25 May 2017

A Great Weekend in Chicagoland

I picked up my rental car (a Toyota Camry) from Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) in Ellisville one week ago this afternoon (18 May) for my weekend trip. This car got me to the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting at Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/). We had an Aviation Open Mike Night, with several attendees giving their aviation-related stories to the audience.

Early the next morning, after waiting out some stormy weather, I began driving to Chicago for my mini-vacation. Late that morning, I arrived at the Museum of Science and Industry (http://www.msichicago.org/). I had bought my ticket online, so I didn't have to wait in line. That was a good thing, as there was quite a few school groups there that day. I walked through the Transportation Gallery, Science Storms, YOU! The Experience, Extreme Ice,and The Art of the Bicycle. Then, it was (for me) the main reason for my visit, the German submarine U-505. I toured the vessel's interior, and took in the exhibits around the submarine. I remember visiting the U-505 on a family trip nearly 40 years ago. After the submarine tour, I went to the Henry Crown Space Center, where the Apollo 8 Command Module and the Mercury Aurora 7 spacecraft are on display.

Rainy weather and an accident on the Kennedy Expressway slowed the drive out of downtown Chicago late that afternoon, but I eventually arrived at the Motel 6 in Palatine, where I stayed for the night.

The next morning (20 May), I headed to McHenry County College (http://www.mchenry.edu/) for NIMCON 6, the 6th Northern Illinois Model Contest, presented by IPMS/Lakes Region Scale Modelers (http://lakesregionmodelers.com/). This also served as the IPMS/USA Region 5 Contest for 2017. I entered six of my models in the contest, which used Chicago rules (few basic categories, three judging teams evaluating the entries, no limits on the number of awards per category). Three of my IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) mates arrived together that morning. I spent my time there admiring the models, browsing the vendors, taking in the raffle (I won two kits there), and chatting with my club mates and others there. When the awards were announced at the end of the show, I was surprised to receive two Bronze Awards. One was in Armor, for my 1:72 scale Kuebelwagen; the other was in Ships, for my 1:700 scale Tug Boat. I was amazed that those models were good enough for these awards, given the competition in their respective categories. Still, I was happy to receive the awards for entries I had finished early that week for the IPMS/Gateway contest.

After returning to my hotel in Palatine, I ate dinner and watched TV before falling asleep. Early the next morning, I checked out of the hotel and got breakfast in the area, then started to head home. On the way, I stopped in Bloomington, Illinois late in the morning, shopping in a Barnes & Noble store (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/) before driving to the Prairie Aviation Museum (http://prairieaviationmuseum.org/). It's a small museum, but still most interesting to me. After browsing inside, I headed outside to view the aircraft on display there. I walked around the two helicopters and eight fixed wing aircraft there, taking many pictures. I then returned inside to view more exhibits and bought a few postcards there, and also mentioned the Missouri Aviation Historical Society to them. I left one of the Society's cards with one of the Museum's volunteers.

I then headed to the Enterprise branch in Ellisville, where I removed my luggage from the rental car to my car and then parking the rental on the lot, leaving the keys in the night deposit box in the back of our building. Then, I drove home to unpack and tell mom of my weekend.

Back to work Monday morning (22 May), it was most busy, but we got things done. The work week has gone well, although we were a bit short handed with our manager Cory on vacation this week. I flexed out Tuesday afternoon, as I am working this Saturday morning. It should be interesting with Memorial Day weekend ahead.

I drove to Rick Keasey's house in Edwardsville for this month's IPMS/Gateway business meeting on Tuesday night. We planned the meetings next month and discussed some club business.

After work Wednesday, I went to the Des Peres 14 Cine (http://www.marcustheatres.com/theatre-locations/marcus-des-peres-14-cine) to watch the 1977 action-comedy "Smokey and the Bandit," presented by TCM (http://www.tcm.com/) and Fathom Events (https://www.fathomevents.com/). It was great fun seeing this movie, which starred Burt Reynolds.

Off work today, I remembered this was Red Nose Day (www.rednoseday.org), and did my part to help end child poverty.