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Poll

In which part of the metro Providence area should I find a restaurant for us to meet up for lunch for this meet?

The northern part (Pawtucket, Central Falls, Fairlawn, etc.)
- 0 (0%)
The western/northwestern part (North Providence, Johnston, Smithfield, etc.)
- 0 (0%)
The southern part (Cranston, Warwick, etc.)
- 2 (22.2%)
East Providence
- 2 (22.2%)
(I don't know enough about this area to have an opinion.)
- 5 (55.6%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Voting closed: December 30, 2018, 09:10:24 PM


Author Topic: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019  (Read 4491 times)

A.J. Bertin

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #75 on: April 30, 2019, 08:39:55 PM »

Well here we are... only four days until this meet! I'm pretty sure that everyone who is going to the meet has been following along on the Facebook event. There's been a lot of discussion there over these past few days (about the dinner plans, the weather, etc.).

This will be my last post on this forum about the meet beforehand. After the meet, I'm going to solicit feedback (either here or on the Facebook event) asking the attendees what they thought of the meet and whether there would be support for me hosting something like this in the future. Based on everything that's happening so far with the planning, I have a pretty good feeling that it will go well and I'll want to make "city meets" an annual thing.  :spin:
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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #76 on: April 30, 2019, 11:06:27 PM »

Well here we are... only four days until this meet! I'm pretty sure that everyone who is going to the meet has been following along on the Facebook event. There's been a lot of discussion there over these past few days (about the dinner plans, the weather, etc.).

This will be my last post on this forum about the meet beforehand. After the meet, I'm going to solicit feedback (either here or on the Facebook event) asking the attendees what they thought of the meet and whether there would be support for me hosting something like this in the future. Based on everything that's happening so far with the planning, I have a pretty good feeling that it will go well and I'll want to make "city meets" an annual thing.  :spin:

Although I won’t be there due to other things going on with family, I would love to hear and see about more city meets, such as the previously-mentioned Omaha and Elizabeth City-Nags Head meets.
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A.J. Bertin

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #77 on: May 01, 2019, 05:14:33 AM »

Although I won’t be there due to other things going on with family, I would love to hear and see about more city meets, such as the previously-mentioned Omaha and Elizabeth City-Nags Head meets.

If things with the Providence meet go well and I decide to make this an annual event (different city each year), the 2020 city meet will be in either Omaha or Elizabeth City/Nags Head - depending on which one wins the poll that I create. Then the 2021 city meet would be in the one among those two that doesn't win for 2020.
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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #78 on: May 04, 2019, 02:29:20 PM »

Live tweeting my finds. http://www.twitter.com/alpsroads

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #79 on: May 05, 2019, 06:42:51 PM »

Live tweeting my finds. http://www.twitter.com/alpsroads
Thanks to anyone who followed along! Connecticut is clinched and my last tweet is twot. Great meet idea by AJ and I look forward to the next one!

hbelkins

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #80 on: May 06, 2019, 11:51:26 AM »

I will be interested to see the various reports on this meet from those who went. I've seen several posts on individuals' Facebook pages and on the Facebook event page.

I didn't attend for several reasons. One major factor was the distance; but quite honestly, the other was the format of the meet. I tend to like a structured meet where there's a set tour, with suggestions for extracurricular activities beyond the meet's agenda. Another is that I'm not a fan of cities in general; if I'm going to explore, I'd rather do so in a rural area instead of an urban environment. And there seemed to be an exaggerated emphasis on the social aspects of this meet: "Let's all get together and eat, then everybody go do your own thing, then let's all get together and eat again."

That's why I'm curious about how the roads/exploring aspects came together. Did people get together and figure out what they wanted to do in small groups, was there a lot of solo exploration, etc. I saw where a couple of folks went out to Martha's Vineyard.

Depending on timing and other factors, I might be able to make a trek to eastern North Carolina if that's where the next one is. I could accomplish a couple of roadgeeking goals (route clinches) on such a trip.

As I said, I'm really interested in the feedback on this one.
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signalman

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #81 on: May 06, 2019, 12:26:44 PM »

I will be interested to see the various reports on this meet from those who went. I've seen several posts on individuals' Facebook pages and on the Facebook event page.

I didn't attend for several reasons. One major factor was the distance; but quite honestly, the other was the format of the meet. I tend to like a structured meet where there's a set tour, with suggestions for extracurricular activities beyond the meet's agenda. Another is that I'm not a fan of cities in general; if I'm going to explore, I'd rather do so in a rural area instead of an urban environment. And there seemed to be an exaggerated emphasis on the social aspects of this meet: "Let's all get together and eat, then everybody go do your own thing, then let's all get together and eat again."

That's why I'm curious about how the roads/exploring aspects came together. Did people get together and figure out what they wanted to do in small groups, was there a lot of solo exploration, etc. I saw where a couple of folks went out to Martha's Vineyard.

Depending on timing and other factors, I might be able to make a trek to eastern North Carolina if that's where the next one is. I could accomplish a couple of roadgeeking goals (route clinches) on such a trip.

As I said, I'm really interested in the feedback on this one.
AJ intends to create a poll in the near future and wants feedback from those who attended.  Overall, I think attendees liked the format.  I personally enjoyed it.

As far as the social aspect is concerned, to me, that's the whole point of road meets.  Sure, going out on a road tour is cool, but we could all do this on our own, and we all do to some extent (some more than others).  But I enjoy meeting up with folks whom I share a common interest with but I don't see on a regular basis.  It also gives me an excuse to clinch stuff to/from a meet.  If AJ receives enough positive feedback he intends on holding a self guided tour in a different city on an annual basis, and honestly, I don't see why he wouldn't.

Some broke off into smaller groups if they had similar goals, but I'd say most did their own thing after lunch.  Adam Froehlig, Mike Tantillo and myself essentially only went for lunch (we all bowed out of dinner).  Brian Reynolds only made it to dinner.  I think everyone else in attendance went to both lunch and dinner.

Personally, I commend AJ for thinking outside the box and trying something different and I thank him for hosting.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 12:28:54 PM by signalman »
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oscar

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #82 on: May 06, 2019, 12:43:18 PM »

I took a pass on this meet because I was at a loss what to do after the meet lunch, and it was too early in the year to combine it with a long-overdue revisit to the Maritime Provinces.

If Omaha is the pick for next year, there are more options for post-meet activities I haven't done before, or would like to do again. Just need to avoid the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting a/k/a "Woodstock for Capitalists", which this year was held this past weekend. Jams up both lodgings and restaurants in Omaha, especially Warren Buffett's faves for steak dinners.
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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #83 on: May 06, 2019, 04:17:40 PM »

Overall, I think that the meet went quite well and I really liked the concept. Like many other people, the main reason I attend meets is to socialize. Meets are an excuse to go somewhere new and see people I can only see a couple times each year. Virtually every "meet tour" could be done on my own (in much less time) and, once the group gets much larger than 10-15 people, a tour can start running into issues if planning is not perfect. The 6 hours between meals gave us each a chance to tackle our own clinching/sightseeing objectives and my inter-meal time was far more productive than a normal meet tour would be.

While I'm not certain I could attend a 2020 one due to factors related to grad school, I definitely hope this concept continues. Assuming the Outer Banks and Omaha are the possibilities, both are quite a bit further from home and would probably involve a flight to stage myself (Charlotte or Chicago, respectively). But I love getting excuses to visit new places and this definitely gives us all plenty of excuses.
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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #84 on: May 06, 2019, 05:23:00 PM »

Quote from: hbelkins
That's why I'm curious about how the roads/exploring aspects came together. Did people get together and figure out what they wanted to do in small groups, was there a lot of solo exploration, etc.

Both.  With 20 people in attendance, there was plenty of both solo and joint exploration.

I only went to the lunch because I promised the wife I'd be home for dinner.  It also wouldn't be the first time where I only did the lunch part of a meet (some of you may recall Raleigh 2008 or the 2004(?) Cranberry meet).

I agree with Josh in that, once a meet gets to a larger size (IMO anything requiring more than 3 vehicles), a formal tour can get unwieldy and problematic.  We've seen this numerous times over the years (including my own Twin Cities meet).

Being a rural person, HB, I get that you don't like urban areas.  However, as a general rule, there's a lot more to see related to roads and highways in urban areas than in rural areas.  Certainly more "routes per square mile" to clinch...

I would also like to mention that this type of meet that AJ hosted has been done before...with a defined meal but not a defined tour.  I believe a few of us have used the term "roadgeek lunch" for it in the past, as opposed to a "meet".  That said, this is the first one that had two meals organized in such a way and has certainly been the largest such "roadgeek lunch" that I'm aware of.
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A.J. Bertin

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #85 on: May 06, 2019, 08:39:36 PM »

First of all, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported this idea of a "city meet" that I came up with and brought to fruition. I was so thrilled in the early stages of planning this gathering to get a lot of support for the idea. And secondly, thank you to everyone who attended. I was humbled and amazed by such a large turnout (20 for lunch and 15 for dinner). WOW.

I echo what others have said about the social aspect of road meets. Most of the close friendships I've established in my adult years (beyond college) have been created as the result of me being part of this community. One reason that I came up with the idea of the "city meet" was to give folks (myself included) a reason to visit and explore a certain city... especially its infrastructure and downtown. There have been many times since 2004 (when I started attending road meets) where I've thought, "I'd love to see a road meet take place in such-and-such city." These "such-and-such" cities are places that I know next to nothing about and have been wanting to find a reason to explore them. Last year I was talking to a few of my fellow Michigan roadgeeks to get their initial feedback about the idea, and I was encouraged to move forward with it which I did. If I want to see a meet happen in a certain place, I now feel like I have the confidence and ability to make it happen... even if I know nothing about the city in advance and have no ability to do any traveling to scout a possible tour beforehand. I think Steve Alpert encourages this philosophy... if you want to see something happen, just announce it and invite folks to join you. That's exactly what I did here and that's what I'll try to do on an annual basis if I continue to get as much support for the idea as I'm getting.

I totally understand and appreciate that some folks might not like the idea because there's no organized tour. I've never really had the interest in hosting a traditional road meet and organizing a road-meet tour, but I very much enjoy attending road meets and appreciate all the work that goes into developing these detailed tour itineraries. If I were to hypothetically organize a traditional road-meet tour, it would have to be a place that I'm familiar with and have the ability to scout beforehand. That goes against my philosophy of exploring new places that are far from home and encouraging others to join me in that exploration. I tend to prefer exploring more urban areas than rural areas which is why I'm calling these "city meets".

H.B. - I'll share my perspective on your question regarding how the tours and exploration came together. During lunch, after everyone took their meal orders with the server, I got up and said a few words in front of the whole group. One of the things I did was ask the attendees to go around the tables and share what they were planning on seeing/doing in the afternoon, so that everyone could listen and get ideas from what ideas others have already come up with. In general, I think that worked okay. To be honest, I didn't think that anyone would want to ride in my vehicle with me. But it just so happened that the ideas that I shared (exploring downtown, driving to Newport, and getting a couple of counties) were enough of a draw that I had five people join me (four with me in my vehicle plus CPZ in his own vehicle caravaning behind me). I communicated a lot with CPZ via phone call as we were deciding on the spot where to go next. Matt P. was one of the riders in my vehicle, and I was fortunate to have his navigational assistance as he shared some ideas on the road of places we should stop... including a freeway stub that I previously had no idea existed, and a park where we got some good views of the Pell Bridge. Also, someone (either CPZ or Matt) came up with the idea of stopping at the visitor center in Newport where we all went inside and got some new maps. Then there were a few other random places where Matt suggested we stop, and I was totally open to all those suggestions... as was everyone else in the vehicle. It ended up going very, very well.

I do know that some attendees did some exploring on their own, but I also know that there were a few people who paired up with someone else who was doing something they were also interested in. For instance, Sam Scholtens and Eric Stuve went to Martha's Vineyard together to clinch Dukes County, Massachusetts.

I also wanted to chime in on something Adam mentioned above. He described this "city meet" concept as a "roadgeek lunch". For the folks who can't reconvene for dinner, that's pretty much exactly what it is. But what makes this event different is that the do-it-yourself tours are ideally bookended by two meals. One purpose of reconvening for dinner, in addition to the social aspect of course, is to encourage folks to share what they did during the 6-ish-hour time span between lunch and dinner. My initial guess was that, perhaps, 50 percent of the lunch attendees would return for dinner. But in Providence, it was actually 75 percent which I was so pleased by.

Everyone has different reasons why they want to explore different places. This "city meet" concept gave everyone a reason to see what they wanted to see without being constrained to an organized tour. Like I said, I still very much enjoy the organized road-meet tours and they will always have an important role in our community. But for me to host something, I wanted to try something different. If some folks don't like the idea, I respect that and wouldn't try to persuade you to attend if it's not your cup of tea.

Thanks to everyone who has shared feedback so far. I'm chomping at the bit to create my poll. LOL
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 06:04:11 PM by A.J. Bertin »
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hbelkins

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #86 on: May 07, 2019, 12:13:07 PM »

Thanks for your answer. I know that there are several different meet formats that have been done. "No formal lunch, join me to eat if you want, but we'll convene at x place at y time for the tour." The meet I wanted to do at the New River Gorge a couple of years ago was going to be "Meet, explore the NRG area on your own, lunch on your own, then meet as a group for a tour with an itinerary." (But I was physically unable to attend due to health issues.) And I've done a meal-only meet, such as when I was in Annapolis for a conference a few years ago. And the traditional "lunch, then tour" meet which is what I'm most familiar, and comfortable with. The first few meets I attended, I went only for lunch and didn't join in the tours, mainly because it was a day trip and participating in the tour would have made me get home terribly late.

Honestly, in a place like Providence, I'd be clueless on what to explore without the guidance of someone familiar with the area. It's not a plac that I would go on my own to sightsee. That's why I would have needed to tag along with someone else (I would probably have gone to Martha's Vineyard with Sam and Eric to collect an elusive Massachusetts county.)

Sounds like most everyone had a good time and things turned out successfully, which is great.
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A.J. Bertin

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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #87 on: May 07, 2019, 06:16:05 PM »

Honestly, in a place like Providence, I'd be clueless on what to explore without the guidance of someone familiar with the area.

My suggested itineraries for future city meets in places that I know nothing about would be 1) driving the freeway network around the city, 2) driving any highways that look on a map like they might be interesting, 3) collecting counties, 4) exploring the downtown, 5) seeing any unique infrastructure that may be present (such as bridges), 6) checking out any interesting retail (for those of us who are retail geeks), 7) seeing any unique geographical features such as high points if they are in the area, 8) any combination of the above, and/or 9) anything else that anyone besides me knows about the area that they'd like to show attendees. That would be my standard set of suggestions regardless of the location of the city meet.
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Re: Providence RI "city meet" - May 4, 2019
« Reply #88 on: May 07, 2019, 10:23:52 PM »

If Omaha were to be a "City Meet" location, I can put together a Lincoln Highway itinerary, and certainly find a local (to Omaha) LHA member to give suggestions along those ideas.
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