Well, if you want honest feedback here it is. This was only my second RA rally after 28years of BMW riding and rallying, and both my wife and I found the rally disappointing on many fronts. Copper Mountain lodging and it's staff delivered poor service and were in no way ready for the influx of attendees, as demonstrated by their decision to close registration at 6:00pm on the Wednesday when so many guests were arriving. It took an hour and a half to get into our room, and then only with the intercession of the manager at Endos restaurant--they had the best food on the premises and the young manager there understands the concept of customer service and owning a customer's problem even if not of his own creation.
If you camped, conditions were pretty dismal the first two nights. There were only two porta potties down by the chapel, and by Friday morning both were disgusting, especially for the women. There were several couples camped in the area who left on Friday morning, citing unhappiness with the conditions. Conditions improved later in the day when the PP were finally serviced and two additional units brought in. With one exception, the fixed toilets in the complex were locked up at night so the PP were the only option. Shower hours were limited and the hike to the showers was lengthy if you were camped down near the entrance to the complex, and while there was a shuttle bus running it's hours did not match the hours of operation for the showers. And since I mentioned the lower area camping, that was the reason for booking a room the first night. We wanted a decent campsite close to rally events and it just did not make any sense to force people to camp out in the boonies on Wednesday then move tents and gear into the rally on Thursday. Arrangements should have been made with CM to allow people to purchase camping inside the complex for Wednesday night.
Free coffee was advertised for the rally, yet there was none available inside the complex boundaries. Coffee was served down by the entrance camping, but by the time one walked down there (shuttle wasn't running yet...) the pots were empty and were slow to be refilled. There was a total of ONE shop open in the complex for early-morning coffee and not a single rally-vendor running an espresso cart or similar service.
The banquet meal was excellent, with good food and plenty of it, and service very well handled by the restaurant. This was one of the best rally-feedings I've seen. Disappointing, however, was the musical entertainment shutting down just as many of us were finishing up our meals and settling down in in a chair for an after-dinner libation or three. 9:00pm would have been a good time to wind up and still allow rallyers and CM residents some quiet time.
Vendors: A decent selection of vendors was on hand, but given the short hours the vendor building was open on Friday I hope the vendor fees were low. Having the Black Eagle booth inside the vendor building also meant that depositing drawing tickets was a hassle, at least on Friday. Kudos to Full Throttle Camping for getting us fixed up with a new mattress when one of ours proved itself not up to the job at that elevation.
In short, at 900+ people this rally was roughly the size of a good-sized club or regional rally, yet came across as being much less well-organized and with much less attention to basic needs and accommodations for attendees. Yes, many of the items I've mentioned are details, but as Mies van der Rohe said, "God is in the details." And, the issue of basic needs-- clean toilets and showers in adequate numbers and availability--overshadows most other things the camping rally-goer. Raising the issues at the rally site usually brought the response "but this is a riding rally." True enough, but riders also camp and this was a rally where if you could afford $120 and up per night for lodging you had a great rally experience, but if your budget dictated camping then not so much. That begs the question of the wisdom of booking as rally locations boutique sites for a "riding rally." I can travel to the CM area any time and book much more reasonably priced lodging at any number of the local towns then spend days riding and nights enjoying a wide selection of food and entertainment where we're staying. Most all the rally vendors have an online presence now, so the old idea of hitting the rallies in order to catch up on the latest and greatest farkle at the best possible price is passe', and if rally entertainment shuts down at 7:00pm then we're not there for the party. I'm looking for the justification of the marriage between the boutique, the rally and the budget rider and I guess I'm not finding it.
Next year's rally is at the Bilmore. The Biltmore is on our bucket list of places to see and experience, but we won't be doing so during next year's rally. We didn't attend the last Biltmore bash but our friends who did came away feeling very much like second-class citizens who'd been expected to camp in less than ideal conditions and with shower and toilet facilities that quickly fell below standards for cleanliness, and remained that way. And again, if we're there to see the Biltmore and experience the local roads we can do so without rally congestion serving as an obstacle. Along with that, if we are going to the rally for the rally experience itself then shutting things down well before dark certainly dampens the appeal. Ah well, perhaps the very nature of rallying itself is changing, and we--and our wallets--are not keeping up... Mayhaps it's a bit like what I find happening with the OTL--where a fresh copy used to be read immediately and with vigor, with Hellman gone and Higdon absent a fresh copy sometimes sits for days on the counter before time is set aside for reading.
Anyway, there's $0.02 worth. Flame suit on,