Over the past two weeks, we’ve been on our trip to Washington and Oregon to compete in the 2019 FRC competition. We left Alaska March 7th early in the morning. Most students missing school that day to compete. We had a three hour flight from Anchorage, Alaska to Seattle-Tacoma, Washington. We got our bags, and stuffed our two vans full of suitcases. Our first destination, Auburn, Washington. We had a short drive to our hotel, where we unloaded our baggage and got settled in.
That night we went to Panera Bread for dinner. Its been a tradition of our team, and everyone loves it. For some, it is the only time we can visit Panera, as there are no locations in Alaska. We had a group meeting that night to talk about the competition, including a safety presentation, and duty assignments. The next day, competition.
Competition began Thursday afternoon. That morning, we were busy after deciding we needed to get a new tent for our pit. We split into three groups, each assigned to a task. After a few hours of hustling around the city, we gathered back at the hotel before going to compete. The pits were hectic as we walked in. Tools scattered across the ground. The sound of mallets, and drills, at work. It truly was spectacular. We got our pit setup, robot inspected, and ready to compete. To learn more about our first competition, we’ve got a separate journal entry detailing that.
After competition ended, we had some time to kill before our next competition in Oregon. At the hotel we played card games, swam in the pool, and formulated a scavenger hunt to compete in tomorrow. We came up with a list of around 30 challenges, ranging from finding a Tesla, kissing a fish, and photographing the space needle. We began at Pikes place, and had 3 hours to complete everything before meeting at the Amazon Go store. Everyone had fun stories to tell.
Before long, our stay in Washington was over. We packed our vans, and rode to Oregon. Even with 3 vans, tools were crammed into every spot possible, with small cavities cut for our crammed bodies. The seating may not have been the best, but it was well worth it. In only a few hours, we were across the border and in Lake Oswego, Oregon. We checked into our hotel, and got comfortable. That night we went to a social held at the hotel, played card games, and went for a swim.
While our break was nice, we had work that had to be done on the robot. We designated Wednesday night towards robot construction. Our big task: swapping the motors. While easy on paper, it involved stripping most of the inside of the robot to squeeze the shafts out of the chassis. In six hours, we had what we thought to be a functioning robot, although we never got the chance to test all of our mechanisms. The next day, competition once again. We’ve got another journal entry all about the competition, but (spoiler) we walked out with the Engineering Inspiration Award!
That night we celebrated by going to a large mall in Oregon. We ate food at the food court, and got to go shopping at the mall. We were thrilled to have won.
We had a few days left in our journey before heading back to Anchorage, which we spent touring the city, seeing engineering firms, playing games, and exploring Portland. The dreaded day came at last, which we would pack up and head home. We packed up our bags, and had one last dinner together at IKEA before heading home.
All in all, this trip was a fantastic experience. While the robot didn’t function as well as we hoped, we had a great time at competition, and honored to receive our awards. It was a great time for team build, self build, and even some robot building!