38th Annual Fall 2008 Meet
Boothbay Harbor, ME - September 10 - 14, 2008

Doug & Susan Mayer and Bill & Ann Rust - Meet Hosts

Wednesday the 10th, we welcomed the 300 Club members to a typical downeast* late summer treat. At the Belfast meet in 2004 the days were perfect. This year, Wednesday and Thursday were “10's”, Friday a “3” and Saturday an “8.” And the almost perfect weather encouraged conviviality and exploration of this coastline. Also, the need for the legendary lobster—bugs, as the lobstermen call them created travel to coastwise restaurants and diners. Photos sent to the club website attest to where people went and what they saw.

That this meet occurred in Boothbay Harbor, Maine was the result of Bill Rust's campaign in Auburn Hills, Michigan a couple of years ago. A check with regular meet attendees confirmed that they wanted to return to the Rocky Coast of Maine, and put themselves at the mercies of the Mayers, the Rusts, and the weather. They were also willing to suffer from eating fresh seafood and enjoying the scenery. It was our plan to rent the entire Boothbay Harbor Inn; that worked well enough so that we had their entire lobby to ourselves—and the hospitality room (lobby) was an hospitable place for the entire meet.

Maine is still on the far right coast, at the upper edge—using a map. The meet was located on the mid-coast of Maine, about 40 miles east of Portland, right on the water at the innermost section of Boothbay Harbor. If you stood in the parking lot, with the cars, you merely saw cars and motel buildings. If you walked 100 feet toward the shore, you looked across the harbor to the village, and down the harbor to some islands and the Gulf of Maine beyond. If you happened to look up at the flagpole by the water, you saw Old Glory and the flag of the Chrysler 300 Club Int'l. flying on the spar.

Of the 100+ people present, some flew from the south (Florida and the Carolinas); some drove from Georgia, Virginia and Maryland. Others flew from California, Oklahoma and Colorado. People in the greater Midwest drove letter cars (Spanky C. won Long-Distance from Illinois at 1400+ miles.), or they flew from Wisconsin and Michigan and environs. You'd think that everybody at the meet came downeast to be there. Not true. Because as far as Spanky came north and east, Vernon and Ina came almost as far south and west—from Newfoundland, over 1300 miles. And Jean-Yves and Jacinthee from the northeastern coast of New Brunswick. And the far easterners were not the only Canadians to venture across the border; there were four registrants from Ontario.

This meet welcomed several first time meet attendees, some relatively close and some at rather far distances. The new attendees came from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ontario, and 1300 miles from Newfoundland. For regular meet-goers, it was great to meet new attendees, to talk with them and admire their cars.

The point about being on the coast of Maine is to see the water meet the rocky shoreline. And so the activity one day meant watching the rocky shore from the water—traveling by boat along the coast, or going out to Monhegan Island—about 12 miles offshore. A half dozen of the group went to Monhegan on Thursday, and traipsed the island paths, even to the 160' cliffs on the western shore. They had a full day of it, and coming home they got to feel the sea swell rock the boat around a bit. Others used the day to ride a schooner—a two masted sailboat designed in New England; it was the former workhorse of this coast. There is nothing quite like the moment the skipper turns off the engine and lets the wind fill the sails and take the boat ahead. Those who rode the schooner commented on the magic of that silent moment. (One member complained about getting knocked in the head with the sail's boom, but I couldn't tell that he was any different afterwards than before.) Still others took a powerboat trip through some narrow channels, scoured by hard-running tides, up an inland passage to Bath, Maine, and then down the Kennebec River (one of Maine's largest rivers) to the ocean and back to Boothbay Harbor. On this trip, eagles were spotted, along with great blue herons, and some US Navy frigates at Bath Iron Works.

The other day was spent watching the water from the rocky shore. So trips by car went east and west—many to Pemaquid Point, and the lighthouse there. On Friday, there was a strong southerly breeze that brought some impressive breakers onto the point. But people also went west, to Popham Beach, and Orrs and Bailey Islands. Many sought out the lighthouses that were built in the 18th and 19th centuries to alert mariners to a nasty shore.Of course there was a Business Meeting, early on Friday, so people could otherwise enjoy their day. This writer believes this business meeting to be the shortest he has been at in his experience. Begun at 8:40, it was done before 10 am. We had the standard reports from the Treasurer, and the committees. Four members were nominated to be Directors; that means an election will occur with ballots appearing in a future club publication. The nominees are: Michael Burke, Gil Cunningham, Pete Fitch and John Lazenby. Co-hosts Tony Rinaldi and Tom Harkins spoke of the Spring Meet in Lancaster, Pa; Rob Kern talked about plans for the Branson, MO meet next fall, and George Glavis introduced us to the idea of a meet in the Shenandoah Valley of VA in the spring of 2010.

An interesting challenge of this meet was that the Maine State Firefighters Association had their convention in Boothbay Harbor the same weekend. Part of that annual convention is a parade of fire trucks—this year 125 of them, down the only road in town. Of course, our hotel and the car show location were joined by “the only road in town,” which meant that we had to be at the show earlier than we planned (or wished). But by 9:45 all the letter cars, the pacesetter, and the special interest cars were at the Boothbay Village Railway Museum. We parked on the large field, and Jean-Yves and Don Cole wrestled the cars into model year order—C300 through 300L, followed by a Dodge Dart convertible, and then the modern special cars—including an SRT 8 300HemiC and a new orange and black Challenger. At least one of each model was there, except the 300E. A Pacesetter convertible was also included with the letter cars.

There were three cars entered for concours judging—Mark S.' 300H, and Vernon's 300C and 300F. The museum staff was most helpful in finding a good place to do the judging, since earlier rain had left the obvious places too wet. While that work was going on, the rest of the group examined each other's cars and completed People's Choice balloting. The show ran from about 9:30 to a little after 1. RJ Kern was busy photographing various of the letter cars, and so occasionally one or another of them moved nearby the pond for particularly becoming photos.

A curious thing happened upon the return to the Inn. 20 or so of our members went to the bulkhead in front of the hotel, sat on the benches, pulled up chairs, brought some drinks, and simply enjoyed the warm sunshine, the zephyr of air moving, and the beauty of the harbor. It was a lovely way to make the transition from car show and car bonding to the banquet and inevitable goodbyes that would come so soon after. The 300 flag was lowered, folded and presented to Tony Rinaldi and Tom Harkins—our hosts next Spring in Lancaster, PA.

It was a good thing the banquet occurred when it did—else we would have lost a lot of people sitting outside as the fog came up the harbor. The fog came in just as we were enjoying drinks and getting ready to enjoy an excellent buffet. Rob Kern offered a blessing and a remembrance of John Hertog, and 108 of us shared a great meal.

The concluding presentation was made by Vice President Jim Krausmann, as President George was suffering from the ravages of a bad lobster. In the Concours judging, the results were impressive.

(Note: Full names of the owners are omitted for confidentiality purposes.)

Mark S.  -  300H - second place - 820.5 points
Vernon S .- 300C - first place- 884.5 points
                   300F - first place - 932.5 points

Gil Cunningham pointed out that winning 932 points for one car at one time is exceedingly rare.

Peoples' Choice awards went to:

Vernon S. - 300C - first place
John S.  - 300C - second place
Larry N.- 300F - first place
Pete F. - 300G - second place
Jean C. - 300K - first place
Bill R. - 300J - second place
Hard Luck - 300C - John S. - a bad coil in Rumford, Me. (He re-coiled and was fine)
Long Distance - 300H - Wayne (Spanky) C., 1400+ miles from southwestern Illinois.
Meet Host Appreciation: Doug & Susan Mayer and Bill and Ann Rust

RJ Kern, following the banquet, offered a brief seminar on how to take pictures of our cars. Well—we all know how to do that. The tips he offered will allow us to take pictures that will make the cars look really good, and set them apart from the Kodak specials that we used to take with our Brownie Hawkeye cameras.

*downeast. Along the New England coast, one went “downeast” to Maine. Up until 90 years ago it was easier to get to Maine by boat or ship than any other way. The prevailing winds along this coast are westerly, and so when a boat sails with the wind, she is sailing “downwind.” Coming to Maine, her course is predominately east, and she sails downwind. Hence, Downeast.

Thanks for attending our meet,
Doug Mayer