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Thread: RCX 2012: HemiStorm trip-report

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    Default RCX 2012: HemiStorm trip-report

    What a week! After getting up to go the airport around 4 in the morning local time in Norway, I flew to Los Angeles with a transfer in London.



    While my watch said it was 23.00, I thought it was still very light outside and I need to turn my clocks back 9 hours. I waited up for BZM Gareth who would arrive slightly later so we could go pick up our rental cars. At 16.30 we left Los Angeles to drive to TGN Distributing in Exeter, traffic through LA was a disaster, but after covering ten miles in an hour and a half we finally could test the epic capabilities of my 0.8 litre Nissan and Gareths Dodge. The Nissan kept up fairly well with the big Dodge, and after a visit at Wendy's, where I tried to get sizing up my bodyshape with Gareth we arrived at Mark Hulls crib around 22.30 at night. My biological clock told me it was 7.30 in the morning, so I needed to get some sleep.



    Next day we drove to Exeter Hobbies/ TGN Distributing where we were welcomed by a very kind staff. Friendly, hardworking people, most of whom I'd already talked to on the phone at some point in my HemiStorm Products venture. Mark showed us around the freshly opened store, workshop and of course the tenth scale racetrack that opened only a few weeks before our arrival. The building just oozes industrial history, some objects of former industry kept as souvenirs scattered around the shop. Rusted doors and old brick walls make a funky contrast with the state of the art storeshelving, display booths and orderprocessing systems.







    After about 3 hours and unpacking my suitcase on a workbench I had my HemiStorm Penta showcars prepped and ready for RCX. I managed to bring 3 Penta shells, the red one I painted for my own ride, a blue one for my buddy Ivo aka Dustmaster from Belgium and a clear one that I would put on display along with my rollcage, all bolted together. Gareth had earlier that morning parked his rental vehicle on the sidewalk, and as he was sweating to get all the BZM engines bolted in the showcars, I went out for a smoke, and then it hit me: Pranktime!

    A towshop is located half a block away from Exeter Hobbies, and with the Californian sun warming my skin I strolled over to see if the guys that owned the towtrucks would be in for a joke. I went in and talked to a skinny truckdriver, as big as Gareths arm, and explained that I wanted him to be really rude to the Brit, pretending to be about to tow his truck on city orders etc. Ten bucks lighter and with a huge grin on my face I hurried back to the store and told Mark to join me at the workshop, not explaining much apart from pulling a prank. After about a minute the towtruck appeared in front of the opened door, backing up with the emergency lights on to pull away the shiny white rental Dodge. The driver came out and snarled a few nasty words at Gareth who appeared, hurrying to move his car, after finding there was no steering on the right side of this car he eventually managed to pull away, not hearing us laugh about what we would later explain to him as a prank. Good fun.

    http://s298.photobucket.com/albums/m...t=IMG_0218.mp4



    The afternoon was filled with driving gokarts, RC tenth scales indoors, a good Mexican lunch and some more indoor track driving. The track in Exeter is quite challenging, has a nice drivers stand and is even accessible for disabled people due to the ramp setup. The racers and hobbyists popping in the shop and testing their setups or refining their skills make for some nice traffic through the store and create a central meeting point for RC enthusiasts in the Exeter/ Visalia region.







    http://s298.photobucket.com/albums/m...t=IMG_0259.mp4


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    Wednesday my Welsh grumpy friend and myself set course to see General Sherman, one would think becoming a new recruit for the US Army by hearing the name, but the General is nothing more than a tree. Or should I say nothing less. A winding road through the green hills, cluttered with bushes and vegetation in all sorts and varieties of purple takes you to the top of a mountain where some of the planets oldest residents spend their days in awe of their spectators: The Sequoia trees, General Sherman being the most massive one. A brief downhill walk through the forest takes you to the foot of the 275 foot tree, and gave us the opportunity to take some nice shots. After rolling my grumpy but still quite likeable buddy Gareth uphill we went back to the shop to prepare our final things for the upcoming show in Long Beach.











    Thursday flew by, Gareth and myself wrenching away in the show, accompanied by Kenny, the TGN wrenching guru and Sal and Duane, Sal being the most notorious packing tape ninja of the western hemisphere (see what I did there? Hemi-sphere? Still not? Nevermind...) and Duane being an allround presence, both in store and in the workshop. Together with Alex, Allen and Linda (best telephonevoice ever) they form the solidly meshed gearbox that runs this iconic shop for our industry.










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    Friday at six in the morning we took off to meet the SkoPod clan on our way to RC heaven. Jim and Tim Skoglund are very friendly, down to earth guys, with a great sense of humour and passion for what moves the industry, both in a way of speaking as literally. A four hour drive and some chaotic early lunch traffic took us to Long Beach, where a blistering hot sun sparkled through the leafs of the palmtrees, as we pulled in on the parking lot. Time to set things up, and get ready to meet up my friend Animal, who would drop by later that day.





    2 hours later most of the TGN booth was in place, the HemiStorm booth was set up, the Penta bodies carefully waxed, and a warm smile right above a "Delicate Flower" t-shirt announced the arrival of Jim aka Animal454. Jim had taken a few bikes with him, and a fresh breeze along the coast made sure we had an excellent afternoon riding along the shoreline, on our hunt for some alcoholic refreshments. It is funny how meeting someone in real life after only knowing them from forums can be natural, not awkward at all. The connection and sense of humour we share online over the past year translates perfectly to real life situations, ensuring big laughs and great anekdotes during dinner and drinks later that night. Ron White, Gohan, Billet, Kevin Chase, Jim and Tim Skoglund, and the next day Adumb and Glassman, thank you all for an unforgettable time.













    Saturday it was showtime! Some of us had slight hangovers, but quickly recovered as the crowd poored in. Planes, helicopters, tanks, Scalectrix, Mini-Z's and several race or test tracks/spaces provided everybody with RC in their blood with more than enough to keep entertained for the day, or even the entire weekend. Every sponsor and vendor at the event had done their very best to make their booth as attractive as possible, either with colourful banners and bigscreen TV's or friendly smiling models, it was all there. The TGN booth has massive traffic, and thanks to Fast Eddy and Robmob I managed to sneek away for an occasional smoke. Outside the fun went on and on, an onroad track set up in the corner of the entrance, multiple famous vehicles from series and movies, the smooth surface of the pond wrinkelled and ripped by the Traxxas boats and of course the stunttracks for the 5th scale cars, where the likes of Jim, Ron, Tim, Adam, John Schultz and Gareth amongst others made sure the crowd was packed at least 5 rows thick against the fence.







    A great dinner, some drinks and good laughs made the clock strike midnight as the famous Skopod moonshine was brought out in a room at the Hyatt. Bouncing apples, blue marks, bruises and a knock on the hotel door were the signal to call it a day, a slightly offended employee with a vacuum cleaner kindly opened the door with eyes that said "About time...!"

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    The Sunday was as busy and positive as the Saturday, with a few more people added to the "hey-that's-you"-list. Whether it was Rodney aka Shreadhead, or Sean and Joe O'Neal, everybody was kind, in good spirit, talkative and interested. Before we knew it the clock said 4 and it was time to wrap it up, the buzz of the crowds echoing in the hall as all vendors packed up their gear, like busy ants. A well organized crew made sure the cars went in and out smoothly and well coordinated, my hat is off to Lost in MN as a part of that crew for putting together such a great event. After saying goodbye to the TGN crew, the Skopod guys, John Tripp, Chris Bartolone, Team Chase and the DDM crew we freshened up at the hotel, before Eddy, Rob, Gareth and me ended a great week at Famous Dave for a BBQ dinner.









    I'm still recovering from my jetlag and one of the best experiences an RC enthusiast can wish for. I've been to RC heaven, have seen first hand what it takes to put up a show, been around and partied with likeminded people. I made friends for life, a big thank you to all who were there for making this a great trip.

    Thanks Gareth, for being a bud and an ass at times, underneath the grump and gnarl is a kind and warm person with a passion for this hobby.

    Thank you Jim, for welcoming me like a brother, letting me ride the coolest bike I've ever seen and for making me feel right at home in SoCal.

    Thank you to father and son Skopod for being stand up guys, having great humour, defying gravity when drunk and ravaging my eardrums with your infectuous laughter, I had a blast!

    Most of all thanks to the crew at TGN, especially Mark Hull and his wife Rose for the limitless hospitality and kindness.

    I hope to see everybody at RCX 2013!

    Click on the following link for all my pictures of the past week:
    RCX 2012 HemiStorm at TGN pictures by chrisdegraaf - Photobucket

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    Baja-Forum Maniac tectic's Avatar
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    Nice write up
    Sounds like you guys had a great time

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    Formerly Silverback RC flake99please's Avatar
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    Great write up Chris. Fingers crossed I can make the journey next year.

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    Baja-Forum Maniac jackobyte's Avatar
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    Enjoyed the read, how were the ladies over there..

    [IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by jackobyte; 05-05-2012 at 18:10.

    :gunsmile:IT'S BETTER TO BURN OUT THAN TOO FADE AWAY !!!! !:gunsmile:

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    Fantastic write up of the event and journey. Used to love me a little bit of Wendy's back in the day!

    It looks like you boys had a great time and I'm definitely a bit jealous to say the least.

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    BFUK-aholic™ Echlin W's Avatar
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    Fantastic read.

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    Contributor miniripper's Avatar
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    I'll second Hemi's write up.

    Was a real pleasure to be there and a privilege to spend quality time with the best in the industry.
    You get to make some great friends and see some awesome sights.

    California is RC heaven the state is home to all the best manufactures and the people are mad for it.

    I took some video of the road to RCX the Tejoe pass specifically.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVTJH...e_gdata_player

    I have an album of the big tree trip.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniripper View Post
    I'll second Hemi's write up.

    Was a real pleasure to be there and a privilege to spend quality time with the best in the industry.
    You get to make some great friends and see some awesome sights.

    California is RC heaven the state is home to all the best manufactures and the people are mad for it.

    I took some video of the road to RCX the Tejoe pass specifically.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVTJH...e_gdata_player

    I have an album of the big tree trip.
    I had a great week, same time next year we'll do that again man! Yosemite instead of Sequoia?

  12. #12
    Contributor miniripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemistorm View Post
    I had a great week, same time next year we'll do that again man! Yosemite instead of Sequoia?
    Oh yea RCX is annual thing for me now.

    Yea let's go see Yogi next year!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniripper View Post
    Oh yea RCX is annual thing for me now.

    Yea let's go see Yogi next year!
    Deal! And we'll rent a Lambo!

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    Wish i had been there.


    Great travel story, cheers for sharing

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