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Saturn Homecoming 1994 Mummert Style
SaturnFans.com November 7, 1995 We left our home in Fairborn, Ohio at about 11:00 in the morning Wednesday June 22. We first went to my parents home to join with them for the trip down to Spring Hill. My Mom got her Saturn SL2 about 14 months before we got our SW2 station wagon, both gold. We had borrowed two way hand held radios so we could stay in touch during the drive and coordinate necessary stops at the rest areas and Dairy Queens along the way. We saw a few Saturns in Ohio, but none had the "red ball" of the Homecoming Crew.
We traveled to Cincinnati, and went by the Saturn of Florence Retailer where there were activities planned and refreshments to be had. Since we had only been on the road a short time, we decided not to stop. To get to Spring Hill, we traveled I-75 south to I-71 to Louisville where we headed south again on I-65. As we started south on I-71, we began seeing more "red ball" Saturns. We greeted most with a wave and a smile, always making a comment to my parents in the other car. "There goes another one to Spring Hill." The other fun was waving at the Saturn truck drivers headed to or from the plant.
Our plan was to drive to Park City, KY and spend the night at one of our favorite spots, Park Mammoth Resort. The food and service there are alwaye first rate. We got an early start the next morning since we wanted to stop at that "other" car plant at Bowling Green, the Corvette plant. The tour there lasted about an hour and a half. We met up with my parents at the next rest area south of Bowling Green. As we traveled, there were more and more "red ball" Saturns heading for Spring Hill.
While waiting for us at the rest area, my parents met and spoke with several Saturn owners from Ohio, Iowa and Pennsylvania. One had a camcorder and was taking pictues of all the Saturns in the parking area. The first question usually was "When is your Plant tour?" We headed on south again and passed and were passed by more "red ball" Saturns. As we approached Nashville, the Interstate was being resurfaced and was down to one lane. It was amazing to see the Saturn owners let each other in and wave, flash lights, and honk at one another.
We stayed in Nashville at a small, very nice motel right on the road to Spring Hill. It was called Traveler's Rest Motel. Behind us was a shopping center with several good resturants. We could park our cars and walk wherever we wanted to go. There were "red ball" Saturns from Indiana, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Maryland staying in our area and several others in the back section. All were very friendly and talked about the upcoming events at the plant and how much they liked their Saturns.
Friday, June 24th was our day at the plant. We were up and out early along with most of our neighbors. It had rained overnight and some of the Saturn owners said there were some problems getting the lots open for parking, so everything would be delayed. We were scheduled for a 12:30 plant tour, so we left for Spring Hill about 10:00. we thought we had allowed for a traffic tie-up, but nothing had prepared us for the sight of so many Saturns at one time in one place. It started to rain again just as we were getting to the turnoff to the parking areas. A county sheriff was directing traffic and would not let us (and about 150 other Saturns) go onto the ramp. We thought " Oh great, now we will have to wait in line on the other side". We were wrong, boy were we wrong, we had been sent to the RV parking lot at the Spring Hills High School, nice gravel lot. Unfortunately, they weren't expecting that many people at that lot, so they had only one shuttle van (for about 25 people) at that lot. By now it was pouring and all of us were standing in line waiting for transportation to the grounds about a mile and a half away. The word of what had happened was soon radioed to the proper people and 4 or 5 "big" busses were sent to get us to where we belonged. We, like everyone else, were let off in a sea of floating mulch and straw paths. At least the rain had stopped coming down by this time. In fact, I think it stopped as soon as we were on the busses. Ha Ha.
It was well after the appointed time for our plant tour, but we soon found out that that plan had been scrapped very early in the day. we just got in line like everyone else. At first, the line seemed to go on forever, but it really moved pretty fast. We were back on a bus and headed for the plant itself within 45 minutes of finding the end of the proper line.
The tour was fantastic. Normally, they don't allow cameras on the tours, but due to the large numbers, all with cameras to record the events, and the fact that they considered us "family," we were allowed to take pictures. Some of the associates posed for us, others thanked us for buying their Saturns. The tour was well staffed with people to explain what was happening on the line and answer any questions that came up. The attention to details, even with that many people around, explains why Saturns are so well built and fun to own. We finished the tour and returned to the Homecoming area about 3:30. We then set off to conquer the "trade show" area where all the tents were set up. By now the sun was back out and only a few slippery spots remained. We checked out the new '95 Saturn display, and since we are both engineers, we were particulary interested in the areas that held the secrets of the Saturn processes. The lost foam casting, the door panels (that were laying on the ground for the kids to jump on), the anti-lock brake controllers, stereo tent etc. were all examined with great interest. After making sure we got to see those, we headed for the arts and crafts, show cars, and the dual powered Saturn display. We of course received the handouts gratefully from the represented suppliers and marketing organizations.
Not being big Country Music fans, and not wanting to face the exodus of Saturns after the concert and fireworks, we left the Homecoming area about 6:30 to head back to our motel. There were quite a few Saturns still on the roads, going to or from the plant, or just out sightseeing. It was mostly easy to tell who had been to Homecoming by the ring of mud on the Saturn's tires. People were baffled when we told them we had already been to the plant, since our tires were clean. Of course there were those who couldn't stand to have that mud on their cars, and imediately went to the nearest car wash to get it cleaned off.
Even though my parents are not much for amusment parks (not big on rides) they decided to check out Opryland Saturday morning. They reported gorgeous grounds and lots of "red ball" Saturns in the parking lot. We decided to check out the Cumberland Science Museum. We found many interesting exhibits and enjoyed our visit thoroughly. We met up with Mom and Dad at the rest stop heading north (home) on I-65. Again there were many "red ball" Saturns on the way and at the rest stops. Talk was about what was seen and experienced at the Homecoming. There were still quite a few Saturns on the way in to Nashville. The day was beautiful and we had sunshine all the way home.
We arrived back home in Fairborn about 7:30 Saturday night having added almost 1,000 miles to our 3 month old Saturn. Sunday morning we were suprised to hear on the news that there had been a big storm at Homecoming and the concert and fireworks had to be canceled. We hoped there would be another Homecoming some day.
We still see a few "red ball" Saturns in the area and have had the chance to talk to one family who attended. We met them at a park in Yellow Springs, OH, saw the Homecoming ball and asked how they liked homecoming. At first they didn't know what we were talking about. We explained that to us the red ball meant Saturn Homecoming '94 and they said "Oh that Homecoming. It was the greatest." We didn't have the opportunity to get into much more than that. I assume that those who still display the "red ball" proudly, must have enjoyed themselves despite any trials they may have experienced.
If there is ever another Homecoming, you can bet we will try our best to be there.
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