I stumbled out of bed at zero-dark-thirty, bumped into a couple of walls, made sure my brother Matt and his fiancée Jayne were staggering around, checked the coffee pot for signs of fresh brew, brushed my teeth in the gloom, crawled into the clothes that I'd left in a ready-pile for easy pre-dawn access, grabbed the directions that Bill Heitkotter had thoughtfully provided over the phone, punched the garage door button, started the truck that I loaded the day before, rolled down the driveway, and for the first time in my life, headed for Dave Elliott's 4th Annual San Francisco Bay Area Insulator Show and Swap Meet.
I drove my insulator-laden Chevy S-10, followed by Matt and Jayne in their Corsica, up the western edge of the San Joaquin valley, through California's intra-coastal mountains, and over Pacheco pass into the bay area. After leaving Lemoore and cruising for about two hours, we stopped on the western side of the San Luis Reservoir at the Casa De Fruita where we grabbed a bite of breakfast just after dawn. It was another relaxing hour and a half ride to Mountain View, CA. and 440 Moffet Boulevard where Dave lived. The drive seemed to whiz by and I soon found myself turning into the community hall drive way.
I couldn't help smiling as I drove to the hall. Everywhere I looked I saw poles with four-pin crossarms that Dave had erected around the whole area. They were colorfully adorned with Mickys, tolls, and all sorts of other Crown Jewels of the Wire. When I parked and climbed out of the truck, the real early-birds, Dave Elliott and Bill Heitkotter, came out to greet me and offered a hand truck for the morning unload and set-up. Since this was my first time setting up at Dave's show, Bill suggested one of the large tables, just outside the door, where the ample awning provided shelter from the summer sun but was not so broad that the insulators couldn't shine, shine, shine (best when spoken like Gomer Pyle). After everyone helped set me up (what is this?) I took a look around.
Inside the hall, Bill Heitkotter had his signature display case set-up in the back corner where he could survey all the day's goings-on. Did I see a cobalt CD 120 CEW there on the shelf in Bill's case? Wow, I sure did! Bill had it on loan from a friend so that everyone could get a good look at a very nice insulator. Bill's friend, Bob Jackson, had recently re-acquired the piece after selling it many years go. Bob said to me, "I paid as much fer the darn thing as I got for sellin' my whole insulator collection!" Thanks Bob! In another part of the room Dave Elliot had set up two fantastic custom designed, oak display cases. One six-foot long, double shelf, bottom lit, black-back case contained a breathtaking assortment of milky, steamy, bubbly CD 121 tolls arranged in a pastel rainbow of colors. The other five foot tall (maybe I'm exaggerating a bit...) back lit case held an award-winning display of vibrant, rare Canadian and Mexican colored pieces, one-of-a-kind leaners, under-pours, and UFOs --- Unidentified Floating Objects that were like, killer eye candy, dude. After taking a good look around, I grabbed a cup of steamin' fresh java, and an Olde-Fashion Doughnought (a what?) and headed back outside to see how many insulators my brother Matt had sold for me when I wasn't lookin'....
By seven thirty or eight, early buyers were browsing and more sellers were rolling in and setting up. Larry Shumaker (NorCal president, from Citrus Heights) and his wife Alice along with their two grand daughters, trooped in laden with boxes full of Larry's colorful CD 162 Hemingrays (thanks for that beautiful honey amber, Larry :c). Larry also brought Scott Prall, an EC&M digger from the Sacramento area. Next came Glenn Adkins from Vacaville with a great assortment of CDs and colors. He was soon followed by Ian Macky from San Mateo (was that a whole box of E-14Bs, Ian?), Steve Viola from across the street (literally!), Brenda and Richard Musante from up the street, Colin Jung from down the street, and Mike Gaudy from Fort Collins, Colorado who won the Swap Meet Long Distance Award --- Oh yeah, Dave, did we ever give Mike that fluted apple green Seiler's award? --- Later in the morning, Paul and Kathy Greaves from Granite Bay showed up with some cool big mud and some dark aqua bat ears. Paul bought a small collection, that included a nice yellow green beehive, right around lunchtime.
Lunch Time? Yeah, lunch time! Even Dave's Mom, Irene Elliott, got into the act with lunch. She tossed a mean fresh salad and prepared some scrumptious macaroni that would give Shirley Patocka's World Famous Deviled Eggs a run for the money! There were cold drinks, Thirty-six inch Togo's subs packed with veggies, cheese, salami, ham, turkey, pastrami, the works.
Show sales were brisk all day. About 80 buyers visited the show and hung out for a while as a direct result of Dave's advertising. General collectors, beginning collectors, veteran collectors, closet collectors, and casual collectors streamed in and out all day looking for and finding their next cool insulator.
Most everyone had a great day and to top it all off, at about five o'clock we walked around the corner (again, literally) to an excellent little Mes'can place where the margaritas were cold and the senorita's weren't. We all sat at a big long table eating an trading 'tall pole' stories for about an hour-and-a-half. Afterward, Dave stood up and bid everyone "Thank You" and "Fare Well" before offering an invitation for anyone who wished to 'come on over an see the collection'.
Well, you Know I took him up on that offer, but if I were to tell you just how awesome and colorful Dave's custom displayed insulator collection is then I would really be spoiling one of the greatest surprises that the FIFTH Annual San Francisco Bay Area Insulator Show and Swap Meet has to offer. This is a Don't Miss for all you NorCal and Southern Counties threadheads. Heck, Mike Gay even showed up. He said it was better than all of the Albuquerque shows put together, D'oh! (Just kidding....)
Great show Dave! Hold my table, I'll Be Back!
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