July 11, 2012 at 2:57 am #59384
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,
GTRiderJuly 11, 2012 at 2:57 am #63273
Good evening. No flame suit required. I’m going to address your valid issues. I was the rally chair for CM this year. I also was the chair for last year at CFalls. Any complaints or problems that were encountered I have to take responsibility for.
No excuses here. Just a couple of explanations. The portajohns were supposed to be delivered Wednesday. We fell through the cracks there. As soon as it was apparent we needed more Portajohns they were brought in. Unfortunately, while they did the best they could (they really were accommodating), many extra pjohns were requested at the different fires in CO.
This was the first time ever that CM held an event on the first weekend of the opening summer season. I stressed the need for all the facilities to be open many times. I too was disappointed they weren’t. I was inside and couldn’t find coffee at 5am prior to opening the shower facilities.
I will not go into the different situations but will say I personally accept responsibility for any problems you had. We addressed all the situations as best we could when they occurred.
If the Biltmore is on your bucket list, please go! It will be a great time. In 2007 the crowd was double the expected number. Camping has been moved this time and Debbi Harbour is the rally chair. She’s getting all her ducks in a row. I look forward to the Biltmore in 2013. Hope you reconsider.
Also, regarding OTL. I think it’s turned into an awesome publication.
TinaJuly 11, 2012 at 2:57 am #63274
I would like to add that I had many, many attendees approach me and thanked me for the great rally experience they had. I received a few complaints. That’s common, from my experience. I was at the rally site from Tuesday morning thru Sunday. All the RA staff put in a lot of effort to make this a success. As the original poster mentions all the things that went wrong, the only positive mention was the dinner. Out of nearly 900 people, there will always be some disappointment by some. I only wish the original poster would have said something when he was at the rally site rather than behind a screen name on the forum.
The shower, camping and porta john issue has been addressed for next years rally. If the poster would have asked, he would have found that next years rally chair has addressed every one of those concerns.
Rallys and organizations such as the RA depend totally on volunteer efforts. I hope the poster can give some of his time to the RA in his future. That would be certainly help.
2012 Grand National Rally
TrusteeJuly 11, 2012 at 2:57 am #63275
Quote: “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,
That’s the old spirit. People like you who pine for the old OTL’s of 50 pages in black and white, who like to vent on BMW for the hell of it, and whine about the colorful, informative and entertaining mag OTL has become, as well as eschewing racing and the new direction the world of BMW is taking, may be wasting your time reading OTL at all. I enjoy it, and all my associates do as well.
Hellman is gone. It wasn’t his choice. The other guy’s gone, too, but it was his choice. I hear he’s a Honda man these days. I’m happy to see the RA’s desire to endure beyond your generation, looking to the future, excited about technological improvements, better tire compounds, and all the rest.
I know the Rally Chair spent her own nickle going to CO to get this rally set up. Things are rarely perfect these days, but the riding at the Rally was world class, even if the coffee was missing. Thank you to Sweetpea and the all-volunteer cadre of the RA. And thank you, RA, for bringing us the great mag that OTL has become. It was a brave effort, and most people do enjoy it. You just cannot please everybody, RA, but what you’re doing pro bono is most appreciated.July 11, 2012 at 2:57 am #63276
“I know the Rally Chair spent her own nickle going to CO to get this rally set up. Things are rarely perfect these days, but the riding at the Rally was world class, even if the coffee was missing. Thank you to Sweetpea and the all-volunteer cadre of the RA. And thank you, RA, for bringing us the great mag that OTL has become. It was a brave effort, and most people do enjoy it. You just cannot please everybody, RA, but what you’re doing pro bono is most appreciated.”
[SIZE=16]It’s a wonder anyone volunteers at all with all the flack they take. I could not make the RA this year but a lot of my friends did. Where the complants and grips?? Yes but they understood the situation with the ground’s and several told me that the riding more than madeup for any inconvenieces. Do I pine for the good old days, yes I do. I meet Hellman once @ a rally, interesting fellow for sure, and I really enjoyed his articles, but time moves on and IMHO the OTL is so much better today. The RA rallies will never be like the MOA’s and that is not a bad thing. Bigger is not always better, so my wife tells me, and why I like the RA. Enough rants for this week. See you in Ashville.. [/SIZE]July 11, 2012 at 2:57 am #63288
[QUOTE=sweetpea »]If the Biltmore is on your bucket list, please go! It will be a great time. In 2007 the crowd was double the expected number. Camping has been moved this time and Debbi Harbour is the rally chair. She’s getting all her ducks in a row. I look forward to the Biltmore in 2013. Hope you reconsider.
We had a great time @ Biltmore in 2007. Camped in the field. The only issue with camping was the amount of available shade and the shower facilities. Once we realized the size of the crowd it explained much about the showers. Good part of the camping is that it was along the river. Everything else about the 07 Rally was exceptional and I’m sure that the RA will be prepared for next years crowd. We’ll be there and will be looking forward to signing up to help out and have fun.July 11, 2012 at 2:57 am #63291
CM was our first rally and we had a great time. We dont camp so I cant comment on that. We met nice people and enjoyed Colorado riding. My only complaint was a sorry meal at one of the CM restraunts. I dealt with that with the manager. I dont expect them to last, service and food was bad. It wasnt the RAs fault. Yep, it would have been nice if the music would have lasted longer but thats a learning process for the next rally. My only whine is about riding sideways through Kansas to get hhome to NC. That wind sucks and it was hoter than heck, dont tell me about dry heat!
Anyway our thanks to everyone who volunteered their time to make this an enjoyable experience for us. We will be at Biltmore especially since its so close to home. Glad to help if we can.July 11, 2012 at 2:57 am #63292
Cant comment on the rally, as i didnt make it this year. Maybe next, tho, having been to that area finally. But, i can comment on the quality of OTL, and the increase in that quality over the last couple of years. Kudos to all that VOLUNTEER their time to put both of these things out! :hurray :hurray
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