Sunday, September 11, 2011

Steel Mill Modelers Meet 2011 - Day 1

It was a very busy week and I'm just getting around to posting my account of the 2011 Steel Mill Modelers Meet over this past Labor Day Weekend.   As usual, we had a fun four days at this event - we always do.  I think it is a combination of four days away from work, a relaxing atmosphere, a topic that we both enjoy hearing about,  great group of people,....etc.   We attend a half dozen or so model railroad related events over the year but this one is by far our favorite. This is part of the reason that I volunteered to help out to keep this event going in the future.

We are close enough that we don't need to rush on Thursday morning.  Because of the three modules and the associated models and cars that go on these modules we use a full size work van to haul everything.  The van was emptied out of tools and equipment on Wednesday night and the modules were loaded.  We loaded the remainder of our models and luggage in the morning and waited until just after rush hour to depart.  The ride only takes about two hours or so and we arrived in the vicinity of the meet by 11pm.  Usually two early to check in or set up, we had an early lunch and made it to the hotel just after noon.  As we were in charge of the Display Room this year we didn't need to wait around to set up and were able to begin moving in the module components.  This year we had a second room across the hall from the Display Room to set up the modules and hold the Saturday workshops.

Turf Valley Resort
Despite our early arrival, we were not the first there - we soon bumped into Leon Dorak and Glenn Sonnier.  Leon brought in his excellent N-scale BOF to display and Glenn carefully unloaded and set up his two HO Scale Blast Furnaces.  The larger of the two won the Dean Freytag Award a few years ago and his second is well under construction.

Leon Dorak's N-Scale BOF

Glenn Sonnier's Blast Furnace - Glenn (seated left) is talking Blast Furnaces with Eric Craig (seated Right)
Others started arriving in rapid succession and the display room started to fill up with models along with a few tables for vendors.   It took us about two hours or so to set up the modules and get them running. Significant damage had occurred during transport to much of the ballast and ground cover during transport - nothing that can't be fixed, just disappointing, but we had rushed with this so the glue wasn't 100% dry yet.   The module/workshop room was full of tables - we put away about half of them to make way for the modules.  In addition to our three modules we had two  Free-mo modules in the construction phase that hopefully might be completed by next year.  We also shared the module room with Dave Alley's S-Scale Steel Mill Modules.  Dave is a character to put it mildly, but then again I think he is the only S-Scaler I know so perhaps they all are.

Dave Alley's Steel Mill modules
Once things were in hand with the display room and our modules set up, we took a break to finally check in to our room.   When we registered for this event, the hotel had said they were out of the $89 rooms set aside for our group and all they had available were suites.  We took a suite for $119, which in the scheme of things is pretty cheap, however, overall I think the "out of rooms thing" was a real petty scummy trick on the part of Turf Valley.  A few people complained and John Glaab quickly rectified things and suddenly rooms were again available at the $89 price, but we just kept ours as is figuring the extra room for the two of us wouldn't be a bad thing since we were staying three nights.   The suite was very nice - lots of room, corner suite on the top floor with windows on two sides with great views, little kitchenette, and two TVs - especially important with a teenager that watches Comedy Central into the early morning hours.   I think there must have only been one, maybe two other guest on our whole floor on thursday night, so much for the out of rooms thing.    We brought some subs back to our room for dinner - note to self, in Maryland buy crabcakes not subs.  

We arrived at the seminar room just in time for John Glaab's welcome, followed by an excellent primer on steel mill modeling.  John's seminar was followed by Dick Buchan's talk on building steel mills on modules - things to consider and a proposal for new or different standards for building modules with large industries.  After this we spent an hour or so in the display room looking and shopping, before calling it a night.

NOTE - This will be a continuing series as time allows.

NOTE - Something has changed with the blogspot page template I use that allows me to post the pictures in a better manner and caption them too.  Hopefully this will make my blog more readable.

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