37 Seaham Street Holmesville, 2286 NSW, Australia
Here is another episode in the wanderings of an Aussie engine nut. The last episode appeared in the February '98 issue of GEM.
When I knew that my 'new knee joints' were going to be installed, I thought that I would be laid up for quite a while, so I bought a computer to help me fill in time. In a very short time I found the 'Stationary List' and found a whole new set of friends in all parts of the world.
Cutting out the painful bits (pun), I got things working again and learned that the 'List' was having a presentation dinner at the Portland Show; lots of the new friends would be there. This was a chance I could not pass up, so after selling off some of my models to pay for the trip, I flew over the pond again on August 12 to stay firstly with old friends Brad Smith at Franklin near Milwaukee and Richard Daoust of Waukesha. Before jet lag had even got its hooks into me, Brad dropped me off to a friend of his, Tom Artzburger, who has his own model railway in his garden. I was made most welcome there and met the members of the local railway club. This set the pace for the next few days and, in just over a week I had three shows under my belt: Sycamore, Chilton, and Baraboo. At each one of these, I met up with people that I had heard of or 'talked' to on the Net. The standard of exhibits seems to me to be always on the rise, as I saw and photographed a lot of superb restorations. There were too many to single out any for special mention.
On Monday, 16th, Richard took me over to Rockford to see the clock museum. Sadly, it is now closed, so we called in on Ken Branson and his two sons who are 'Branson Enterprises.' (They were the folk who gave me the ride to Rockford on the last trip.) It was a happy reunion and we all had a good laugh about our previous meetings.
A couple of days later, we called in on Trinity Tools in Milwaukee, where I previously got some tooling for my workshop. The owner recognized me at once, even though we had only met once before. I came away with a load more stuff that I could not live without!
Left to right: Peter Lowe, Australia; Dave Rotigel, U.S.A.; Helen French, England; Reg Ingold, Australia; Arnie Ferro, U.S.A. Multinationals at ATIS List compound at Portland, Indiana. This is what the hobby is all about-friendship!
We then drove past the new stadium where the crane collapsed, killing a couple of workers. WHAT A MESS!! That scene left a lasting impression in my memory. I visited with Carl Voght, a master modelmaker who, sadly, is sick, but he took time to show me his latest work. Another memory I have is meeting with Rowley Tichendorf who, at 78, is thinking of retiring from farming and starting to restore the 50 tractors and 60 odd engines that he put aside to keep him busy!!
A new list friend, Gene Waugh, and his wife gave me a bed for a couple of nights and showed me 'round Chicago, where we went up the Sears Building and took in the Museum of Science and Industry. Then, flying over to Dayton, I met up with my good friends John Burns of 'Burns and Homer' and Charlie Morris. Again, we spent the Portland Show together and had a ball!
Now, the main object of this trip was to meet up with the other 'List' members. Well, that was just one of the most wonderful events in my life. To meet up with friends that you have never seen in the flesh and yet know from the computer, is beyond words. There is a complete tale here alone. But it is one that I will leave for someone who is better with words than me, as I could not do it justice. Suffice to say that my face hurt from all the laughing and smiling that I did. The presentation dinner was a huge success and, at shutdown time after the show, there were lumps in more than one throat!
On previous trips, I have been lucky enough to be able to call in on the staff at GEM but, as I was cutting down my stay this time (threats of losing my dinner plate if I was gone for more than a month!) I could not make it. However, it was a wonderful surprise to meet up with Judy Whiteside and her husband at the GEM stand. It is always nice to see old friends as we have had many laughs along the way. Among other things bought at this show, I collected a set of Woodpecker castings from Dick Shelly to replace one of the models sold to pay for the trip. In all, I took home six casting sets along with a whole load of other tooling and stuff. One hundred ten pounds and still had thirty pounds left if I needed it. These jumbo jets sure can carry the weight!
All this weight was loaded into Clinton's camper and he took it back to his home where I was to spend my last week. This was a load off my mind as well as my arms! With the Portland Show over, a subdued ride back to John's house and a last night with them saw me on my way to Mt. Pleasant Show. Again, I stayed with Jim Fiedler for the duration of the show. The temperature on a couple of days was HOT and I was glad to rest up in his camper on site. At these BIG shows, you need all of the five days to even have a quick look at all there is on show. I am afraid that, as I get older, it all gets to be a bit blurred when there is so much to see. And again, as at Portland, so many folk remembered me from my previous visit and welcomed me with such warmth and friendship that I was embarrassed to not be able to remember all their names. I saw a hat badge that said 'Hi, I cannot remember your name either!' I NEED one of those. The 7th of September saw me flying down to Laurel, Mississippi, to spend the last few days of the trip with Clinton Edwards. This was a nice restful time where I had time to recover a little prior to the long flight home and also see friends that I made on my first trip ten years earlier. All too soon it was time to pack my bags for the last time and head for New Orleans airport. At my request, we went via the causeway bridge over Lake Ponchartrain. It is 29 miles long, and I consider it an amazing piece of engineering. Photos do not do it justice!
The flights home took all up about 20 hours, and jet lag took care of the next few days, but today I got my photos back from the developers and did the trip again in fast forward. Yup! It sure was a fine time.
Now, hmmmm! 2001..........??