Hello all you Healeyphiles! By the time you read this, the Holidays will be behind us, yet again! It was great to see so many of you at the Holiday Party, particularly Phil and Nancy Caliva. For those not there, Phil is doing great. He is mobile with a walker, doing a lot of physical therapy and will not need any neck surgery as was first feared.
Looking a little down the road, the Austin Healey Club of America (AHCA) has asked our Club if we would be interested in hosting Conclave 2021.
We had a great turnout in Deadwood, SD this September, I think I counted 24 Club members.
The 2020 Conclave is being held near Tampa, FL, so I doubt we will have too many attending. 2021 is still open and AHCA would really like to have another West Coast event. I think the last one was San Diego, 2008.
Initially the focus was on Yosemite as a location, largely based on the very successful California Healey Week we held there a few years ago.
However, after a lot of research, Yosemite proved unworkable. The only venue large enough to host Conclave (which normally draws about twice the number we have at Healey Week) was the Tenaya Lodge. No doubt they would have done a \ine job, but the prices were high and there are really no lodging and dining alternatives nearby. No suitable place for the Car Show and a Gymkhana would likely have been impossible. Just too many challenges, so that alternative was abandoned.
After that we looked at the coastal resorts, from Monterey down to San Diego, including Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Diego.
While all viable, the AHCA was concerned about cost and the extended driving distances a coastal location would involve for members from the east. Phoenix was another option, but the national club could not get excited about that either.
Quite by surprise, they suggested Big Bear. The Northwoods Resort which we have used for Healey Week in the past has been purchased by the Holiday Inn Group (IHG International) and had been remodeled and expanded (and is now known as Big Bear Lodge). Surprisingly, they now have enough rooms to host (180) and enough ballroom space. And the room price is very reasonable.
There are plenty of alternatives for housing and food nearby, the possibility of a downtown car show and a gymkhana at the airport. So, most boxes are checked.
Is it an appealing enough location to draw folks from the North and East? More importantly, do we have enough enthusiasm in the Club to host such an event. This would sort of be a "Healey Week on steroids". We would need all the usual volunteers and event coordinators, plus many more helpers.
What do you think? Your comments would be appreciated.