[AZ-Observing] Re: RTMC this Year

  • From: "Ketelsen, Dean A - (ketelsen)" <ketelsen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 27 May 2012 06:11:58 +0000

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!

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

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.
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