Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
I will second the kudos bestowed on this recent meet by Messrs. Aley, Smith, and Welch et al. This was the meet's 12th year, and my 12th attendance.
1) The meet itself ran flawlessly and seamlessly, genuine plug-and-play by all, not the least by the efforts of Clinic Organizer and Major Domo Jeff Aley.
2) For me, the highlight of the meet is the culture of comfortable relaxed sociability and shared networking that is de rigeur. That this is amongst some of the most accomplished and respected of all modelers adds to the luster. This pervades almost every nook and cranny of the hotel during waking hours, and it also tumbles right out into the sunshine enhanced by the pleasant background sounds of surf and birds). There is a minimum of strutting, and a maximum of good old fashioned self-effacing modeling excellence. That many of the vendors were also participants and superb modelers as well as vendors was only additive.
3) The hotel is superbly maintained, and it is obvious that the management and staff value our presence. I had more than one staff comment that "they all looked forward to this meet". After some years of so-so food (at best), which too often was also overpriced, the food this year was excellent (excellent!) IMHO. The buffet breakfast was just about all one could expect (to-order omelette station, superb grits, tasty sausages, fresh-squeezed orange juice, not-bad coffee, reasonable price). Ditto for lunch. For the first time, the hotel also had the buffet on Sunday (the morning of departure), and it was well attended.
I personally heard not one food complaint.
4) Having the large display and vendor room open the entire meet continues to be a major feature. It was always full of attendees yakking, looking, yakking some more, sharing lies (not me), etc. I can only absorb so much when invidiously inspecting the gathered finished models, and it was so nice to be able to pop in at my leisure to look at a few more, etc.
5) Bill Schneider's lovely sample Rapido 36' reefers were a big draw, and my order for a bunch of the Tobin cars is in the hopper. However, the reefers were somewhat in the shadow of a display of Rapido's new ten car CANADIAN replete with FP-9s. This train may be the very finest of all such passenger model productions yet, radiating a hazarding siren call to the most deep-dyed suceptable and unsuspecting freight car aficionado, who prior to seeing this superb HO train, might not have even known that Canada had such beautiful trains, or perhaps that Canada had railroads, or that there were even passenger trains!
6) Greg Martin's Take'Shake once again drew an enthusiastic audience. This year's project is an SP rebuilt USRA boxcar- pretty neat. At last opportunity arises for me to make use of an unopened quarts of SP boxcar paint that was given to me some 30 years ago from a cache found in the Sacramento Shops. I am musing just how I might actually apply this paint through my airbrush!
6) The Door Prize drawing Saturday night was again seriously flawed. Despite holding an unprecedented number of tickets - including Mont Switzer's who had to make an "exit of necessity"- before it was over, none of my numbers were called, i.e. zero, nada, nein, non, zip, nothing. This was my 12th year of such miserable failure; and I will certainly be speaking to Mike about this disgrace, and how it can be rectified for next year. Har-rumph!
Denny S. Anspach, MD