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It's just been a little over 24 hours since I got home from the Denver Convention. I'm still trying to digest all the things that I saw, experienced and learned. In the days, perhaps weeks to come, I plan on posting a variety of information and thoughts about all that I learned there--it was a great experience, the best railroad convention that I've attended, but for different reasons.
When I've past attended railroad meets, symposia or conventions in Colorado, I usually drive like mad trying to visit as many layouts and favorite narrow gauge places as possible. This time I only left the convention to run trains on Keith's layout. This was a different convention for me, all to do with meeting people, making new C&S friends and renewing old friendships.
Our own Keith Hayes, a member of the convention organization who opened his own layout for visitors, proved to be hospitable, funny, patient and a hell-of-a nice guy. I enjoyed dinner and beers with him two evenings and ran trains on his S scale version of Leadville two afternoons. One could not find a better ambassador for C&S narrow gauge modeling to the unenlightened.
It was also great to finally meet Daryl Leedy, creator of this wonderful Discussion Forum, and Doug Heitkamp, who I've corresponded with and shared photos with over the past several years. I enjoyed a "grab and go" dinner on paper plates with these two along with Rick Steele (he doesn't really look like Harpo Marx) and learned a lot about the C&S modeling scene in the Denver area.
The Leadville Shops guys were all there--Doug Junda, Bill Merredith and Bob Stears. I spent a lot of time at their booth and both learned a lot and was inspired by all of them.
I at last met and put faces to many of the folks who regularly post here (wished there had been more time to talk with them): Mike Trent, Todd Hackett, Ken Martin, Craig Symington, Lee Gustafson, Mike McKenzie and Pat Student.
Other notable C&S folks that I ran into were Tom and Denise Klinger (bought a copy of their newest book) and Bob Schoppe (bought his new book, too).
The clinics that I attended were awesome (more in future threads). The two vendor's rooms were huge, with enough narrow gauge goodies of all scales to fill several boxcars. But I found it curious that there was very little in the way of C&S brass for sale, in any scale, compared to past meets. I'd like to think that people are again becoming inspired to model the C&S, perhaps due to all of our discussions here; you know demand up, supply down. Daryl's explanation is a bit more cynical, but possibly true--none of us has died in the past couple of years, thus fewer estates to sell off.
The only disappointment of the convention was that Daryl didn't bring Roper along.
I'll end here tonight with a C&S narrow gauge photo for you HOn3 folks, courtesy of the "Near Sighted Narrow Gaugers" modular layout:
I echo your sentiments. The convention was amazing and it was great putting a few faces to names. I did manage to trade some unused RGS/D&RGW brass for the only two PSC HOn3 brass pieces I found in the vendor's rooms. Other than the Salida Roundhouse table, there was little HOn3 C&S stuff. And having seen Wayne's shop, I suspect that he just goes around the outside and loads up the van with whatever overflow squeezed out of the windows...
For me, the worst part, well let's say mixed feelings, was that it had been about 15 years since I had really chased around the old Gilpin Tram above Blackhawk and Central City. So one afternoon I headed up Clear Creek. Blackhawk was a shock! They are literally blasting away the beautiful canyon walls to make a giant box for the massive hotels. I started to get really worried when one of the hotels had a 2-8-0 in great disrepair with a 71 painted on it. Turns out it is a Mexican engine that has bounced around from place to place. I did find the 71 and the combine tucked behind one of the casinos in Central City. It is still in reasonable shape but will need some work soon. I spent a few moments picturing it on the turntable in Como. Heading up the hills I also found the gondola set up next to a campground up the mountain (!?). Nevadaville and all the old mines are still picturesque and somewhat restored my soul, but it was an eye-opening afternoon.
Also for me, the biggest part of the show was the kind words and encouragement I got from all of you wonderful folks. The clinics gave lots of good information but the really great tips were in conversations with all of you guys.
And, yes, Keith's wonderful Leadville was a treat!
Thanks to all
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