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Author Topic: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
jknorst
Administrator
Posts: 92
Post Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: January 5, 2013, 14:56

1) So now we send all the "corner" information once we get home which implies that the "On The Road" page is no more. Gonna miss that, it was a vicarious pleasure.
So why was this changed?

2) Personalized registration towel - you've got to be kidding me! Right?
I realize that our bikes are sometimes referred to "Steel Horses" but...

3) Take a picture of your bike and show the personalized registration towel somewhere in the picture frame AT the Post Office (only). Really do like the old way on the picture showing a recognizable location in the corner city. A tad more creative don't ya think.

These changes all sound like a way to lessen the clerical work load* but I think you are doing so at the expense of customer satisfaction.

* I will be happy to volunteer some of my time to help out.

oeugene
Newbie
Posts: 1
Post Re: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: January 5, 2013, 22:39

I agree with Jack, these changes seem to depersonalize things a bit. I liked the fact that three points were provided for each corner city: a gas station, a restaurant, and the post office. I made it a point to stop at all three when I was in my 'corners'. Filling out the 'on the road' page with some personal observations made things a little more individualized. I'm not sure how many mailings from the corner city post offices got lost on the way or how many complications that may have caused, but it must have worked for several years. Why change now? Given the number of riders each year, this event must make a good bit of money for SCMA so leaning on a couple of 'volunteers' to spread out the workload shouldn't be a big deal.

The 'Four corners monument' in Madawaska and the 'SE Buoy' in Key West are almost 'MUST TAKE' photo ops and far better than the post office in either city. If you have a fair number of attendees at the Four Corners banquet (I'm sorry I won't be able to make it) perhaps you could bring these changes up for remarks and reactions. I'm guessing most of the veterans will feel the same way.

sshulman
Administrator
Posts: 192
Post Re: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: January 6, 2013, 08:42

Hi folks...

Your comments are appreciated and we hear you loud and clear! I thought I'd provide some background and also let you know that we will change the rules to accommodate the photographs at any recognizable landmark at each destination rather than just the Post Office. We want to make this fun for everyone, but we must make some changes to lighten the loud on volunteers.

The USA Four Corners administrative tasks are substantial and in recent years we've had some difficulty getting material out timely. This is because we are a volunteer organization and volunteers are spread out over significant distance. All Board members and volunteers are unpaid and donate copious amounts of time. There are a lot of moving parts in handling the paperwork, web site, certificates, pins, patches, etc. with the USA Four Corners Tour. With the addition of Bill Allen, the new Chair, we expect to be able to get materials in and out timely, but frankly, handling the Four Corner material as it arrived one Corner at a time is a clerical issue. Consider, for example, each year approximately 100 riders submit registration paperwork for the USA Four Corners Tour. Then, 100 starter packages are assembled and mailed. In the past, much of the paperwork was incomplete and required follow-up. With the advent of the new on-line registration process we should be correcting that issue, but believe me when I tell you getting the web site to do what we need it to do has also been a challenge and considerable investment in time. After registration 100 riders start their trips, spaced out over 7 months and the Chair was receiving 400 Corner envelopes between April and December. Many of the forms are not complete and require a whole lot of follow-up. The rider destinations also need to be posted to the web site. You may have noticed we are behind on this. After receiving 100 rider finisher packages, the paperwork needs to be certified and then 100 Finisher packages need to be assembled and sent out. Couple this with questions and incomplete paperwork it's a daunting task that generally needs to be handled in one location.

The allegations appear to be some changes are being made to simplify the process to lighten the load for the administration of the event. Well, we must plead guilty as charged! It was our belief handling the Corner paperwork at one time would be easier for us. Yep, GUILTY! As I mentioned, based on these comments and others, we will allow the photographs to be taken at the other recognizable locations with the registration towel. There is no reason not to allow this, and pointing it out was a good thing.

Now, let me address some of the other concerns. There were some comments regarding the SCMA making a "considerable" amount of money on this event. I have not been involved wth the event for a long time but I can tell you this. At this time, there is little or no money made on this event. We try to spend the registration money on the rider. I can tell you several years ago the SCMA, in an effort to be prudent, made a significant investment to buy lots of materials to cover several years of USA Four Corner rides. In theory this was a good idea because volume purchases generally reduce costs and provide value. These materials, however, are dated, some impractical, and frankly, don't rise to the level of quality this Board wants to deliver to our rider. This does not mean you will receive less for your future registration fees for this event. You will receive MORE and BETTTER products in the coming year(s)! It is the desire of this SCMA Board to improve the quality of the products for all events, including the USA Four Corners. As a result, we will not be using much of the inventory we have in stock. To this end we are re-designing, adding, and subtracting, several of the products associated with this and possibly, other events. For good or bad, (the jury is still out) the towel for the USA Four Corners will be added and embroidered (not silk screened) with riders personal registration number on them as well as the year they register for the ride. The towel will be white, with red and blue numbers and writing on it. It is an item we hope people will treasure after they complete the ride, and it will be unique to each rider.

The Finisher Certificate has been re-designed, and as of right now, we are discussing with vendors having it mounted in a way so it will arrive "hang ready, instead of it going into a folder until YOU go to the expense of framing it... if you get around to it. I suspect there is more than one certificate sitting in a folder. The "frame" we are considering has a coating to prevent yellowing (UV protection)and is scratch resistant.

As you may have noticed there is now an additional version to the USA Four Corners called, the TRUE X. This ride adds miles and dimension to an already remarkable ride and was created as a result of member feedback. A "TRUE X" pin and certificate have been specially designed for this ride in 2013. Also, while the TRUE X has a 26 day limit, those doing it in 21 days or less receive both the regular and TRUE X pin. But to address your concern about the SCMA making considerable amount of money on this event, we don't. It is the desire of the Board to provide value to our member riders, and as such we are attempting to take your registration fee and spend most of it on you. Any additional money, if there is any, goes to pay for things such as a web site, software, maintenance, postage, paper, and other additional material. None of your registration money is paid to support countless hours of meeting with vendors or working with vendors to design pins, patches, and decals. Your money is not used to maintain data bases (unless it is the paid web master), assembling packages, certifying rides, or the 100's of hours and gallons of gas used to manage the rides. In short, we try to spend all of your money on you, less the cost of actual hard costs directly related to a ride.

I hope I've clarified some things and you have a better understanding behind the reason for some of the changes and give us a chance. I think we'll more than make up for it with the quality of product you receive. I challenge you all to take the ride again (or the first time), and tell me what you think of the NEW stuff! We have no other goal in mind than to make your ride enjoyable and provide some treasures before and after you complete the USA Four Corners Tour. We exist for only one reason... to create rides for you!

All of your comments are welcome and we will adjust based on what we hear from you to benefit all riders (and sometimes volunteers). So keep the comments coming because we want to make YOUR Association better.

Thank you, and ride safely!

Steven Shulman
Vice Chair, SCMA
949-769-1726

jknorst
Administrator
Posts: 92
Post Re: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: January 6, 2013, 10:49

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the SCMA's feedback on these rule changes. I appreciate that you changed the photograph requirement back to what it was.
Now then, about the horse blanket towel.
I'm not so much against the towel per se as I am against having it draped on the bike in all the pictures. But even here I must qualify myself having not yet seen the towel or how it will look on a bike. Let's just say I'm skeptical about it until I can see it. If you get a chance please post, or e-mail, a picture showing it on your bike.
I think you may have me confused with someone else as nowhere in my post did I complain, criticize, rant nor rave about the cost. I have absolutely no problem with the cost to participate in this fantastic ride. In fact my fee and registration for my second tour will be processed next month and then I will start the tour in May.

Ride Safe, and thanks for listening.

Jack

sshulman
Administrator
Posts: 192
Post Re: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: January 6, 2013, 12:37

Hi Jack,

You're very welcome. Remember, the photograph you take of the towel and your bike is to help us certify your ride. Of course, you can take other pictures (without the towel)for your own album. I think you'll be pleased with the appearance of the towel, though I don't have a sample or picture for you yet. The towel will look great in a shadow box or similar framed medium. Eventually I'd like to see one made up for display on the website we can offer to riders. This is somewhere down the road.

As for the comment about the cost of the ride, a post after yours by "oeugene" stated, "Given the number of riders each year, this event must make a good bit of money for SCMA." I was addressing that comment not so much as to the cost of the ride but what the money was used for and the SCMA isn't trying to profit from the ride, and in fact, trying to give as much value as possible. Oeugene... can we "lean" on you to volunteer for some work, or anyone reading this? We have remote work we could give you!

Jack, I am also planning a second Tour in May. I think I'm going to try the TRUE X this time. Hope to see you on the road.

Steve

wwayne
Newbie
Posts: 1
Post Re: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: January 10, 2013, 16:03

Hi, I bought a regular tour package last year with the thought of maybe doing the tour after the Three Flags but put it off until this spring . Now I do not have the towel and I was thinking of doing thr "X". could you maybe upgrade my package.

Thanks Wayne.

sshulman
Administrator
Posts: 192
Post Updated Package
on: January 10, 2013, 23:35

Wayne,

Would you e-mail Bill Allen, the USA Four Corners Chair and ask him to put you on a list to send you out a 2013 towel for your ride. He will only do that if your membership will not expire when you are planning on doing the ride. When you e-mail him, please include your full name, address, registration number from 2012, phone and SCMA membership number. While you have two years to do the ride you do need to be a current member of the SCMA in order to get your ride certified. Tell Bill when you are planning on leaving and he'll make sure to confirm your membership will still be active.

Thanks,

Steve Shulman
Vice Chair, SCMA

abill
Newbie
Posts: 5
Post Re: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: February 11, 2013, 13:41

Quote from jknorst on January 5, 2013, 14:56
1) So now we send all the "corner" information once we get home which implies that the "On The Road" page is no more. Gonna miss that, it was a vicarious pleasure.
So why was this changed?

2) Personalized registration towel - you've got to be kidding me! Right?
I realize that our bikes are sometimes referred to "Steel Horses" but...

3) Take a picture of your bike and show the personalized registration towel somewhere in the picture frame AT the Post Office (only). Really do like the old way on the picture showing a recognizable location in the corner city. A tad more creative don't ya think.

These changes all sound like a way to lessen the clerical work load* but I think you are doing so at the expense of customer satisfaction.

* I will be happy to volunteer some of my time to help out.

Try looking at it from another perspective. I can't tell you how many packages I reviewed for 2012 in which it was not possible to prove that the rider was at the claimed checkpoint from looking at the photo.

I can't see how this lessens "customer satisfaction". If you want to take more photos documenting your achievement, you are welcome to do so. We just need proof that you were at the corner.

Actually, creating and shipping the towel doesn't reduce the workload, it increases it.

abill
Newbie
Posts: 5
Post Re: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: February 11, 2013, 13:47

Quote from oeugene on January 5, 2013, 22:39
Filling out the 'on the road' page with some personal observations made things a little more individualized. I'm not sure how many mailings from the corner city post offices got lost on the way or how many complications that may have caused, but it must have worked for several years. Why change now? Given the number of riders each year, this event must make a good bit of money for SCMA so leaning on a couple of 'volunteers' to spread out the workload shouldn't be a big deal.

Why change now?

In the past, the task was handled by people (or more accurately, a person) who was retired and spent a considerable amount of his personal time with the Four Corners Tour. Was "customer service" outstanding? Of course it was, but it was not sustainable. Keep in mind that motorcycling is supposed to be fun, even for those of us who administer the rides.

Also, now that we have this new website, you can now self-report your own progress with photos and stories which will reach a far broader audience than the people who review your application package. Just be sure to pack a laptop or a smartphone. Be sure to bookmark the Four Corners Tour forum page so that it will be easy to access while on the road.

When everyone gets used to it, I believe this will be much better than the 4 corners chairman opening mail from your most recent corner. The world will now see where you are and what you have seen along the way.

banderson
Advanced
Posts: 97
Post Re: Thoughts and Questions about the new Four Corners Rules
on: February 16, 2013, 08:29

Self=posting your own forward progress has the advantage of relieving some of the overwhelming administrative load that Bill has already mentioned. There are two other advantages. First, a rider will determine what information he/she wants to reveal in what is a public spot--that is a home security issue while you are away on your ride. Second, the old method (that, by the way hasn't been in use since July 2011) involved a rider mailing the corner report envelope to Loma Linda, California, the envelope arriving, the SCMA volunteer picking up the mail, processing the information, sending the status to our webmaster and the webmaster posting the information on the USA 4 Corners forum. That took two-days at least. That meant the information was stale before anyone actually viewed it on the forum. Self-posting has the advantage of providing location status immediately so other riders know exactly where you are.

See you on the road

Blake P. Anderson
SCMA Chairman
(714) 801-3931
BlakePAnderson@gmail.com

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