Well, the rally is over and we had a good time. We saw old friends and made some new ones, so that was a success. The weather has been relatively good but cold at night and early in the mornings, but it made for good sleeping. I've even slept as late as 7:30, which is very late for me.
There was a couple that sang for us on Saturday night and they were good. They sang a lot of oldies and many people danced. It was almost like we were back in high school. Hoyt put together a fire in the large ring behind the rally pavilion and several of us went out during the band break to sit by the fire. It was cool enough that the fire felt good, but for some reason, abut 10:30, both Stella and I got very cold as if the temperature dropped suddenly. We packed up and went home, where I had a hard time getting my hands warm. It was just strange that it came on us all at once.
Most of the folks left on Sunday but a few stayed over until Monday. We got to spend a little bit of time with Kevin and Nelly and Dave and Julie. We will see them as well as others that were here in Urbanna in a couple of weeks. Should be a good time.
Monday morning, the others pulled out, leaving only us here. I went out Monday morning and captured some Munzees, something I haven't done too much lately. There are a lot of Munzees here and I got a lot of them. It was fun and I felt good getting some good exercise. Nancy had made reservations to go to the huge Toyota factory for a tour this afternoon. It was very interesting but they were very strict about no photos and even made us leave our cell phones at the desk.
I was very impressed with the plant. It is modern and very clean with no junk laying around, no spills of any kind and no grease anywhere! The workers all seem happy and many waved or acknowledged us as we passed on our tram. It was interesting to learn of the ergonomics for employee comfort and safety (the cars are raised or lowered for ease of the employees as they installed different items onto the cars) to a hydraulically operated chair to make it easier to install the dash and other items in the interior. They certainly demonstrated why the tram is necessary! They have about 7.5 million square feet under roof and we toured a lot of it. The plant is located on 1300 acres and it is kept immaculate! The entire tour screamed professional, from the short intro movie with a screen and projector that dropped out of the ceiling to the headphones that we wore to be able to hear Audrey, our tour guide. The only thing we didn't see was the painting area. She said that any dust or dirt that might be brought in by a visitor could ruin a paint job and we certainly don't want that! I was also surprised to learn that they remove the doors from the cars after they are painted and they are then computer controlled so that the proper colored doors are returned to the car after the interior and other things are installed. It would be highly embarrassing to have a set of white doors installed on a black car.
Just about everything is computer controlled. They use "smart sleds" to bring parts to their destination. The smart sleds are controlled and guided by electronic sensors in the floor to navigate and are smart enough to sense when their batteries are running out, so they return to their dock to recharge. Apparently, they seldom get lost, or at least we didn't hear of it if they do.
Another innovative idea that they use is their "just in time" plan for parts. Parts are delivered by smart sled or by a human-driven sled to the technicians/installers when they are needed, so there is never any excess parts cluttering the working area.
The tour was very interesting and I would recommend it if you are ever in this area or where there is another Toyota plant.