42nd Annual Spring Meet
Chattanooga, TN - May 20 - 23. 2012
Tom Cox, Mick & Martha Kreszock, and Terry McTaggart - Meet Hosts
The Spring 2012 Meet or, Would You Like Slaw With that Barbecue?
Sunday, May 20, dawned bright and sunny in Chattanooga, a good omen for the upcoming 42nd Spring Meet of the Chrysler 300 Club International, Inc. Arriving members could spot the huge electric Chattanooga Choo Choo sign above the hotel from several blocks away. Friendly and efficient hotel staff checked in members under a magnificent renovated dome that originally graced the Terminal Station when built in 1908. The architecture and feel of the old waiting rooms, now renovated into conversation areas, a bar, and a restaurant; were great reminders of the railway heritage of our country. With the Southern Railway Historical Association and the Lincoln Continental Owners Club also holding meets at the Choo Choo, many members made immediate friends with folks with interests similar to ours.
The hospitality room was all set up and ready for the numerous club members and guests to complete their registration process. Members arriving on Sunday spent time either in the hospitality room or parking lot renewing old friendships and making new ones. Later in the day many took the FREE electric trolley to the downtown area of Chattanooga to dine and shop in the numerous venues along Broad Street. Chattanoogans were warm, welcoming, and rightfully proud of their beautiful city by the Tennessee River.
At 9:00 a.m. on Monday we left the parking lot for a tour of the Coker Tire collection of automobiles and memorabilia. We were very honored to have Corky Coker take time to personally talk to our group about the collection and its history, and to share interesting anecdotes. He also graciously made "all access" to Honest Charlie's Speed Shop available to our membership. The only downside was that at 10:45 a.m. we had to leave Coker Tire for our next museum.
Those wondering what would be in store for us at the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum were treated to an impressive collection of vehicles, including a dealer-made 1929 Chrysler Tow Truck. The museum also has examples of toys, tools, and equipment and interesting historical pictorial displays. The museum hosted a lunch for us in their large meeting area; a southern-style spread of barbecue, buns, cole slaw, and beans, accompanied by the ultimates in southern foods, sweet tea and banana pudding.
Members spent the remainder of the day taking advantage of many of Chattanooga's attractions: Civil War battle sites, train excursions, Rock City, Ruby Falls, cavern tours, the Tennessee Aquarium, and Bessie Smith Cultural Center, just to name a few. At 6:00 p.m. everyone gathered for a short trolley ride to the riverfront for our dinner cruise on the Southern Belle riverboat. True to the meet theme (well, really due to a communication error between meet hosts), we were (again) treated to a dinner of barbecue, buns, cole slaw, and beans; accompanied by, yes again, sweet tea and banana pudding. It was a grand evening for a river cruise, with beautiful views of the shoreline and dancing to a live quartet on the main deck. The weather was beautiful, with rain holding off until just after we got off the boat; making for a few damp club members on the return trolley ride. With our usual Chrysler 300 flair however, a good time was had by all.
Tuesday began with a meeting of the Reproduction Parts Committee in the hospitality room. No barbecue was served. When the meeting concluded, members shared their experiences from the previous afternoon and scattered throughout the area to see what they had missed yesterday. After a leisurely day, we all met at 8:00 p.m. for the business meeting. Various reports were given and nominations for club officers were completed.
Another beautiful day dawned on Wednesday. Cars left the hotel parking lot at 10:00 a.m. for the car show, which was held in a small city park area on the riverfront. The twenty-three letter cars were a big hit with the business lunch crowds that passed through the park. There were many activities in the area including a restaurant, an ice cream parlor, shopping, and an Imax theater. Many members made sure to visit the beautiful Tennessee Aquarium during the week as well. Both the fresh water River Journey building and the salt water Ocean Journey building were enjoyed by everyone.
After the car show everyone returned to the hotel for the banquet. The cash bar opened at 5:30 and the banquet began at 6:30. Good fellowship and conversation enhanced the "Chattanooga Choo Choo" train theme. The requisite announcements, awards and teasing completed the evening's event before most returned to the hospitality room for final visits.
On Thursday morning the parking lot was filled with fond good-byes. Another successful meet was in the books and everyone's drive home would be filled with pleasant memories. Likely with strains of Glenn Miller and his Big Band playing in our heads . . ..
When you hear the whistle blowin' eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in
Gotta keep it rollin'
Woo, woo, Chattanooga there you are!