For a couple of years I had been saying that if the "Day Job"
ever went away, I'd be out of Maine so fast your head would spin.
Well, mid-January, just before this NCRS Winter Meet,
I got that "opportunity." And seized it!

Old Town; Kissimmee FL
January 21-24, 2009

This was my 10th trip to this classic event. I want to thank Ed Augustine and the other great members of the NCRS Florida Chapter for hosting Corvettes Conquer Cancer all these years. In spite of the sagging economy, this year we were still able to raise $1590 for the American Cancer Society. In addition, NCRS National is kicking in with an additional $1000 match!

That makes the total raised $2590.00!

Friday, Jan. 16

The thermometer in my kitchen window @ 4:06am

Ready to roll @ 6:13am.
TGFHS!

(thank goodness for heated seats)

7:06, approaching Portland. Again, TGFHS!
(Should a Corvette even be allowed to run with a readout like this?)

I spent the night in Philadelphia: A family bash to celebrate Mom's 93rd birthday.
We'll be doing this again in April for Dad's 100th!

Saturday January 17

We had a big feed mid-day.

This was supposed to continue into Sunday but, with increasing likelihood of snow overnight, several of us elected to escape before it started. I left the homestead about 3:30 and shot down I-95 (for the first time in years), blew through DC (pre-inauguration weekend) at 75-80 (just staying with the flow, honest) and landed for the night in Emporia VA.

Sunday January 18

Obligatory landmarks on the way...

Arrival in Kissimmee, in time for $1 draft Amber Bock at the Comfort Suites poolside bar.

I wouldn't be staying there until Wednesday. However, I got a great deal right
up the street at Howard Johnson's: Huge room, comfortable king bed, desk, table,
clean, quiet, park at the door, strong wireless broadband connection - $32.95/night!!! 

Monday January 19

Arriving a day early gave me a free day to wash the car, stock up on
necessities and visit around. Old Town was ready for the Vettes!

Tuesday January 20

I headed down to Ft. Myers for an overnight visit with Sandy's sister & her husband. Her parents were also there for the winter, so it was a good time to catch up. I hadn't been able to do this since 2006.

On the way I stopped outside Tampa for an impromptu visit with my former employer, Bob Wilson. I wanted to thank him once again for being so tremendously supportive when Sandy and I started this mission! Bob had sold his interest in ValCom to CBE and moved South a few years ago. He now sells RVs at Lazydays in Seffner. This is Bob by my car, and nearby was the '96 that is still his daily driver!

Wednesday January 21

Back to work in Kissimmee, I got registered, then checked into my room at the Comfort Suites (background of 1st pic). Then I staked out my double space right inside the vendor gate, set up the tent and unloaded the tables, chairs and tote. Full setup would wait for morning. Gotta love the view from my room (second pic), with my space and the Vette circled!

Thursday January 22

Sorry, no photos of the rest of the show this year. I was solo all 3 days,
so I was stuck at the table.

Can we say it was uncharacteristically nippy at 9:00am? This is Florida?

We toughed it out and finished setting up. Temp was near 70 later in the day.

Needing to print a couple of signs, I briefly set up the office...

Friday January 23

7:30 view out the window... and the unexpected linen-art in the bathroom; pretty classy!

The frost was even heaver than yesterday, but again temp later got up into the 70s

That evening I had the pleasure of sharing a few $1.00 Amber Bocks with NCRS Guest of Honor Richard Earl, Harley Earl's grandson, (left) and Bill Herron of the FL NCRS chapter.

Saturday January 24

Some fun visitors at the display: l-r Larry Martin (past NCM Chairman),
Liz Hill and Judy Miller (Chip's wife & Lance's mom).

I'm guessing this pair is making a fashion statement?!

Late afternoon, after packing all the display stuff back into the Vette, I briefly joined Dave McLellan and John Hinckley for another $1 draft before heading over to the closing banquet. Dave (left) is the former Corvette Chief Engineer and John is a noted Corvette expert who will be joining Dave as a NCM Hall of Fame inductee on Labor Day weekend. Ironically, John was the Viper Plant Manager for the last 5 years before he retired!

Saturday Evening:
The Awards Banquet

I was kind of down going into the banquet with the roll of 50/50 tickets and a nearly empty jug. In 3 days I had only sold $105 in tickets! I had barely started when something changed... Ruth Primeau (seen below at the 2007 event) came to the rescue. She was merciless helping to push the sales! By the time dinner was done the pot was $1170! She also took over as auctioneer to sell a certificate (donated by Richard Fleming) for a private showing of the Chip Miller Collection with lunch for 4 at the Miller home prepared by Judy and Michelle.
In the end, the amount raised for the American Cancer Society was $1590.00,
and NCRS will match that with another $1000, for a grand total of $2590.00!

Thanks Ruth!

And THANK YOU, Ed Augustine and NCRS Florida Chapter!

After the banquet I checked out the remnants of the big Cruise Night in Old Town. Here are 3 standouts.

Sunday January 25

6:04am departure.
(Note: the trip odometer on the C6 resets to zero after 2000 miles, so that is really 2026.9 miles)

The day was fast and easy.
At 8:30pm I quit for the night in Hershey PA (just above Harrisburg). 1058 miles, a new daily high for the C6.
(Do the math: that's 73mph average, including stops!)

Monday January 26

Departing Hershey at 5:00am for another fast, easy leg, I was home to lots of old snow,
13 degrees (and a very happy cat!) at 12:57pm.

 And check it out, the Vette still looked pretty clean!

Now I start the job search...