fire Wings - a local wing joint with some Asian flair and great sauces. Nate had only heard about it while watching Sacramento Kings games through NBA League Pass and tried out the Cali rub while I got my usual Thai Chili and Peanut Butter. 

We go our separate ways over the Consumes River Blvd bridge over I-5, with Nate taking the I-5 South onramp towards Los Angeles and an easier route to the East Bay while I head straight towards Freeport Blvd and back home where I immediately sleep for god knows how long.



-Days Four - Six End-

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