ALL-FOUR MICHIGAN FALL COLOR RIDE 2009!
With the new ORV laws becoming more defined over the past year
I have been riding closer to home this summer. On a ride
in late August I was talking with Duane, owner of Brentwood Lodging.
He had mentioned that Bill, from the Brown Trout Restaurant, had never seen an ATV in his
parking lot over the 14 years he's been in Indian River. Most Northern
Michigan businesses have struggled in these lean times.
I thought just maybe we could be a small part in changing that trend.
At least we could help out some of our customers through these rough times.
My partner in All-4 Michigan, John Studer and I thought we could introduce some of the
growing number of ORV riders to our home town area. We could show them around
and hope they would spread good things about the area around the ORV community.
I do a lot of riding around the state and we both knew no one was going to drive
far to ride the 18 mile ORV route in Indian River. We had to make a days ride
out of it. Connecting the Indian River ORV route to the Atlanta area ORV route was the way to do it.
After several test rides between the two we had our route mapped out in detail and decided
this may work. That's how it started.
After the first two weeks of promoting the ride we raised the ticket limit twice
up to 75. We offered two rides, a 50 mile loop from Indian River south to Vicky J's in Wolverine
and a 90 mile east to the Elbow Inn just north of Atlanta. We included a little mud and a water crossing but
mostly smooth county roads and fall color! By the fourth week we
raised sales to 150 and set a 175 person limit. It really snowballed quickly much bigger than our
original plan. Who knew so many just wanting to ride!
John spent most all of his time working on lining up door prize sponsors. He also rode over the route with me several times to check time and millage.
We both met with the Township Supervisor and the Cooperation Park Manager who I must thank again for being so helpful.
The park worked out perfect for parking and staging. I spent the next month
organizing ticket sales, diner, the staging location, making signs, name badges and maps for the riders.
There were plenty of details that had to be worked out with the large number of participants riding.
I knew things had to move smooth in the morning to get that many feed, checked in, lined up and ready to move
out by 8:30. My solution was to have the sign in and breakfast in the same place.
I also split them up into 5 riding groups by color and had everything needed tailored for each family or couple
in one envelope for sign in. We would only have to pass out 90 packets instead of 175! With one check in person
per color, around 20 packets each, it should go fast. At least it worked out nice on paper.
What about dust, snow, communications, is it to far, to short, who can be counted on to guide, to sign, to park, to show up?
All of that and more was on my mind the week before. Only October 10th would tell for sure.