Yesterday was the first vending day at The Rally, and while vendors in the past have told me they did gangbuster business at earlier events, so far I don’t think anyone here in Albuquerque is setting any sales records.
That may be partly due to the fact that the rally attendees are parked at the Balloon Fiesta Park, and all of the vendors and seminars are here at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. Those two locations are thirteen miles apart, so the attendees have to stand in line to ride buses to the fairgrounds and then stand in line again to ride a bus back to their RV at the end of the day.
A lot of people seem to be very unhappy about that. Throw in the fact that yesterday we had a mixture of rain and snow all day and all evening, and the wait for the buses was over an hour, and it wasn’t a recipe for success. I heard several people say they were not buying anything because they didn’t want to carry it around with them all day long, and then have to hold it while they stood in line for the bus, and then try to figure out how to get it on the bus. I guess if you were buying a book or a pocket tool, it wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but it you bought something like a lawn chair or a TV dish, you’d really have a transportation problem. I told Terry a guy with a van could make a few bucks just delivering things from the vendors out to the buyers’ RVs at the Balloon Park.
I’m sure glad we’re parked here on the grounds. When the vendor area closed at 5 p.m. yesterday, the line waiting in the cold rain for the bus was over two blocks long! We had considered going to the Neil Sedaka concert last night, until we discovered that it was at the Balloon Park, and was being held in a tent! No way were we going to drive that far in the rain to sit in a tent in this weather! Instead we had dinner with Jim and Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour and Al Hesselbart from the RV Hall of Fame Museum, returned to the bus, and spent the evening returning e-mail and listening to music from the iPod, played thorough our Bose SoundDock.
Even though we didn’t do much business yesterday, it was nice to be able to help out Al Hesselbart at the RV Hall of Fame Museum’s booth. Al did his seminar on The History of RVs during the morning, and we knew when he was finished, because we got slammed with people coming by the booth to pick up a museum brochure or for more information.
It was also nice to take a break from the booth and wander around checking out the vendors. I finally had the opportunity to met Alex from the 3G Store, where I purchased our Cradlepoint wireless router, Wilson antenna and Wilson amplifier for our internet connection back when we switched to a Verizon air card from our old HughesNet internet dish. Alex and I have exchanged e-mails for a long time, and he really helped me out when I had some technical problems a while back, so it was nice to put a face with a name. I also got to meet the president of 3G Store, Michael Ginsberg, and we spent quite a bit of time visiting. He showed me some new stuff coming down the technological highway that I think are really going to excite RVers once they hit the market.
Another person I was happy to finally meet was Lance Kropf, from Guaranty RV Super Center in Junction City, Oregon. Quite a few RVers I know have had good purchasing experiences when dealing with Lance and his company, and he’s a good buddy of my pal Mac McCoy, which gives him several extra stars next to his name in my book.
Speaking of Mac McCoy, somebody asked if I wasn’t afraid that Mac would be offended by the way I picked on him in yesterday’s blog. Heck no, Mac has a great sense of humor and loves to have fun, and anybody who is going to hang around me knows that they’re fair game. (Besides, if I don’t put pictures in a blog post, Mac doesn’t look at it anyway. Anything more than a two syllable word gives him a migraine.)
Thought For The Day – How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
Wow. We had talked about going to The Rally but our schedule was a little off. I didn’t know that the parking was not near the vendor’s area. Was this disclosed in advance? There is no way that I would have even considered attending if I known about that in advance. That was very poor planning by Affinity (who has lost a ton of money in the last year). 🙁
Good to see you and Terry again yesterday Nick.This rally is the pits. I can’t believe that Affinity would put something like this together. I know that nobody can predict the weather a year in advance but they sure should know that parking this far away from the vender’s would not work.We are parked in a electric site a long ways away from the Fiesta Tent and have to take a trolley there to catch the bus.. After hearing about the long wait we took our own truck to the Fairgrounds. It’s a good thing that we did but the construction all along the way and the bad weather made it a horrible time both coming and going.
We took the trolley to the Neil Sedaka show and darn near froze to death. We were all wrapped up in blankets and huddled together and still could our keep warm. The show was held up while we waited for the last of the busses to return about two hours later then expected. We couldn’t get on the trolley after the show so we started walking back to our site. It must have been two miles in the cold dark rain. I thought I would never get warm again.
To make matters worse, the generator to our area went out at 2AM. It ran out of gas It is now 7:30 and still not working so we all had to hook up our own generators before we could get coffee.
Is it Tuesday yet?
We spent 2hrs getting to the vendors area and 2 hrs getting back to our RV. Not a good situation. We have probably attended our last Affinity Rally. We are looking forward to Escapade. The Neil Sedaka concert was fantastic
Tom & Paula
We sure did help out the vendors, but only because we took our vehicle to and from with no problems. As we have walk around the grounds at the fiesta park, there appears to be plenty of space for everyone to be at one spot. We will pass on separate venues for future shows. The concert with Neil Sedaka was terrific, and we were not cold inside at all.
Nick, we closed the doors on Affinity rallies after our first one in 2003. It was called the Great North American RV Rally at the time. Something like 6000 rigs there. Lines were blocks long for everything. We stayed huddled in the motorhome a good part of the time. Fortunately we at least had a comfortable site. Because of bad weather, a lot of the intended parking sites had turned to soft mud. People had to be directed to the parking lots of closed shopping malls many miles away. No hookups there at all.
Give us a good old SKP Chapter Rally or a Gypsy Journal Gathering any day!
We are enjoying the seminars. But we took our car to the expo just in case we bought anything big. I’m glad we did after seeing the line for the bus. 2hr wait in totaly unacceptable!!
I’m sure more people wil be driving today. We new about the drive since we were here for the FMCA rally many years ago.
The lines for the food were also terrible. We took the car to Burger King for lunch. No line. I just don’t do lines anymore.