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Thread: Rally or Convention?

  1. #1
    Huggin' Jugs
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    Rally or Convention?

    Overall, the roads were fantastic, the locals were great but the location ...

    We arrived Thurs in the rain (who knew it rained so much in WVA?) and learned Registration had closed at 6pm... no, it's open.. until 7pm.. No one at the registration desk seemed to know where the campsites where - Magic Island was underwater and completely full (wrong info), U of C was closed because of several beer tent injuries (hope everyone is okay!) and supposedly there was another camping site in the industrial section somewhere off the map where no one had been to see yet.

    Managed to set up camp at Magic Island (not flooded, not full, but pretty much removed from everything). Luckily, the rain subsided (several times) and we enjoyed the walk to the Civic Center.. I don't know that I've walked that much at a rally before... I never saw a shuttle. Thanks to the local HOGs chapter for sending drag pipes down Kanawha every 40 minutes... a big thanks to the lovely ladies on the boat who displayed some big lungs. At least the country store ran out of short sleeve rally t-shirts by Friday noon... but the old Midland rally t-shirts were only $2!!!

    Friday and Saturday were spent on some of the most beautiful roads I've ever ridden. Everywhere we stopped the locals were great, helpful and downright friendly.

    Seriously, this hasn't been one of the best rallies I've attended. The riding location was great but it seems Trenton spoiled many of us... (for example, having a GS ride planned by folks who had a notion of what it was like to ride a 600+ lb dirt bike that ...really isn't a dirt bike).

    This rally seemed to cater to the vendors (and could the door prize numbers be posted ANY further away from the entrance?) and the riders who chose motels. That's fine. Past rallies provided some great campground atmospheres (can you say Trenton???) But if this is to be the future of MOA rallies I think I'll pass. If I wanted to stay in a hotel I'd ride a Wing.

    Signed,

    Looking forward to Spokane...

  2. #2
    67-year-old Teenager indygt's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Well said!

    Well said.
    Also, the rally preview video - which is still available for viewing on this site - gave the wrong directions for parking for registration. I watched the video a couple of times and was delighted that technology finally gave us a chance to study the key landmarks guiding us to registration after a day one the road. What a great plus, I thought.
    Imagine my surprise when I rode across the bridge shown in the opening scenes of the video, made a right turn into the designated lot and was promptly told this was the outside vendor area and I'd have to go back across the river, loop around and come back to the parking garage across the street.
    A minor inconvenience, to be sure, but hardly the way you want to welcome your members to the premiere 'MOA event of the year.
    Maybe next year's video shouldn't be posted until the site layout is finalized.

  3. #3
    The Gov philspace's Avatar
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    Amen

    It was definately not a rally, but a convention. The urban setting isn't the greatest, the standard rally format is much better. Also, I felt sorry for the folks at UC. When getting off the shuttle bus Saturday night 3 guys were trying to figure out how to get their parked in bikes out and it was truly a mud hole.
    Phil Space
    Springfield, VA
    12 K1600GT - Arrest Me Red
    09 F800GS

  4. #4
    I love Big Twins! Tominator's Avatar
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    I too was at Magic Island. Fortunately we found some higher ground along the river bank. But have to admit the awesome riding in WV and the very healthy Lung Show impressed both me and my son. (Sat Night)
    Not sure what was meant by "Quiet Camping" cause Magic Island dint offer it. Tractor trailers with Jake brakes, Shot Gun HD ripping up and down rt 60, Trains blowing their whistle which seemed like 10 minutes at a time. I hardly slept 4 hours the first night. (Where were those lovely ladies on Thursday?)
    It would seem that the event organizers should have scoped the area around 10 pm just to fully understand the amount of truck traffic not heard during the day. My only pet peeve with the rally, other than the fact we were all split up, no wireless access for my laptop as originally promised and not being able to connect with my friends in the past because of the big disconnect.

    Otherwise I still had a great time!

    See you all next year.
    Tomas

  5. #5
    CustomSarge
    Guest

    Unhappy

    I'm not going to vent it all, that's for the rally survey. (mail it in, too much to address & time to calm down) However:
    1> Event is Thu -> Sun, yet closing is 1800 Sat ?
    2> Short sleeve Ts gone sometime before 1330 Fri ?
    3> Split venue ?!
    4> Registration closed 1700 Sat (see #1) ?
    5> Construction (re:dirt & traffic) @ UC ?
    I'll stop here, my blood pressure's rising but, PS what up with the city closing 1 block of the 1 way back to UC after closing ceremony & NO detour directions ?!!!

  6. #6
    ducky750
    Guest

    Convention

    The Rally was to convention like for me. Almost reminded me of work. It was an experiement with some good points but not one I would like to duplicate anytime soon.

    Yes resturants and hotels were plentiful but camping there was was minimal and it lacked the grassroots charm of some of the past rallies.

  7. #7
    wbrethel
    Guest
    Typical Rally:

    - Check in,
    - Stop by the Country Store and pick up a t-shirt or two,
    - Drop off door prize tickets
    - Set up camp and never give much thought to security or if my bike is safe for the rest of the weekend,
    - Walk around the rally, meet people, see an unusual or interesting bike, strike up a conversation with the owner and maybe learn something new,
    - Take a ride around town see if local sites are worth checking out.


    This Rally:
    - Can't find civic center, no direction signs anywhere,
    - Finally find civic center, park in garage and head to checkin,
    - Pass by teenagers (not rally attendees) walking around garage checking out bike, spend the rest of the day wondering if my gear will be on the bike when I get back,
    - Check in,
    - Stop by Country Store, told all Rally t shirts are gone and "If you had ever been to rally before you would have learned you have to get your t shirts on the first day or your out of luck", funny been to several rallies in the past never had a problem, must have been me,
    - See someone wearing a rally t shirt, realize maybe it wasn't that big a loss, "nice" color blue - hope they got a discount,
    - Ride to UC campus, find a lovely spot between an A/C unit (that ran all night) and the parking lot, they're right this is "almost heaven"
    - Take a walk to the beer tent, almost lose my dinner from the stench,
    - Spend the rest of the night listening to an enjoyable band.

    Well, guess we'll try it again next year.

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    Unhappy Alittle bit of both

    I would say it was both.
    Camping at the UC, rally atmosphere.
    Registration and vendors at CC, Convention.
    Excellent roads to ride and explore the wonderful area of W.V.
    When I think of Urban areas, I think of Chicago, New Orleans, New York, and Memphis, but Charleston didn't have that feeling. As for shutting down Saturday, every rally I have been to that includes Sunday in its Dates, have never done anything on that day. To me Sunday of a rally is always the packup, loadup, and ride home. If closing ceremonies were Sunday morning, that would upset the people that head out late Saturday or very early Sunday morning. Saturday night in my mind is the best time for the Ceremonies, of course being at the CC and then trying to make the way back to UC was a nightmare, not enough space on the busses and unexpected road closings.

  9. #9
    bmwrdrunr
    Guest

    Thumbs down Disappointing Rally

    As a long time rally rat, I was definitely looking forward to another visit to West Virginia. The roads did not disappoint and every local I met was very helpful and friendly. What was disappointing was:
    *No thought given for transportation of rally folks if we have 5 days of rain. Everything was a long wet walk or ride, even for the shuttle bus. Parking was not conveinent. I did not find out about the parking garage at the Convention Center until Saturday night.
    The shuttle buses stopped where there was no cover from the unrelenting rain showers, either at UC nor at Magic Island or for the Hotels.
    *The overall feeling was of a Convention, so that we could see the latest and greatest and hopefully spend, spend, spend.
    *No directions for different restaurants, a map with gas stations and restaurants highlighted would have been helpful.
    *I was not able to find old rally pals at all .... i always felt that if i was in one spot all the friends were at one of the other 2-4 sites!!
    *Did not even know about the cafeteria at UC...sounds like it was a gathering place with food!!!
    *Charleston did not have anything to offer...no old town, no museums, etc to walk around and explore.....just a MALL!!!!YUCK!!!! however I am sure all the non-riding significant others felt at home with something so familiar offered.
    *As funny as it sounds I felt that the lack of signage and very poor maps fostered the feeling of being lost in the "city"


    *THE MOST DISAPPOINTING RALLY EVENT was the "CAMPING" experience. I booked two tents with Camp Easy on Magic Island for Wednesday to Sunday. When we arrived the Camp Easy owners were very helpful and friendly. On Wednesday night after dinner we needed to get to the beer tent as we had volunteered to serve beer to the volunteers. Well, guess what, the shuttle bus that was written in the MOA to operated Wednesday thru Saturday turned out not to be running on Wednesday night. So we either could stay at Magic Island and blow off volunteering or ride (not an option since we were drinking) or call a cab. So ten dollars later a cab took us to the beer tent where we served beer to all the very hard working set-up volunteers. Of course when we left the beer tent it was raining and when the cab left us off at Magic Island it was raining. The one tent we rented had about 1/2" of water inside and the other tent was leaking from the top. We fixed the dry tent leak and so three of us slept in just one tent. One person was on a thin foam pad and the other two were on the air mattress. The noise was awful, trucks, trains, boats, traffic, and the tent was under a security light that lite the tent up like it was daytime!!! And while we were gone the port a potties were delivered and placed behind and to the left of the tents....oh what an awesome odor in the morning!!!
    The first thing we did on Thursday morning was to pull all of the wet items out of the tent that was under water, then pull out the cell phones and start calling hotels for room cancellations. Thank you all that cancelled cause we were successful and found a DRY room for the next three nights. We packed up and went to find the Camp Easy owners and guess what they were not very nice now that we listed all of the issues we had with their tents, set up, and site choice. We explained that we could not continue camping in these conditions (if it was our own tent, we could have moved it to dry ground at least) and we were then told that we would not receive a refund or even a partial refund. WOW..how to screw your customers.....

    To sum it up, I think it was an experiment that did not suceed. I have been to Americade and Retread Rallies and they have provided a great time even with different venues and hotels this BMWMOA rally did not even come close to those Rallies.
    I am not sure I will be returning to the International MOA Rally anytime in the near future...

    I appreciate your reading my rambling...it took a while for me to calm down enough and get my thoughts in order.....ride safe

  10. #10
    On the Blue Roads RevWillie's Avatar
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    I have heard from several sources that the MOA Board saw the Charleston Rally as an "experement"
    OK...experiment failed!
    Just because we had a rally idea that didn't work out shouldn't keep folks from coming to other Nationals. Usually, they are wonderful events, and I am going to be very excited about Spokane. We just need to have the rally in one location, where our motel-staying members can find the people they want to find and the rally-campers can do everything they want without moving their bikes for the event.
    Wing-Dings and BMW Nationals are two very different kinds of motorcycle rallys and we were just reminded of it.
    Onward, through the fog!

  11. #11
    Registered User xmas's Avatar
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    Cool

    :cool: Don't give up. we have seen many things happen over the years .Just don't make the same mistakes again. Don't split up the family, and look to the next year. You will see us on the gate I hope. See ya'll there.

  12. #12
    Registered User kioolt's Avatar
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    I thoroughly enjoyed the setup of this years rally. I would like to see the same setup in the future but not every year. I haven't camped in over 20 years and have no intention of starting again.
    2004 R1150RT 151,500 miles , 1991 K100LT 128,000 miles, 1982 R100RT 106,900 miles
    Total 386,400 BMW miles
    AMA,BMWRA,BMWMOA
    The cheapest thing on a BMW is the nut that connects the handlebars to the seat.

  13. #13
    Registered User xmas's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Go for it, we like to camp.724

  14. #14
    Huggin' Jugs
    Guest

    There's room for both...

    I can understand how some folks want to stay in a nice hotel room.. it's dry, you have your own bathroom and the walls are a bit more soundproof. That's great - knock yourselves out and enjoy. We can always meet up at the rally site to kick tires and tell lies. That's what it's all about.

    The problem with this rally was very simple. You can't replace tents with hotel rooms. While Charleston did offer a wide selection of hotels it did so at the expense of the campers. Surely there has to be a site that offers both camping for some and hotels for others. Hopefully, Spokane will be that site. Fairgrounds are perfect for such rallies. Trenton seems to have been the exception for urban rallies.

    Simply put - if we're going to hold rallies in urban settings make sure the rally site is large enough to support everything.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I'll push your dang bike over.

  15. #15
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Re: There's room for both...

    Originally posted by Huggin' Jugs
    I can understand how some folks want to stay in a nice hotel room.. it's dry, you have your own bathroom and the walls are a bit more soundproof. That's great - knock yourselves out and enjoy. We can always meet up at the rally site to kick tires and tell lies. That's what it's all about.

    The problem with this rally was very simple. You can't replace tents with hotel rooms. While Charleston did offer a wide selection of hotels it did so at the expense of the campers. Surely there has to be a site that offers both camping for some and hotels for others. Hopefully, Spokane will be that site. Fairgrounds are perfect for such rallies. Trenton seems to have been the exception for urban rallies.

    Simply put - if we're going to hold rallies in urban settings make sure the rally site is large enough to support everything.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I'll push your dang bike over.
    I thought Durango was ideal. Hotel rooms within walking distance of the camping. Restaraunts within walking distance of the rally. It was all good.

    If there was a place that had a large college campus with adjoining hotel space, that would be awesome.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

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