Aug 192010

We got a rude awakening yesterday when we got the keys to the building here at Elkhart Campground where we plan to have our vendor booths, seminars, and evening entertainment. We have outgrown it before our Eastern Gypsy Gathering rally even starts! 

As soon as Terry and I started measuring the big new room where we expected to put our vendors and hold the entertainment, we looked at each other and both said “oh oh!” There is no way we could even put all of the vendors in the room, let alone be able to cram in seating for 300+ people for the evening door prizes. We goofed, plain and simple. We overestimated the size of the building available to us, and underestimated the number of people who wanted to attend the rally.

We scratched our heads, then called our pal Greg White and had him come over and take a look. I didn’t really think Greg could build another building in twelve days, but I have seen him do some pretty remarkable things, so who knows?  He walked around for a while, paced off the length and width of the room, did some mathematical calculations in the air with his finger, then scratched his head, and said “Yep, you goofed!” I can always depend on Greg to cut right to the chase.  

Now what?

We can expand the vendor area into a second room, and we can make that work. But there’s still the matter of where to put all of those folks in the evening.

I’m nothing if not resourceful. As the old saying goes, I’ve done so much with so little for so long, that I can now do almost anything with absolutely nothing. We are arranging for a huge tent, which will be set up on the tennis courts in front of the rally building, and that will be the venue for the evening events. It’s not perfect, but as long as the weather cooperates, it will work.

Every time we hold a rally it’s a learning experience, especially when we hold one in a new location. And we’ve certainly learned a lot this time around!

If we ever hold a rally at an RV park again, and I’m not sure we ever will, we will just collect the rally fees, and have the campground handle all of the reservations. At this rally, we were supposed to collect all of the camping fees, and pay Elkhart Campground for each RV attending. But some people made their reservations directly through the campground, some booking a whole month, and it has resulted in a logistical nightmare.

Plus, because the campground is open to other folks during the rally, we have had a lot of people who are going to be here who want to attend the rally events, but can’t understand why they should pay the rally fee, since they’re here already. They don’t understand that it costs us a lot of money to put on an RV rally. Besides the facility rental, insurance, morning coffee and doughnuts, and now hundreds of dollars to rent a tent, there are the costs of printing rally seminar schedules, the door prizes we buy to give away, sound system rental, and a lot of other things I can’t remember off the top of my head. When I told a couple of the people that they would have to pay the rally fee, they were pretty upset. But this is a business, and we have to cover our costs, plain and simple.

Oh, I’m just venting. We’ll get it all worked out, and I’ll probably only have to sell two or three pints of blood to have enough fuel to get out of town. Like I said, it’s a learning experience.

The good news is that 99.99% of our rally attendees are fantastic people who are able to roll with the flow, and if we have to have the evening events in a tent, they’ll slap on the mosquito spray, carry over their chairs, and sit down and have a great time. As for that other .01 percent, well, they’ll do some learning too, right?

Bad Nick has been busy too, posting a new Bad Nick Blog titled Out At Last. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – When you’re finally holding all the cards, why does everyone else decide to play chess?

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  12 Responses to “The Best Laid Plans”

  1. I can’t get past the (paraphrased) quote:

    An RV’er is someone with a $250,000 rig towing a $25,000 vehicle trying to find a free place to park!

  2. Nick, as RVer’s we should all be able to roll woth the flow. After all, our wheels are round. Have a great rally. Lenny and I are planning on attending next year when we are full-timing and have the time to go. Maybe you’ll get all the kinks worked out by then. LOL

  3. The tent sounds like a very good solution to your problem.

  4. When I was an event coordinator in Chicago years ago, we always suggested tents for outdoor events…just in case. I would suggest you get sides (they roll down if needed) and, if the mosquitoes are really bad, fog the inside before the guests arrive. John and I would be glad to come in early and give you a hand with anything you need (we’re good a “grunt” work! or as go-fers!)

  5. Good Luck, Nick. I’m sure everything will work out just fine; just hope the weather cooperates. You’re right, most fulltime RVers have learned how to go with the flow and how to make the best of every situation. Besides, your rallies are more than reasonably priced – people can’t expect the Hilton! Sixty seminars, wow, that’s a lot to offer; should be something for everyone. Sure wish we were going to be there this year as a lot of our friends will be, however, we’re up in New England visiting relatives. Hopefully, next year.

  6. It would appear that RVers as a whole are a bunch of cheapskates. Nick: to those who want to attend the rally for free — just ask them if you can siphon some of their fuel — after all, they ARE in the campground.

  7. Lighten up, big guy. You and Terry worry so much about pleasing everybody to the fullest degree. But whether you hold rallies in a fairgrounds or an RV park, whether we sit in a tent or in a room or under a tree don’t matter. We’d all still come for the fun and friends and the educational classes that only you two provide.

  8. What they all said (above)…LOL! See you soon…going to visit Milawaukee first. Neither of us has seen the Harley-Davidson museum.

  9. We were in a campground this summer that had propane powered mosquito attractor and killers. They worked quite well. You might consider renting some of those. Also, you could take the chairs out of the building that you were planning on using for the evening events and put them in the tent. They will take up less room and will be more convenient for the attendees than having them bring their own chairs.

  10. Nick, we attended a rally in Montreal in 2006. They had put up a tent to seat everyone at long tables for our meals and meetings, since the room available at the campground was too small. The temps were in the 50’s all week and it poured rain every day. But we were snug and dry in the tent! Your guests will be fine. Especially if you can somehow attach the tent to a side of the building with a door, so people can pass thru from building to tent without going outside.

    But I would also provide chairs. It will take less space and somebody’s chair always walks:)

  11. Nick & Terry – Good luck these coming days. I’m all for having your rallies in a
    fairgrounds. Everyone can survive a few days without full hookups. The tent sounds
    like a great solution. A few days ago someone mentioined that they contacted the
    campground to reserve a site for coming in early. They were told there was plenty
    of room to just come in. Now with so many already there we are wondering if
    we should call and make sure we have a site for probably Sun. Maybe, in your “spare”
    time you could ask the owners if we should now reserve ahead and post their
    reply in your blog. Thanks for all you are doing and looking forward to a great rally.

  12. Everything will turn out just fine. Count to three and try to relax Things would not be right if something did not go wrong. It is Murphy’s law. Tents are a great idea, taking your own chairs is also fine. You can not please everyone. The ones who want to get in without paying even a day pass are just plain cheap.

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