Sep 042010

Yesterday was the final day of our 2010 Eastern Gypsy Gathering rally, which consisted of morning coffee and donuts sponsored by Mac McCoy, one last chance to visit the vendors who had not already packed up and left, and the tour of the Heartland Recreational Vehicles factory. By noon we had all of the tables and chairs put away, and the building emptied out.

We spent most of the afternoon trying to get our motorhome back to some semblance of normality, stowing away rally materials in our bays, and sorting through leftover brochures, display materials, and notes we had hastily scribbled on slips of paper about interesting places to visit that our attendees had suggested, and good campgrounds they thought we might like to stop at someday.

Our dear friends Tom Owen and Diane Rojewski came by to chat for a while, and Frank Hinman popped in for a few minutes. Rumor control has it that there may be another visit to Tom and Diane’s houseboat in Key West in our future. Tom and Diane graciously invited us to stay at the houseboat two years ago, and we spent a wonderful week exploring Key West and the rest of the Florida Keys, kayaking, and playing tourist. We’re really looking forward to getting back down there again.

Soon after Tom and Diane left, Orv Hazelton stopped in, and we solved most of the troubles of the world; then Greg White came over to join us, and he had answers for the few dilemmas of mankind that Orv and I had not gotten to yet.

I spent a couple of hours reading over the rally feedback forms that we asked each attendee to fill out. There were a lot of glowing compliments about the rally, which are always nice, but also some good feedback on the different seminars we had, as well as suggestions for future rallies.

Terry and I read each and every feedback form, and give those suggestions serious consideration. We don’t always go with them, for various reasons, but we have incorporated several of our attendees’ suggestions into our rallies.

One comment that gets repeated frequently at every rally is that we have too many seminars at the same time, and that a person can’t attend one that interests them unless they miss another in the same time period.

One of the things that sets our events apart from many other RV rallies is that we focus on a broad spectrum of seminars. We had 60 different seminars at the rally, which is about average for one of our events. Not just vendor seminars, but also seminars on all kinds of other topics. At this rally we had seminars on bicycling, kayaking, traveling to Alaska, genealogy, Midwest travel destinations, RVing history, RV electrical systems, tire safety, weight safety, fire safety, and more!

True, sometimes there are conflicts when somebody wants to be at two different seminars held at the same time, but the flip side of that coin is that at least we offer plenty of options to choose from, to suit every interest. If we offered fewer seminars, and repeated them twice as some have suggested, we would drastically reduce the options for others who may be interested in something else. To us, more is better when it comes to seminars.  

Of course, we can’t please everybody; we had comments that people wanted more computer related seminars, such as the nine that Geeks on Tour presented, and comments from other folks who said they didn’t care about computer seminars, they wanted seminars on RV maintenance, or pet care, or crafts, or… you get the idea. The problem there is, of course, finding people qualified to teach those seminars. All we can do is to continue to find new seminar topics and new people to present them.

Comments were mixed on having the rally at a full hookup campground. Some people loved it, and some said they would have been just as happy at a fairgrounds, if the cost had been less. And, of course, there were folks who wanted the full hookups, but at fairgrounds prices. That just doesn’t happen!

We had 165 RVs registered the rally, as well as a dozen or so others that had not registered, but were here at the campground on a weekly or monthly basis, and signed up for the rally when they learned about it.

Most of our vendors reported good sales, and a few said that they made more money at our rally then they did at the big Newmar Kountry Klub rally the week before in Goshen, which had over 600 RVs.

With rally week behind us, Miss Terry and I plan to sleep late today and spend some time recharging our minds and bodies. We’re worn out, but we’re gratified that we have another successful rally behind us.

Thought For The Day – A ton of regret never made an ounce of difference.

Nick Russell

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

  15 Responses to “Eastern Rally Recap”

  1. Another outstanding Gathering guys! We liked the variety of seminars, sure we missed a couple we would have liked, but found something of interest in every grouping – even some that we thought we were only casually interested in that turned out to be great.

    We figure we can pick up on the ones we missed at another Gathering.

    Thanks for a great week and hopefully we will see you in Yuma in the spring!

    Be well and travel safe!

  2. Nick and Miss Terry – thank you for a wonderful Rally. Personally, I like the social side of the rally. Met some really nice new friends, learned some stuff, spent a ton of money and won a pocket camcorder. A great time. Thank you for the camcorder. I’m still trying to figure it out but now I don’t have to rely on my DH to take the videos and pictures I want.

  3. Nick,
    You and Miss Terry do what you do and do it just fine for me. I like the balance of seminars, social activities. Always a fun time and I’d rather have fun then attend the perfect sterile rally that some others organizers put together. They make you feel like cattle at times. No mooing here just a lot of smiles and laughter.

  4. That’s the trouble with having to make choices. If you turn left to go to California, you miss what’s in New Mexico. But if you go to New Mexico, you’ll miss what’s in California. If you stay in Arizona, you miss both other states. The idea is to choose one, then some other time go to the other. Same thing with rally seminars. If you didn’t see kayaking this time, at least you heard about tire safety; some back another time to hear about kayaking.

    Sorry we weren’t there, but we had to stay in Arizona!

  5. what Mike and I do with seminars that we attend is we both pick one of interest then each attend a different one and then at the end of the day we compare notes, this way we really do not miss them. Nick,Terry you did an outstanding job as usual with the rally.

  6. I would like to suggest either video recording or audio recording the seminars so the ones that would like to have attended can at least see or hear the discussion. I suppose the presenter and you all could work out how to charge and split the proceeds. Also, I don’t know what the legal ramifications might be for this.
    Just a suggestion.
    Thanks for the great blog site. I really enjoy reading about the good life!

  7. Nick and Terry,
    Thank you for another great rally! We couldn’t believe how quickly the week flew by. We were actually sad to have to pack up and leave on Friday. (One of the many disadvantages of not being FTers yet.)
    We felt the mix of seminars was very good. Folks could attend more technically oriented ones or ones designed more “for fun activities”.
    We feel the best aspect of your Rally is the opportunity to meet new friends and the less structured feeling.
    We had a blast!
    Thanks again for all of your hard work in putting together the rally.

  8. As you may or may not remember, because of a back injury I sustained in June, we had to cancel our reservations to attend your rally. First, thanks for refunding our fees in full. I must tell you that we have followed the rally through your blog and about 4 others’ blogs we follow daily. What a great rally it was. Hopefully we will be at one coming up. Til then keep up the great work with the Gypsy Journal Paper that we so enjoy reading and we hope we’ll be having the fun , in person, at a rally of yours soon.

  9. Dear Nick and Terry,

    We were so sorry that Harvest Hosts wasn’t able to make it to the Eastern Rally, it sounds like it was a blast! We were busy working to add more Hosts to the program so we should cover the US in time for the Western Rally.

    We learn a lot from your blogs and the responses and are looking forward to being able to provide seminars on a couple of different topics in Yuma.

    Congratulations on another successful Rally and get some rest! We’ll see you in March.

  10. Hi Nick and Miss Terry,

    This was our first of what we hope to be many Gypsy Rally’s. What a great time we had and we truly enjoyed all the seminars, friendly folks, and the positive experience. We love the relaxed atmosphere and know a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make the event the grand success that it was. If you had glitches, we had no idea based on how well things were running in our opinion.

    You two are really a special pair and we thank you for the time and work it takes to put on such a fun event.

    Looking forward to the next time we see you!!

    Healthy and safe travels,

    Grayson and Pauline East

  11. Great Rally! Thanks Nick & Miss Terry! I loved the tent and the environment. The seminars were excellent. Wish I could clone myself to cover everything that was going on. People were all friendly and fun. Made new friends, learned a lot can’t wait for the Western Rally in Yuma!

  12. Hi Nick and Terry,
    We too want to thank you for all your hard work! This was our first rally as well and we were thrilled to be able to learn so much at your event. Not only from all the vendors and seminars, but from the people that came. We are new to the game and it was so much fun just to hang out with all the “veteran” rvers who are so willing to share their knowledge (and opinions) with us newbies. Thanks for making our first rally a great one!
    Rod and Carolyn Jurrens

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  15. Senior Nick and Miss Terry, you guys put on one heckofa Rally! We had a great time meeting new people AND learning new stuff.Probably the best all around Rally we’ ve been to, or played at -and not just cause the folks were generous. This group is active and literate and lots of fun! We’ll be turning people on to Gypsy Journal Rallys every chance we get!
    Thanks again for including us!

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