Because I have this car from Ford, I have felt this constant urge to take full advantage of its benefits. In the past month I've driven all around Washington state, to mid-Montana and back, and just this weekend I went down to Portland for 2 days for the 2nd annual NW YouTube Gathering.
Alex and I left reasonably early on Saturday and drove straight down I-5. It took us about 3 hours to cross the bridge into Oregon, and then we had a bit of a parking adventure because I hate trying to park in big cities without spending a ridiculous amount of money. Finally we found a garage on Alder street that promised a flat rate of $10.95 for the whole day, we parked, and used my phone GPS to find the Pioneer Courthouse Square on foot (The GPS didn't really like this very much).
We caught the group just as they were leaving the square, and I was shocked at the number of people that were there. Last years' gathering took place at the Family Fun Center, and had about 25 of us. This year, the entire group, walking together, took up about 2 city blocks. It looked amazing.
We did the standard no one can make a decision because there were too many of us thing, where one person would finally say "okay let's just go!" and we'd walk for a few minutes and then just form another congregation a few feet away once everyone realized we still didn't have a destination. That's always fun.
We fially decided on the mall food court, where I enjoyed half a subway sandwich, some cards tricks courtesy of YouAverageAdam and CadeGoesToCollege, and a piece of Kayley's oreo brownie, and then we went back to a shady park. But not before half the group danced off in a congo line through the mall while the unamused, sarcastic, reluctant ones of the group (including myself, Kayley, Sweetafton23 and a handful of others) walked slowly behind and pretended not to know the rest of them.
Some police officers thought they were a moving protest. xD
The rest of the day was comprised of music in the park, lots of fun chatting, a caravan to Powell's Books (the biggest new and used bookstore in the world) and an unsuccessful trip to Voodoo Donuts which then turned into a successful trip to a nice, roomy, air-conditioned Gelato place.
The last parts of the day included a marathon shopping trip in Buffalo Exchange with Alex, Kayley, Denis, BooShoe37 (Matt) and YourAverageAdam and a game of rock band back in Pioneer Square where the boys got to let out their inner rockstars or whatever it was they were doing. Pretty Fly for a White Guy was pretty rockin'.
Also, when we went back to the parking garage, they only charged us $5! Whoo!
That night Alex and I stayed the night at my Uncle Dale's house and that was nice. I got to chat with him for awhile and then we got to sleep in a free bed and had free breakfast made for us the next day... heck yes.
Also my cousin Ashley came over with her new baby Ava whom I hadn't met yet and I got to hold her and stuff.. she's only 5 months old and she's adorable. :D
The next morning we got to day 2 of the gathering around noon. This day's location was the Oregon Zoo, and I liked this day more because there was one central location and it was easier for everyone to stay together. We saw a bird show where a bald eagle flew dangerously close over our heads while we sat on the grass, we ate some crappy fried food, we watched a seal eat a bunch of dead fish... typical fun day at the zoo.
Later we all met again at this grassy area where what started as a group picture with 5 people all wearing blue shirts turned into a violent and epic game of Red Rover that was, in hindsight, mildly supportive of segregation because we only allowed people with Blue and Red/Pink shirts to play and all the yellows, oranges, greens and browns of the group had to sit out and watch and take pictures. All I have to say about this game, aside from Michael Aranda getting some amazing slow-motion footage, is that nobody won and my arms are very sore today.
We saw bears and beavers and eagles and owls and all sorts of other fun things, but the best part of the day was just getting to spend so much time talking to all the cool people who came to this gathering. I met a girl who also goes to UW, I met a girl from the UK, and I met loads of people whose screen names I recognized from YouTube comments. It was a fun day. Being around so many genuinely nice, fun people just makes for a good weekend.
So thank you, everyone who was there. I can't wait for next year. :D
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