Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 2: The City of Flagstaff

For the first real day of the con, I figured it would be a good idea to actually explore the town itself. At an elevation of over 7,000 ft, it's actually cool enough there to spend time outside.

The city of Flagstaff is a pretty old town, located along historic Route 66, the highway that once connected Chicago to Los Angeles before the Interstate system made travel easier.

The town survives now thanks to tourism (due to proximity to the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, and several other natural landmarks), astronomy, and Northern Arizona University (since if you're going to go to school in Arizona, you might as well go where the summers won't kill you).

Flagstaff has lots of things you'd expect from a commercial town, like fast food and Outback Steakhouses, etc. However, the downtown area is more or less preserved, retaining its historic look with pedestrian-friendly shops, art galleries, and restaurants. So, everyone parked there and explored.

One of the most notable things about the downtown area is that it's bisected by a very active railroad. Multiple times each hour you'll get to watch as a train goes by along the tracks, heading east or west along Interstate 40.

The downtown area was bustling, and there were lots of curious shops around. Some of the guys at the con were planning a Pokemon TCG draft tournament, so when I saw a Magic the Gathering poster on a door in an alleyway I figured I'd go in and see if they had any deals on Pokemon cards.

The door took me into a hallway that felt a bit like an old hospital or apartment building. After walking a little ways, I found some signs pointing toward one suite or another where people had set up shop in this rickety old building. There seemed to be nobody else in the building, so it was a bit disconcerting. Still, after walking down a flight of stairs, going through a set of doors, and then down another hallway I found the shop I was looking for. It contained lots of sports cards, old action figures and collectibles, and a selection of MtG cards, but no Pokemon. The shop owner seemed shy, almost surprised to see me. I kind of felt bad for leaving without buying anything.

Anyway, I also got some Barbeque from a place in the basement of another building, as fell as some candy and fudge from a candy store. It was a good day.

I had planned to visit the Lowell Observatory that night, but for some reason the place closed a half an hour or so after sunset (probably because it was Monday), so it hardly seemed worth it. Instead, we all went back home and enjoyed each other's company for the rest of the night.


  1. Have you drafted Pokemon before? Magic Draft is now my favorite way to play the game, but drafting Pokemon seems fundamentally different.

    1. I haven't played it, no. I'm actually completely uncertain how it works. I kinda wish I had watched or participated, but I was always preoccupied.