NTS2000 - Roadtrip Day 7 Report
- Hello Z friends,
One full week has passed in our incredible journey to San Jose and the
National Train Show. I am happy to announce that Jeff and Marthe and Terry
and Helen are still talking to each other! Furthermore, Helen has provided
a new wisp of wisdom for Model Train Widows travelling with their spouses:
"We are simply the hubcaps on the wheel of the car, you gotta roll with it!"
First order of business in this report of our 3rd day of the National Train
Show is to correct some errors that I slipped into the last epistle. What
can I say, the little gray cells are dying more quickly than I expected.
1. Bob Hawes is from Connecticut and not from Sonora or Sonoma or whatever
in California...sorry Bob, I got my wires crossed on that one.
2. the lettering on Terry's wonderful Z sign was in fact 4 inches tall and
not 2 as I had reported. This means that our message was visible over a
much greater distance than had previously been presumed!
3. an error of omission on my part. Although I was indeed quite debonair in
my $24 tux, I had to stop every 15 minutes or so and duck behind the
suitcases of the layout in order to pull up my trousers which were
determined to embarrass me at the show.
As a result of #3 above, I decreed "casual Sunday" and wore my civvies for
the last day of the train show. Fortunately Terry followed suit! My
official excuse for dumping the formal gear was that we had to pack up the
layouts at the close of the show.
Sunday was for interacting with the crowds of kids and chatting up a storm
with newly discovered Z scale modelers. In fact, we had 43 completed entry
forms in the box for the drawing of the grand prize of a year's subscription
to Ztrack Magazine. Remember that coupons were only completed by bona-fide
Z scale modelers. Terry, Helen and Marthe saw to that.
I must take this time to express a heartfelt thank you to the sponsors who
contributed the 25 draw prizes. As they say, without their support, we
would have had to PAY for the prizes!!!
The following is a list of the prize winners and the donations:
Donor Item Winner
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Joyce Allnutt
Homabed Roadbed (16') Belfrey Althaus
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Chris Willard
Pennzee 3 Bay Hopper Paul Huber
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Margaret Dietrich
Neil's N Gauging Trains Brass Band Stand John Coha
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. John McGinnis
Pennzee 3 Bay Hopper Fred Patton
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Keith Hawes
Micron Art Baggage Carts (4) Harve Porter
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Charla Cameron
Rail Action Emporium Car loads (3) Bob Hawes
Trucks & Trains Hobbies MTL Holiday Tanker Phil Grant
Micro-Structures Diner kit w/light kit Takashi Murakami
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Nona Garza
Homabed Roadbed (16') June Coha
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Ajay Ravindranathan
Pennzee 3 Bay Hopper Anne Roesel
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. J. R. Paulson
Neil's N Gauging Trains Pub Cafe Tables (2) Eric Jensen
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Marty Empringham
Pennzee 3 Bay Hopper Jeff Merrill
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Donald Pitt
Micro Art Switch Tower kit Bill James
Z Model Train Products Paper bldg. Daryl McMurrin
We had many great moments during the day and we have pictures of most of
them but the most enjoyable of them all happened at 4 pm Sunday afternoon.
At this precise time, Marthe and Helen called me over to make the Grand
Prize drawing of the Ztrack subscription.
As I was excusing myself from the small crowd around the Val Ease Central, I
noticed a very agitated woman standing nervously behind Terry's layout. Her
hands were clasped in front of her and she was shifting her weight back and
forth from one foot to the other. She stared at me intently as Helen shook
the entry box vigorously to mix the forms. I rolled up my short sleeve and
plunged my hand into the depths of the box. I turned and mixed the tickets
for several seconds and tried to close my thumb and index finger on a single
entry form. I had trouble doing it because there was an entry stuck to the
palm of my hand.
Oh alright, I thought to myself, the entries are well mixed and my name
wasn't on one of them so I pulled out the slip of yellow paper. I held it
up at arm's length because I need bifocals but am too proud (or stubborn) to
admit it to my wife. "Janice Anderson," I read out...
"It's me! It's me! It's ME!" the unknown lady exclaimed excitedly. "I'm
Well, we all broke out laughing. Ms. Anderson had come by earlier to see
the layouts and to enter the drawing. She told Marthe and Helen how much
she enjoyed Z scale and that although she would like to win a prize, she
wanted to especially win the Ztrack subscription.
Marthe and Helen both grabbed cameras and took pictures of our excited and
delighted grand prize winner with Terry and me. We'll make sure that Rob
Kluz gets the photos for publication in an upcoming issue of Ztrack.
A few minutes later, the public address system announced that the show was
closed. I will have to contact the NMRA to find out the total attendance
for the 3 days but our guestimate is in the neighborhood of 15,000.
Packing up was done without incident and moving out was chaos as expected.
Finally around 7:30 we were back at the Motel 6 where our keys would NOT
open the locks. The reservation system had checked us out that morning!
Back to the manager we marched. 15 minutes later we had our newly
reprogrammed keys and we were back on track, so to speak.
Our plans for Monday were to visit the California State Railway Museum in
Sacramento and to generally goof off. I was looking forward to visiting the
museum and to getting more information on UP passenger equipment, especially
Fast forward to Monday, August 8, 2000
Today was sunny and warm. We were delighted with the sights and sounds of
historic old Sacramento. Don't miss the chance to see this site. It is
well worth the detour if you are in the neighborhood.
Marthe and Helen split off from Terry and me for the afternoon's visit, we
could do more damage that way!
I thoroughly enjoyed the museum where I went into tourist mode. Terry and I
sat through the 25 minute historical film presentation of the Central
Pacific RR. We followed the guided tour for it's 33 minute length, then we
climbed over the rail cars and sat in the engineer's seat of the only
surviving Cab Forward locomotive of the Southern Pacific RR. I found a
reference book of UP business cars in the gift shop which, I hope, will help
me scratch build a business car for the Master Builder - Cars achievement
program certificate. I have to scratch build 4 cars out of 8 that must be
super detailed, one of which, must be a scratch passenger car.
We are officially on our way back to Vancouver, WA where I will try to
arrange shipping of our suitcase layouts back East. I'm trying not to think
about it. After all, "We are just fleas on the camel in the caravan, we're
just along for the ride!"
I hope that you have enjoyed these reports. I have enjoyed picking them out
on my Jornada. In fact, I have felt like a foreign correspondent for the
past week. I return home with lots of Z goodies and a tuxedo! Best of all,
Marthe and I have enjoyed every minute of our trip with Terry and Helen
Sutfin. They are the best travelling companions one could ever ask for.
Without them we would not have had what has been truly a Very Excellent
Adventure. We love them dearly.
Best regards to all and happy modeling,
P.S. plans are already underfoot for a Zone at NTS 2001 in St. Louis, MI.
Contact Rob Kluz or myself if you would like to participate with a layout or
as a volunteer operator.
P.P.S. Terry has plans for HSS's on the way back...stay tuned for the next
P.P.P.S. I'll provide a breakdown of the demographics from our entry forms
and Terry will provide a quick overview of the new Z products he discovered
at the show...
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