June 6th, 2009

Kevin and Lisa

Return to Seaside

We managed to get away from Mehama around 4:30 PM, about two hours later than I had hoped, but I did need to get the Day Job to a point where I could stop for a few hours. Meanwhile, Lisa got the Small Orange Pickup running. She wanted to take the pickup because some of her radio gear, including the new "Texas Bug-Catcher" radio antenna, is on it, and our Holiday Inn Express is right across the river from the Convention Center and she wanted to show it off. Indeed, when we got there, she was able to park the pickup backing in to the space so that anyone walking down the sidewalk from the east toward the convention center would see the antennas. (Lisa says: "Showing off that my antenna is bigger than yours is one of the fun bits.")

But I get ahead of myself. Here's the route we took. Now this isn't the fastest of routes on the best of the days and conditions, and tonight it was neither. This 164 miles took us nearly seven hours.

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We got to the hotel around 11:30, after stopping at Safeway to get some small groceries and some cash for Lisa to spend tomorrow. She'd planned on using her WaMu card at a Fred Meyer store in Tillamook, but to her surprise, the Fred Meyer stores here on the coast have US Bank ATMs, not WaMu/Chase. Despite Oregon being seemingly blanketed with WaMu branches, apparently there are none on the Oregon Coast. So at the Safeway in Seaside, I bought groceries and took $80 cash back and will get the cash out of her bank account later. She needs the money to hit the dealers room at SeaPac tomorrow.

My Priority Club Platinum status is working again: they upgraded me to a suite, with a separate living room area. The high-speed internet is wired and works without complaint. We have a riverside room on the third floor. I have nothing to complain about, except that the "office" work desk is in the bedroom, rather than the living room, which makes it difficult for one of us to work and the other to sleep. Still, we have lots of room here -- the suite is at least twice the area of our trailer in Mehama, albeit the trailer is far more efficiently organized.

Anyway, I need to get back to checking messages and find out how the models I left running before I left Mehama finished, and then possibly even get some sleep.

The weather isn't good -- cloudy and drizzly. Maybe I won't need the sunscreen even if I do get out of the hotel room this weekend.
Seaside

Seaside in the Morning

This morning I allowed myself an extra 90 minutes sleep before dragging out of bed to checking the e-mail. Fortunately, there were no emergencies, and while I still have work to do, I can put off some of it until later. Lisa was trying to get some sleep, so I went downstairs and brought breakfast up from the breakfast bar after getting my e-mail.

I took some photos out the window of our hotel room, which overlooks the river that bisects Seaside.

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In a couple of minutes, after I take my blood test, we're about to head over to the convention. Other people were more eager to attend and were hanging around before the doors opened.

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Lisa is waiting for me, so I'd better get my shoes on and get ready to go.
Seaside

Saturday at Sea-Pac

I have now uploaded lots more photos to my Seaside Photo Set, and I'll be calling out many of them in this post, so don't complain if you click through the cuts below. Today was a pretty good, and eventually pretty lucky day.

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Lisa and I made our way through the dealers and flea market tables. Lisa bought me a new belt-pouch for my mobile phone. We bought the current one from Western Case, who are here every year, but it's getting worn and I could use another one. Lisa bought electronic connectors, odd bits of electronics, and old laptop computer (original Pentium, 2 GB hard drive, Win98 OS) someone was selling for $20, and an unopened installation disk for Windows 2000, the latter being very useful on account of she has a couple of older Win2000 boxes and had no installation CD-ROM, which was worrisome if she needed to re-install the software.

Lisa says that she's not too worried about the small-capacity laptop, because she plans to run it under MS-DOS as it has a 3 1/2-inch floppy drive, and MS-DOS runs like the wind on a Pentium.

Having our hotel just over the bridge was very convenient, because we could carry our stuff back to the hotel room easily. As I mentioned in a previous message, Lisa had parked her pickup truck to show off its best assets.

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Sea-Pac has hourly prize drawings, where they post your name and/or call sign if it's drawn, and you have two hours to pick up your prize or else it's forfeited and goes back into the next draw. This is of course to make sure the attendees stick around and theoretically spend more money. Folks do wander away to have lunch and enjoy the charms of Seaside; however, things get crowded again around 2:30 for the first Special Prize Drawing, for which you must be present on the convention floor and call out quickly if your name comes up or they'll go to the next card in the draw. Prizes consist of radio-related equipment and gift certificates, but also donations from local merchants. In 2007, we won a free hotel night certificate, which I gave to one of my co-workers who lives in Vancouver WA near PDX and who let me park my van at his place for the three weeks Lisa and I were in Japan.

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After the prize drawings, we went out for lunch. We both got a big bread bowl of clam chowder. As we later were looking around Seaside, I realized that every place we've eaten lunch on Saturday of Sea-Pac for the past three years was closed the next year we were there. The latest victim was The Happy Clam located near our hotel. I said to Lisa, "Uh, oh. That means we just killed Bee Bop Burgers!'

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After all of our walking about, we were getting a tad footsore, and besides, it was raining harder, so we went back to the hotel by way of a final pass through the Convention Center. Things were winding down during the 4 o'clock hour. Sea-Pac is one of those events where everyone seems to think you need to be up at the crack of dawn and queued up to get in the door first thing, and the only reason to stay past noon at all is because of the 2:30 drawings.

Demand must be down here at Sea-Pac. Although both ICOM and Yeasu, major radio manufacturers, had their usual booths, a number of the dealers I've seen here each year in the past didn't come. There was one empty booth, and another had someone selling specialty food (things like gluten-free mixes and specialty dip mixes), not radios, radio-related stuff like t-shirts aimed at the radio user, or tech gadgets.

Lisa has shown great patience while I processed photos and wrote this, but we will probably go back out again. I foresee a round of miniature golf in our future, and then probably dinner. We can't stay out too late, even though it's still light out, because unfortunately things close earlier than I would like for what is supposed to be a seaside amusement resort. However, if we're really lucky, we might even get a chance to enjoy the indoor pool and hot tub, which are open until 11 but have signs that say "no children after 10 PM."