Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trip Report - MER 2011 Convention, Cary, NC

I rolled back into town Sunday evening after spending a very enjoyable three days at the NMRA Mid East Regional Convention in Cary, NC. Model railroad conventions can run hot or cold, and I've been to plenty of regional conventions over the years - and frankly some of them have been awful. But not this one. 

First of all, the show went off without a hitch - the hotel (Embassy Suites) was excellent - even the food in the on-site restaurant was pretty good and reasonably priced. The clinic lineup was outstanding - they ran four rooms from 8:00 until 11:00 pm for three days - quite a feat! the weather on the drive down was great, but by Friday the skies had clouded over and it was pretty windy and rainy so I stayed inside most of Friday.  Judging from the audience size in the clinic rooms so did most of the other attendees! 

Bruce DeYoung gave two excellent clinics - one of slate roofs and the other on "Modeling tricks and tips" - here's Bruce showing one of his tips - a great way to spread ballast:

Danial Fisher is a structural engineer who specializes in steel-framed buildings. He gave an "extra fare" clinic on modeling steel framed structures. For $12 I got a GREAT handout and a small kit to build a steel-frame shed (or addition to an older building. Dan displayed this model, which is a Walther's Car shop with complete framing and bracing added to represent a steel-framed building with brick curtain walls. Sorry for the quality of these photos - I took them with my iPhone in the clinic room! Apparently, Dan's factory manufactures droids!:
I did get out of the hotel for a little while. I had lunch with Mike Brestel and John Roberts on Saturday, and then headed over to check out Bruce Faulkner's N scale CSX layout. To give some sense of this project, Bruce's layout is about the same size as mine but is double-deck in N scale. He has a CTC signaling system installed, but is only now really starting to make progress on the scenery. It looks like a great railroad to operate and I may need to get a few of the locals from this area to make it our next operating road trip. 
Here's Bruce:
And here's a view of his main classification yard:

All in an all, an excellent weekend seeing old friends and making new ones!