Hi Stan- Melinda and I didn't head towards California till mid-morning Friday and pulled into Camp Oakes about 6pm. you were right - it was a ghost town compared to years ago. I remember 200 people in line just to get into the Celestron enclosure, waiting for the 1pm sales to start. The telescope field was deserted with maybe 4 vendors and not too many more customers. But Saturday picked up considerably - the swap meet was pretty well attended, as were most of the talks through the day. I gave one on the Mirror Lab and had a good crowd and questions. And the prize drawings and tonight's mail lecture were packed. Yep, the meal plan seems to be pretty much the same food as the snack bar, but at least this way, I'm not paying for meals I'm not eating like in the past when we slept in a bit or met friends for dinner in town. Temps were frigid tonight and we headed back to Motel6 after the lecture. There were 9 telescope entries and 7 awards given (I recall there were only 6 entries last year). I figured I'd keep going till I couldn't sit around and talk telescopes with optics wizard Gerry Logan, only to find out he left at noon today with family matters. Mike Brown, the keynote speaker for Sunday night also cancelled with family issues... Why aren't people attending? Best to ask the people out reading this that aren't here this weekend! -Dean ________________________________________ From: az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [az-observing-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] on behalf of Stan Gorodenski [stanlep@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2012 10:08 PM To: AZ-Observing Subject: [AZ-Observing] RTMC this Year Dean, Where were you? I was at RTMC Friday all day and into the night up to 9:45pm. You were not in sight. RTMC really went drastically down hill this year. We were told by the staff there were only 300-400 that pre-registered this year (some incorrect information got around. Someone said 800, but an organizer corrected this). When I arrived about 9 am Friday morning there were practically no vendors set up and hardly anyone there! Normally, there is already a bunch of vendors set up along the path from the meeting hall to Telescope Field. Hardly anything. On telescope field there was Meade, Woodland Telescopes, OPT (I think), and a few other vendors. Normally, on Friday morning there are cars lined up to get in all the way along the dirt road, maybe 5 miles, to Camp Oaks. Of course, since the camp opened on Wednesday there was no line, but there was hardly anyone that had arrived! In the past there was the danger of not getting ones favorite spot because of all the people that had already arrived. This was not the case by a long shot. There were plenty of spots for the choosing. Things slightly improved, i.e., a few more people came in, as the day progressed but not much. It had been exciting arriving on Friday in years past and seeing all the activity. Not this time. One can blame the economy, the weather (one hypothesis is that not many vendors came up because the winds last year caused a lot of damage and there were strong winds predicted this time), the decline in amateur telescope making, PATS, etc. For me, I did not go this time because they had done away with the meal tickets. I was not going to eat nothing but hamburgers and maybe a $15 steak now and then. The Galaxy Cafe that everyone was supposed to get their food from was pretty sorry.They had also decided to close the meeting hall for eating. Since Saturday morning was going to be very cold (Big Bear Lake got snow Friday night) I wonder if they relented and set up eating tables inside. It appears RTMC may become a one day event - Saturday - if it doesn't fold up in the near future. If so, this and the eating change will keep me from ever attending again. Because of the new eating change, the only time I would attend would be on Friday after the SAS meeting in Big Bear Lake, but if there will be hardly anyone there, then Friday is not an option. I would just drive back to Arizona after the SAS meeting. Normally, in years past up to recent years, there were a lot of people there on Friday and one could visit with acquaintances that were made over the years at RTMC. Also, a lot of vendors were set up. I was able to get my Ventura calendar on Friday. Not this year. It was very-very disappointing. I am sure it picked up on Saturday, and those who arrived on Saturday will be able to make a decent report, but this would be an example of how an incomplete sample can give an incorrect view of RTMC this year. Stan -- See message header for info on list archives or unsubscribing, and please send personal replies to the author, not the list. -- See message header for info on list archives or unsubscribing, and please send personal replies to the author, not the list.