Before we started the drive from San Luis Obispo to Fresno, we needed to make a stop for lunch. We had heard that we really needed to check out the Madonna Inn and decided that was the place. What a spot! Built by Alex and Phyllis Madonna back in the 1950’s, the whole inn is decorated above and beyond the norm. Huge stones from the area are built right into the structures and intricate wood carvings are everywhere. Oh, and pink. Lots and lots of pink.
We enjoyed our tasty lunch in this funky setting and then headed out to downtown SLO to check out one last landmark. Bubblegum Alley, is . . . well, an alley that has both walls completely covered in bubblegum. It’s a local tourist destination that is part free-form art project and part “creative littering.” It’s also kind of disgusting. We headed out after that.
Another California drive meant another few hours of amazing scenery. Mountains become wine country, which becomes dry plains, which becomes cityscapes. We’re starting to see why so many people call this state home.
We arrived at our hotel in Fresno just a few hours before our event at 5:30, so we took some time to rest up before getting our game on. We had been hearing some buzz on Facebook that we were going to have some excited fans waiting for us at Crazy Squirrel Games. How right we were!
Jennifer, the owner of Crazy Squirrel, runs a really fun store. The store is cut in half with one side being the well-lit, nicely organized, retail section and the other half an open space with lots of tables for gaming. There are even some tables outside the store, under a covered walkway where players can play in the beautiful California weather!
It was another event where people couldn’t wait for us to get set up before they jumped into our games. We had a lot of gamers anxious to try out Bloodsuckers, since it was still the unknown game in our catalog, so that got started right away. Games of Bears! and The Wizard’s Tower weren’t far behind, and it pretty much didn’t stop until midnight. The gamers were fantastic. We met Mike and Jazz, two fans who brought all their games in to get signed and had determined they weren’t going to leave until they got to play The Wizard’s Tower with the designer. Another gamer, Jen, joined in and we fought those monsters to the last tower . . . and won!
At this point it was time for the Bears! tournament, and we had 14 players that wanted in on it! We split into 2 groups for our semi-final rounds, and from there our first and second place winners from each round went on to the final battle. It might not have been to the death, but there was some pretty fierce dice rolling involved. In the end our winner was Benji, a first-timer at Crazy Squirrel who had the magic touch that night!
A few games later we closed down the store. We took a few minutes to talk with Jen about where she got the name Crazy Squirrel and all the cool events they run at this place. It’s a fantastic community, and you can see all the fun photos and video below. We can’t wait to come back.
Check out the video of our visit here and the interview with Jennifer below.