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Editor’s Notebook

Open Houses It was hot, and I mean hot — 97

degrees in the shade and elevated humidity. My July day began at 8AM sharp presenting a clinic to a room full of “early riser” National Model Railroad Association mem- bers. I talked about the initial phases of layout construction, af- ter which I dashed home to finish preparing the basement and lay- out for my scheduled open house. Because of the heat, we stopped and purchased a large bag of ice and some bottled water to pro- vide refreshments to the groups of modelers who would soon ar- rive at our home. My wife provid- ed nourishment for our guests in the form of cookies, strawberries, and grapes. My son Joel and I finished

cleaning the track with Bright Boys and then vacuumed the car- pet. We staged a couple of trains on the non-wired areas of the lay- out, so our guests could envision what the areas would look like “in service.” I dialed down the ther- mostat a couple of degrees cooler than normal to offset all the warm bodies along with the constant opening and closing of the out- side door as people arrived and departed. I greeted my helpers as they arrived about 30 minutes prior to the official touring time. Several months prior to this

busy day, I received a phone call from Turkey Creek Division NMRA Superintendant Larry Deihl. In his usual pleasant and humorous tone, he asked if I


would be interested in giving a presentation at the Division con- vention. He further stated that he would really like it if I were to open the basement up for conven- tioneers, so they might see the lay- out. Larry knew this was a lot to ask because we are steadily (and messily) working to complete the layout in anticipation of the NMRA 2018 National Convention to be held in Kansas City. Furthermore, there are several intermediate dates/goals that I am working to- ward, including getting a portion of the layout ready for the Prairie Rail Invitational this winter. Prai- rie Rail is an operationally ori- ented event that centers around bringing operators to Kansas City from other parts of the nation to prototypically operate many Kan- sas City model railroads. I look forward to it because it is not just a layout tour, but also allows other skilled operators to take the reins of the layout and make it operate. In other words, it is an active, not passive experience for the visitor. The enjoyment of seeing others operate the layout motivates me to make progress in the months leading up to the event. Setting goals for your model

railroad is just one of many ways to entice yourself to complete your layout. Open houses, tours, writing articles, hosting operating sessions, and having model rail- road friends in from out of town all prompt me to put forth that extra effort and finish that unsce- nicked section, install that fascia, paint that background, install a few more sound decoders, or wire those frog feeders in anticipation of displaying or operating the rail- road. I like identifying those trig- gers because my goal, after all, is to finish the layout, and I am not getting any younger. Another way to make steady

and predictable progress on your layout is to schedule one or more work nights. My work night can include as many as 15 of my clos- est skilled model railroad friends, and we accomplish much on those Tuesday nights. There is nothing

like watching other modelers ap- ply their specific honed skills to my design. I love watching Keith Robinson build woodwork; Craig Victor lay track; and Howard Gil- lispie create city streets and side- walks with Sintra. I am always amazed at Bret Overholtzer and Joe Kasper as they work to install Bruce Chubb’s C/MRI one block at a time. Often, so much gets done in one evening that I cannot wait to show it off. As the NMRA Turkey Creek

Division meet came to an end, and the evening temperatures fell back into the tolerable range, I watched as the last of my guests left my home at about 8PM, waving and thanking us as they walked down the sidewalk toward their automobiles. I thought back on an enjoyable day and reveled in my hobby. Over the course of this long

day, we entertained more than 50 local and out-of-town guests for the Turkey Creek Division NMRA meet. I had many people who stayed for several hours, and I talked until I was almost hoarse. My helpers, including my wife, had the same experience and were delighted to speak with all the nice folks. Some visitors were hardened modelers with years of experience, and some had never seen a large layout before. Some loved the finished areas and stud- ied the foliage, ballast, and city scenes while others spent the ma- jority of their time in the unfin- ished sections of the layout room studying how we were building the layout. We answered lots of questions about DCC and layout wiring. I met a few new folks and caught up with many old friends and acquaintances. I love the way model railroad-

ing creates an instant bond be- tween modelers. You can see the interest and excitement just boil up inside them when they enter the layout room, and I get great satisfaction from sharing the love of model railroading with them.


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