Cheers! From Reg, Our Australian Friend


| May/June 1995



37 Seaham Street Homesville, 2286 Australia

After taking my wife Marg to England to celebrate her father's 80th birthday (the first time all the family were together for over 30 years), I decided to revisit America and do all the things I missed last time. Three years ago, Marg and I drove from Miami, Florida, to San Francisco, California, visiting a number of engine people on the way. After numerous letters to friends and acquaintances and the purchase of a standby airline ticket, I flew into New York late on October 4, 1994.

An airport bus dropped me at Lee Pedersen's door and, after a lightning tour of his collection of hot air and gas engines, we set off in his van to the Hershey, Pennsylvania, Meet, stopping at a motel at 12:30 a.m. for some sleep. (What with jet-lag, I was a real mess!) Next morning I was stunned by the size of what is the biggest swap meet in the world. Nine thousand sites, and about 28 miles if you walk all the way round it! We stayed on site with Bob and Kath Barrett, who are very hospitable people, and for the next two days I literally walked my feet off, seeing only about a third of what was on offer. As my carrying capacity was very limited, I only made a few small purchases; this was most frustrating!!! I spent one of the coldest nights of my life in the back of Bob's pickup! Frost the next morning, but a good sunny day ensued.

On October 6 p.m., Dick Shelly collected me and, over the next 2 days he and his wife showed me around the Amish area; took me to the Kinzer Rough and Tumble Museum where I met more engine people; and saw a lot of new (to me) motors and other equipment. I also inspected Dick's workshop where he produces his wonderful models.

Being so close to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I could not miss out on a visit to the GEM headquarters. Here I met the ladies who produce our magazine. (Not only do they do a top job, they are good lookers, too. Hi Girls!!)

At noon on October 8, I caught the bus to Washington, D.C. There, after finding a room at the Harrington Hotel, I set out to explore the wonders of the Smithsonian Museums (something I have wanted to do for many years). I was not disappointed! What a fabulous place. For two days I wandered, glassy eyed, through wonderland. All too soon it was time to move on again. I flew to Cincinnati, where I was met by Dabby Whitham, who drove me to his home in Vevay, Indiana. The scenery was breathtaking as all the trees were getting their autumn colors. That night, Brent Rowell drove over from Lexington with a couple of hot air models and collected some photos of my Quirks hot air fan. We spent a pleasant evening in Dabby's workshop. The next day, October 11 (my birthday), we drove up to see John Burns at New Carlisle, Ohio, who showed us his superb model Reid and Bessemer engines, along with new projects still on his drawing board. He and his wife are both real nice people. After a quiet Thursday around Vevay, I left at 6:30 a.m. Friday the 13th and flew to Detroit, to see the Henry Ford collection. I again spent the next two days in wonderland; however, my legs and feet were real sore from all the walking. A 5 a.m. start on October 16 saw me on my way to Jackson, Michigan, to stay with Homer and Ouida Ferrell. A quick stop at the State Fair, a wander round the local flea market, then on to inspect their new home (they had moved since I had last seen them). I arrived a day after their daughter's wedding, so a state of shock still existed! I visited Vernon King and saw his 80 HP Fairbanks Y twin running. What an impressive sight and what an achievement for a couple of older enthusiasts! Over the next three days, I was shown around by Clinton Edwards (who I did a bit of trading with!!), Hay-ward Anderson, Joe Spell and, of course, Homer (who thinks I'm pretty good at fixing Fairmonts!!) It was with a feeling of sadness I bade farewell to these good folk to move on to my next stop.