I just got back from GenCon on Monday evening, hence this post on Wednesday instead of Monday. Traveling to and from cons can be fun, but the conventions themselves can also be exhausting, particularly if you’re working a booth, as I was most of GenCon weekend.
I have to admit, I’m getting too old to work booths for any substantial amount of time. Two days later, my legs feel like they’ve been beaten with sticks from the knees on down. The foam mats Onyx Path has to cover the concrete floor of the booth help tremendously, but essentially one is still standing on concrete for several hours a day, and I no longer bounce back well from that wear and tear the way I used to.
GenCon is expensive. As a freelance writer, I’m not often flush with cash, and the $1200.00+ it would take to go to GenCon in any given year isn’t often available to me. By working the booth, everything but some of my food is covered, and that’s terrific. But it also means my time is not entirely my own, and then there’s the fatigue/wear and tear issue, and suddenly the deal is only so-so.
Also, GenCon is BIG. By San Diego Comic Con standards, it’s a drop in the bucket, but its 60,000-70,000 attendees fill hotels in Indianapolis and for miles around, and by the rule of supply and demand, hotel room prices triple — and that’s IF you can even find one that’s available.
I did make time to get to the Indianapolis Zoo, which I can’t recommend highly enough. It has great exhibits, cool animals with decent enclosures and solid enrichment programs for the animals. I was on a tight schedule, but even so, I saw most of the zoo in two hours’ time, and didn’t feel particularly rushed: visitors could probably take the whole place in in a leisurely four hours and still have time for lunch.
Taken altogether, GenCon is lovely, but it’s not really for me any more. Too much work, too much hassle, too much money, and not enough fun. Maybe I’ll look at other conventions going on that weekend next year and see if there’s a different kind of trouble I can get up to.
I’m really excited about my upcoming trip to Montana for Great Falls Gaming Rendezvous! It’s my first official gig as a main guest of honor, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The programming schedule isn’t quite ready to be posted yet, but I plan to make myself busy, but still be visible and accessible. I’m also looking forward to the road trip to get there: there are tons of things to see along the way that I’ve never encountered before: Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, the “Dignity” statue outside of Chamberlain, South Dakota, the Devil’s Tower — the possibilities are practically endless.
I’ve never traveled though that part of the country before, and I’m combing through maps and guidebooks to find sights to experience along the way. I don’t know if any of my readers live in the areas I’m traveling through to get there — basically the I-90 corridor: southern Minnesota, South Dakota, northeast Wyoming, and Montana — but if you do, drop me a note: maybe our schedules will mesh enough to meet for a meal.
I feel you on the Con wear. I used to do a lot of Cons back in my younger days. At some point in my early 30’s, I realized I wasn’t having fun anymore. I will go if invited to do something, but just signing up to be there as a paying member is no longer in my realm of fun things to do.
Put your feet up and rest, old man. 😉
If you choose to drive the South Dakota southern route either to or from Great Falls MT, Bill, you should try to allow for an extra day or two and detour to see Wind Cave National Park, and take a scenic drive through Custer State Park – Beautiful! Stay at Historic Log Cabin Motel: https://www.blackhillsbadlands.com/business/historic-log-cabin-motel Maybe even hit the Mammoth excavation or the Wild Horse Sanctuary both of which are just a few minutes south of Hot Springs. And then scoot through the Badlands National Monument on the way home also, which offers stunning scenery & interesting visitor center if you drive through the park area, & ambitious hot weather hiking.
I hope you recover fully from Gen Con! I also had to make the decision to no longer go – I would have to raise my prices for painting classes an unfeasible amount, and I wouldn’t get to see anyone or enjoy the con – I would simply be working for enough money to pay to be there. That and my health meant we decided to forego Gen Con. Now we go to other small cons locally with some of the money we save and earmark for that. AdeptiCon, GeekKon, and a few others we’re looking to add to the mix. Just a note that I don’t miss Gen Con, I DO miss the friends! So you rest up and may your convention schedule be full of GoH invitations!