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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Olympics Re: Overnite parking fees/no hookups
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 02:22:47 -0400 wrote:

> That's what I am worried about, is Salt Lake City going to allow buses
> and motorhomes to park overnight.
> I probalby need to start ordering tickets now or at least get in the
> lotteries, but if I have to stay 100 miles out and drive in every day
> in the toad, I might skip it even though I would love going to the
> winter olympics.
> Don't want to take the toad and also don't want to move around a lot
> due to the anticipated traffic. A web search found an RV park within
> the city, I plan on emailing them, I assume they will be open.
> Thanks for responding. I'm sure I'm not the only RVer going through
> this.

If Salt Lake City is anything like Atlanta, the greed will be
pervasive, palpable and contagious.  The olympics bring out the
worst in otherwise good people.  I lived in Atlanta before and until
just before the Olympics.  I lived 20 miles out of downtown.  I'd
stand there with my mouth wide open attracting flys as my neighbors
bragged about how they were going to abandon their houses to renters
for the week in return for thousands of dollars.  My attorney who
lived in-town near the venue undertook a massive remodeling of his
old house and claimed that he was going to pay for the remodeling by
renting it out.  People as far away as where I live now (about 100
air miles) built parking lots with the intention of charging people
to park and ride shuttles to Atlanta.  Customers in my restaurant
who were road warriors living out of motel rooms in this area
(Cleveland, TN) received notices that if they wanted to stay in
their rooms the week of the Olympics, they'd have to pay 100+
dollars a day.  People who commuted to downtown Atlanta and had long
term parking contracts had those contracts unilaterally canceled so
that the lot operators could rent parking at outrageous rates.  We
had the whitewater rafting event in this area (Ocoee River) and the
greed spread to this town.  The local government spent thousands of
$$$ they didn't have to "spruce up the city" for the expected media
and crowd rush.  Colleagues I worked with in Atlanta quit their
corporate jobs and bought concession trailers, expecting to get rich
overnight.  One guy I know of spent over $40k to have a huge
custom-designed BBQ trailer built.  The classifieds were filled with
ticket scalpers practically from the first day of the lottery.

What happened?  Not much of anything.  They wild, hysterical
bleating of the media scared enough local people away that traffic
was LESS crowded than normal.  I drove to downtown Atlanta during
the event and found it quite pleasant, much easier to get around
than normal.  Of course, none of the people rented their houses. In
Cleveland, the town was practically vacant that week.  As I
predicted, the few people who did go to the Ocoee event completely
bypassed Cleveland.  Had it not been for the Tn Hwy Patrol, my
restaurant would have been vacant that week.  They tried to throw a
street party in Cleveland but even there greed ruined it.  Instead
of a nice little party, they had to bring in some of the big bands
from yesterday (can you say "over the hill") like Three Dog Night,
tried to charge $8 to get in and literally 10s of people came!  By
the time of the opening ceremony, tickets for just about everything
except the opening and closing ceremonies were available at deep
discounts.  Many events didn't even fill available seats.

On the concession front, at the insistence of Coke, foot traffic was
routed away from "vendor gulch" and past only coke-sponsored
booths.  This after the city had charged these vendors hundreds of
dollars each for special vendor permits and the vendors had paid
hundreds of dollars rent for parking slots.  Power was turned off on
the vendor gulch long enough for refrigerated food to spoil,
whereupon the health dept appeared right on cue to condemn and
confiscate it.  I heard this from enough different vendors to know
that at least there is an element of truth involved.  One vendor
told me about a reefer full of BBQ  confiscated by the health nazis
for "destruction" when it reached 41 degrees (45 is the legal
limit), only to find that load of food being served to VIPs.
Literally for years afterwards, concession trailers and equipment
could be bought for pennies on the dollar.  I bought a BUNCH of
stuff for my restaurant :-)

I personally would not get within 50 miles of an olympic event.  But
if you have to, here's my observation.  Forget getting reservations
beforehand.  The greed-driven prices will make that difficult.
Motels and RV lots will probably behave like they did here, holding
large blocks of space off the market until the last moment hoping
that the large corporate types would buy them.  When that didn't
materialize, rooms were plentiful and cheap.  You should be able to
drive to the venue and find something nearby once the thing actually
starts.  Opening ceremony tickets will probably be very difficult to
get.  But other tickets should be available for face value or
below.  If you're the type who has to have everything arranged ahead
of time and in perfect order, the olympics will be very
frustrating.  But if you can adapt and are flexible, then you can
have fun.  If that kind of stuff is your thing.

One other thing to think about.  Atlanta during the olympics was the
great mecca for all sorts of scumbags.  All sorts of thieves came to
Atlanta to rob and mug.  When the crowds didn't materialize and the
police presence became oppressive, they migrated outward.  A one
week crime wave went through Marietta where I lived and other
outlying areas.  You might keep that in mind relative to parking
your expensive RV anywhere near the venues.


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