The first ever North American Morgan Three Wheeler Convention.
May 18 – 22 in Augusta GA. A long weekend (4 days actually) of activities for the greasy Morgan Three Wheeler enthusiast and another set of activities for the less greasy set. Lots to do. Lots of moving parts. Lots and lots . . . . darn impossible to keep up.
Hard to believe that there hadn’t been a North American Morgan Three Wheeler gaggle before. Sharing knowledge about these silly beasts has been a problem for a good while. Certainly for me. What went where, and how, left me clueless most of the time. A newsletter about British doings with occasional practical articles, emails, photos and an online forum have definitely helped but unfortunately these two dimensional, text messages lost something in the translation. So with the Convention we brought folks together for the face-to-face contact and gave them direct access to the cars. This was far better, more three dimensional, or so it seems as was evidenced by the sheer volume of participants.
We also planned activities for the ‘spouses’ (for lack of a better word). This meant that those that were not terribly interested in the greasy, and somewhat mystical, inner workings of these beasts had something more interesting to do. Much of what we planned for the ‘spouses’ involved Augusta itself – a trolley ride, a tour of the Woodrow Wilson boyhood home, the Saturday morning farmer’s market. One activity was needle felting, a handy-craft resulting in cute bits of fluff. I was told they were ‘hedgehogs’. Andrea took Lee Charlton’s needle felting session twice. I now have nightmares of hedgehogs. . . lots of hedgehogs overrunning the house. And of course, the dogs are not amused. The needle felting class was a grand success, with a single session expanding to three – so a big ‘thank you’ to Lee.
We planned for 40 or so attendees and a dozen or so cars, but ended up with 70 plus attendees and 23 cars. I was in continual fear that all the complex planning for the event would simply fail under its own weight – the inability of the restaurants or other providers to satisfy our enlarged state. Well, I fibbed a bit about the quantities of participants and luckily the suppliers were able to meet the actual demand. It couldn’t have gone better. Even the weather cooperated. Hot and a bit humid, but no rain. Rain would have been a big problem. We were lucky all weekend. Breakfast on the hotel porch, each morning, was divine.
Actually, we had planned the event around the parking garage, wanting somewhat of a hands-on experience with the cars. The parking garage, only one of two in Augusta, offered us shelter from potential rain or more likely, incessant sun, but the parking garage soon became irrelevant. The hotel ‘gave’ us three banquet/meeting rooms. Something I would have thought they would have charged us for, to use for the weekend. We ended up using these rooms for our technical seminars with only sporadic trips to the garage to emphasize some technical point, on an actual car. Air conditioning in these hotel rooms, given the warmth of the day, was much appreciated. We actually started each day with a morning meeting for all, in one of the rooms, to pass on the daily plan and highlight any communications we needed to disseminate. It worked quite well, but communication was the bane of the weekend. We set up a bulletin board in the lobby, posting the latest and greatest, but it was like pulling teeth to get folks to refer to it.
Following the technical seminars and ‘spouse’ activities, our Friday involved a short, scenic drive through a number of the charming neighborhoods of Augusta. Massive houses with amazing grounds – each undoubtedly steeped in history – adorned the route and we paraded some 22 vintage Morgans and newer 5 Speeders into downtown Augusta, to Enterprise Mill. Enterprise Mill offered us a quaint park like setting for a small car show, a box lunch and a ride along the historical Augusta canal.
Saturday involved vintage Morgan driving familiarization and test rides offered by the 5 speeder vendors who attended. We found a big parking lot at a local school that kept us off the public streets. Later in the day Graeme and Jenny Addie hosted the group for an evening dinner party at their home. Great food, great company and wonderful comradery. Certainly all good stuff and a highlight of the weekend.
Another great Morgan gathering. Many thanks to the MOGSouth members who participated and hopefully they enjoyed their experiences in Augusta. It isn’t likely that I will be involved in the next one, however, we (Duncan Charlton, Graeme Addie and myself) learned a lot and will pass that on to the next set of folks that have the privilege (?) of planning and executing the 2nd North American Morgan Three Wheeler Convention.