Thursday, November 17, 2022

Matthew's Kumoricon 2022 Report: Part 2 - Day Zero


After the grueling drive that was made last year, even if I stopped in Medford going to and from Portland, I wanted to try something different and using the Coast Starlight was the logical solution given that I do carry a lot of equipment - and other items that do require personal handling - with me to cover this convention and flying will probably put me over the limit in what I check in both in baggage and carry-on. Plus the timetable lines up perfectly - get on the train in Sacramento around midnight, sleep overnight, enjoy the scenery in the morning, and arrive in Portland just in time for hotel check-in (I'll go over the return route towards the end of this report). Granted, sleeping on the train is not the best thing in the world even if you're in a sleeper car - which I was hoping to get into but did not win any of my BidUps - but I'll trade that plus the travel time of over 15 hours to taking my sweet time traveling.

I made this trip back in January of 2020 but got off at Klamath Falls towards Medford, and back then my 4G LTE iPhone 11 Pro Max was barely holding onto any signal until I got to Klamath Falls. This time around, with my iPhone 13 Pro - I went smaller this time around - and the power of 5G, I was able to hold a signal all way through Klamath Falls up to Chemult but after that not even the newest in cellphone technology could hold a signal deep in the Umpqua National Forest, so most of us on the train sat in the observation car, snapping photos and videos of the scenery, which ranged from snowy forest to fall foliage to sweeping views of the mountain ranges, until we got up to Eugene which then we all got on our cellphones and did our cellphone things, which for me was already off to a rocky start even before I got to to con.


Before I lost cell service in Chemult, I found out that we had one of the guests that we had requested for an interview had canceled - a new record for fastest cancelation for any convention that we had covered. We would find out about two more cancelations later on that night, which also made it a record for most guests canceling on us plus our first two-person cancelation notice. We were bummed out because we had a lot of good questions for them but kept our heads up high as we pressed on with our remaining interviews. 

Taken looking out from the last car

Like Anime Expo 2010, I started to notice some of the passengers that were headed to Portland and Kumoricon, some of them attendees and some of them working the KumoMarket. Granted, it wasn't as packed as Anime Expo's San Joaquin train but it was nice to know that some people had the same idea.

Trees! And more snow!

I wanted to try all of the traditional dining car services but because I wanted coffee while I ate and breakfast for the business class wasn't coming for at least an hour after the first class got theirs, I had coffee over in the café and had the first of my meal replacement shakes that I had stowed away. I was able to attend lunch service as I tried a Monte Crisco sandwich, some chips, a strawberry-drizzled cheesecake, and some sparkling water. For the price that I paid for, you are paying for the experience of dining on a train. I had some fun conversations about high speed rail and Oregon gas because the seating is community, meaning if you're traveling solo you'll get seated with others.

Looking out while stopped in Eugene

Despite thinking that we were behind, a short fresh air stop in Eugene made up for lost time and before I knew it, I had arrived in Portland just across the river from the Oregon Convention Center and Kumoricon. Now all that stood between me and this convention was short drive courtesy of Dalton and Levi, who were staging in Clackamas prior to getting up to Portland.

Crossing the Willamette River via the Steel Bridge 

Getting the car into valet and check-in was a smooth process and we were establishing ourselves in the room in no time. Our next item to do was to go pick up our health wristbands and our badges but due to a change in the requirements for entry into the convention, we had to push our room shopping trip to Fred Meyer in between so that Dalton could get a home test to show a negative test. 

A line for to get vaccine verified on Day Zero

Speaking of this Fred Meyer, I was told that this was the flagship and it sure does show in its size - from the electronics section to its robust selection of beer and wine (remember that liquor cannot be sold in grocery stores). I was able to grab everything that we needed and even loaded up on Mountain Dew because Nate saw their selection and their "buy 2 get 2" special he would jump on that opportunity and meant that we would be fully loaded for the weekend. 

We headed back just in time to beat the 8pm Thursday deadline and afterwards got in line to Specialty Registration to pick up our press badges. This is were we start to get the sense that something feels off knowing that the convention itself for the past few months has been calling for people to staff the convention especially over in Registration and it took us way too long to grab all of our badges - so long that Nate ended up waiting for us longer than expected at the Hyatt Regency lobby and my plan to hit up Frank's Noodle House nearby and try some of their hand-pulled noodles went out the window and would have to pocket that place for another time. But for now, it was time to finally try out Burgerville and their Best Coast Crispy Chicken Sandwich along with some sweet potato fries and their famous spread. But I never got my sweet potato fries but in return Nate, Dalton, and Levi went down to the same place later on and got free stuff with their orders, so it was like a pay-it-forward type of scenario but not immediate.

Another view of the line

We toast out the night and prepare ourselves for this year's version of Kumoricon. And this time around, we know our schedule going into Day One.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.