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[z_scale] NTS2000 Road Trip - Day 4 Report

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  • Jeffrey MacHan
    Welcome to Day 4 of Our Excellent Adventure, So far today we have not been blessed with one of Helen s wisps of wisdom. She may come up with something before
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2000
      Welcome to Day 4 of Our Excellent Adventure,

      So far today we have not been blessed with one of Helen's wisps of wisdom.
      She may come up with something before the end of this report.

      The alarm went of at 5:30 this morning so that we would have a reasonable
      shot at being in line at the loading dock of the convention centre at 8 am.
      After breakfast at IHOP, we found that several dozen other exhibitors had
      the same brilliant idea as us. We finally went up the ramp to our unloading
      area at 9:20 am. Not all that bad for a major convention.

      Terry backed the car up to the section of concrete floor that we would call
      home for our layouts at the show and we quickly unloaded and set the
      suitcases and boxes in the Zone. 20 minutes later a rather large and
      irritable looking Teamster told us to get our tails (meaning the car I
      hoped) out of the convention centre ASAP. I didn't want to hear the 'or
      else' part of his "request".

      The spouses set themselves the mission of getting us tables with white
      skirting and chairs. Since we were lowly layout exhibitors who had not paid
      for space, they would have to use their charm and feminine wiles to reach
      their goal.

      Terry and I opened our respective layouts and plugged them in. Surprise,
      surprise, Terry's layout had a dead switching section and I had a completely
      dead mainline in Val Ease East. So we both began opening things up and
      tracing wiring and wiping the beads of sweat from our faces. We weren't
      concerned, it was simply very hot in the convention centre.

      Although I had doubts that skirted tables would arrive, at 10:30 2 eight
      foot tables arrived for Marthe and me. Now we had to transfer my three open
      suitcases to the new table. Marthe knew that her table would arrive so she
      had waited before setting up her layout. Yes, she was right!

      Finally at 12:30 we threw covers over the layouts and headed towards the
      car. The layouts worked beautifully although we wondered in what state of
      inebriation we had been when we had first wired our layouts. It is always a
      surprise what one finds while troubleshooting wiring seven years after the

      We had booked places on a layout tour leaving the Doubletree Hotel at 1:30
      and we only had 20 minutes to find food and get to the departure salon where
      we would be ushered onto the tour bus.

      I had assured my hungry and increasingly dangerous associates that there was
      food at the hotel. With 15 minutes to go before departure, we discovered a
      snack bar in the hotel where we could sit and hear the call for the tour.

      With 1 minute to go we all rushed off to the restrooms then on to the bus.
      We left with 40 other enthusiasts and one guide who did not really know
      where we were going. To make a long story short (too late!) we made it to
      all of the 4 layouts although with varying degrees of lateness.

      Not surprisingly, there were no Z scale layouts on tour at this convention.
      For Terry and me this simply underlined the need for Z scalers to reach out
      to the public at train shows and large meets. For my wife, the layout
      visits simply confirmed her desire to move to California and pick grapefruit
      and oranges from her lawn chair next to the pool! Believe it or not, we
      visited a G scale layout where the homeowners did just that!

      Following our return to the convention hotel, we had a modest supper
      followed by an exorbitant bill. When we had recovered from the sticker
      shock, we retired to the Motel 6 to relax for once...until...

      8:30 pm when I realized that I had not submitted the paperwork for the
      layout contest at the train show. As some of you may recall, at last year's
      national train show, the judges had refused to allow me to enter for some
      bogus reason about being too late. I filled out the forms thinking that I
      was going to suffer the same fate this year. Terry offered to give me a
      ride to the convention centre to submit the form to Dean Dickerhoof, if not
      before 9 pm at least Thursday night before judging tomorrow morning at 8 am.

      Of course we were too late to find Dean, so I handed my entry form to a
      train show staff member who said that he would give it to Dean the following
      morning. When I said that I would be at the show at 8 am myself, he
      returned the form and told me to give it to Dean myself.

      Now I had an excuse to approach Dean tomorrow morning with the story that I
      had given the forms to a staff member on Thursday evening who told me to
      give them to Dean! Hopefully this story will sound convincing to him and my
      layout will finally be judged. Tomorrow morning I will have my answer and I
      will tell you tomorrow night.

      Well, here I am at the end of today's report and Helen still has not come up
      with a new thought du jour. Last chance...going...going...gone!

      Talk to you tomorrow,
      Jeffrey MacHan

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