We had a blast at the MOORE Expo in Springfield, IL in April! It's the Midwest's only indoor event for adventure travel enthusiasts. The expo draws in thousands of attendees, and nearly 200 exhibitors who showcase a variety of products including outdoor sports equipment, kayaking accessories, survival amenities, off-road vehicle parts and more.
Our road to MOORE started in MN, so we happily made a stop in Kansas City, MO to relax for the night and let's be honest, eat some BBQ. Thank goodness for the interwebs and honest reviews, because Taste of Kansas City BBQ & Grill lived up to the hype. It's located in an assuming neighborhood with a few deserted business buildings, but the moment we entered the painted red brick building we were welcomed by the smell of bbq and genuine hospitality. It was hard to choose just one plate, so between the three of us, we ordered just about all the meats on the menu. Brisket, burnt ends, ribs, sausage, and smoked chicken wings - dang it was good. Even better their sauce was the right amount of sweet + tangy. We can't wait to visit again. 6 hours isn't too long for a drive to dinner, right?
We wanted to enjoy our first spring camping experience of the year, so we decided to stay one night at the Blue Springs Lake campground. It's conveniently located off the highway, tucked away in a chill and well-maintained greenspace in the woods. After a long winter in MN, a warm breeze, blooming flowers and a night around the fire was exactly what we needed.
We arrived at the Expo on Friday morning and headed straight to Camp Northology to claim our camping spot on the fairgrounds. We were proud to be a sponsor of Camp Northology this year, which provided a festival style experience that made it easy to meet new people. A friend we were traveling with said the years prior had lots of room for camping, but when we arrived they were about 80% full! We still managed to snag a great spot. It was cool to see over 400 overlanding rigs setup with their different accessories and customizations. And as luck would have it, we drove 600 miles and ended up camping next to 2 people from MN!
After we setup camp, we went to check out the Expo. The vendors make use of the indoor exhibit halls, as well as outside areas, so even though there were lots of attendees there was plenty of room to move around and explore. It was a bit overwhelming at first - camper trailers with every bell and whistle and custom built rigs with all the modifications. One could quickly build a list of "must-haves". It was nice to get up close and explore the quality of different rooftop tents, tools and organization systems, and watch demonstrations on how to safely and creatively explore the outdoors. We recommend taking a loop through all of the vendors the first day, and then using the second day to take a closer look at products and have discussions with the reps.
While getting new ideas was a lot of fun, our favorite part might have been meeting new people on the campground. A few times a day we made a lap through the camping area to look at the different setups, and every time we met a friendly person willing to tell us about their rig and where they've traveled. At night, there was also live music, bbq and drinks to keep us entertained, but we also enjoyed cooking new recipes on our skottle and hovering around propane fires with our new friends.
Overall, it was a great time and there were MOORE ; ) things to do than we could fit in. We're looking forward to going again next year!