2016 Melbourne Florida Trip
Hey Shipmates, your traveling museum got underway today for the largest Vietnam Veteran’s reunion in the USA, last year 87,000 people came through the exhibits. We started off a little rocky, yours truly locked the trailer keys in the trailer yesterday after washing it. So I picked the truck up this morning at 9AM, I had more neat stuff added to it, and headed to where the trailer was. I told Dad to get the bolt cutters, but neither that nor a power hack saw would touch it. I guess Master locks are the best, and hour later and $ 115.00, the locksmith had it open, and we got underway at 1130. We are stopped overnight at Kingsland, GA, and will pull into Melbourne, FL tomorrow. Please come out and see us this weekend if you are in the area.
Day #2 of your traveling museum trip to Melbourne Fl. We left Kingsland, GA at 0830 this morning, and I think it was the longest four hour drive I have had. It was cloudy misting rain and a 25-30 knot cross winds, which meant I had to really watch the driving, with the trailer in tow. We arrived in Melbourne at 1200, and headed to the park were the event will be. It is really a nice park, the Wall had gotten there 45 minutes before we did, so there were a lot of bikes of all makes and colors. Doc, the man in charge was busy with the Wall construction, and did not have time to tell us where we are to setup, so Dad and I head to the hotel for some needed rest, after a few beers of course………
Tomorrow back to the park, and setup the museum, and a lot of cleaning. If you are in the area I would highly recommend see this event. From what I have seen so far it is going to be a great one. If you have any questions please let me know at email@example.com
Day # 4
We stopped by Home Depot this AM, and picked up some much needed supplies for the museum. The deck is now cleaned, the steps at the front are now stable, needed some leveling boards, and we are ready to show the museum. More people are wandering in and viewing the Wall, and vendors are starting to show up and setup their food eateries. I purchased two more polishing mediums for the silver metal on the trailer, Mother’s mag and aluminum polish, and good ol’ Never Dull…. Tried both, and within 15 minutes the oxidation came right back, and you could not tell where we tried it. I have tried 10-12 things so far and no good, if anyone has any ideas to polish this please let me know, I am pretty sure it is thin aluminum. Tomorrow we will have school children come through the museum, and we will be able to tell our story to them, and how we made the World a little safer. If you haven’t done it yet please register for the reunion, and the hotel time is getting short. The trailer will be loaded with new artifacts to view.
Day # 5
Static displays are starting to arrive at our site, and things are ramping up. We opened the museum for the first time yesterday, and had a very good response, and today is the first day of the event. I want to thank Oz for helping us out this week, we needed it. I was wore out last night, which is why the post is this AM. We are looking forward to see all of our local shipmates that are in the area this weekend. Back to it, another busy day !!!! Time to turn two……..
Day # 6
Well, as you probably figured out, we stayed later at the park last night. They have bands that change every two hours, and food and beer wagons. We had a lot of people tour our museum, and they are really impressed of what we have done. THANKS HARRY !!!! Here are some pics of the Wall, it is really sobering seeing this, and it never gets easier for me.
Day # 7 & 8
Well two more days at the Vietnam Veterans Reunion in Melbourne FL. Our museum is a huge hit, we are the only Navy exhibit here. Manny and Skip arrived Wednesday, and Thursday, and we really needed the help. When you look at the pics, you can see the trailer can get full fast of visitors wanting a tour. We did guided tours this time, and I really want to thank Oz, Skip, and Manny for helping out, we even had a line waiting for the tours. You can see by the pics we had Sea Cadets onboard today, and there were really amazed about our display, and loved talking on the sound powered phones. There is so, much to see here, from vendors to exhibits, and FOOD….. As I sat by the trailer this week, five to ten minutes didn’t go by without someone saying “Look I remember the Wainwright”, and they really enjoy the trail back down memory lane. Even though they were not shipmates, they had server alongside of her in one way or another. We saw another shipmate today, Dan Williamson he served with Manny, and he is really excited to come to the reunion in July. I hope all of you get your reservations, and registrations in, it is going to be a biggie. The museum will have all new artifacts in it, and we will be bringing more for the hospitality room. Tomorrow is the last day, and it is kind of sad, but after a week in the wonderful sun of Florida, and being around great shipmates it has been really full filling. We are expecting more shipmates tomorrow, we are told things start winding down around 1400, so if you are planning on coming and can’t make it by then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Well off to hit the rack, and get ready for one more exciting day. Once again a big BZ for Oz, Manny, and Skip, I will give my final report tomorrow PM.
Day # 9, the last day
We headed to the park tired, and hungry, and for the last day and we ate breakfast at the same place at the park. A local Legion Post sales Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper, all you can eat for $ 6.00. So we ate our biscuits and gravy, sausage link and patty, eggs, ham, and tators, and great coffee. It was hotter today, so we had to keep hydrated more than the rest of the week. We opened the trailer, and had a steady stream of visitors. One again Oz, Manny, and Skip gave tours, I found out I get too excited and start talking too fast. We had another shipmate come onboard, James Eggers 89-90, and I am looking forward seeing him at the reunion in July. We secured the trailer for travel at 1630, and connected the truck. Before we finished, we counted visitors, and donations. We had over 450 people, some did not sign the guest log, and collected around $ 250.00 in donations. This would have paid for the trip, but we decided to deposit the donations into the trailer fund, and we are going to donate our time and money for this event. We are looking forward to doing this again next year, everyone loved the Navy being supported at the reunion now. We have several organizations that would like us to bring the trailer to them later in the year, and next year. I made my way to the Wall again to find our shipmate GMM3 Peter E. Gutloff and it is included in my pics for today. We are all on our way back home, and once again I cannot thank Manny, Oz, and Skip for all of the help they provided for this event, I could not have done it without them. The next museum trip will be in May our “Freedom Tour” to DC. I will chat to you then.