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Tulare 2002 Personal Show Journal by Christian Willis, Nov. 8-9, 2002.

At 4:40 AM , I awoke and took a shower. We were out the door at 5:30. We stopped at the Circle-K and got our usual: a cup of coffee for my dad and a hot chocolate for me. We took the 5 Fwy. to the 57 Orange Fwy. to the 210 Foothill Fwy. back to the 5 Fwy. North and then to Hwy. 99. We only hit traffic on the 210 near Pasadena, and by taking this alternate route we avoided all the Los Angeles traffic. It rained all the way up to Bakersfield.

We made a couple rest stops on the way, and arrived in Tulare around 10:15 AM. We stopped at Ryan’s Place Restaurant and Bakery a couple blocks down from the show hall. I had linguica and eggs, with hash browns and sourdough toast. Daddy had the Farmhand breakfast with two eggs, ham and two pancakes. We arrived at the hall at around 11:15, just shortly after the show started. Everyone was there, and we made our rounds to say hi.

My first purchase(s) of the show were two CD 168s from Larry Shumaker. One in orange amber and one in carnival. The orange amber was in very near mint for $30 and the carnival was dead mind for $50. Larry gave me the pair for $75. My third purchase was a CD 257 in Hemingray Blue from David Brown, (F-Skirt) Hemingray (R-Skirt) Made In U.S.A. / Nº60 with SDP. The drips were the large kind, and all but flawless! It had no price, but he told me he’d sell it to me for $30, which I couldn’t refuse.

Dwayne was the only one that hadn’t set up his table. Ceremoniously he began unpacking his boxes and, like vultures to carrion, his table was immediately surrounded by a horde of collectors. I waited till the onslaught subsided and then proceeded to peruse his offerings. Much to my pleasant surprise, he had a CD 126.3 A.U. Dec. Pat.! It was priced $75, a price I was happy to pay. It was a light green and had an underpour on the right, but was otherwise mint. I got it for $70.

Over at Dave Elliott’s table I found two early CD 124s with the combined Hemingray/Dec. Pat. embossings. Both were different embossings and are the most valuable of the CD 124 hybrid embossing variations, valued at $30 apiece. I got both for $25 total.

It was time for a rest. I went over to the snack bar and bought us a couple Mountain Dews and a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch chips, and went to sit down with my dad in one of the unused show tables over by Larry’s table.

I wandered back to Dwayne’s table and my eyes widened. In his display case was a CD 132.4 Dec. Pat. lightning rod insulator in aqua. It had some minor damage but was overall a great-looking piece. There was no price to be seen. Timidly I pointed to the piece and asked Dwayne how much. He looked at it for a second, then said $500. I winced, but it was actually a decent price for one of those. This was only the second one of its kind I had seen since the light aqua one on Butch Haltman’s table at the ‘96 Long Beach National. I pondered the price for awhile, and decided I had to have it. (Heck, I had already knocked three insulators off my want list this show, why not knock off one of the biggies?) So I asked him if he’d take payments on it. I offered four monthly payments of $125 and he said "sure". I was elated to say the least. He will give it a good cleaning and bring it with him to the 2003 Cayucos show. Needless to say, I thanked him profusely.

Well, that sealed my fate for the rest of the show. I still had cash left, but I also had the price of a $500 insulator hanging over my head, so I tried to curb my purchasing tendencies. But it was no use… I stopped by (the guy sitting next to Bea)’s table and saw two Hemingray embossing variations I just had to have. One was a CD 106 (F-Skirt) Hemigray/Made In U.S.A. (R-Skirt) Nº9 and the other was a CD 230 no-name 512 (Hemingray product). As he was wrapping the Nº9 up, I just happened to look down and pick up the 512. I turned it over, expecting to find "Hemingray" staring up at me, but much to my surprise there was no embossing! I paid $15 for the two.

By this time it was about 3:45 and we decided to call it a day. We left the show hall and drove over to the Comfort Suites inn across the freeway where we would be spending the next two nights. The room was nice, with a full area with a couch and coffee table (where I’m sitting typing this journal right now) and across from me is a microwave, refrigerator, and desk with internet-ready access. (I checked my [] web site a few hours ago, by the way, and as of 4 PM November 8, 2002, I was up to 430 hits! That exceeded my previous daily site hit record of 360-something set back in January.) In the refrigerator right now are two pieces of apple pie and two glasses of "the coldest milk in town" (so sayeth the waitress over at Apple Annie’s!)

So, to backtrack, after we checked in at the hotel, I set out my insulators to admire them (of course) and we watched Spiderman the movie on TV. Afterwards, we went to eat dinner over at Apple Annie’s. It was only about a block down the road, so we walked. It was still raining, so we both had our umbrellas and I was able to justifiably wear my duster. For dinner, Daddy had the Great Burger and I had a Cobb salad. We took dessert back to the hotel (which I mentioned above). I decided to save my pie for tomorrow night.

We watched America’s Funniest Home Videos followed by the Drew Carey Show, and then we retired at around 10:00 PM. After a good night’s sleep, we awoke and took showers at around 8:30. By 9:30, we left to go have breakfast again back at Ryan’s Place. This time I had Louisiana hot links and eggs with hash browns and a biscuit and gravy, and daddy had the Country Skillet. It was a great breakfast.

After that, we went back over to the show hall and just milled around, talking with everyone. Dave Hall mentioned Laugh Lines to me and wondered if I would continue now that the Crown Jewels editorship was being handed over to Howard Banks, to which I replied I sure would. He pointed over in a direction behind me, and I quizzically looked at him, not sure who he was pointing to. As it turns out, Howard was right behind me at a nearby table! I introduced myself to him, having only previously corresponded with him via email.

At around 12:30, we decided to go over to the antique shops in downtown Visalia. After quite a bit of backroad hunting we stopped at a 76 station and asked where the Old Town section was. As it turns out, we were actually on the right street at one point but had turned too soon. So we retraced our route and stopped in town. There were several antique shops, around 5 or so. In the second shop, "Paris Flea Market", I found an old check stamping machine that was in great shape and still had its original canvas cover and extra ink cartridges. The price was $24.50 but there was a piece of paper over it that said 2-Day Reduction - $6.00. Me being a sucker for that kind of stuff, brought it up to the counter. The key was missing, and I heard something rattling around inside, so I asked the guy if I could open up the bottom to see what was in there. He said sure and handed me a screwdriver. Inside was a metal name slug plate for the machine and a typewritten card with the Pledge to the Christian Flag on it. (Very odd indeed.) Looking back, I now think the card was used to test the stamp ink action, and accidentally got crammed in there.

At the next shop, Main Street Mercantile, there was a pile of 78rpm records, of which two were Nervous Norvus. I bought them for $2 each, and daddy found a side table for next to his bed for about $35. We hit all the other shops, but that was all we found.

On the way back, I spotted an A&W which we, of course, stopped at and ordered two root beer freezes. Right next to there was a drive-up locksmith. Just for the heck of it, I took the adding machine up to the window and they had a crack at picking the lock but to no avail. They didn’t have that particular key code in their computer, but they were very kind and didn’t charge me anything.

We returned back to the show hall at around 3:30, in time to say our goodbyes to everyone as they packed up and for me to give Dwayne my first of four payments for the CD 132.4. We then went back to the hotel. I updated my journal, and we watched The Rock and then went to dinner back at Apple Annie’s. By this time it was past 8:00 and there were hardly anyone in the restaurant. I decided to try the Great Burger, and daddy had a corned beef sandwich. We then walked back to the hotel and watched Keeping Up Appearances and Jurassic Park.

The next morning we showered and packed and had the hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast downstairs, which consisted of sausages, scrambled eggs, potatoes, danishes, cereals, and orange tang (and for me, a slice of American cheese. Interesting combination.) After that we loaded up into the car and took off for home. We made excellent time, the traffic only slowing down in a couple places.

It was a great trip!

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