Our Roadtrip to the LAN party

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Our Roadtrip to the LAN party

Postby Steamboat_Willy_Sr » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:44 am

The Roadtrip
by SBW Sr

I've taken many roadtrips, usually to amateur motorcycle races, so taking yet another was nothing new. However, taking a roadtrip with folks I've never met personally was. After the initial suggestion was thrown out there and everyone agreed, I had some doubts it would actually happen as planned, but it did. As it turns out, it was one of the best roadtrips I've ever taken and the first real roadtrip for Jr.

We actually started the trip ahead of schedule when Roman got a ride up to our house from his brother Neo about four hours early. Unfortunatly for him, Jr. & I farted around after work thinking we had some time to kill, so poor Roman had to hang out at our house for a couple hours before we got home (sorry again Roman). I guess he was getting some strange looks from my nieghbors and one of them drove around the block a couple times checking him out. When we got home and started to unload the truck, he came out to the driveway, much to our surprise. At first I was thinking, 'who is this?', but as soon as he spoke, we knew it was Roman.

Originally, I tried to rent a Crown Victoria, but Hertz is phasing these out and told me I would be getting a Ford 500. On our way home from work, we stopped in there, where we were told they had none and were going to give us a Dodge Magnum with a Hemi. While this would have been a fun ride what with all that
horsepower, sleeping in the backseat would have been most problematic. As it turns out, when we went down there to sign the papers, the only large vehicle they had turned out to be a brand new Lincoln Town car with 3,700 miles on it. Hertz felt bad (or maybe not with gas going through the roof) and gave it to us for the same price.
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Our ride, the LAN limo, nice eh?

First stop, Cookieville, or Fairfield California for normal folks. While most of the drive was uneventful to that point, our first WTF moment came shortly before Stockton, CA. Cruising along with cuise control set at 88, I noticed the car ahead of us make a radical lane change which made me think, 'uh oh, debris in the road'. Turns out, it was a Suburban or some other huge SUV had spun out in the fast lane. The passengers had gotten out and the driver turns the lights off, and at 88MPH, we were on top of it in a heartbeat. The quick swerve and following overcorrection made sure all of us where wide awake for the remainder of our drive to Cookieville.

We told DArkness we were going to honk our horn when we got to his house at which time he begged us not to so as not to disturb his nieghbors at one in the morning. While we did respect some of his wishes (remember this is DArkness we're talking about) we started honking our horn about two blocks from his house and only stopped when we were two or three houses away. Needless to say, he heard us coming and was awaiting our arrival outside of his home.
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Now this is a motly crew.
From left to right: DArkness, Steamboat Willy Jr., Roman77, and Steamboat Willy Sr.


I continued to drive until after we got DArkness signed up to drive and made a caffene stop. At this point, Roman took the wheel, and while at first I stayed awake to make sure that I wasn't handing the wheel of the car carrying my son & I to either a complete noob or a Mario Andretti wanabee, I settled into the plush heated seat for a bit of sleep. All was fine until we started into the mountainous part of northern Cali when Romans' Socal freeway driving habits got the better of him. Down here, the freeways are wide & fast, even when winding it's way through mountain passes. However, up north, the I-5 gets real tight and twisty with some 40MPH corners. There's nothing like being awoken from your head riccocheting between the back of the front seat and the side window. While I may have awoken grumpy & cranky, Roman, Junior, and DArkness were laughing their asses off at the fact we almost wadded the LAN limo up before ever leaving California. After Roman settled down and slowed down all was fine until we approached the summit where we were met with an almost opaque wall of fog. Had we not had a big rig to follow and guide us through, who knows what gorge they may have had to pull us out of.

We gassed up in Ashland, OR at about 4:30 AM where DArkness got his turn at the wheel. I was a bit rested, so I sat shotgun/navigater during this next leg. DArkness seemed like a good driver, hands at two and ten, mirrors and seat properly adjusted, I felt comfortable. As we heading down out the mountainous part of Oregon, we picked up speed as the road straightened out. Somewhere north of Klamath Falls, some poor bastard fisherman on his way to his long awaited fishing trip lost his trolling seat (does Rommel have one of these?) in the middle of the highway. While one may think a small piece of aluminum, vinyl, and foam rubber is not the worse thing to run over, at 80MPH it cleaned the front lisense plate right off the LAN limo, tore through the lower vallance, and made it half way across the undercarriage before getting lodged and making this horriffic screeching sound. Needless to say, everyone awoke laughing, except for DArkness who thought surely he just totalled his first car. I was never too concerned as I made sure to pay extra for full coverage with no deductable, but DArkness was really upset. He kept appologising and offerring to pay for the damage, but I assured him there was nothing to worry about, just get us to Seattle.
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Roman & DArkness take a look at the picture they took of the damaged LAN limo.
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Aside from the missing lisense plate and piece of the vallance, the LAN limo was an awesome car.

At 8:00AM, I resumed driving duties after a breakfast of cookies and mountain dew. It rained pretty much throughout the rest of Oregon and didn't stop until shortly before Portland. The country up there is really beautiful and a vivid bright green everywhere, something that is rather rare in Socal and most hillsides are covered with expensive homes.
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Much of the daylight drive looked like this other than the city parts.

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Gas stop, Olympia, WA.

Dispite very little sleep, and the night before excitement, I drove all the way into Lynnwood. While on the highway, the countryside looks much different than in Socal, however, once you get onto city streets, it all pretty much looks the same. After checking into our hotel room, we met up with Quisp and his girlfriend (I'm terrible with names, please except my appology) and got to know each other a bit.
At this time we decided it would be best to use our ingame names as who was going to remember all the names of all the folks we were going to be meeting.
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Roman poses in front of Hotel POW where half the clan was staying.

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Junior was happy he wouldn't have to make his bed for a couple of days.

Next we decided to check out gameclucks after making contact with Doom to let him know we were starting to arrive. The place seemed really small and kind of out of the way, but it surely turned out to be a great little place after all. Since we had little else to do (except for Quispies girlfriend who took off shopping) we decided to rent some time and check out their computers.
While not the best systems, we managed to get ventrillo working and get into the POW source server. We played for about an hour or so before Doom showed up to pay the man, where we introduced ourselves and such. We decided to all go grab something to eat and found a Hooters located almost across the street from Hotel POW. I'm not too sure how many pitchers Doom bought, but I was feeling pretty good by the time we decided to call it a night. Junior bought a Hooters, Lynwood T-shirt signed by all the Hooters girls since he was under age to drink beer.

Everyone got up pretty early saturday morning, so we decided to take a walk to kill some time. We noticed that up in Washington, nobody sells hard liquor, only beer and wine. Down in Socal, there's liquor stores on every other corner, but we finally found one in the same shopping center as the Hooters. We did a best buy run for headsets and because DArkness was having trouble
playing with a normal mouse rather than a ball mouse.
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Walking the streets of Lynnwood, the early arrivals set off in search of hard liquor.

The Valve tour was definitely a highlight of the weekend, though we were almost late due to the traffic (traffic in Washington?). We all met in the lobby of the building and introduced ourselves. You knew exactly who everyone was by simply hearing them talk, that was pretty cool. Everytime we would see someone coming, we would take a stab at who it was going to be. When Mad Martigan walked in, North looks at him and askes with a question, 'AA?', and Mad says, 'No, I'm looking for another group.' and walks off. We were laughing so hard, nobody bothered to run after him right away so he ended up doing a couple laps around the Valve building before he hooked up with us. At this time, Bib showed up, again, everyone knew exactly who it was as soon as he spoke. We were taken up to the Valve studios where we posed for pictures in front of their 500lb valve and golden crowbar. We were asked to keep everything we saw to ourselves and led off on a tour of the entire floor of the high rise they were located in. They pretty much have full size props of everything from all their games and HL2 headcrabs hanging from the ceiling everywhere.
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All those who didn't have to cross the border pose in the Valve lobby.

After being briefed by Valve on what we were going to be play testing, we were led off in groups of twos and threes into different offices and set up on the developers computers. The game was already up and running and right away we could see some new stuff. (sorry I can't say what, so please don't ask). After setting up our individual keyboards we started playing some of the cleanest running DOD:S you could ever imagine. They asked us to play on both sides and try all the weapons all the while checking out the maps and such. It didn't take long before everyone was into the game and it was just another round of source with POW. I think based on some of Valves comments, we were a pretty good cross sampling of average DOD:S players. During our play test, the Canadien contingent arrived and stopped by each of the different offices to introduce themselves. Crud wears the brightess orange pants I've ever seen and now I know why he posts in the forums all in orange. They let us play past the 4:00PM hour which was great as we were having a blast, then we assembled in a conference room to give them our feedback. Again, I can't say what was discussed, but the developers seemed very interrested with what we had to say. On our way out, we stopped for more picture taking in the lobby, then it was off to dinner.
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More pictures from the Valve lobby, this time with the Canadiens. Can you guess which one is Crud?

I'm not too sure who's idea it was to assemble an eight vehicle caravan from Valve to the spagetti factory, but before we made two turns half of us were already lost. After getting Doom by cellphone, we were back under way and finally found the place. We were introduced to Barry, JohnnyQ, Major & General (isn't that an XTC song?)and Advent here, while the resturant scrambled to make enough seating room for all of us. Unfortunatly, our table was so huge, you couldn't keep up with everything going on, but judging by the laughter, everyone was having a great time.
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Dinner between Valve and Gameclucks.

We actually were running quite late after dinner and those of us who hadn't bought our alcohol yet were running even later. By eight o'clock or so, most of us were there and trying set up our machines and get logged in. We set up a sort of make shift bar in the back of the place as well in the back of Barry's truck out front. Of course we also had the cookie bar for DArkness up front although I kept a few packages by me to throw at DArkness over the partition any time he zooked or stabbed me. The entire time at gameclucks was really too much fun to put into words and I'm sure everyone wants to tell their individual stories, especially Snipersteve, who wasn't even there.
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The front row at gameclucks, or noob alley (sorry North & Triple)
From left to right: Triple Optics, Mad Martigan, Cpt. Shrapnel, Argyle, Crud, North, & cookie bar.


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The back row at gameclucks.
From front to back: Quisp, Advent, my seat, General Mayhem, & Roman77.
The indoor bar was behind us.


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The middle row at gameclucks was the place to be.
From left to right: Heat's head, Steamboat Willy Jr, DArkness, Johnny Q, Major Catastrophy, Barry, Doom, Verman, Bib Fortuna, and Hobbes.


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The smoking section. I guess they had too much smoke in their eyes to read the sign.
From left to right: Bib Fortuna, Steamboat Willy Sr, Heat, and Verman.


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Everyone got a real cool Day of Defeat Source T-shirt and the Dog tags were really cool too (thanks again Quisp).

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Doom had these posters made for everyone who attended, how cool are these?

Overall, the success of this LAN party surely surpassed everyones expectations and next year or whenever we have it will only be better.
I urge those who live on the other side of the country to start putting your money away for airfare to the next one, this is an event you don't want to miss.

And to you Hand of Doom, thanks for the memories, it was an awesome road trip.

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Postby whatthe » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:19 pm

nice... nice is all i can say.

-wt.

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Postby Village Idiot » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:00 pm

Awesome recap Sr.

I really wished I could've gone as it looked like a blast. Perhaps next time I'll have time to make it.
Between anarchy and calm, there is a door marked supplies.

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Postby _KiBbLe_ » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:19 pm

very cool,

twish I had gotten my school lone reinbursment alittle eairler so I could have gone :( oh well. next time perhaps

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Postby Verman » Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:38 pm

Good job there Sr. You covered it all. Can't wait for more pic's from other.

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Postby JAPDOGG » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:11 pm

Man that is really cool to see a clan so tight like that!

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Postby Phyrehawk » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:45 pm

::starts saving:: Yo Brooks - we're getting over there for the next one, right?

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Postby Denzildon » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:04 pm

JAPDOGG wrote:Man that is really cool to see a clan so tight like that!


That's why I never joined any other clan even if others invited me!!! This is the best clan I've ever seen and it's definitely worth the wait!!! :D
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Postby Heat » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:31 pm

Great post Willy Sr :D I say we party like that again really soon!

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Postby Major Catastrophe » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:18 am

Poor me. I look like DArkness is giving birth to me from between his shoulder blades.

At least my head came out first...
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Postby Steamboat_Willy_Sr » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:37 am

ROFL :D

I was thinking something like:

Master/Blaster.....Who run bardertown?

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Postby Major Catastrophe » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:58 am

At least I get to be the brains of the outfit. See? I'm telling him to stab that guy!
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Thank You All!

Postby GameClucks » Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:47 am

Just wanted to say a quick THANK YOU for allowing GameClucks to host part of your event!

It was a lot of fun for us and based on what is posted above, sounds like you all had fun too!

So again THANK YOU!

--Chris Anderson
Managing Partner
GamersHaven LLC DBA GameClucks

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Postby Bib Fortuna » Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:48 am

Very nice Sr. The whole experience was a great time, and it was great meeting everyone. Can't wait for another one, only next time, we should try to get gaming before 9pm. :D

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Postby Heat » Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:24 am

Bib Fortuna wrote:Very nice Sr. The whole experience was a great time, and it was great meeting everyone. Can't wait for another one, only next time, we should try to get gaming before 9pm. :D


Man, didn't I mention that "Solids are for the weak" during dinner? - Eh, I should have turned up my mic :roll:

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