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#GPUGSummit 2015 – Wrap Up

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That brings GPUG Summit 2015 to a close. The end of a great conference, a great trip and great first year for Winthrop Development Consultants.

As is usual for me I did not get to attend many sessions other than the ones I was presenting or involved in, but was able to meet with many people in the community.

Here are the presentation materials from the seven sessions I co-presented:

Below are the posts from this blog:

Here is a great article from fellow GPUG All Star, Steve Erbach:

Here a cool video from the Enterprise Software Podcast team:


Hope to see you next year in Tampa, Florida on the 11th to 14th October 2016 for GPUG Summit 2016.


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#GPUGSummit 2015 – Wrap Up

November 11, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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#GPUGSummit 2015 – Day 1 – Part 1 of 2

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Day 1 of the conference was finally here and I had three sessions to present including one with a brand new co-presenter. While this was officially the first day, it really felt like day three as I had already had two full days.

Breakfast in the meal hall was fairly quick affair. It is an amazing feat to be able cater for such a large group. There was even a table marked for GPUG members from Australia, which happened to be the first table in the meal hall. You will have to excuse Beat and Thomas who “crashed” the table to sit with me.

Breakfast in the Meal Hall

After breakfast we all headed to the Opening Session in Hall 3. As we walked into the hall we were treated to a huge photo of Frank Heslin with quote of his about the GPUG Community on the massive screen (using 4 projectors).

Opening Session

The session was packed, I was only able to capture about half of the hall in a photo, but imagine the other half being just as full.

The session has full to capacity as it included all four user groups

The session started with Andy Hafer, CEO of Dynamic Communities, welcoming us to Reno….

Andy Hafer welcomes the User Groups to Reno

Andy and Missy Heilman invite the User Group Leaders on stage

Acknowledging the conference sponsors takes an unusual turn

Andy introduces our guest keynote speaker, George Kourounis, host of Angry Planet

George talks to us about controlling fear while he is going to all kinds of dangerous locations

George ( showed us a video that explains what a day at the office was like for him.

GPUG Summit 2015 in Reno – Opening Session Keynote (direct link)


Epic Volcano Video (direct link)


World’s best selfie from the edge of the lava lake inside Marum volcano on Ambrym Island, Vanuatu

The opening session finished with a Q & A session with George and Andy

After the opening session, Mariano Gomez and I had our first breakout session in which we discussed Service Based Architecture and App technology and showed how you can call web services to retrieve data from your Microsoft Dynamics GP system. This was an overview that set a theme for a number of app related sessions.

TOT01 – Calling all Geeks! Find out how Apps work with Dynamics GP

Our second breakout session followed on from the first with demonstrations of how different companies had used App technology. It was originally planned to be a competition to decide on who had created the best app, but we did not get enough apps to show. Maybe, next year….

So, instead we used the session to highlight examples of apps created by a couple of partners. Thomas Garcia demoed a solution for handling transaction approvals from Icon Business Consulting. This solution does not use the GP 2015 Web Services, but that means that it can work with all supported versions of Dynamics GP. Chris Hanson (not Martin Olsen as shown on the slide deck) from eOne Solutions demoed an end to end solution that used a variety of technologies including their Service Builder and Smart Connect products.


David and Mariano with the “winners” of the GP App Off: Thomas Garcia and Chris Hanson

After the sessions, I headed over the to Mekorma Hub. My plan was to spend as much time as possible between sessions at the hub so that I was available if anyone had questions on my GP Power Tools (GPPT) and Batch Posting Service Toolkit (BPST) which are distributed and supported by Mekorma. On the way, I caught up with some of the Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Management team from Fargo.

Jodi Christiansen, Chad Sogge, Jennifer Ranz and Daryl Anderson

Mekorma Hub: Mariano Gomez, Ora Goldman, Jay Manley, Angel Blum

After having lunch with Mekorma team, I rushed down to the convention center to catch the end of the GPUG Welcome and Dynamics IDOL general session. I walked in just when Bob McAdam was demonstrating Field Level Security and giving me credit for developing it… perfect timing. Congratulations to Shawn Dorward for beating out Bob McAdam and Michelle Kocher to win the Dynamics IDOL title for 2015.

I caught up with Beat Bucher and we headed back to the Atlantis and the Mekorma Hub. Beat and I then went to the presenter’s preparation room to prepare for the next session. Normally Mariano Gomez co-presents with me, but Mariano had been double booked as he also had a session of his own in the same timeslot. Beat has always been an enthusiastic supporter and user of the Support Debugging Tool and now GP Power Tools and so it made sense to ask him to present the topic with me. We just spent a little time together to make sure he was happy with the session plan and also we made a few adjustments as the session was 90 minutes rather than the usual 60 minutes. This allowed us to demonstrate some of the new features only available in GP Power Tools.

TOT03 – Why is the Support Debugging Tool/GP Power Tools so Amazing?

The session was full and was a lot of fun. We brought back the question “Can GP Power Tools help?” and the response “Yes it can!”. It was funny as even when the question was not asked correctly or sometimes forgotten entirely, the audience still yelled out “Yes it can!”. Thanks to the attendees for helping make the session awesome, hopefully you learnt a few reasons why GP Power Tools is so amazing. :)

Beat Bucher did a great job presenting for our first time together

That completed the work part of the day for me. Three of the seven sessions I was involved in were completed.


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#GPUGSummit 2015 – Day 1 – Part 1 of 2

November 3, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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#GPUGSummit 2015 – Pre Conference – Part 2 of 2

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On Tuesday morning, Beat and I caught the shuttle over to Convention Center and walked back across the sky bridge to the Atlantis.

I was double booked with both the PreGame to Summit partner event and the Energize Chapter Leader Training event on at the same time. Beat joined me for breakfast at the PreGame event and then headed off to the chapter leader event.

I stayed at the PreGame event for the Opening Session where we had Joe Carroll welcome us and talk to us about the Dynamics Communities organisation. He provided some interesting statistics, for example, in the organisation there are 11,522 Individuals from 2,075 Companies in 106 Countries across 5 Dynamics Products.

Joe Carroll

Then Brian Deming spoke to us about the Association of Dynamics Professionals and the Certification Exams that are already available for Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV. They also announced the people who had passed the exams that were held at reIMAGINE 2015 in Fargo in September. They asked any of those people to stand and it turned out that I was the only one of them present.

Brian was followed by a quick word from Andy Hafer, the CEO of Dynamic Communities. He presented some statistics on the user group organisations, AXUG, CRMUG, NAVUG and GPUG.

Joe finding Andy’s speech fascinating

Next up was the keynote presentation from Robert Johnson, Chief Revenue Officer, MECLABs Institute. Robert spoke about how to make decisions better. Making better decisions will help grow revenue, but humans are not naturally good at decision-making. Decision making is more than a gut feeling and is not intuitive. There are tools and testing that can be used to measure the results of decisions and so help you to make better choices which can influence decisions that other people make.

He discussed the idea of the sales funnel. Most people talk about dropping a number of leads into the top of the funnel and the sales will eventually fall out of the bottom. Well, that model is wrong, sales don’t just happen with gravity. The Sales Funnel is in reality the other way up and it is an upward battle to stop sales falling out. It takes a lot of small “micro” Yes decisions before you can finally get a “major” Yes decision.

Sales Funnel is wrong way up

Robert spoke about how the probability of converting a lead into a sale can be modelled with a Heuristic formula: C = 4m + 3v + 2(I-f) – 2a, where

  • C = Probability of Conversion
  • m = Motivation of user
  • v = Force of the Value proposition
  • i = Incentive (additional) to take action
  • f = Friction elements present
  • a = Anxiety elements present

Conversion Sequence formula

Robert used some examples of good and bad design for both printed and online (email and web) media and showed how bad design does not get the same response as the same or similar content presented in a better form. These design decisions can create both friction and anxiety elements which both have negative effects in the formula.

Friction: Caused by a complex Eye Path for a user reading the email example

Pregame6Friction by number of fields and Anxiety by privacy concerns on personal information

Robert closed with some points on how to get the most out of meetings, by keeping them short (15-18 minutes) and by minimising friction and anxiety. Thanks for a thought provoking keynote and for listening to my comment on how many US ecommerce websites can’t handle international addresses, phone numbers or credit cards. This in my opinion is a very big FRICTION to completing a sale.

Tips for successful meetings

After the PreGame to Summit opening session, I did not attend the breakout sessions as I was double booked. Instead I went to the Chapter Leading Training which discussed various topics to help create successful user group chapters. We discussed the tools and facilities offered by Dynamics Communities as well as ideas with other Chapter Leaders. At this stage many of the points discussed did not apply very well to the Perth Chapter as we are very remote and operate in a different time zone. However, if anyone would like to guest present remotely, please let me know.

After lunch, I finished with the training and went to spend some time at the Mekorma Hub. The Mekorma Hub was an area with lots of seating, power outlets and free WiFi for conference attendees. A perfect place to relax and socialise between sessions. Sponsored by my distribution and support partner, Mekorma, the hub also boasted free massages during the conference to help attendees unwind.

At the hub I caught up with the Mekorma team and also with some of the team members from other partners.

Angel Blum from Mekorma and Emily Roen & Kathryn Lanpher from Njevity

Also, I finally got to catch up with my friend and co-presenter, Mariano Gomez, who had finally arrived in Reno. As Beat Bucher was still with me after the Chapter Leader Training we decided to get a photo with the three MVPs (I can say that now). Then we noticed Christina Phillips in the Hub and grabbed her to get a photo of four MVPs.

Beat Bucher MVP, David Musgrave MVP, Christina Phillips MVP and Mariano Gomez MVP :)

You might notice the “Badge Beard” that I am wearing. Over the course of the conference, it got lots of comments. I had the following tags on it: Microsoft MVP, Speaker, GPUG Presenter, GP MVP, GPUG Member, GPUG Chapter Leader, then FIRST TIMER (Member Dynamics Professionals was added later). It is true, while I have achieved many things and am heavily involved in the community, this was my first time at a GPUG Summit event.

Then it was time to attend a couple of meetings. Held by Kim Peterson, we had the GPUG Presenter Meeting for all the presenters at the conference. This was followed by GPUG Summit Buddy Up: First Timers Warm Up! for first timers to meet and also get to meet with some veteran attendees. After the meeting Mariano, Beat and I headed back to the Mekorma Hub.

Rewind a little: When Mariano and I first caught up at the Mekorma Hub (before the MVP photo above was taken), he gave me a Microsoft Band in its box. This band was a warranty replacement for my Microsoft Band which I gave to him after reIMAGINE 2015. As the Microsoft Band is not available in Australia, Mariano has been extremely helpful as a middle man visiting the Microsoft Store in Atlanta for me. This band was a small size for my wife to use as she was currently wearing a medium size which was too big for her.

After the meeting, Mariano suggested that I check that the Microsoft Band is working before I put it in my bag to take back to Australia. So I went to get the box out of my bag and it was missing. My bag had been with me all the time so I knew that no-one else could have taken it. I checked the room where the meeting was, but could not remember seeing the box at all and could not find anything.

So, after checking with the Dynamics Communities guys if anyone had handed it in, I decided to contact the hotel security. Being a casino and having cameras on the ceiling, I was pretty sure they could be able to help. So, a security officer came and discussed with me where I was when I last saw the Microsoft Band Box. After a short radio chat with his office, they were able to confirm that when I packed my bag to go to the GPUG Presenter Meeting, I took the box out of the bag to put my computer in. I then closed the bag, and walked off to the meeting, leave the box sitting on the table. It then remained on the table for about 90 minutes before it was picked up by a conference attendee wearing a burgundy long sleeved shirt.

Now, we at least knew what had happened, how I had left it and what happened to it. The plan was now to announce something at the Summit General Session to get the attendee who picked up the box to hand it in. There was nothing more that could be done, so Mariano, Beat and I headed down to the Welcoming Expo Reception in the Convention Center. To anyone who tried to chat to me while I was searching for the box and talking to hotel security, please accept my apologies if I was a little abrupt.

So we get down to the Expo and one of the first stands near the entrance was manned by a whole load of guys in burgundy long sleeved shirts. On the off-chance that this was the same shirts that the security guy described, I asked if anyone of their team had picked up a Microsoft Band in its box. They said they would check with the team and took one of my cards. I then started to visit some other stands in the expo. I then had a tap on the shoulder and guess what… one of the team had picked it up and thought it was the Microsoft Band that they were giving away at the Expo.

Thanks to the guys from the Innovia Consulting team for returning the missing Microsoft Band

Mariano and I stayed at the Expo until closed, we did not get to see many stands as we can never go far before we end up stopping and chatting with people. We had a long chat with Martin Olsen from eOne Solutions before it was time to leave.

The last event for the day was the MVP Mingle at Summit. This event was a gathering of all the Microsoft MVPs at the event. It also included some previous MVPs and the GPUG All Stars. It was a fun social event and was made very entertaining by most of the Microsoft Dynamics GP people present playing a completely inappropriate and politically incorrect game called Cards Against Humanity (click link at your own risk). My son has the game, so I knew how to play and how “awful” the game is. When I sent him a message saying the game was “awful”, he replied that I had spelt “amazing” wrong.

Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs and All Stars playing Cards Against Humanity

Before we left the mingle event, we had to get a photo of the Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs as this was the first time we had so many gathered in one location. Thanks to FastPath for sponsing the mingle event and providing the Cards Against Humanity game… and for letting John Lowther keep the set. :)

Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs
Left to Right: Belinda Allen, Charles Allen, David Musgrave, Mariano Gomez, Steve Endow, Christina Phillips, John Lowther, Leslie Vail, Mark Polino, Harry Lee, Beat Bucher

The conference proper starts on Wednesday.


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#GPUGSummit 2015 – Pre Conference – Part 2 of 2

November 2, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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#GPUGSummit – Pre Conference – Part 1 of 2

David Meego - Click for blog homepageGPUGSummit_Logo

After arriving Saturday afternoon after my road trip with Craig Klapman, I was able to spend the rest of the day writing up some blog posts on the time I spent in Mexico and then getting some sleep.

On Sunday, I decided to see how long it would take to walk from the Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino to the Atlantis Resort Spa & Casino. I was thinking that I could walk to the Atlantis during the week of the conference as it did not look that far.

I was planning to continue past the Atlantis and on to the Meadowood Mall shopping centre. I was told that the Atlantis was about half way and the hotel was easily visible so it should be fine. Looks were very deceptive and it turned out to be quite a long walk, about 25 minutes to the Atlantis and about an hour to get to the mall.

My short walk, turned out to be 4.1km (2.5 miles)

On the plus side it did give me a chance to get some nice photos of the venues.

Peppermill Resort, Spa & Casino has an Italian theme for the entire complex

Atlantis Resort, Spa & Casino and Reno Sparks Convention Center

As I was walking away from the Atlantis towards the mall, I heard a funny noise behind me. I turned to see that the Atlantis which has a section that crosses the road and has pillars on each side was flaring torches at the top of the pillars.

Flaring the torches on the pillars on each side of the road at the Atlantis.

During the next few days, I asked a local taxi driver about the torches and he said that the don’t light them very often and that I was lucky to see them lit. Anyhow, I continued to the shops and did the shopping that I had planned. For the return trip, I caught the bus back to the Atlantis and went in search of some of my conference buddies (my friends that I only see in person at conferences).

Belinda Allen had left her smartphone at home, but I was able to call John Lowther on his phone and catch up with Belinda, John, and Mark Huff. We went across to the sky bridge to conference center and located the GPUG Academy training rooms where we would be running training of the next couple of days.

As the Summit Conference registration was open, we decided to get registered and pick up the conference name tags and guide, etc. As part of the registration, I was offered a GPUG Summit bag and bottle, which I did not take. There were more GPUG attendees than bags available so this would help those who wanted a bag and bottle get one. Also, I already travel with a bag and water bottle and would not have room in my luggage to take the extras home.

Just a comment here: I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I love branded things but in my opinion conference bags are not the best way to go. Most people already have a bag that they travel with and everyone having the same bag makes it easy to pick up the wrong one. I would prefer a conference shirt or polo. I still have many conference shirts from years ago, including the 1998 Great Plains World Wide Developers Conference in Fargo, ND, USA. You just need to ask sizing during registration and have a few extras of each size for late registrations and size changes. PS: I can’t fit into some of the shirts but keep them any way for the memories.

After registration we decided to head back to the Atlantis for lunch. During lunch we persuaded Belinda to go get a cheap “burner” phone so she was at least contactable.

Clockwise: John Lowther, Mark Huff, Belinda Allen and David Musgrave at the Purple Parrot.

At lunch, John decided that it was my job to organise a dinner for the friends who were already in Reno. So with Mark Huff’s help we organised a dinner for 10 people at the Atlantis Steakhouse. I then decided to head back to the Peppermill (by taxi as John told me I as mad to walk), to drop off my shopping and chill before dinner. On the way out of the Atlantis, I caught up with my friends Mark and Kelli from Rockton Software. It is always great to see Mark’s smiling face. Can you believe that it is 14 years ago that Mark and I presented the “Pushing the Limits with Dexterity” conference session?

Rockton Software’s Kelli Sexton and Mark Rockwell

I caught a taxi back to Atlantis and started to locate other friends who were joining us for dinner. The booking had been expanded from 10 to 17 people while I was at the Peppermill. What the hell, the more the merrier! We ended up being 16 as John Lowther counted himself twice (must be an ego thing). Also Leslie Vail could not make it, but I was able to call Thomas Garcia to come and join us (which saved him from eating alone in a strange city… not fun). After dinner, a few of us staying at the Peppermill caught a taxi back to the hotel to crash for the night.

DinnerDinner at Atlantis Steakhouse
Clockwise: Mark Huff, Tanya Henderson, David Musgrave, Belinda Allen, Zubin Gidwani, Michelle Kocher, Kim Peterson, Jay Manley, Craig Klapman, Mike McDowell, Barbara Gavron, John Lowther, Steve Linz, Bob McAdam, Sheila Jefferson-Ross, Thomas Garcia

I had an early start on Monday as I was running two GPUG Academy classes. I caught a shuttle bus from the hotel to the Convention Centre grabbed a light breakfast. I then ran two four hour training sessions for GPUG Academy.

  • Introduction to Support Debugging Tool / GP Power Tools
  • Advanced Support Debugging Tool / GP Power Tools

The sessions were originally labelled as Support Debugging Tool (SDT), but as the SDT has been discontinued, we instead focused on its replacement, GP Power Tools (GPPT) and highlighted where there were differences. Thanks to all the attendees to both sessions, I really enjoyed going through most of the features of the product. Apologies if the advanced session got a little in depth, but hopefully you now at least have an idea of how powerful the multilingual and cross dictionary scripting capabilities are.

After the training I headed back to the Atlantis Steakhouse for the PreGame to Summit Reception. It was great to catch up with many of the partners and sponsors for the PreGame partner event. I caught up with fellow MVP, Beat Bucher who was also there. I think the venue under estimated the demand for the bar as they did not have enough serving staff initially, and people were waiting a while for drinks. There was finger food, but not enough to count as a meal.

After the reception, Sheila Jefferson-Ross and Leslie Vail gave Thomas Garcia, Beat Bucher and I a lift back to the Peppermill and then the six of us grabbed some dinner at Cafe Milano. After dinner, Beat and I said good bye to the others and headed off to the GPUG Chapter Leader Bash which was being held at the Peppermill’s Terrace Lounge.

On arrival, Rose Spitzer grabbed the two of us and asked us to be part of the proceedings. We were involved in a fun activity giving the top ten reasons why it is great to be a GPUG Chapter Leader and work with the GPUG team of Dynamic Communities. There was also some live music and dancing.

GPUGChapterLeadBashKim Peterson and John Lowther tearing up the dance floor

Beat and I left the Bash while some of the others kept going. It was late after a long day and we both had a number of events scheduled for Tuesday.

More to come.


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#GPUGSummit – Pre Conference – Part 1 of 2

November 2, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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#GPUGSummit – Getting There – Part 1 of 2

David Meego - Click for blog homepageGPUGSummit_Logo

Road Trip!

Yes, it was time to leave Arcata and head across the mountains to Reno in Nevada. While it would have been possible to make the trip in one day, we decided to take two days for a more relaxing drive and so we could see some of the sights on the way.

After breakfast, Craig picked me up from the Wild Horses house in his pickup and the journey began.

Below is a map of the first day’s route:


I knew that we would be travelling through the mountains and expected some windy narrow roads with huge drop offs. What I did not expect was that Craig would drive is pickup truck like it was my BMW 125i coupe. My car hugs the road and does not roll when taking corners and would have been amazing to take on a drive like this. All I will say is Craig’s pickup does not handle corners like my car…. :-) The fact that I am writing this article (and that I did make it to Reno) belies the fact that Craig did try to scare me to death.

RoadTrip0 RoadTrip11
Craig’s pickup and David’s car (for comparison)

Now that the terror has subsided, I can say that the trip was through some amazingly beautiful wilderness and national parks.

The road followed the course of the gorge that the river flowed through

Scary narrow windy roads with cliffs on both sides and missing barriers….

More views of the road following the course of the river

We stopped for lunch at a small historic gold rush town called Weaverville. Our timing was perfect as just as we were sitting down to eat, the town’s Homecoming Parade started. This was my first experience of this purely American tradition and it was fun to see the community gather to celebrate another year.

Homecoming Parade at Wearville, California

The town is also the location of the Weaverville Joss House (also called “The Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds”), a Taoist temple, was built in 1874 and is California’s best preserved example of a Gold Rush-era Chinese place of worship.

The Joss House in Weaverville

The interior of the Joss House in Weaverville

After visiting the Joss House and some of the other historical buildings in town, we continued our journey with even more scary roads.

Not a straight section of road anywhere to be seen

There was a section of the road on the 299 (Eureka Way) between Weaverville and the Whiskeytown lake that was ridiculous in the number of tight turns.

Section of road where Craig had the tires squealing to make the corners

The road straightened up as we passed by Whiskeytown Lake, so we stopped to grab a drink, a view and for my heart to slow down. :)

View looking back at the Whiskeytown Lake

Once we passed through Redding the roads became larger and straighter but not as scenic. We did find a small bridge over Craig Creek and so had to stop and take a photo of Craig in “model mode” again.

RoadTrip8Craig modelling the latest in black finery

The destination for the first day was still in California at the city of Chico. We stopped at the Mariott hotels just off the highway. Craig had managed to get one room in each hotel for us to spend the night.

Mariott Courtyard and Mariott Residence Inn, Chico, California

The day finished with dinner in downtown Chico at Smokin’ Moe’s Bar-B-Que which was recommended to us when we asked at the hotel for a place that did good ribs. They were right, the ribs were really good, that would explain the large number of awards they had on the walls.

RoadTrip10Smokin’ Moe’s Bar-B-Que

Day two of the road trip to Reno, Nevada, next….


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#GPUGSummit – Getting There – Part 1 of 2

October 29, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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A week in Northern California – Part 2 of 2

David Meego - Click for blog homepageHere is the second part of my time in Arcata, northern California.

This article will cover Thursday, a very busy last day before Craig and I started our road trip to Reno for GPUG Summit 2015 on the Friday.

So, this was the day that Craig had been planning for a while, to take me to see the giant Redwood trees (115m, 379ft) that cover parts of northern California.

We started with breakfast of savoury pancakes in Arcata before heading north on the Redwood Highway towards the Redwood National and State Parks near the small town of Orick.

On the road to Redwood National and State Parks

On the way, Craig decided to pick up a young couple (Cidney and Chianti) and their dog (Mama) who were hitchhiking north to Brookings. They were looking for work in Humboldt County but were a little early for the marijuana harvest, and so were travelling to visit some family first.

Cidney and Chianti with Mama in the back
(I promised to make them famous on my blog)

Originally, the plan was to drop them off at Orick before we went to see the redwoods. However, Cidney and Chianti ended up joining us on the The Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail (click link for map).

The trail was an easy walk (2.2km, 1.4m) over fairly level gound. Here are some photos from the walk.

David thinking about climbing a tree… NOT

All of us inside a burnt out but still alive tree

Redwoods1Even fallen trees (cut to allow the path to continue) were huge

Redwood trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove near Orick, California (direct link)


The dedication plaque for Lady Bird Johnson Grove

Redwoods2Craig gives us a sense of scale with this huge tree trunk

Dwarfed by Redwood trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove near Orick, California (direct link)


The forrest was also full of life with a large variety of flora and fauna (click for larger images).

Redwoods6 Redwoods7

The experience was fantastic, you feel absolutely dwarfed by these gentle giants. A very similar experience to walking amongst the tall Karri, (80m, 260ft) Marri (50m, 160ft) and Jarrah (40m, 130ft) trees in the South West corner of Western Australia. If you have not walked in a tall timber forrest, you must add this to your bucket list.

After the walk trail we dropped Cidney, Chianti and Mama off in Orick and then headed south back to Arcata. On the way, Craig suddenly stopped the car without any warning or saying anything. I was confused until I looked up and spotted a couple of large “deer” on the roadside ahead.

We were in Elk country and a couple had decided to cross the highway to feed on the narrow strip between the road and the water of the bay.

Elk on Redwood Highway

Elk on the Redwood Highway south of Orick, California (direct link)


On the way home, Craig took me to see the Samoa Cookhouse. This is the last surviving cookhouse in the west. It still serves food “lumber camp style” as it has since 1890. It also serves as a museum to the history of logging in the region.

We did not stay for food, instead we ate at a restaurant on Woodley Island in Humboldt Bay, looking across the water to the town of Eureka. Dinner finished off a fantastic day before we headed home to Arcata.

Hopeful seagulls and seals hanging around a fishing boat

Thanks Craig for a great week in Arcata and for ensuring that I got the full Humboldt County experience.

Tomorrow we start on our journey to Reno, Nevada for the GPUG Summit 2015 conference.


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A week in Northern California – Part 2 of 2

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A week in Northern California – Part 1 of 2

David Meego - Click for blog homepageContinuing the story of my epic trip in the United States and Mexico. In my last post, I had just finished the Dexterity Training in Mexico and was now heading to Northern California. I had been invited to stay with Craig Klapman, CEO of my distribution and support partner Mekorma, who lives in Arcata in Humboldt County on California’s Redwood coast.

The area is known for its beautiful coastline and tall forrests as well as being the home of the Humboldt State University. It has also been described by David Samuels of The New Yorker as “the heartland of high-grade marijuana farming in California”. So, I was not sure what to expect….

The flight from Mexico City to San Francisco was trouble free, but it took almost 2 hours to get through immigration and customs at SFO. Surely there must be a more efficient way to handle border control. :(

As Arcata/Eureka airport is small, there are only a couple of flights to there each day, so I had to wait a few hours in San Francisco. It gave me time to grab something to eat and watch a couple of the movies I have on my computer. Then it was time to board our Canadair Regional Jet from the single gate which was boarding 4 flights at the same time.

Four flights boarding from one gate. Flight to Arcata/Euraka was furthest away (second from left)

After boarding and waiting a while, we were informed that the aircraft had some issue with its navigation system and that we would have to “deplane” (disembark in English) and change to another aircraft. The end result was that we were delayed an hour.

Once I got to Arcata, I was greeted by Craig’s smiling face and a short drive to my home for the next week. A lovely holiday house called Wild Horses (click on link for interior photos).

Wild Horses Home of Arcata – highly recommended if you are in the area.

The next day, Sunday, Craig picked me up and we headed out to find breakfast. We ended up in Trinidad, north of Arcata, at the Trinidad Bay Eatery & Gallery.

Trinidad Bay Eatery & Gallery

I had a lovely Eggs Benedict (one of my favourite breakfasts) in this diner style restaurant that reminded me of old style diners we (non-Americans) would only see in the movies.

Diner with bar and booths. Craig was on his phone as usual. :)

After breakfast we went for a stroll/walk/trek/hike around Trinidad Head, the hilly penisula that sticks out into the bay. The walk was a little tiring and I was very glad I had grabbed my water bottle from the car. However, the scenery was stunning with beautiful views across the beach, out to sea and back to the town.

Trinidad Head looking north across the beach

Trinidad Head looking out to sea

Trinidad Head looking back to the town

Craig also decided that he wanted to explore another change in career and become a fashion model.

Craig modelling beside a section of shaded pathway

After our walk, we drove back to downtown Arcata. The town square, Arcata Plaza, was decorated with chalk drawings on the pavement from the various community groups and businesses in the area.

Arcata2Decorated drawings around Arcata Plaza

We stopped by Everett’s Club and had a drink (both of us had soft drink, very boring I know!) and played a game of Pool. I was showing how out of practice I was and trailing in the game, Craig had sunk almost all his balls before I finally started to clear the table. It is easier to sink balls when the only balls left on the table are your own. Craig had just to sink the 8 ball to win, but managed to just make it bounce out of the pocket. I was able to capitilize on the mistake and win the game.

Playing Pool at Evertt’s Club in Arcata, California

After an early dinner, Craig dropped me back to my accomodation for the night.

On Monday, I caught up woth Craig for breakfast and then went back to his place to do some work. I was finally able to start writing some of the blog posts from reIMAGINE 2015 up. While in town for lunch, I picked up some breakfast cereal from the fresh food market, so I could have some more “normal” breakfasts.

On Tuesday, I spent the day at the house working. The morning started with the Microsoft Windows 10 Devices Briefing and then continued with writing up and scheduling the last of the blogs on reIMAGINE 2015. I also worked on preparation for the sessions I would be presenting at GPUG Summit 2015. While I did not get to do anything outside the house that day, getting the work done did make me feel at lot less stressed.

Wednesday morning was taken up with some more work until Craig picked me up and took me back to his place. For lunch, Josh (Craig’s assistant and all round great guy*), Craig and I went to the Six Rivers Brewery.

In the afternoon, Craig and I drove south to Eureka and Craig showed me the historic Carson Mansion. Built between 1884 and 1886 by William Carson, one of Northern California’s first major lumber barons, it is considered to be one of the finest examples of Queen Anne Style Victorian era architecture.

Carson Mansion, Eureka, California

Across the road is the Milton Carson Home (aka the “Pink Lady”), another Queen Anne style Victorian, completed in 1889, which was a wedding gift to William’s eldest son.

The “Pink Lady”, Eureka, California

We then went for a walk along the foreshore where this seagull decided it wanted to get its picture taken and published on a blog of the world to see.

Photogenic Seagull

On the way back to the car, Craig stopped by a clothing shop and bought a new shirt and jeans. While at the shop we mentioned that Craig had a rehearsal for his dance group and would not be finished until after 9pm, and that every restaurant seems to close by 9pm. The owner of the shop then made some calls for us and organised for her chef friend, Brad, at the Bayfront Restaurant to stay open a little longer so we could have dinner.

While Craig was busy at the rehearsal, I chilled at Old Town Coffee and Chocolates doing some work and listening to the live music. At the cafe, I met Rafael Franco from Franco’s Bones and Beads and I have asked him to make me a bone carving of a dragon to add to my collection.

Later, I walked down to restaurant to meet up with Craig. The food was great and even though we ordered one dinner between the two of us, we still had more than we could eat.

Teppanyaki Japanese BBQ at Bayfront Restaurant in Eureka (direct link)


A great meal to finish a productive and fun day.

More to come….


* Josh: You can pay me later. :-)

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A week in Northern California – Part 1 of 2

October 28, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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