Outdoor Retailer (OR) is an amazing trade show that happens twice a year in Salt Lake City, winter and summer. Cache Advance has attended for many years, and even exhibited three times. The show is closed to the public; only qualified buyers and sellers in the Outdoor Retail industry can attend.  This is the show that folks like REI attend to buy items for their stores.

This winter Lisa (our CEO) and J.D. (our Custom Coin Project Manager) headed down to OR to attend some great retail educational sessions, and to go shopping! OR is the best place to connect with all the vendors and see all the latest and greatest in gear, clothing and gadgets in the outdoor industry.

Our main goal was to find awesome new gear for the Cache Cave, and both of our monthly subscription boxes:  Cache Crate (http://cachecrate.com) and The Outside Box (www.theoutsidebox.com). Also on the list was to attend some educational sessions and do some networking. Oh and beer, Utah actually has some nice beers (and a few good whiskeys too).

OR-Eve-montage
Here is Eve back in her 'booth babe' days at some previous OR shows.

Day 1, Tuesday January 5th 2016:
Dawn broke cold, clear and very icy in Spokane as we packed up the car and made our way out of town for the 12 hour drive to SLC. We found out later that day that an airplane actually slid off the runway at the Spokane International Airport and closed the airport so we’re really glad that we drove! Plus we had our trusty 15 year old Border Collie, Eve, with us. OR is a dog friendly show and Eve has attended many times. She is the best booth babe ever. Eve is retired now so this show she’ll be chilling in the hotel room while we wander the aisles and network.

Not much else to report, it was a long and somewhat snowy drive over 4 major passes including the continental divide, and we didn’t even find any caches! We have taken this route quite a few times and found most of the caches at the good stopping points and didn’t want to dally. We arrived well after dark and settled in just north of SLC.

Day 2, Wednesday January 6th 2016:
We met up with J.D.’s sister, Rachel, and her son for breakfast. Coincidently they were travelling from Mexico to Montana (a major move!) and driving right past us today! After a fun breakfast we said out goodbyes and headed downtown to The Leonardo Museum (http://www.theleonardo.org/) for the afternoon to attend RISE: Retail Inspired Specialty Excellence (https://outdoorindustry.org/events/rise/). This event was invitation only, and we were honored to be invited! We got to connect with many other outdoor specialty retailers (think fishing, guiding, and outdoor gear stores) for an afternoon of learning.

GeotourUtah

The highlight of the day was finding Utah GeoTour - Salt Lake - GEO AT THE LEO (GC 63R5H)! This GeoTour cache was actually inside the Leonardo Museum, and it was fun to explore and eventually find it. We found a few other nearby caches afterwards in a nice walk in the rain.

Day 3, Thursday January 7th 2016:

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Top: Honey Stinger: Met them last year too and have included their waffles in the Cache Crates. Look for more from them in the future! Bottom Right: Green Goo: Used to be Sierra Sage, but changed their name. We've included many of their products in both Cache Crates and The Outside Box. Bottom Left: UST-Great survival gear, also in both boxes.

Day 3 for us was actually Day 1 of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market tradeshow. We spent most of the day in ‘The Ballroom’ where new and smaller vendors exhibit all their new wares. We also attended a few more educational sessions. One has to keep abreast of all the new trends, tech and best practices!

Dinner was at one of our favorite haunts, Squatter’s Pub and Brewery (http://www.squatters.com/). We snuck over early so we just beat the dinner crowds, and then made it back to the Salt Palace to drop in on the Industry Party that evening. On the way we made quick work of Grandma's March #3 (GC54Q3H), and then took Eve for a nice long walk (for her) around our hotel area.

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Yes, the makers of the original "Bison". Great folks that we have worked with for many years. The red and green 'Bison Balls' in December's Cache Crate was from them!

Day 4, Friday January 8th 2016:
We spent most of the day in the southern part of the main showroom at OR, and also touring the vendors in the main hallway. This included Bison Designs, the original makers of the ‘Bison’. Using Yelp we found a great Chinese restaurant, Joy Luck, for dinner. I never would have guessed it was even there, as it was rather an industrial area north of our hotel. Afterwards we managed to roll out and find a few caches, including a virtual!

Day 5, Saturday January 9th 2016:
For our final day at OR we arrived a little earlier to finish walking the main showroom. It went quicker than I had planned as much of the northern end was shoe and clothing vendors (like Keen, Sorrel, Hi-Tec, Teva, Columbia, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware) and also snow sport vendors (such as K2, The North Face, Scott, Polartec, Smartwool and Salomon) all of which we love to look at, but don’t do much business with them.

So this gave us extra time to visit with all the non-profits that also exhibit on the mezzanine level. One of our values at Cache Advance is environmental stewardship of our playground (the earth) and our community. We have been corporate partners with Leave No Trace for years, and got to visit with some of their team along with many other non-profit folks.

After finishing the entire show, we hiked down to Whiskey Street (http://www.whiskeystreet.com/) to, well, have a whiskey and beer, and an early dinner. Then it was back to our car, and a fun couple of geocaches on the hike back: Six Flags...of SLC (GC2YBN) and one of the cutest LPCs we’ve found: Golden Violin (GC1HQ6).

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We also swung through the Visitor’s Center to visit the Salt Lake City Travel Bug Hotel (there). I bought a souvenir and attached it to a newly activated Cache Crate Cachekinz (TB7G3Y7) and launched it in the TB hotel.

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Day 6, Sunday January 10th 2016:
Today was all about getting home, and trying to listen to the Seahawks game on the radio out in the middle of nowhere… We had some areas of no coverage, but we did manage to hear most of the game, including the missed field goal at the end –wow what a game! The roads were clear and the day was sunny, but we arrived home well after sunset, and cacheless for the day after DNFing the one that we tried for due to too much snow.

Now to sort through all the cool stuff we found and make connections with some great new vendors! Thanks for coming along with us to the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market by reading this trip report. 2016 is off to a great start!!

by J.D. Parkman, Custom Coin Project Manager

In my last post I talked about the great time I had at Geocoinfest 2015.  I also hinted at an interview with one of the organizers.  Here it is and I think it is great as Brady Holmes (bjmccacher) provides all sorts of insights on preparing for and holding a major event. 

In the picture above, Brady is on the far left.  Continuing to the right we see the rest of the committee members Steve Skalak (whichwaydidigo), Coby Boring (TwoFingersDown), Jason Judt (GeoJudt), Andrew Duschene (8601delphinium), and Dave Sanderson (TeamDAAK).  Enjoy the interview on how this gang put it all together!

(Not entirely positive but I'm giving credit for the photo to Keith Petrus, TheFTFGuy of FTF Geocacher - the magazine for Geocachers,   www.ftfgeocacher.com.  He's the cool guy who put up with my fold early/fold often strategy sitting next to me at the poker event!)

CA: Who hatched the idea of hosting a Geocoinfest?

BH: While multiple of us on the committee dreamed of hosting a mega, we really didn’t know it was possible until Jason Judt presented the idea of putting in a bid for Geocoinfest. We actually put in a bid for 2014, and were passed up, but then won the bid for 2015!

CA: How was the committee formed?

BH: Jason originally choose the “most addicted” coiners in Nebraska to join the committee, and then he added a couple others that had some special skill sets that we knew we would need to pull this mega event off.

CA: How does the bidding process for the event work?

BH: For Geocoinfest each year, Mark Clemens announces that he is looking for potential bids for the next year. You then have to provide info like a venue, hotel info, and airport info. It’s the bidder’s responsibility to put the bid together how they want. Early on in our bid process, we decided we wanted the wow factor on every portion of our Mega, so our bid, was very well done. Our bid was put together by Jason, and it was basically a movie with music.

CA: Nice!

CA: When did the committee learn that Geocoinfest was awarded to Nebraska?

BH: We found out sometime July of 2014, that we would host Geocoinfest 2015. We started our coin process immediately, and we still didn’t get them in until the week before the event! Just a heads up to all mega event planners, START EARLY!!!

CA: How long does the process take from application to approval?

BH: We applied in 2014, and finished behind Houston. So it was about a 2.5 year process for us. Honestly, losing that first year, was probably for the best, because it allowed us more time to plan even a bigger and better event.

CA: I remember in Houston when the announcement was made for Omaha that you guys came parading through the room wearing your T-shirts, handing out balsa wood airplane kits, and launching assembled versions about the room.   Now I don’t solve mysteries for a living but that told me you already had the awesome venue in the bag.  Is that true?

BH: Absolutely! We signed the venue up sometime midyear 2014. We were lucky enough to get a little support from our state Geocaching organization – Nebraskache. Their donation allowed us to pay the deposit for the SAC Museum. When we walked into the venue, we knew immediately, that it was what we had to have. As I mentioned before, that WOW factor was part of our goal, and we knew this was the right location. Having the airplane in the hangar, was just another piece of the puzzle.

CA: Was it hard to arrange the Strategic Air and Space Museum for the venue?

BH: Not at all! We signed a contract over a year before our event! Of course there are always little hiccups, their event planner switched careers about a year before our event. So we had to regroup, and work out all the details with the new event planner. She was great to work with, and made things very easy on us!

CA: How did the committee for the event work?  Was each person assigned a task like “You, book the SASM.  You, find a place to hand out registrations.  You, make breakfast…” 

BH: We had a few pre-assigned. One member was in charge of all the volunteers, so he basically handled the registration table. Another was in charge of the workshops, so he stayed in that area. A few of them, handled everything else, and me personally, I socialized, it’s what I’m best at!!!

CA: I have been a vendor at many mega events.  You guys made vendors feel welcome, important, and we were well taken care of.  I lost count of how many times a representative came around asking if we needed anything.  This had to be a conscious decision by the committee.  Talk about how you guys came to this conclusion and why you implemented such an awesome caretaking plan.  

BH: I take this as a complete honor that you are saying this! It was my biggest goal of the day, was to make sure you all were taken care of. One of the reasons we wanted an option for food on site, was when we travel to other megas, we notice that vendors cover each other’s booths so they can go eat. We really wanted to give them all an option so they didn’t have to leave if they didn’t want to. We also felt with food onsite, with the amazing venue, that maybe our attendees would stay on site all day, which would help the vendors sell more product. Megas aren’t megas without the vendors. Priority number 1 – take care of them!!!

CA: Ya hear that people!  Start EARLY and take care of the vendors, LOL!

CA: The coin sets were indeed spectacular.  Detail for us how many different coin designs you guys created. 

BH: Personally, I have never designed a coin, neither have 3 other members on our committee! 2 of our members, have designed personal coins. Those 2 are also members of our state Geocaching organization (Nebraskache) and we design a coin each year, so they have both worked on those designs.

CA: Who designed each of the coins?

BH: One of the nights at GCF 2014 in Houston, a group of us sat around a small table with Christian Mackey, and our idea was born! Chris is an amazing asset to have, he has done this so many times, and knows so much about the process, that he made our lives easy! Working with him and Bev on the main event coin, was absolutely amazing. Jon-Paul Barr handled our welcome event coin. For years, our state logo has been Nebraska – The Good Life. Last year, they decided to change it, and a lot of us were upset by this. We are proud to be from Nebraska, and loved The Good Life. When you enter the state driving, the signs say that, Welcome to Nebraksa – The Good Life. So, we wanted to include that in the design. Brainstorming for this coin was so much fun. It really was a group effort. When we presented it to JP, he took the ball and rolled with it. We also minted a fundraiser coin, which was really vital in our fundraising process, and I highly recommend it to other committees planning megas. Jason Judt, our committee chair designed the coin, and presented it to us, with a few of our ideas, he tweaked a few things, and the coin design was complete! The coins really were part of the wow factor that we were looking for at each portion of the event.

CA: How many of each design were produced?

BH: Fundraiser Coin: 25 XLE, 65 LE, and 110 RE

Welcome Event: AE 40 (only available via Jon-Paul Barr), 110 LE, and 200 RE – we sold out of all available coins within 30 minutes of opening the doors at the welcome event.

Main Event Coin – 350 RE, 200 LE, 100 XLE (VIP), 85 (Friends/Sponsors), 15 Committee/Special Attendee Version

CA: How large was the event day crew?

BH: We couldn’t have pulled off the without our approximately 80 volunteers

CA: Talk about the event from the perspective that time has passed.  What would you have done differently?  What would you do the same again?

BH: Every big event has hiccups. We had a couple issues with people grabbing the wrong registration bags, we could have maybe done something a little different there to help with the registration process. One of our biggest issues was with the funnel cake vendor. They couldn’t be inside the hangar because the cooking oil. I think it would have been better to leave the back hangar doors open a bit, and put them out there so they could be seen. A little better sound system would have been nice, we were told that people on the opposite corner from the main stage couldn’t hear announcements. Outside of those items, all very minor, I think it was a perfect event!

CA: What advice would you give a group considering hosting a Geocoinfest?

BH: Plan ahead! Stay ahead of the game. Keep organized. Don’t be afraid to talk to local businesses about sponsoring. Choose an amazing venue. Cater to the vendors, without them the attendees will get bored! Mint an amazing coin, it is Geocoinfest! Use Facebook and other social media to your advantage. Through this process, I was super vocal on Facebook. I joined all the neighboring states Facebook groups, and made announcements on these pages every so often! Most of all, have fun, and enjoy the new relationships you grow during this process!

Cache Advance's Custom Trackable Project Manager, J.D. Parkman gives a trip report for Geocoinfest 2015. Click to read about his trip!

Hindsight is a great thing.  In early October I wasn't all that sure about representing Cache Advance by myself at Geocoinfest 2015.  I'm pretty sure Cache Advance was even less assured ...

As Custom Trackable Project Manager for Cache Advance, my mission was to let everyone (who didn’t already) know that yes, you can create a Geocoin or CachekinzTM of your own design through Cache Advance and our Custom Design Services. Consequently I came armed with samples from recent projects as well the merchandise from our biggest (literally!) project ever – the Dutch Windmill. It is often debated if the Windmill is a coin or piece of art but one thing is for sure, it’s a custom trackable!  The limited edition created for this event was the final of 6 versions created as homage to the European Geocoinfest held in Eindhoven, The Netherlands a couple of weeks earlier. The image below from our friend Michael Baker (BakerGeckos) represents a rare thing – all six versions in the same room.

six-versions

Ashland, Nebraska -1,132 (.1 to be exact) miles from my home location turned out to be the site of some of the best times I have had caching/vending.  Really, my fun is what's important right?  Well that might not be true but the gang who put on this event thought it to be and they delivered.

The trip started Thursday, October 1st (from Spokane, WA naturally). The flight to Denver was uneventful.  I had plenty of time until my connection to Omaha so I scooted from terminal C to terminal B and found what I needed to find for the cleverly named "Denver International Airport Earthcache" (GC57BR8).  This one I heard about from my buddy Steven Donovan (SirCatNip) during his Podcacher interview (www.podcacher.com).  It was easy for him but I still have some research to do.

The flight to Omaha was uneventful, except I landed in Iowa.  Things are different in the midwest.  It was very late at this time zone when I got off the plane.  Everything in the airport was shut down including my designated car rental place or so I thought. I was able to secure the rental car with only one "what the heck do I do now?" call back home to Lisa.  This was a new record.  The car was (and I kid you not) the absolute furthest distance away from the counter that it could be.  I persevered, hiked the distance and placed my magnetic trackable on the car when I found it.

RentalCar

With my trusty Galaxy S5 Sport set to navigation I was off to my awesome room at the Peter Kiewit Lodge in the Eugene Mahoney State Park! (http://outdoornebraska.gov/parks/park_pages/Mahoney_SP/)

Mahoney

The first possible event for the trip was the unofficial "Calm Before The Storm" (GC633AE) breakfast meet and greet in Ashland on October 2.  However it was held way too early Friday morning for me to attend.  I did get to Ashland about 10:00 that morning to clear the vector after picking up the Dutch Windmills from the park's main building.  The first cache I tried ended up being an aborted attempt.  Someone who appeared to be living out of his pickup was parked on top of GZ.  I just scooted up the road to "Out of Bounds" (GLK3MY3Q), a nice small in the woods.  Just like that and Nebraska is on my map.

I went back to the center of town to pick up a Lab Cache set up for the weekend and met up with fellow Washingtonian and founder of the U.S. Geocoinfest (and brain child designer of the Windmill) Mark Clemens (Avroair).  We ducked into a little place called Cheri O's (http://www.cherioscoffee.com/) for some breakfast and to talk shop.  Of course in this time zone, breakfast was over so we had to eat from the lunch menu.

Lighthouse
After our visit I picked up the other lab cache in town and then scooted down state Highway 6 to get the 3rd lab cache, a lighthouse.  Yep, a lighthouse in Nebraska (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linoma_Beach)

 

The balance of the afternoon consisted dropping the windmills off back at my lodge room and zipping into Lincoln to pick up some bubble wrap I would need later for packing the windmills for safe transport for the customers who will be purchasing them on Saturday.  On the way I picked up the 4th lab cache called "Wildlife Safari Park" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_G._Simmons_Conservation_Park_and_Wildlife…).  While in Lincoln I went over to the house of an old friend from Spokane, Mike Church (dodgerfanmc), for a great visit.  It had been five years since I had last seen him.

On the way back I picked up the final lab cache that was not inside the Strategic Air and Space Museum - the I80 Rest Stop.  I thought that to be an odd place for a lab cache until I did it and found a nice tribute/historical plaque.  (I couldn't find a link as to the plaque but here is the rest stop - which almost shows the plaque - http://www.schemmer.com/portfolio-item/ndor-platte-river-rest-area/).  I had just enough time to take in the virtual "Holy Family Shrine" (GLK3MY4Q) before getting back to the lodge to clean up for the next event.  Full disclosure: a current Spokane area friend Robert Shepler (CDAgeogeek) lived in the Omaha/Lincoln area for a while and gave me the 'Geocacher Things To Do' list.  This was on it, LOL!

 

Shrine

The Friday night meet and greet was held in the ball room of a nearby establishment called Round The Bend Steakhouse. (http://www.roundthebendsteakhouse.com/ordereze/default.aspx)  One of their claims to fame is a "testicle festival" held every June.  I will let you do your own research on that but it was a very nice hook for this event.  Here we got our registration packages, had some drinks, talked with all sorts of friends new and old, and had some dinner.  It was crowded, it was fun, and the venue was only 85% prepared for us.  I believe my log for this event said something like "with a waitress on the dirty edge of going postal…" But in the end she did a fantastic job, and the food was great.  After the event I headed back to the lodge.  I had work to do getting all that new bubble wrap installed.

FridayNight

Saturday October 3 turned out to be bright and sunny for game day.  I loaded up the car and drove the quarter mile to the venue.  That venue was the awesome Strategic Air and Space Museum (http://www.sasmuseum.com).  I was directed to the vendor parking around back where it was a mere 75 to 100 steps from Dale and Barb's Space Coast Geocaching Store booth (http://www.shop.spacecoastgeocachers.com).  Space Coast is our excellent partner/reseller that carries many Cache Advance products, and for this event, the Limited Edition Windmill. It was in this booth where I set up the Cache Advance Geocoin display.  Barb and Dale had the booth almost good to go when I got there so before you know it we were all set up and doing business with the other vendors and staff before the main gates opened.

Fun Fact: Space Coast Geocaching Store is the very first brick-and-mortar store in North America!

It was quite awesome when those main gates did open.  This place was an airplane hangar after all and those "gates" were very huge doors.  Their opening was accompanied by a very loud buzzing for safety's sake.  It was quite a crowd that came streaming through.  The people had so many choices you could see them trying to decide where to go to first while at the same time trying to look at the airplanes in the room... the giant room.

GCF 2015 Opening

The morning was very busy for the vendors.  People knew what they wanted and they flew to the booths that had it. (Flew - get it!)   Then they wandered by everything else to check it out.  I would razz the locals (We can see where everyone is from because it is on our name badge) on their long commute.  They didn't see the humor until they noticed where I was from!  I really wanted to explore this museum and get the 5 lab caches strewn about the building.  About 11:00  Dale and Barb encouraged me to go explore. (Because they are gracious people and not because I was making their sales suffer….I hope…)

The Air and Space Museum was great.  It took me 23 minutes to wander from our hangar A, through the lobby, and to the back side of hangar B.  I was taking video the whole time with our Garmin Virb Elite.  It was so fascinating to me that I lost track of time and missed Jon Stanley's (Moun10Bike) talk on Geocoins.  Yeah... his claim to fame is inventing the Geocoin but I gotta tell you - there were cool planes everywhere!

SR-71

I was able to find the speaking venue almost in time to not be late for Chris Mackey's (fox-and-the-hound) talk on the creation of the event coin for this year.  I was awestruck last year in Houston (not knowing what to expect) as he explained how every little detail of the coin represented something.  That event coin instantly became the favorite of my collection.  I was ready for more of the same with this year’s awesome set sporting magnet technology, the two versions of the base (for the more basic registration package - which is me all the way!  There are three bases if I am correct) and all the airplanes I get to attach to them.  I wasn't disappointed, the event coin this year has tied the coin from Geocoinfest last year as a favorite in my collection for the exact same reason - every detail is important to the essence of the coin.

Coin

My phone notified me that my old Spokane friend was on the grounds.  Too cool!  After touring the museum for a bit, Mike and I zipped to Ashland for some late afternoon lunch.

 

AshlandBanner

Mike, being a semi newbie cacher, explained to me how he has a hard time actually finding caches.  After lunch I navigated him to a nearby hide.  After 20 minutes we found everything but the cache.  We gave up and headed back to finish up at the venue.  In the weeks that followed I had a chance to do some research and have been able to verify that my friend Mike suffers from Occultum Visibilium Dysmorphia.  It is a rare affectation (1 in every 500,000 Geocachers - so basically around 12 people in all the world and he's one) that unknowingly projects a force field/invisibility cloak up the geocache being sought rendering it unfindable by the afflicted cacher or anyone in their party.  Poor guy. Hope it clears up for him soon. At least he was able to find Signal and some Moun10Bike coins (thanks Joe McCoskey (JoeFriday)!) at the event.

MikeSignal

The coolest thing for me at this event was to hook up with some friends who finished our Spokane History Geotour. (https://www.geocaching.com/play/geotours/spokane) Turns out, we didn't take their picture at the finish (like we have done for everybody else).  Well, Ryan Semmels (Semmels123) and Lynn Worley Litherland (LadyCache) happened to have their Geotour coin with them so we took advantage and had some fun.  This is what amazes me about this community - Spokane, Omaha, Boonsboro, Carnation, Rome, Houston, or Warren - doesn't matter, we are friends wherever we may be.

 

GeotourFinishers

Geocoinfest 2015 came to a close right on time.  Attendees filed out leaving vendors to pack up.  I had very few things to pack as most of the windmills sold.  I got it all into one box which was going with Barb and Dale anyway.  But even then, they had their booth all but packed in the same time and they had much more table space to cover!  They have it down to such a science that even though I felt bad I didn't contribute more I had a feeling if I had I would've only slowed them up.

From there it was off to the sports pub in Omaha for the Geocoinfest Poker Tournament (GC5QPNH).  That event got started late because of a college football game on the big screens.  I'm no detective but I could soon tell the crowd was pulling for the Nebraska Corn Something-or-others.  We got started as soon as the game ended and the sports fans departed.  My goal this year was to finish better than my 14th place showing last year.  Just like last year though, I had no clue what I was doing.  And just like last year those at the table who were knowledgeable were willing to help.  My strategy of fold early and fold often proved worthy as I muddled through to a 12th place finish.  Mission accomplished!  Sometime during all this hubbub a birthday cake (and required singing of the song) happened for Jason Judt (Geojudt), a Geocoinfest 2015 Committee member.  Not too shabby.  Once I was out of the tourney I said my goodbyes to the remaining attendees and headed with Mike deeper into (and the more sketchier part of I assume but it was dark) Omaha to a billiard hall to play some games and catch up.  Got back to my lodge room around midnight.  A great day indeed.

Sunday morning found me checked out of the lodge and back in Omaha for the Farewell Breakfast (GC5QPPC).  Yet another chance to visit with friends from what seemed like everywhere.  Soon enough a small band of us had figured out that we all had time on our hands until we needed to hit the road or be at the airport.  With that Marlin01, Avroair, Joengps, and yours truly KidVegas19 hunted some virtuals, a challenge cache, and some Earth Caches.  My favorites were "Road to Recovery" (GC8146 virt), "Social Butterfly" (GC4ZW13 Mystery/Challenge), and "Heron Haven Wetland" (GC2DFPX Earth).

Soon it was Avroair and myself catching some more of his most favorite kinds of finds - Earthcaches, virts,  and Web Cams.  We somehow worked our way from Heron Haven to Creighton University to capture our image on our phones from the GCP9FF "Creighton Web Cam" web cam.

 

Creighton

We then went down to the riverside for an Octoberfest style lunch (http://storzbrewing.com/oktoberfest/) and a virt (GCCA9B "L & C Landing").  Avroair picked up another Earthcache (GC1XHG1 "Missouri River of Hope and Change Earthcache" because he's good at that kind of stuff).  Mark's flight was earlier than mine so after we said our goodbyes I went over to Council Bluffs to grab some super-favorited hides GC1DTXV "Cuckoo" and GC3P29E "Here they be pirates".  Then it was off to the airport.

The flight from Omaha to Las Vegas was eventful, sorta.  I was looking forward to the 2 hour layover in Vegas (being KidVegas19 it is mandatory that I look forward to Vegas layovers…) but the 'check engine' light came on as the plane pushed away from the gate.  It took about an hour and a half before they figured out how to put a piece of electrical tape over the light.  This left me enough time when I landed in Vegas to dash from the landing gate to the designated boarding gate.  The flight home to Spokane was indeed, uneventful.

 

LeavingLasVegas

It was good to be home, but it was great to attend Geocoinfest 2015.

 

GCFLogo

 

European Geocoinfest 2016: http://coord.info/GC60A2F

US Geocoinfest 2016:  http://coord.info/GC631BQ

 

JD Parkman is the Custom Trackable Project Manager for Cache Advance.  

Going Caching is one of the most unique Mega events, hands down!

goingcaching-Signal-Twitter

Cache Advance attended and vended for the first time last year, 2014. We had such a good time that we decided to not vend, and just attend, this year. We did support our reseller, Space Coast Geocaching Store, in their booth throughout the weekend, but our main goal was to just geocache and have a great time.

We arrived in Rome early Thursday morning (1am), got a little shut-eye and then headed over to the Kingdoms on Parade Flash Mob (http://coord.info/GC5670V).

20151015_105911

This was really fun to see all the Renaissance costumes and cross over into Rome with our Kingdom. 20151017_163824We choose Cygnus for our kingdom: https://goo.gl/photos/ZebGWfxcWQtHCKdd6 and we worked hard all weekend to bring honor to our kingdom.

We collected our cards, did some trading, and then sat down for lunch and worked out the puzzles and decoder coin to collect our stamps for the appeasements to enter the castle. That night was an amazing geocaching trivia at the Brave's stadium (http://coord.info/GC5671E), hosted by It’s All Just Trivial. We won best team name (It's all fun and games until someone looses an eye) and then we won the first round too! It was all downhill after that, even with team Podcacher on our team... but we had a blast nonetheless.

Friday we attended the Seven Kingdoms Challenge Coffee Klatch (GC5695F), found some special caches, lab caches and stormed 20151016_125949the castle. I don't know how it happened, but we were the first team to go through the castle and all 4 escape rooms (like the previous year) --Huzzah!! It is always more challenging to have a handful of the Going Caching Crew watching you like a hawk as you go through their special rooms! We then played most of the kingdom games and strolled though the vendors. This was the first Mega event that we've attended and NOT vended at, so this was a little strange for us to just browse and shop!

20151018_121905Saturday dawned mostly clear... or so we hear! We spent the morning visiting at Going Caching 2015 Mega-Event: A Roman Renaissance (GC5695A) and then geocaching around the area for some challenges and special caches.

We returned to the venue just in time for the Turkey Leg lunch, and then the East Meets West event at our reseller's booth, Space Coast Geocaching Store. We had a blast helping them at the booth, and handing out prizes and meeting lots of cachers! Later we danced the night way at the The Queen's Masquerade Ball (GC5695K).

More caching on Sunday, including crawling into TWO tunnels and some great hikes with Team Podcacher too! Monday we checked out of our hotel and cached our way back to the Atlanta airport. We did grab both of the virtual caches there before going through security and flying off into the sunset.

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Going Caching is such a unique series of events; if you can only make a few Mega events, we recommend putting this one high on your list.

Huzzah!!