2013 New England Brass and Gas Tour

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Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:15 pm
Location: Morristown, NJ

2013 New England Brass and Gas Tour

Post by oldcarfudd » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:43 am

The tour was run last week, very successfully and to great acclaim. The base was Rutland, VT, at a Holiday Inn directly across the highway from a huge shopping mall where we parked trailers. We were able to get out of town and onto back roads quite quickly, but some of the return trips had a lot of traffic lights.

An impressive number of tourists had trailered an antique for many miles. Six cars were trailered from California (the current west coast), one each from Nevada and Arizona (the future west coast), and six from Florida (the future Atlantis). The most extreme distance traveled - without a car, but very welcome as riding guests - was by two couples from New Zealand. And there were lots of families with school-age kids and grandkids, who kept the pool in use whenever they weren't on tour.

Monday's tour was short - only 45 miles - but included lunch at a marvelous old B&B right on the village square in Brandon, a castle still in use as a residence (how do they heat the place?), a marble quarry/factory/museum (samples of marble were too heavy to carry), and a maple museum (samples of syrup were NOT too heavy to carry). In the evening was an ice cream social, a ladies' program on how to make fabric flowers, and a talk by Stu Laidlaw about some of the early collectors (including Art Austria, Bill Harrah and Bud Catlett).

Tuesday, by contrast, was the longest day, and the most challenging drive. I had Gazette editor John Meyer as a passenger. We left early so John could arrange some centerfold shots, and John showed me how his pictures make the brass highlights just pop. The morning stop was at a museum of 19th-century metal-working machines. To get there, we had to negotiate some seriously hilly dirt roads. We then drove (both ways) through a long covered bridge to New Hampshire so we could say we'd been there. Most people visited a glass blower, had lunch in a brew pub, and visited a flour mill and bakery in the afternoon. John and I were running late because of the morning's photography, so we cut out some of the afternoon destinations, and headed back to the hotel. And we were glad of our decision, since some of the folks who did the whole itinerary were hit with severe thunderstorms on the way home. Those storms, and worse, were stridently predicted for the whole week, but - except for Tuesday - they mostly weren't that big a bother. Tuesday evening there was an alternate hobby night, well attended as usual, and a concurrent board meeting, sparsely attended as usual.

Wednesday was the traditional mystery tour, and Steve Cook and Jon Rising put on a mystery worthy of an Edgar. A turn-of-the-century melodrama was illustrated with photographs which, for some reason, were all taken at intersections and contained some hint as to which way to turn. The tourists' job was to find the intersections, turn the right way, and get through a couple of checkpoints. The roads chosen would have made any sane person turn around. Not being sane, and considering the source, most people pressed on and were rewarded. The combination of occasional light-to-moderate rain and dirt roads rendered the cars unspeakably filthy. John could have taken some black-and-white, or sepia-toned, pictures for the Gazette and most people would have thought they had come from back in the day. Tourists were invited to create new captions - rated not worse than R, please, and preferably PG - to be read at the farewell banquet, and some of them were a hoot.

Thursday's tour was a scenic run to the Middlebury College Morgan Horse Farm. This is where most modern Morgans are bred, where their training is started, and from where the ones not kept for breeding are eventually sold. We had an excellent catered lunch under a big tent from which we could watch the newborn foals and their mothers - truly an awwwwwwesome sight. I had an interesting personal experience. On Tuesday, when we had arrived at the machine shop museum, some local reporters had interviewed us. I gave a few quotable quotes, and was duly quoted. A fellow I had worked with over 20 years ago saw the article and called me on the hotel phone in my room. We met up in the parking lot Thursday morning, and he navigated for me to the horse farm. He has a '55 Buick, but I couldn't convert him to brass. I tried, guys - I really did!

Friday, the weather channels outdid each other in predicting disaster. Four inches of rain and high winds in the morning, followed by flooding, followed by severe thunderstorms. Sounds like great touring weather, right? Most folks opted to go modern to Fort Ticonderoga, on the west (New York) shore of Lake Champlain. But Matt Rising, who's a Navy helicopter pilot and knows a thing or two about weather, looked a bit further and said: "It's going north, up the valley, away from us." About a dozen of us believed him and drove our antiques. We got a bit of light rain, but then the sun came out, and it warmed up, and became a very pleasant touring day. And the tour route was beautiful! The folks who went modern were seriously kicking themselves. One tourist said her new motto is: "If it's not raining in the parking lot, drive the antique."

Friday evening there was a cash bar and catered banquet. And Saturday we all went home.

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder

Posts: 116
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:39 am
Location: Grass Valley, CA

Re: 2013 New England Brass and Gas Tour

Post by FullerMetz » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:02 am

Gil FtE,
Thank you very much for the write-up. I always look forward to the articles in the HCCA Gazette. But sometimes, a more timely report is like fresh-churned ice cream.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2

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