Supergame trip (Multiple reviews)
I wanted to review a few things, some are directly paintball related, some not as much. I will BOLD everything that is being reviewed.
First off, Enterprise car rental. We have been using them for years now. They have great prices, there is a branch here fairly local (When you have to use public transit for getting around, other side of town is sometimes a bit of a pain), but what is great is that they will come and pick you up. So we rented, a bit last minute, a car for the weekend. We got a pretty good deal of less than $100 for the car, with taxes and fees, from Friday to Monday. We opted for a Standard sized car. Often they will upgrade to something bigger for no additional charge, like last year was a full sized four door truck.
They pick us up
We know what we need to show them to rent a car (Compared to the one year that we tried renting from Hertz/Budget/Avis that needed a plane trip ticket, and didn't tell us until we were up at the counter of the rental agency)
Really nice people to deal with
They were really swamped busy, so no free upgrade this time (Not really their fault, to be honest)
It cost more for insurance than it did to rent the car
Will we use them again? Yep.
The car, a Chrysler 200. Nice enough, based on the Dodge Avenger platform. But a bit small. The cabin could be better designed, as it seems bigger than it really is.
Pretty much all of the bells and whistles that the bigger cars get (Like easy to understand and operate cruise control, and stereo controls on the back side of the steering wheel)
Good gas mileage (We used 3/8's of a tank for the roughly 199+ miles)
Large trunk (We had a full sized Planet Eclipse gearbag, Oakley full sized luggage, Dye gearbag/luggage, tub, and some various markers and a mask in there, with a bit more room still)
Pretty comfortable (Normally, I have a lumbar cushion support that I have to have for long distances, but didn't need this once all weekend)
Cabin interior is small and almost claustrophobic (The center console is rather big, and if you have long legs or want to stretch, anyone in the back seat gets almost no leg room. Also, there is a huge area between the dashboard the actual engine compartment, which makes for a sweeping windshield, but wasted space. The rook is also rather low as well)
Would I own this car: Probably not, as the Nissan Maxima that we have (Just need to get back running) is bigger, with still the same gas mileage.
First stop in Portland was Voodoo Donuts. There are three locations, and are a bit infamous. We went to the original location, which was some kind of a fast food place originally. They have their Voodoo donuts, which is human shaped (Sans legs) with frosting, raspberry jelly filled, and a pretzel stick stuck into it (Generally the heart).
Larger selection of donuts than just about anywhere. Cake donuts, Crullers, Old Fashioned, Creme filled, Jelly filled, and plain old donuts.
Fresher than most other places. They tend to make donuts all day long, and are open 24 hours. So donuts don't sit there for hours before you get to them.
Atmosphere. They have a coffin shaped bench that you can sit on, it's pink inside and out, oldies stuff galore, music playing all times that can span from 50's and 60's to some 90's and 00's alternative.
The people are pretty good with customer service. They don't make you feel like you are a bother to them, and are attentive.
You want to do something really cool with your SO? Get married at Voodoo Donuts. Yep, you can do that.
Cash only. They have an ATM on site that has like a $5 charge to pull money from.
Selection. Did I mention that they have so many donuts that actually picking what you want is difficult?
Price. They can be a bit pricy, and if you buy a dozen donuts, you don't get a discount, unless you let the staff pick what they want.
Will we go back: Yes, most definitely.
From there, we went to pick up something that I ordered from Cameras NW. Small little shop nestled around three five miles west of downtown Portland itself. I can't really give much of a review, as I didn't spend much time there, just picked up the items and left. Bit it seemed like one of those small shops that does a large internet volume, and has people that have a clue about what they are doing.
Then down to drop off my stepdaughter with her Dad, and get some food. We hit up Five Guys in Salem. Now there are quite a few Five Guys, both down in the Portland area (Yes, I know that we were in Salem, which is about an hour south of Portland), and in our neck of the woods. With the exception of one location (Oddly enough closest to where we live), we have always had great service, and awesome food. This was no exception.
Five Guys is great in that they do burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and fries. Other than soda, they don't sell anything else. They also offer you peanuts that you can grab and munch on. They have a wide variety of toppings, so you can really load up your burger if you want.
Will we go back: Yes.
Then to the hotel. It was one of those that when we pulled up, there was some concern. Probably built in the 40's or 50's, meant as a hotel for travelers that needed someplace to stay for a week or two at a time, not just overnight. We stayed at the Travelers Inn. These are the kinds of hotels that time tends to not be kind to. Also the kinds that one might see in your average horror flick.
The manager is Indian (Not to be confused with Native American) with the accent. I kept waiting for him to offer me a Slushie with our stay. (A bit of a joke, but think of Apu from The Simpsons). We got out room, and nicely enough, we were on one side in the back. There were no buildings between ours and the road, so it wasn't all the way in the back, but it was away from the main street. The room was clean, and there were no smells. As I said, this was probably designed for long term travelers, as there was a closet right by the door, full sized pretty much, that they had placed a desk into, and still had a bar to hang stuff up. The bathroom was spacious, and there was a kitchen room. The kitchen had a cabinet with the sink, decently sized, and even a cabinet up on the wall. But it had a refrigerator that was a bit bigger than one for a dorm room, and a microwave. Sharing the room was a table and two chairs.
For a bit more specifics, the room was a two tone of olive green on two walls, and brick maroon on the other two walls. Along the way opposite of the desk area, was the bed, which was rather high. Two tables with lights are on either side of the bed. There is a shelf that is in a corner made by the bathroom and the kitchen that has the TV on it. Now my biggest gripe about the room, before Sunday morning (Which I will get to in a moment) is the electrical outlets. In this day and age, everyone has a cell phone (For the most part) and many people will travel with a tablet or laptop computer. Add in the desire (At the least) to travel with things like MP3 players and cameras, and you can see that one would need easily accessible electrical outlets for charging these items up. This place doesn't really cater to that mentality. In the main room, there are three electrical outlets, the kitchen has two, the bathroom has one. Seems easy enough. But when you are in the main room, one outlet has the two table lamps for the bed plugged into it. A second outlet has the TV and cable box plugged into it. The third outlet is connected to the light switch (The main light is a fluorescent that is mounted high up and on the side of the wall above the door), so when you turn out the lights, power is off to the whole outlet. In the kitchen, one outlet has the microwave and refrigerator plugged into it. I didn't find the second outlet until Saturday night, hiding behind the table, with the lamp in the kitchen plugged in. Incidentally, there is a light switch in the kitchen that does nothing but move up and down. The bathroom was wide open. So the wife unplugged one lamp, to plug in her phone. I had my phone plugged in in the bathroom, as well as my iPod iTouch.
Some nice features are that the shower in the bathroom was decked out with what appeared to be actual marble. Plus a built in shelf for toiletries, while still having a window shelf, but you could not open the window. The air conditioning wasn't any louder than any other that I have dealt with, and even though it was right below the window, and the curtains were fairly light so as to blow up, it worked great, and there was a heavier and more private curtain as well to keep people from seeing whatever that there was so see when the air conditioning was on.
Remember the Sunday morning part? Well, exhausted from a good day on Saturday, we crashed decently soundly that night. But someone got the room next to us, and they decided to party. Woke my wife up. They went until 2 AM or so. She probably should have called the manager, but didn't. Around 6 AM, they started up again. These walls were almost literally paper thin. One could hear every word that they said, and I was easily able to make out that there were two different males and two different females in the room when I was awoken to them in the morning. Wife did call the front desk then. Manager came and talked to them, and about two minutes later (When the coast was clear), they resumed their party. I called a few minutes later, and nothing happened after that. So we packed up and left.
On a side note, I forgot my iPad. We went back to get it. We were able to get it from the housekeeper, but it had been rifled through, things moved in the case, the case broken, and then buried under things in her cart like she was going to take it home if she could.
Overall, we won't stay there again. For $44 a night, I wasn't expecting the Ritz, and it met my expectations for a hotel, but the lack of any soundproofing and the difficulty of getting things plugged in made it less desirable. Although, I found out Saturday night, that it is only a block and a half away from Dan Bonebrakes Indoor field and Pro shop, Warpaint International.
Finally, the main review. I have played in four or so, and just hung out at one in the last five or six years. I had to miss one two years ago due to a working commitment. But every year, it gets better. First off, what is Supergame? It started in the 90's, as simply an Oregon big game. It got people from all over Oregon, and even Washington. I have a video (VHS!!!) of it from years ago. It was in Scappoose, OR, around 30 to 45 minutes mostly north, and a bit west, of Portland. It was an annual event. I am not sure when Dan bought it, but I am guessing somewhere around 2000 or so. Since then, he has Upgraded it from an annual big game, to two per year. Now if I say bi-annual, that implies that they are around six months apart. Which isn't the case. The big one is in May (Lately the first weekend of May), and the second one is in August. So about three or four months later. It is a three day affair with a game on Friday, later in the day and into the evening, a full day on Saturday (Probably the most popular and gets the most people on the field at one time), and around half a day on Sunday. There are raffles (Used to be one big one, now there were three I believe this year) with a whole lot of prizes. By a whole lot, I remember hearing that one of the prizes was a package that included a Geo (Most likely a Geo3), gearbag, mask, Tiberius Arms Pistol, and some other goodies. One gets one ticket when they register, and can buy many more tickets throughout the day. They do a raffle on Saturday, and one on Sunday. Not sure about Friday, maybe someone else can fill that part in. I know that Super Stanchy has posted up about making a double barrel Ion (Nasty Ion) with custom stock and making it a hoseless design. It was his first ever, and may be the the only one ever, and it was raffled off on Sunday. Proceeds from the raffle tickets sold, as well as portion of the entry, are always donated to a charity. I am sure that enough folks have seen this years.
The idea of the games is that there are several bases, and at some specific point, they announce the "IT" base, and you have battles to control it. At the end of an hour, whatever team has the "IT" base, gets the points, and the next "IT" base is announced. But towards the end, they stop the game. Give everyone around 30 minute break, and prep for the final battle. The final battle is held on what is called the DMZ. It is a large, around five or six acres, bit of the field right next to the staging and vendor area. Instead of relying upon trees and brush, it has boxes, buildings, forts, stockades, trenches, and so on. For the final battle, the DMZ is the "IT" base. And they limit the field to the DMZ. So you have 1000+ people on around six acres of land, hammering the heck out of each other for an hour. It is quite compressed, so you almost are standing shoulder to shoulder with members of your team, shooting at the other team. Pretty nuts, and lots of fun.
Sunday, it's the Spoils of War, where when you control a base, it isn't so much for the points, as every hour, everyone on that team, that controls the base, gets a beaded necklace. Think Mardi Gras, for paintball, without the showing of boobs (Rather a good thing in many cases). There are no "IT" bases, so it basically runs off of who has what base. The beads are important for the players (Imagine a guy in full ghillie with these bright metallic necklaces hanging from their neck...) because they get to turn them in for additional raffle tickets on Sunday. Also, if I remember correctly, their team gets points as well, for each necklace, handed in from each team.
The Supergame gets bigger and bigger every year as well. Tanks. There were barely any when I first started going, and often, they were neutral, placed on whatever team needed the help, along with Renegade players. Now, there are generally three to five tanks per team, ranging from something based off of a lawnmower (DBS from Everett, WA looked like it fit this category) to the old Spec Ops Razorback (Team Feel The Paint now owns this) to full sized vehicles used by teams Moongobbie Brothers (However you spell their name) and Walk Ons. There is a tank battle that takes place on Friday evening.
And the trade show. It keeps getting bigger and bigger. From small stuff, like a booth shared by FogDoc, Dan Bacci, and Paintball Tek, and a production booth used by Hellfish TV, to much bigger setups from two local stores, Gearheadz Paintball and Impact Sportz (I think that they were the huge store in the middle of the vendor area across from Gearheadz). At some point, Dan may have to move the vendor area specifically to it's own village away from the DMZ.
From a personal standpoint, purely for me here, Supergame is the IT event for me. I have made a number of friends, and many that I consider family, from paintball players and teams over the years. These are the kind of people that when I get to see them, it is a handshake and a "How are you doing?" kind of response. This is the great big hug followed with a "Great to see you!!!" response. I can't think of anyone that I knew going into Supergame that we didn't do just that. Okay, there is one person, and if you know Todd Glidewell from 907 Paintball, then you may be able to imagine what our greeting was.
But this is big time family fun with lots of awesome paintball. I brought my step daughter to her first paintball experience three years ago to Supergame, and she played her first actual bit of paintball last year. This year, well, 13 year old females have all sorts of different idea and priorities. But my own daughter has been out to Supergame with me. And as much as I play the protective Dad, I can't think of better people for her to hang out with than the people that we see and meet every year at Supergame.
Supergame is becoming the West Coast version of the Oklahoma D-Day, or Living Legends, or even ION. It is growing, enough to show me that not only is it not going to go away, but it helps it build on all aspects that make it what it is. This years new fort was built in memory of a local player who passed away, Smeed. The game was also in his honor.
Will I go back? Oh hell yeah!!! Even the bad weather can't keep me away (We had moments of torrential downpour one year. It would be overcast for an hour, then for 10 minutes, it would come down like it had not rained. Only to stop and be dry and overcast again for another hour.), and I look forward to Supergame with all of my soul every year.
As an end, if you have have stuck through everything here so far, the wife and I hit up a small desert shop in Salem. Konditorei is located in the older downtown portion, off of Kerney Street. Cakes, torts, cheesecakes, and many other wonderful goodies are available in this shop. Oddly enough, it was warmer inside the shop than outside. We got a Black and White Chocolate Tort, and it was wonderful. If you are in the Salem area, and ice cream won't cut it for a desert, go to them. For $5, it was less than going to Cheesecake Factory, for the same size desert.
Will we go back: If we are in the area, yes. But not to make a special trip there.
I guess that last part wasn't the end, this is. There is a small chocolate shop in Portland, Cacao. This place is our holy Mecca. Every time that we come to Portland, we make sure to go there. This shop specializes in chocolate. Other than some Frans Chocolate from Seattle, everything is imported from Madagascar, and Central and South America. The main reason that we go there is to get drinking chocolate. They take milk and cream, and 50/50 mix them. Warm it up. Then they melt down nice dark chocolate. They mix the dark chocolate with the 50/50 mix, and keep in nice and warm and mixing. This is the Rivoli Dark, but they also do a Cinnamon Infused Milk Chocolate and a Dark and Spicy (Cayenne pepper added to the dark). When you get it, you can get a shot or a standard. I always get the standard, and this has become a ritual for me. I basically force myself to relax, and then slowly sip away any problems that I may have. All is well for me in the world at this point in time. And if there is any traffic to deal with, it's not a big deal at all.
Will we go back: You have to ask?