part time job delta

wednesday, april 11, 2007

well, it all started out last november when i gave gail a trip to england, where she had never been, so in response, when my birthday was coming, she surprised me with a trip to oregon, washington, and british colombia, where i had never been.


it just so happened that, coincidentally,  there was a major antique car swap meet in portland starting on my birthday, so on the 11th we flew to portland on continental airlines.  when we checked into the hampton inn, we discovered that charlie louvin, one of my favorite country singers from the 50s, was scheduled to perform in the restored 1930s theater, the aladdin, in portland.
aladdinseatsbeing the ‘spur of the moment’ people that we are, we went to the show.  it was a beautiful theater, still aladdin theatersporting the old seats with curved wood backs and ornate cast iron sides. charlie did a marvelous job at performing….sang 2 1/2 hours straight, without so much as taking a sip of water.  not too shabby for a man who will turn 80 in june.

thursday the 12th, we got up early to check out where the swap meet would be.  general parking  was a mile away (with bus service), but we opted to pay for reserved parking across the street from the swap meet, which was being held at the portland exposition center.


later that morning we met richard h., a friend from new braunfels, tx, who had told us about the event and about a packard collector, bert b., who lives nearby.  we went to lunch and then  richard proceeded to grottoshow us the sights of portland, since he had lived there several years ago. one place that he took us to, was the grotto, the national sanctuary of our sorrowful mother, http://www.thegrotto.org/ .

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leaving richard, we then proceeded to head toward mt. hood, since the weather forecast was for snow flurries above 2500’.  on the way, we stopped for a bit of refreshment at the whistle stop.  now this was no tourist trap….it was as back-woodsy as you could get , with all the toothless lumberjacks you could find.


continuing on, we encountered snow at the 4000’ level.  it sure was great having a gps with altitude on the trip!  gail had been hankering to play in the snow, so this was her opportunity.  at 5000’ there was a bit of slush on the road, and by the time we got to 6000’ at the timberline ski lodge, snowballwe were above most of the clouds and were able to see the western half of mt. hood.  it certainly was  a great sight….for texans who normally only see interstate overpasses.

see the snowball that gail threw at me!

friday the 13th, my big day, we set the alarm to get up at 5:30.  the swap meet starts at 7am, and we did not know what traffic problems we might encounter.  of course, the best bargains are snapped up right in the beginning.  fortunately, on one of the first tables we found an air cleaner that mike, our friend, needed for his 1939 packard twelve.
about an hour later, bert showed up to remove the cloths that covered his already-setup tables.  bert has been a collector for many years and has countless treasures.  the one that caught my eye, and ‘spoke to me’ was a small travel kit that contained shaving powder, tooth powder, soap, styptic pencil, etc.packard travel kitopenpackard travel kit
it is probably the only one in existence…..it has multiple snaps to hold it together, and the outside is labeled ”birthday greetings from packard motor car company”
now i ask you…was this not fortuitous that i should happen upon this item
part time job delta???????
yes, it is now safe in my collection!
but the crown jewel of his table was a large (20”) model of a fictitious packard sports car….one that was used as a model for a poster of the 1934 packard racing a train.  i understand 13 identical models were made in france a number of years ago….the last one that was sold at auction went for $13,000.  of course, this model was intended to attract people to the table to buy other items….

since bert was alone, minding his ‘store’ and gail and i had traversed a portion of the swap meet, (which, unfortunately, was mostly filled with hot-rod and muscle car stuff), we needed a break, so we offered to ‘mind the store’ while bert could go browsing for treasures.  he gratefully accepted and we sold a few items for him.

saturday the 14th, gail dropped me off at the swap meet at 7am, so that i could ‘race’ through rest of the 4700 spaces. much to my elation, i found a vendor selling chevy manuals.  on the end of his table he had a big sign with a ‘?”.packard lap robe
when i looked under the sign, my blood pressure soared and my heart did back flips.  here was an impeccable laprobe for the back seat passengers of a late 30s packard.  one side is navy wool and the other is a silk plush.  minutes later i walked away with the treasure, wondering if i should go to confession for having ‘stolen’ it for 1/10th its real value.
i have often said that every time i go to a major swap meet, i find something i have never seen surface.


gail had joined me around noon, and as we were walking toward bert’s tables,
we heard part time job delta
part time job delta

first let’s go back to 1999…warren, ohio….packard centenial….i meet kurt, who brought his 1926 packard from anchorage, ak.  in 2002 i visit kurt on my way to visiting paul and fran in nome.  2003 kurt visits me prior to taking a cruise from galveston.

back at the swap meet. ... kurt happens to see our friend, richard (from new  braunfels) wearing a texas packards shirt.
kurt stops richard….”part time job delta
richard sees gail and i out of the corner of his eye….part time job delta.”””

gail and i are ready for a bit of rest, so we mind the store for bert….
i always wear a name tag at swap meets…makes life interesting……

a short while later, a chap comes up to the table and outstretches his hand,
“bob supina…i talked to you on the phone a couple times about 30 years ago!
remember me? richard g.….i used to own the 1937 packard twelve lebaron town car…
..”
needless to say, the conversation ran for quite some time, and evolved in all directions…….
of course, there were questions like, part time job delta
part time job delta
“is that so?....i lived up there when i was young and i dated a girl from pelham high.”
“what was her name?”
“……”
“her brother was in my senior class!”

good grief!

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after the swap meet closed at 7pm, bert, linda, richard and his friend, gail and i went to the rhinelander for a great german dinner.
-------------------------------------
sunday morning, gail and i opened bert’s ‘store’ for him, since he arrived after us.  i could not imagine finding any other treasures at the swap meet, so we departed and drove to the east side of portland to visit another packard collector.

george and suzie, have been collecting packards, …and a few other makes….for many years….lincoln, cadillac, hupmobile….
george graciously took us to several buildings around the property to see some of his cars, and then to the basement of his house, where the bulk of his collection is stored. the lighting was not the best, but i managed to get some pics of his cars…..
he invited us upstairs and when he found out that i, too, have a masters in math, we really hit it off.  george is 78 and still teaches math in the community college, because math is his second passion, after packards…..

even though we were overwhelmed with george’s 25 packards, we ‘punished ‘ ourselves by visiting another collector a few miles away,  who had a pristine collection of a dozen cars.  only one, piqued my interest….the 1937 super eight convertible sedan….sister to our madeleine. 
unfortunately, gail was invited into the house, where a cat kept jumping on her.  gail is terribly allergic to cat dander, so for hours she suffered on my behalf.

we finally left at 10pm and got a motel across from the local airport….

monday morning we decided, even though it was drizzling, to head west to see the pacific.  sitka spruce
on the way, we saw an interesting sign…..something like…”largest sitka spruce….”
it was only a half mile off the beaten track so we investigated….here in the middle of nowhere, was a small park with a fence around the tree….the sign said it was the largest sitka spruce tree in the lower 48….part time job delta.  estimated to have been a sapling when the magna carta was signed in 1215. wow! we just saw an original  copy of the  magna carta at salisbury cathedral last november!

for awhile we drove up us 101, catching glimpses of the rocky pacific ocean….strong winds….intermittent drizzle….just not the setting for walking barefoot in the surf….so we continued on…

little bird on my shoulder kept telling me to call  tom c. in kent washington.
now, tom is a well known collector/seller of the great cars…duesenberg, packard, cadillac, auburn, etc……always advertising in publications….
i know from history that he has had numerous 1937 packard twelves and super eights.  since i have been the roster keeper, i was anxious to meet him, so we call and make an appointment to meet the next day.
we head back east and go up i-5, stopping at dupont, wa.  arbitrarily pick a motel called, liberty, across from the ft. lewis, army base.  unfortunately, no standard rooms are available, so we bite the bullet and go for the $10 extra suite that has a spa.
spalo and behold, the spa/jacuzzi is not in the bathroom, but next to the bed!  boy did we have fun!
but before we jumped into the spa, we went to dinner at a local grill/pub/whatever.  the music was loud, but the owner came and sat with us and asked us to be tolerant of the wait staff….that night, all the waiters and waitresses were family members of soldiers in iraq and afghanistan and that all the tips would go to helping support those families….
our waitress, who looked 15, kept getting annoyed because her mother (who looked 2 days over 23) kept covering for the daughter’s mistakes…..

so with full stomachs, we went back to our room and frolicked in the spa….

 

 

tuesday,  17.th
we had a leisurely morning and then drove the 40 miles up to tom c’s place of business.  tom had not yet arrived, but monty, his mechanic, let us browse through the showroom….
there must have been 20 impeccable full classics…4 of which were 1937 packard twelves, and assorted other packards.  my main interest was the ‘37s.
one had already been sold and the silver convertible coupe in the center of the floor, was not for sale….that is tom’s ‘driver’.
after ogling the cars and getting all the serial numbers, we took tom to lunch at a nearby seafood restaurant, where tom spent considerable time telling me about all the 1937 packards that have gone through his facility over the years.
what intrigued me most was that he had two cars on the floor for sale. one was a 1937 packard twelve convertible coupe for $285,000 and a similar car, but 1938 and that was offered for $185,000.  same engine, but more demand for the 1937 styling.

after being saturated with packards, we headed up to canada. so many people
have told me that bc is a beautiful place…so we had to ‘check it out’.

we crossed the border with answering only one question
part time job delta
“no”
“”enjoy your visit!”

found a best western motel in surry were we spent the night…

wednesday 18th
drove to horseshoe bay, caught the 1.5 hour  ferry to nanaimo?, drove south…drove around duncan, the town with 80 totem poles…
saw a sign….native cuisine, so we went to check it out, but found that the restaurant does not open until june, so ….on to victoria
while i was in the lobby of the native canadian restaurant, i picked up a flyer advertising the tours of the boeing assembly plant in everett, wa.  this piqued my interest, so we proceeded to find a ferry back to the mainland.
unfortunately, we only spent a few minutes driving through victoria bc. (gail says i should not even tell anyone…too embarrassing…")....oh well, it all boils down to priorities…..
unfortunately, we only spent a few minutes driving through victoria bc. (gail says i should not even tell anyone…too embarrassing…")....oh well, it all boils down to priorities…..
time was running short….friday we had an appointment to visit bert and linda’s place , so thursday was the only time to go to boeing.

discovered that we missed the ferry to port angeles..and the only ferry back to the mainland was from sidney to vancouver….so off we went….
…second  1 ½  hr ferry ride in one day!!!! whoopee!!!.

 

thursday….19th
we were aghast that there was a 90 minute wait to get thru the us customs office….but we inched along patiently….
took less than a minute to get thru the border…didn’t even ask if we had fresh fruit or guns!…

drove south and got to the boeing plant at 2:30 for our 3pm tour of the assembly plant…
now this is really awesome…..no cameras, cell phones, etc allowed…..
they take you on a bus from the visitor center to the assembly plant.  the bus passes thru the 'staging area' where completed planes are waiting for customers to come and inspect them.

new boeing planes

in evertt they build cargo 747s, 757s, 777s, and soon, 787s. in the world’s largest building……98 acres under roof….4 sections….each section has a door that is almost as large as a football field….each section builds a different plane.
we took an elevator up to a viewing area over the 777 and 787 sections.
just a few facts….
a 777 takes 5 months to build. pieces come in one end and the finished plane exits the other end.  the plane ready to exit was the 46th 777 for air france! (yes, that shocked me…i thought they only used airbus.)
the other astounding fact is that it will take only part time job delta to assemble a 787 dreamliner… subassemblies will be flown in from 12 countries around the world  and snapped/bolted together like lego blocks to make the finished plane.

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boeingvisitormapawesome experience…highly recommend that anyone in the area to visit the plant. as we were exiting the tourist area, we noticed a map on the wall, depicting locations around the world where visitors had come from. surprisingly, this small (3'x4' map) had 'rosenberg' on it next to houston. i could not resist getting a pushpin to document that we had been there.!

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friday 20th….
go to bert’s place and spend several hours enthralled by his ‘stuff’….. ….
bert has a facility that is about 75x400….packed with ‘goodies’.  upstairs he has a bar about 1200 sq ‘ with an original gold rush era bar…must have 200 mechanical beer signs…plus everything you would find in a museum.
about a dozen packards, signs galore, barber shop chairs, refrigerators from the twenties, …just oodles of neat stuff.
my keen interest centered on the 1937 twelve 2/4 coupe and the 1925 packard six sedan, sister to miss irene, our ’25 sedan.

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at noon, i picked up gail and we met bert and linda at the local 49er grill.  after lunch, gail and i headed bob's snowballtoward mt. st. helens. unfortunately, the road to the closest viewing point was closed, so we had to be satisfied with getting pictures from a more distant overlook.  at any rate, we were able to stop at a point and make a few more snowballs.

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in the evening, we went back to bert’s shop and did more salivating over the neat collections that he had.  unfortunately three of the packard twelves were sold or committed; the 1935 club sedan caught my eye. (and keeps me awake at night.)

1935 packard twelve club sedan
 we hit it off so well, that the evening slipped by and finally we had to say our farewells.

saturday morning we drove the last 40 miles of our journey, back to the portland airport, turned in the car and headed back home.

it was a great adventure, and the one major realization was that there is so much to do and see in the oregon/washington/bc area that another trip will be necessary.

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