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NTS2000 Road Trip - Day 3 Report

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  • Jeffrey MacHan
    Hi gang, Today s wisp of wisdom from the back seat comes from Helen Sutfin: We are but the bookcovers of life, we keep the insides together. Day 3 began with
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2000
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      Hi gang,

      Today's wisp of wisdom from the back seat comes from Helen Sutfin: "We are
      but the bookcovers of life, we keep the insides together."

      Day 3 began with a major success pulled off by the Silver Fox (aka Terry
      Sutfin) who cornered the motel manager and convinced him to shuffle some
      guests and incoming reservations in order to allow us to stay put for the
      week. Terry also managed to recuperate the garantee that we had lost due to
      the booking error of central reservations. I also have to thank Dan
      Chambers, the general manager of the San Jose Airport Motel 6 for his
      gracious efforts in accomodating our intrepid band of adventurers. Hats off
      to both gentlement! Of course, Terry's breakfast was on me today.

      The sky was clear and blue and our day was once again full of adventure.
      Although we were not supposed to pick up our badges until noon, we presented
      ourselves at the NTS table at 10 am and cajoled Dottie Finch into slipping
      us our IDs for the show. Dottie has worked for the NTS for 11 years and
      says that she enjoys meeting the people who take part in the show.

      OK, now we had our badges, we knew where the convention centre was, we knew
      how to get to the loading dock and we had found the faintly chalked position
      of the Z Group on the vast concrete floor of the convention centre. We were
      ready for tomorrow's set-up. Next on the agenda was to try to register for
      a couple of layout tours at the NMRA convention.

      In order to register, we had to make our way to the convention hotel (the
      Doubletree). We had a faint idea where it was since Helen had spotted the
      hotel logo somewhere during our meanderings the previous day. Off we set
      and 5 hours later we were in the hotel parking lot which was, by the way,
      only a 5 minute walk from our Motel 6! Why it took us so long is a super
      story but far too long for this chronicle.

      The key to going unnoticed at a major train convention is to but on a badge
      with your name on it and act as if you belong. Terry and I did just that
      and spent the next 2 hours wandering around the National Convention, poking
      our heads into seminars and clinics, peering at the entries in the model
      contest room, waylaying familiar faces who happened to be unlucky enough to
      be within shouting distance of us and of course, buying tickets to the one
      layout tour that was still available during the Thursday time slot that we
      had free.

      Tickets and spouses in hand, we jumped back in the car for our long awaited
      HSS to San Antonio hobby shop. This time Terry came prepared having
      borrowed a city transit map from our pal Dan at Motel 6. This time we made
      it without hindrance from construction barricades nor police road blocks and
      detours as was the case the previous day. The shop was a pleasure to
      behold. It was large and well stocked in every scale. The Z section was
      mainly Marklin with a couple of MTL freight cars. Terry and I pawed through
      the inventory comparing prices with previous HSSs. I bought a second set of
      containers to complete my dock scene. I also picked up a set of double fire
      escape brass etchings from Miller Engineering.

      Our day's shopping concluded, we turned to a late lunch in Mountainview and
      then headed off to the nearest party supply store for accessories for our Z
      Group sign. Instead of finding a party store, I turned into the parking lot
      of the Mountainview Goodwill. 30 minutes later I found what I wanted at the
      Mountainview Salvation Army store...a tuxedo! The jacket fit perfectly
      although I wll have to hem the pants and take in the backside slightly but
      for $24 I couldn't beat the price!

      We eventually found 2 party stores on the way back to the motel and with the
      help of our very imaginative companions, we purchased the last novelty items
      we needed for our sign and table decorations.

      I know that this seems a little strange but all will become clear with
      Saturday's report. Terry and I have something special planned for this
      train show. Needless to say the 4 of us had a great deal of fun shopping
      and telling stories about each other's spouse. One of these days I'll
      remember something embarrassing to tell about Marthe. In the meantime, I'll
      just grin and bear it.

      Back at the motel we worked until 11:30 pm getting our sign ready for
      Friday's openning bell. The alarm is set for 5:30 am for Thursday in order
      to be on the loading dock at 8 am to unload the 3 layouts and get set up
      before our 1:30 pm departure time for the NMRA layout tour.

      The final plan that we have hatched allows us to finish setting up Thursday
      evening until 9 pm. Friday morning we will finish any minor tweaking to the
      display area and get the trains on the track and running for the openning of
      the show at 10 am. We also have planned to install a display area for Z
      manufacturers which has to be ready for the crowds in the afternoon.

      Saturday night is supper night for the Z group so let me know if you plan to
      join us. Send me an email or drop by our layouts to signal your intention
      to join us. Also don't forget to fill out an entry form for the wonderful
      prizes that have been donated for our draw.

      That's it for day 3 of our excellent roadtrip adventure...I have to go to
      bed and get up early. Stay tuned for episode 4...

      Cheers,
      Jeffrey
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