A Brief Word

| April/May 1997

We're assembling this copy in early February, with about two weeks to go before embarking on our distant journey to Australia, along with about 40 of our colleagues. Thus, while we're enjoying the Australian autumn and all the things to see and do, Linda will be filling in for ye olde Reflector next month. In all fairness to Linda, she does an excellent job of standing in, and we've even agreed to help out with a few things before we leave. However, that's probably our only sabbatical for this year.

Now that we've got our bases covered for the Australian Tour, we'll give you early notice of our next tour. This one is planned for perhaps June or July of 1998. Right now, we're looking at flying into Vienna, Austria, and spending two or three days in the area. That'll give everyone a chance to do their thing, whether it's spending all their time in the world-famous technical museum, sightseeing, shopping, or whatever. Personally, I'd love to have a chance to walk into that famous concert hall in Vienna that's the home of the Vienna Symphony, along with the technical museum, the giant ferris wheel, and other attractions.

From Vienna, we'd likely go west and north, picking up Linz, Passau, Salzburg, Innsbruck, and go on into Germany. Eventually, we'd plan on ending up at Sthlingen and Roland Porten's tractor and engine collection. After a couple of weeks, we'd like to finish our tour with a couple of days at Grindelwald in Switzerland. For those who have been there, we think this would be a marvelous closing for the tour before flying home from Zurich.

We don't have everything put together yet, but there would be very few repetitions from our recent European tour. Sthlingen would be a likely exception, and lots of folks on the last European tour would have liked more time at the huge displays at the University of Hohenheim. Also on the last tour, the famous Mercedes-Benz Museum was closed, so perhaps we'd try to include it in the 1998 tour.

We've discovered some sizable engine and tractor collections in Austria, and have charted some of them out on a map. Right now we're contacting numerous people in Austria to get a better picture of what to expect.

According to all the tour books and from many people who've been there, Passau (in Germany but near Linz, Austria) is a must-see city. The cathedral there houses the world's largest pipe organ, and they give concerts each day. Many of our people were disappointed in missing the weekly concert at Chester Cathedral last summer, but we made up for it somewhat by the visit to York minster. All in all, we hope to find that special blend of culture, entertainment, sightseeing, and old engines that will make the 1998 tour a memorable and exciting experience. One thing is for sure; we will take a maximum of two coaches, or about 80 people. Although our last European tour had 120 people, and everything worked out just fine, it's a real burden for ye olde Tour Host and the couriers to keep everything going smoothly. More on this in coming issues! By the way, if anyone has contacts, or knows of 'must-see' places, let us know.