Brass in Berks County

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Brass in Berks County

Postby Chris Paulsen » Fri May 16, 2014 7:05 pm

Only a few more days...who's going to be there Sunday? Who's going to be touring all week?
See you there!
Chris
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Re: Brass in Berks County

Postby oldcarfudd » Fri May 16, 2014 7:43 pm

I'll be there with my '12 Buick. My son will be there with his E-M-F and a Model T.

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder
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Re: Brass in Berks County

Postby oldcarfudd » Sun May 25, 2014 8:34 am

Since no one else has yet done so, I thought I’d post some thoughts about the BBC show, swap meet, and first two (of four) days of touring. Since my car suffered an acute Failure To Proceed on Tuesday, I schlepped it off to Steve Bono on Wednesday and can’t comment on the rest of the tour.

The new location, in Morgantown, is superb from our standpoint – less so from the property owner’s. It’s a renovated Holiday Inn in a defunct shopping mall. There’s a huge paved (no mud!) parking lot with no one in it except hotel guests. It easily accommodates all the trailers, all the tow vehicles and motor homes, the car show, the flea market, and the ladies’ driving school, with ample room left over to land a small aircraft if any pilot runs out of gas and can’t reach the nearby airport. The hotel has a swimming pool right in the lobby. The room rate included a full breakfast with omelets made to order. Within easy walking distance, for those not wanting hotel food in the evening, was a family restaurant with tasty, gut-busting portions and yummy desserts. If you didn’t gain weight, you weren’t trying!

Flea market vendors seemed to be content with sales, and some buyers snagged treasures. The car show drew quite a few visitors. Kathie Conrad walked several ladies through her Model T, showing them what everything was and how it worked, and then Nancy Wall gave hands-on-the-wheel driving lessons in her own T. The weather cooperated.

Watch this name: Dave Thompson. From Cedarville, NJ. With a 1914 Overland. That he mostly restored himself, very nicely, from a solid original car. He appeared at the show with only ten total miles on the O’land since restoration, and he’d never been on a car tour. He drove the first two days (and maybe more – I wasn’t there) and was happier than a dog with two tails to wag. And he got lots of encouragement.

Monday’s tour was 51 very pretty miles. The principal destination was a tour of the New Holland Agriculture plant, where they make heavy-duty farm equipment like balers. There were neat computer-controlled machines that made precision bends and precision holes in sheet metal parts. It’s a non-union plant that hires a lot of Amish workers. American manufacturing has a future. I never realized there were square balers and round balers; in my working years as an insurance actuary, I had no occasion to use either. We had Intercourse for lunch. (Let me try that sentence again.) We stopped in the Pennsylvania Dutch town of Intercourse for lunch, where once again we got tasty food and big portions. And, of course, there was an ice cream stop. How do you spell ice cream? BBC-YUMMY.

There was a board meeting Monday night. There will be a new roster this year, so be sure your data are current. There will be a new club brochure in time for the 2015 Convention, which will be March 1-6 in Kerrville, TX. A new Affiliated Register for Ramblers was approved. The Grizzly Bear Tour, in California timed to link with Bakersfield, will be a National Tour in 2015 and 2016. There is a lot of work going on to expand the use of the Internet so members can communicate with each other better. Most important: the bylaws require that a slate of seven nominees be presented to the membership for election to the board; the five with the highest number of votes are elected. There are only three board members whose terms are expiring this year – we’ve been running with a couple of vacancies – and only one of them, Carl Pate, is running again. So we need six good names. For logistics reasons – to get their pictures and bios into the Gazette – we need them by July 1. That’s only five weeks away. If you’re interested in serving on the board, or know someone who might be, please let someone on the present board know.

Tuesday’s tour was just as nice as Monday’s, in equally good weather, but longer – 83 miles. (Incidentally, while some of Pennsylvania’s main roads are in poor condition, the back roads were wonderful. A warning about a pothole big enough to swallow a Model T proved overly alarmist – it, and probably lots of others after this long winter, had been fixed.) The destination was the QVC studios, where we had a very revealing tour. For those who, like me, had never heard of QVC, it’s a shopping television network. All sales, all the time, 24/7. There is constant monitoring of the sales process, real time feedback as to what’s selling well, what’s running out of stock, what needs a push. Then on to the next product. These folks can just about get inside your head and see what you’re thinking. Impressive stuff, but scary.

I got a taste of serious luxury after my Buick quit (fried coil), when Ralph and Anna Tolman toted me around in their ’14 Pierce-Arrow. Many thanks, folks!

After lunch at a pleasant country spot, we visited the Antique Ice Tool Museum. Who knew that, before electric refrigeration, collecting ice in the northern winter, shipping it south, and distributing it to retail customers was a major industry? Fascinating artifacts, photos and movies. Yesterday’s ice cream stop was so good, we went there again.

Readers of the September-October 2009 Gazette may remember that two Dutchmen, Hans van der Wouden and Willem van der Horst, drove a 1907 Spyker from Salt Lake City to San Francisco, while accompanying the Alice Ramsey Centennial Ride. Hans and Willem were back, driving Gil the Younger's Model T on this tour while Gil drove his E-M-F. If you want a fun evening, knock a few back with a pair of Dutchmen. Kim and Wayne Simoni again availed themselves of Clay Green's Rent-a-T.

Tuesday evening there was a great presentation about early license plates by John Willard and his collecting partner. Before there were state license plates and reciprocity, there was a free-for-all among some jurisdictions looking for revenue. If you drove from Philadelphia to New York, you had to spring for a NJ plate. If you commuted from NJ to PA, you needed two plates; one enterprising fellow created a plate you needed only to flip, with NJ on one side and PA on the other. Before there were registration plates for cars, there were license plates for drivers; if a driver used more than one car, he had to move his plate from one to the other.

Now, folks, inquiring minds want to know – what was the rest of the tour like?

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder
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