After working 1 1/2 days early in the week, I flexed out early on Tuesday (21 July), got my rental car from the branch, and made final preparations for my trip to this year's International Plastic Modelers' Society/USA (IPMS/USA) National Convention in Columbus, Ohio. First, I opened up the fellowship hall at Calvary Presbyterian Church for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. It was a nice meeting with another great turnout of models for the monthly beauty contest (38 total), plus a car model judging seminar. Nice meeting. For more on this club, visit: http://ipms-gateway.com.
Early the next morning, I got into my rental car and hit the road for Columbus. It was about 7 hours of driving time, not counting stops for fuel and lunch when I arrived at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, near the Convention Center. I got registered for the convention, entered my four models in the contest, and began making the rounds of the vendors set up for this year's convention. I saw a few people I know from St. Louis and from elsewhere. I then checked into my hotel, located south of the Hyatt Regency, then went to dinner at Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant, a Columbus institution. It was a long wait to get a table (over an hour), but once I was seated, I had a great dinner. After a cup of potato salad, I enjoyed Sauerbraten with kraut, applesauce, small potato pancakes, and a roll. All washed down with a glass of good German beer. To top that off, I had a chocolate creme puff. One of the best dinners I have ever had anywhere (outside home, of course). Definitely check out Schmidt's when your in Columbus. Their website is: http://www.schmidthaus.com.
This morning, after a light complementary breakfast at the hotel, I drove to the Hyatt Regency for the big tour today. I joined with others aboard two motor coaches for a trip west to the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Our group first went to the Presidential and Research & Development hangars, which are separate from the museum complex, to see the aircraft and other artifacts there. After about an hour, we went back on the buses to the museum itself, and spent nearly 5 hours going through the three display hangars full of aircraft and other artifacts. I snapped away with my cellphone camera, taking over 900 images at the museum. Good thing I had a larger in my phone, plus a generous battery pack to recharge my phone. I also took up an offer and signed up as a Friend of the museum, and got discounts on merchandise in the souvenir shop and a snack in the cafe. A great time. I had last visited this museum 39 years ago, on a family trip, but this museum has changed beyond all recognition. A must see for aerospace fans. The museum's website is: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/.
We got back on the coaches for the trip back to the Hyatt Regency in Columbus--tired, but very happy. Back at the convention site, I visited a few more vendors that had set up after I had left yesterday, plus spent time in the contest room. It was filling up with more contest models. I also volunteered to be an On the Job Trainee (OJT) judge for the contest, when judging occurs tomorrow (Friday) night. I'm working as a vendor room checkpoint in the morning, then can attend the OJT seminar. I may take in other seminars that afternoon. More info on the convention here: http://ipmsusa2015.com/.