This is a series of posts from my road trip in 2011 where I traveled around the US and Canada giving talks, attending conferences, visiting IGDA chapters, networking, hanging out with friends, and dog sitting an adorable pug named Thomas!

What a long few days I’ve had.

As you know on the 12th I spent the day border hopping to Canada and back.

On the 13th I left Birch Bay/Blaine, WA to start heading towards California. My goal was to make it to San Francisco by the 16th at the latest. So I started heading back towards Seattle and then working my way towards Oregon when I decided to see if I could squeeze in a little detour. I managed to catch a colleague I was hoping to see again while in Seattle at just the right time and he agreed to meet as I got back into the Seattle area. So that evening Avery Alix1 showed me the local bar that a lot of PopCap hangs out at. He wasn’t kidding either! The longer we stayed there the more coworkers of his showed up. It was a cool little place and Avery was cool as usual also. We talked about his move from Microsoft to PopCap [again, it’s common for Seattle-ites to have worked for the big M], PopCap’s acquisition by EA, and my move to start my own thing and leave the normal game dev studio world behind. We also got a chance to talk about IGDA Seattle2 and the advantages and disadvantages they have in being in Seattle. Like quite a few other chapters there’s a large geographic distance to cover as well as other dev groups to compete with for attention and attendance. The trick there relies on collaborating with the right ones and finding your niche as a group.

As we wrapped up our time at the bar Avery insisted on doing the chivalrous thing and getting in my car and guiding me to the freeway because “it can be confusing around here” even though I had a GPS. He said it would take him part way through his route that he’d have to walk anyway so again he insisted it was not a problem. Only problem was his directions led me to have to get on the freeway going in the wrong direction and not at all near where he lived! Once we had gone several miles out and were able to get off the freeway we curved and turned and winded our way through several neighborhoods of Seattle until we got to another possible entrance in the right direction. This time he insisted that even though we were almost there I didn’t have to take him all the way home, but I did get a promise that the next time I was in Seattle in the day time and he was free he’d take me out for lunch and a studio tour of PopCap (and he’d never promise to get me to the freeway easily again unless he was walking :>)!

I then spent the rest of the evening driving until I got close to the Washington/Oregon border. With my new hatred of full-service only gas stations I got gas just before the border and stayed in a hotel just past the border but right near the freeway so as not to waste too much gas. My plan was to get through all of Oregon on one tank of gas if possible so as to avoid those scary gas stations (the second time I had to get gas in Oregon the guy was really creepy) and another car repair bill.

So on Friday the 14th I brought my plan into reality and got on the road and made it all the way through the state of Oregon and then some before having to stop for gas.

On the road again!

I then pushed on even more until I made it all the way to San Francisco and the home of Michelle Pun.

Ooh! Ooh! I can see the bridge!

As someone I’ve been mentoring since 2006 it was going to be great to spend some quality time with her and talk about all the major changes that have been going on with her recently (new job, new city to live in, etc.) – if we could only find parking! I think there are a few reasons that I would avoid moving to San Francisco and parking is definitely one of them. It’s really a pain to find a place you can park, that you can stay parked in, and that is near your destination (at least we unloaded my car first in the ‘waiting zone’). Once we finally had found a spot to park and made it back to her place we crashed on the couch, ordered some pizza, and talked for hours catching up. It was great.

That leads me to today, Saturday the 15th, I’m now trying to catch up on work from the two lost days I had of almost nothing but driving as well as just rest. Driving long distances multiple days in a row is always a bit taxing and this was no exception. I’m glad to have a few days here before doing any more long distances. It’ll be nice to not have to move anywhere for awhile. I’ll be posting later on in the week I think, until then…

Stay awesome!