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Sanity check me please ...


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Ok guys (and Patti) I need a sanity check on where Im at ...


Ive been a bit frustrated by the grand old state of West Virginia. Ive had problems finding a location within WV that locally accomodates both campers, hotel users, and group meetings that are both closely colocated and not astronomically expensive. There are places with hotels, and there are places with camp sites, but neither are close enough together. There are also resorts that do both, but rooms and facilities are more money than I think we should subject those who are attending to.


With that said, there are plenty of such places within Virginia. Looking close to the VA / WV border at places with good access has come up with a few locations that are viable with what I think to be a very good candidate in Staunton Virginia.


Staunton lies in the valley of two mountain ranges in the Alleghanies with the western range loosely following the VA/WV border. If you went to the first Mayhem, Staunton is on I-81 about 1.5 hours south of Winchester. Right where I think the roads start getting good.


There is a KOA open there that has facilities and a pavilion that will host 100 or so. Along with the cabins and expected campsites, the grounds also have a swimming pool, hot tubs, stocked lake for fishing, tubing, etc. Apparently they also have a waterfall on premisis that sits just adjacent to the area that will be reserved for us. Camp sites at this point would be approx $7 per night and are also adjacent to the pavillions. They are also quite familiar and used to having large groups catered to on site. There are plenty of hotels nearby, most of them clustered 4 - 5 miles away. That seems to be about as close as I can get to date. If you want to check out their site (they have a few small pictures) it is here.


I guess Roads are the important thing though huh ? Well, to the East and West are mountain ranges. To the north and south, in the valley, there are a good amount of scenic farmlands with roads that give pretty scenic views of the mountains on either side. So, pick a direction based on your mood. Want twisty roads in the woods? Go left or right. Want to see some cow and other farm animals? Go up or down. It gets better I think. 21 miles to the east (your choice of either slab or backroads) is where the BRP and Skyline Drive meet up. North for Skyline Drive, south for the parkway. Pick one, pick both. An hour North of Staunton (by slab, longer by backroads, very good backroads) are Luray Caverns and the starting to become infamous Virginia Rt 211. An hour west of Staunton puts you into WV, well, after you cross the mountain range. Voodoo remembers the restaraunt we ate at during Mayhem 1. Well if you remember the seriously twisty road going over the mountain on the way out, well, that would be the same road. From there you can either go North or South farther into the mountain range where there are miles and miles of twisty unlined roads that either follow streams, ridge lines, or just the contours of the mountains.


I will say that Staunton is not the most quaint town around. It has a bit of industrial past, but frankly, I think the access it gives will be a very good boost to the event. Patti and I are planning to actaully stay Saturday night at the KOA and check it out along with some of the local hotels and area roads. Ill try to get some good pictures to show you guys. Anyway, thats where Im at and I want to know if you think this location will be suitable (look at it on the map, maybe google it or something) or if I should continue to look elsewhere. Thoughts ? Opinions ? Questions ?


If you all think its ok, Ill move forward with firming things up. Tentative dates are still 6/7 - 6/9 which the KOA has wide open at this point.



-- Spike

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The center of the US (remember our earlier discussions?) is Dodge City, KS. From there:


Gunnison: 430

Cody: 870

Total: 1,300


Eureka Springs: 481

Staunton: 1,317

Total: 1,800


I think Beckley, WV (or somewhere near there) was pressing it at 1,160, and this seems to press it even further. I guess it'll work, and I'm sure it'll be a swimming success, but I think we'll lose a few people. One thing we can emphasize is the population density in the east.


As someone who has done a fair amount of organizing, I'd say this: if you think this location will work, we ought to just go with it. It's not worth a lot of agonizing for an incrementally better place...which might or might not materialize. That's must might vote--let's see what others have to say.


Good work, man and woman! smile.gif

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Actually David thats the one thing that causes me to lose sleep. I dont know what the threshold for acceptable eastward locations are. Though I suspect that there probably isnt a right answer to that. Well loose some from the west, but well gain some from the east. Im also looking for some input from others too though. Might have to kick them in the butts to speak up.


-- Spike

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I don't think that we need to get hung up on whether it's in W.V. or not. I think that the main issues are desirable setting, good roads, close to attractions. Staunton was never one of my favorite spots, but I haven't been through there for almost 20 years. Any thought to having it a little further south, such as the Asheville area? Right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, close to Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Close to the Smokies. (I don't know how far it is from Deal's Gap and the Cherohala.) Scenic attractions for SO's (the Biltmore).


I'm not so sure that a little closer or farther in relation to the western states will make that big of a difference. If people are going to ride 1800 miles to get to the east coast, a couple of hundred miles give or take may not be an issue. But the old "location, location, location" may be what lures them. For you guys on the east coast, being close to the more famous attractions may not matter much. You've done them at Mayhem and many other times, too. But you may need more of a hook than Staunton to entice people from the western states. Cody had the allure of The Beartooth Highway, one of the most beautiful highways in the country. I think many people also came because there was Yellowstone and the Tetons nearby, and the great mountain roads in Colorado on the way to Cody. Places that they had heard about for years, but never saw before, or saw and couldn't wait to return to. One of the things that people kept talking about also was the Buffalo Bill Historical Center; so much so that those of us who spent our time just riding and missed it felt like we really missed out on something special. Some of us talked about going to Cody again, specifically to visit the Center. It became a hook, a not to be missed attraction.


With three full days possible for the Un-4, people will have the time and opportunity to see many places that they never saw before, and may never take the opportunity to go to again. BRP, Gatlinburg, Smokies, Deal's Gap, Cherahola, the Biltmore Estate, plus loads of little roads in that Western North Carolina-Northwest Georgia-Southwest Tennessee area. If they want W.V., they can pass through it going or coming. But I think we need to be in a place where they are happy to be staying.


OK, there's my input and my thoughts. I did it to avoid a "kick in the butt." I haven't been out there in a long time, and my memory of the areas isn't as good anymore. So I'll leave it more to you guys who regularly ride the area (and Spike and Patti) to give us your best suggestions.

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Ive done some thinking about your comments Mr. Flash and I think every bit of it has merrit. I would agree with you that Staunton is not flashy or very eye catching in itself, but what I was hoping to get out of it was its facilities and its being a gateway to some very good roads and views.


Obviously we can look to go further south, but I do have a concern about moving it to the cherokee / asheville area and maybe you guys can tell me its valid or tell me its a bunch 'O Hargis. I would think that a very large portion of those who are going to come will be from the East. That is people who are otherwise closer to the attractions in N.C. With that in mind, between El Paseo, Ride Smart, the Hoot, etc, there will have been at least 5 - 6 events in that general area in the last 2 years. Frankly, living out here, as much as I like that area, my first reaction is lets try something new. I think it would be great to experience a place that is relatively unknown. Now with that said Staunton may not be it. Patti and I will be staying out there this weekend and Ill try to load up on the pictures and Ill throw up a private page where you guys can get a decent look at what Staunton offers.


Frankly my one nightmare would be to pull this thing off and have the attendies not satisfied with the riding and scenic views that are offered.


-- John

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I don't have a lot of riding experience east of Illinois, but before moving away from Joliet, I did make a few trips down the Blue Ridge and thru the Smoky Mtns. All I can say is I hope I can get to the next UN, no matter where it's held!


I doubt my perspective will add much, but if I can get anywhere near the areas being discussed, a few hundred miles one way or the tuther won't be a deal breaker. Making the trip will be a significant chunk of time invested, so I'd get it done no matter.


Don't beat on yourself too much Spike. If the venue is new and different, or if it has overlap with other past gatherings, there will be some new faces, and every outing has it's own flavor. Pick a spot with good roads, and facilities, and it'll be great. thumbsup.gif

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