GAME # 20
Saturday, September 28, 2013

California Golden Bears: 1-2
@ #2 Oregon Ducks: 3-0

Autzen Stadium
Eugene, Oregon

Trip Dates 9/26/2013 – 9/29/2013
School University of Oregon
Visiting Team California Golden Bears
Pre-game Record: 1-2
Home Team Oregon Ducks
Pre-game Record: 3-0
Game Time (ET) 10:30 PM Eastern
Weather 62 & Very Heavy Rain 25mph winds (Typhoon Pabuk)
Attendees Jarrett, Al, & Brett
Jarrett’s Pick Oregon Ducks
(11 and 8 record)
Al’s Pick Oregon Ducks
(8 and 11 record)
Attendance 56,987
Capacity 54,000
TV Pac12 Network
Length of Game 3:25
Seat Location Goal Line, Row 82
Miles Traveled 5,285
Photo Album Click here for the Oregon Photo Album
The Oregon trip can be summed up with one line from the movie Rounders uttered by John Malkovich as Teddy KGB, “Just like a young man, coming in for a quickie. I feel so unsatisfied…”

Oregon was THE trip I had been looking forward to since before the quest was a twinkle in my eyes. I should have known that it would be bitter disappointment. Do not get me wrong, this trip was fun. But it was not as much fun as I had hoped it would be. It did not live up to the hype I had built in my own mind. Some of this was uncontrollable factors (like a typhoon) and some was people letting us down (I am looking at you Oregon athletic department and Andy McNamara). Other parts of the trip had unexpected surprises. But on the whole, disappointment.

I should mention that I am writing this with a fever, a very sore throat, and generally feeling like crap. This is most likely due to sitting in a typhoon, traveling home in very wet shoes, and a complete lack of sleep the past 3 days. But I will get to all that.

Scheduling and Other Pre Trip Stuff
Our story begins, as it always does, on scheduling day. I was finally able to break Al down and get him to commit to an Oregon trip. Every year I propose some itinerary that includes Oregon. Every year Al nixes it. This year, success! Oregon made it to the schedule and it only cost me my first born. Just kidding as Al already has 3 kids and I think any more and we will need to obtain weekend passes from Belleview to continue the Quest. If Al announces another pregnancy this is going to look bad in print.

So fast forward to summer when I reach out to the Oregon athletic department about our trip. I am going to skip the details as our process is more closely guarded than the formula to Coca-Cola. Wait, I meant New Coke. But needless to say, after follow up and back and forth, the welcome we got was thanks for coming, don’t let the door hit you on your way home. Actually it was worse, because we were offered something and then at the last minute it was withdrawn due to unavailability of staff. You knew we were coming in July! Thanks for nothing University of Oregon Athletic Department. Actually, thanks for stringing us along!

We should have seen this for the foreshadowing that it was.

Anyway, we depart Thursday on a 3:45 pm flight. Thank you. Finally a flight not requiring us to get up at 3am. That would have to wait until the flight home. Departure was Delta Terminal 4 from JFK, aka the international terminal. Al remarked that he should just go to London. Why, I have no idea, but I said that the weather may be the same. Boy was I wrong, I will take the weather in London any day over Eugene. Note to self: avoid Terminal 4 at JFK as the walk to our gate was about 5 miles, much like Heathrow. What is with the London references?

By the way, to all the travelers out there, the TSA PreCheck program is awesome. I am in love. But nobody sign up, I don’t want those lines (or lack thereof) to get busy. I love zipping through with shoes on, leaving everything in my bag, etc. Kind of like flying used to be before the theater that airport security has become. I hope everyone realizes that we are no safer now that we get stripped searched at security, just a little less dignity. Anyway…TSA PreCheck is so chocie. If you have the means, I highly recommend joining. {Name that movie}. I will now never voluntarily fly JetBlue until they adopt PreCheck.

Flight Notes
• The airline pricing model is all wrong. They should charge for overhead bin space and not for checked bags. That will stop it from taking 30 minutes to board a plane.
• The Matthew Berry book Fantasy Life is excellent. If you are even a casual fan of fantasy sports, it is a must read.
• A thank you to all my seat mates on these flights for not stinking to high heaven like on my last flight to Gainesville.
• Heidi Klum is everywhere.
• At some point in the flight we realized that in the Pacific time zone, college football Saturdays start at 9am. In my youth that would suck, but now with kids, sleeping late means sleeping until 7am, so football at 9am is awesome. I used to think I could not live on the West Coast because of this, now I see it’s brilliance.

Now waiting for our connecting flight to Eugene, we overhear a conversation involving a 5 year old daughter, crossbows, and hunting. I guess we are not in Kansas anymore, or wait, are we? Anyway, I can not relate to that conversation and we will leave it at that.

After a brief 2 hour 45 minute layover in Salt Lake City, it was onto the prop plane and Eugene. Nope it was a jet, but I scared Al by even writing that line.

On a 2×2 plane from Salt Lake to Eugene, there was only one person (other than Al) on the flight in Ducks gear. Welcome to not the SEC. Al had purchsed Oregon gear in advance so he would have it to wear on the flight. Maybe this should be added to the pre trip checklist. But a large boooooo to Al, who did not make the should be customary announcement on the plane about our Quest and the trip to Eugene. This should be standard on all flights into small towns dominated by a large University.

At this point, I should mention that we had a Guester on this trip. Brett Witrick my wife’s seventh cousin eight times removed has joined us on this trip. You will remember Brett from the Boston College trip report as he was the BW who hosted us. Now that he is a Guester, he gets a full name mention.

And it is relevant here because when we arrive in Eugene we pickup the rental car, a Ford Mustang convertible. Really? We get the convertible in the Pacific Northwest where the forecast calls for a 100% chance of rain? Really? But the relevance is that normally we have a four door sensible car when it is just Al and I. Now with a third person, we get the two door, virtually no back seat Mustang. Welcome to the Quest, Brett, welcome. And enjoy eating your knees.

Anyway, we head to the hotel, a Best Western. The hotel is a three story walk up with parking spaces that only a mini cooper could fit into.

Breakfast & Campus Tour
Fortunately, our Guester brought perks with him on this trip, in the form of a cousin (on a different side of the family) who attends the University of Oregon. We shall call her EM. EM has offered to show us around, otherwise it would not be much of a perk that Brett brought to the table. But Brett is still in the mode of trying to stay on our good side so he can continue to be a Guester, as he is also joining us on the Ole Miss trip in October.

EM picks us all up (in her two door car) to head to breakfast at a place called Glenwood Restaurant. Did you know that in Eugene it is ok to park right in the middle of the street. Actually, the huge bike lane makes it appear as if it is the middle of the street but it really isn’t. But it was something we never got used to. But I digress.

Breakfast was excellent and everyone was in Ducks gear. I was in my usual Friday Gator gear. Brett’s obsession with pork sausage is something that will need to be addressed when we get back to NY.

As a Guester, Brett will soon learn that he needs to process his thoughts via his brain on Quest trips. Things said when bypassing the brain tend to end up memorialized forever on the Quest website. A perfect example of this is “we were on the same flight but in different seats”. Really? How many times are you on the same flight, in the SAME seat. Welcome to the Quest, Brett. Also, you should be able to pinpoint your mothers age better than somewhere between 50 and 65. Ellen, please call Brett directly to discuss.

After breakfast it was onto the bookstore for the usual donation to the local economy. It should be noted that the bookstore is Brett’s favorite thing because he “just loves buying stuff”. I confirmed that the game was to be a green out, so Brett bought a yellow Oregon jersey.

After shopping, EM provided us with a campus tour, complete with all the Animal House stops. For those unaware, the movie Animal House was filmed at the University of Oregon after being denied permission to film at the University of Missouri. Other fun facts about Animal House…

The President of the University of Oregon only allowed this movie to be filmed on that campus because he decided he did not know how to read screenplays. In 1967 (at another University) he had received the screenplay for a movie but had denied it permission to film there. That movie was The Graduate and he liked that movie so much that he decided he didn’t want to miss another opportunity, so he allowed Animal House to be filmed on the University of Oregon campus. But he insisted that the college’s name not be listed in the film’s credits.

Over three decades ago the University of Oregon tried, unsuccessfully, to hide its participation in Animal House. Today, the film has become part of the culture of the University—a part of its brand. Movie locations are pointed out on campus tours, and Otis Day and the Knights’ rendition of “Shout” is sung at Duck football games. People in Eugene and Cottage Grove take pride in having helped create a classic American comedy.

EM provided a very thorough tour and we probably saw more of the University of Oregon campus than we have at any other school. Some tour observations:
• Al figured there would be a lot of [insert nationality here – it has been redacted to be somewhat politically correct – or at least to not get me blackballed at Hop Sing’s]. I have no idea where he comes up with these brilliant utterances, but that is some place that I do not what to ever go.
• Al again being politically correct states… “They all look the same” referring to women on the Oregon campus. What a sexist pig he is. But dammit, he is our sexist pig. On second thought….he’s yours.
• The University of Oregon has more tight leggings, yoga pants, or similar per capita than any other school we have visited, and that is not a bad thing….most of the time.
• At 12pm Friday it starts raining.
• All campus sports facilities locked up tight. There was no getting on the football field, in the stadium, or in the basketball arena.

More Food & Touring
EM had some personal things to attend to, so we broke for lunch at Track Town Pizza. Quite an acceptable pizza place for not NY. I will freely admit that I am a NY pizza snob. NY pizza is simply the best and nothing else is close. So there. I do like Chicago deep dish as well. But again, I digress.

After lunch we met again with EM and went to see Pre’s Rock. For the full story of Steve Prefontaine, please see Singerpedia, but it is sufficient to know that he is an Oregon track legend. The University of Oregon is a well known track school and has hosted the Olympic trials in track and field.

Friday Night Frivolity
We then picked up EM’s roommate from her sorority house, where she was hard at work (this will be explained shortly), for a drink before going out drinking. First stop was the First National Tap House, housed in a former bank. A former roommate joined us and we were 6 for drinks. The First National Tap House uses a variable pricing model for their beers on tap with a large board posted of the ever changing prices. Interesting concept. I was curious if you could buy beer futures for next week, but I think that is a little too advanced for a college bar.

Well, it is now that I must nominate EM’s roommate (let’s call her KR), for the hall of fame in the category of “Most funny statements/stories in the shortest amount of time.” Here we go:
• In the car on the way to First National Tap House, KR stated “I am not a lightweight”.
• After half a drink, “This is going to my head”.
• “I was hard at work at the sorority house. I worked 10-4 talking to girls.” I know talking to girls can be exhausting, but I would not exactly call it work until after you are married.
• KR relayed a story in which she ended up with a fat lip and woke up in another girls clothes. But she had no idea how she got there. Needless to say, we had a few thoughts. KR yada yada’d the best part.
• Al, feeling left out, got a few of his own in, which included “Soft is not good” and “Did it pump?”
• KR was called a “Campus Legend” by four different people. By this point we knew better than to ask why.
Well, after the rucous settled down, it was time to move onto The Bier Stein for dinner. The Bier Stein was definately reminiscient of a German beer garden. Good food, good drink, very funny stories from the group.

At this point the former roommate left us to go hang out with the audio visual club instead of drinking with us…..maybe that is why she isn’t a roommate anymore?

On the way back to EM’s, Brett had another bypass the brain moment, when he uttered “Is that a Safeway?” about a store that could not possibly be marked any clearer or bigger as a Safeway. KR proving her adept skill beat all of us to “No, it’s a WalMart.” Well done, KR, well done.

After hanging out at EM’s for a few to allow EM and KR to prep for going out, it was onto the local bar scene. We went to Taylor’s and one or two other places whose names elude me. At some point, we wandered the mile or so back to the hotel, while watching a few 60 year old men hit on college girls along the way. If that ever becomes us, put me out of my misery and shoot me.

As an aside, is it an Oregon law that every place that serves alcohol have out self service water jugs? It certainly seemed like it.

Football in Bed
At some point we woke up the next morning and the beauty that is pacific time hit us as we flipped on the TV and alas, college football. You have got to love football in bed on a Saturday morning. But at some point we had to get up and find some food.
Pre Game
The group deferred to my pre trip research and we set out to find Hawaiin Time, a Hawaiin BBQ place. It was not exactly in the center of town by the University, but it was well worth it. Excellent food and highly recommended. As a plus, they carried waffles from a place called Off the Waffle which was also on my research list. Also excellent! Yummy!

More Brett antics..see picture at right of Brett describing parking while using food as props. Nice!

After lunch we set out to find a liquor store so we could bring supplies to the tailgate that EM invited us to. This should have been easier to find but after google maps tried to send us down some one way alleys and back lots, we ended up finding what we needed.

It was back to the hotel to get into game mode and watch the LSU / Georgia game. Once that game was decided, we set out to find EM and her tailgate. The walk to Autzen Stadium was very cool. Autzen is on the opposite side of a river from the University. The path to the stadium is through a park, over a footbridge, and then through the woods, where you emerge and are staring at Autzen and a gigantic O on the side. Awesome approach!

We find EM and her tailgate. No offense EM, but that does not cut it for us. It was simply a bunch of college kids drinking in the back of a pickup. We scouted out the tailgate scene and saw what we needed. An awesome BBQ setup in a tailgate just across the way. This setup was huge.

We introduced ourselves and had a few great conversation with the hosts. The tailgate was hosted by a federal judge and his wife and brother. In attendance were some federal prosecutors and state troopers. They were really doing it right. It was make your own hot dog bar with all the fixins’. But the real star was the grill they had that was custom made just for tailgating at Ducks games. It was built with wheels and its own trailer hitch so that the grill is towed wherever it is wanted. Very cool! Nice job guys and thanks for hosting three travelers from NY. And we hope to meet up with you in Memphis or wherever. And it was after spending an hour or so at this tailgate where Brett used his brain and said “This is so cool. I want to come on all Quest trips”.

FYI – Did you know that the Oregon mascot is named Cuddles? I hear they wanted to rename it Hugs & Kisses but it got voted down.

The Game
It was time to make our way into Autzen Stadium, where the chance of rain was 100%. On the way, Al made the best investment of his entire life, and I do not use the word investment loosely. That investment was a $3 poncho. As we sat down in our seats, I noticed that Autzen has the most spacious seating of any stadium thus far. The seats were benches, but there was plenty of room in each seat and the next row was not right on top or in front of you.

I did not have long to be comfortable because soon after reaching our seats, the typhoon began. Steady, hard driving rain with 25 mph winds. I thought I was prepared. I brought the real raincoat with me from NY, because the forecast was for rain. But it did not take long for my rain gear to be nothing but a way to trap the rain in. Within a few minutes, the rain had penetrated through 4 layers to my entire body. I might as well have been in a pool.

The game kicked off and it was a rout. Oregon scored early and often. California’s 1Q drives were 4 fumbles, 1 interception, a punt and a turnover on downs. Oregon scored 4 TD’s. At the end of the 1Q it was 27-0. Cal could just not hold onto the ball.

While the temperature was mild, when you are soaked through all your clothes and the wind is blowing 25mph, you get cold. Every part of my body was soaked. Oregon scored twice at the start of the 2Q to go up 41-0. At this point we made a critical decision. We left the game.

The Quest had never left a game early and I hope we never do again. But it was just not worth sitting out in the typhoon any longer, so with 3 minutes left in the 2Q, we left.

Upon returning to the hotel, we all peeled off our clothes. We ran out of places to hang up all the wet articles of clothing. Al’s poncho paid off as he was not nearly as wet as I was, and thus he managed to avoid getting sick. I had to lay out my money as it was drenched and it looked like a counterfeit operation. But the biggest problem was the shoes. Al and I each only brought one pair. And they were never going to dry in time for us to wear them to out 6am flight home. The nearest laundry facility was a few buildings away in a nearby hotel, but by the time we ran back, they would be soaked again. Big props to Brett and his overpacking, as he had 2 pairs of shoes and was not forced to travel home sans footwear.
A Little Sleep
As all late games on tv were blowouts, we decided to get a few hours of sleep before the 4am wake up to make our 6am flight. Al opted to go barefoot the entire way home. He was smarter than I (A sentence I thought I would never write and damn well better never write again). I opted to start off in wet sneakers which made my socks and feet soaked. That lasted until Salt Lake City where I dried off and went with just dry socks the rest of the way to my front door. As an aside, travel on Sunday being able to access the Red Zone Channel can not be underestimated.
And all that combined with lack of sleep is probably why I am miserably sick as I write this. My wife asked two things
1. Do you cross off Oregon even though you left early? Yes we do, as we were able to experience what we wanted and while our Autzen Stadium and Athletic Department experience was a miserable one, the rest of the trip was quite nice.
2. Was it worth it? Right now I am on the fence and I do not remember ever being this tired. I am sure that in hindsight and even deep down, the answer is absolutely.
Random trip notes:
• We opted against an Oregon volleyball game to hang with our hosts, a Quest first
• School was not even in session. Oregon is on the quarter system, so our trip coincided with freshman move in weekend. It is odd to be so far into football season where a school has not even started.
• EM quote to me “I thought you didn’t like me, but then I realized that you are just a sarcastic person.” In the name of personal growth, I will need to work on that. Because while I do like the sarcastic and in my mind witty and ironic personality, I need to be careful how that comes across, because I never want people to feel that I don’t like them when I do. If I don’t like you, then tough s***.
• Another Quest first, when presented with the opportunity to gamble, we didn’t. Pre trip research indicated that Eugene has poker rooms. My plan was to go from the game, to the poker room, to the flight home, as it was not worth a few hours sleep when we could gamble. But being soaked in a typhoon changed that.
• Al notes that missing the poker room was a BAD idea as he has subsequently gone to Vegas and gambled for 5 nights in a row. Because he did not get it out of his system, he has gambled his mortgage money in Vegas.
• On a separate note, Might I have a gambling problem? I am going with no, because if I did I would not have been able to resist the temptation of the Eugene poker scene.
Upon reading this write up, my wife comments, “I am reminded that I do not need to ask you about your trips because I get to experience them in full detail (more than I wish at times) when I read these write ups. Maybe if you did write ups in your daily life, I would not have to ever ask you questions! Tempting I am sure.”

Oregon would go on to a 10-2 record with losses to Stanford and Arizona. This would be good enough for a second place finish in the Pac12 North behind Stanford. A disappointing result for a team that had national championship hopes at the start of the season. The Ducks would throttle Texas in the Alamo Bowl 30-7.

California finished 1-11 with the only win coming against Portland State. Enough said.


Photo Gallery
For our Oregon photo album, Please click here. You can view as a collage or run as a slideshow. There are comments to explain what is in the photo but most are self explanatory. Thanks to Google, I can no longer embed the slide show with comments.