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Cayucos 2002 Personal Show Journal by Christian Willis, May 16-17.

I awoke at 3:30AM on Friday morning and took a shower and shaved. We had packed the night before, so we were all ready to go. We were out the door at 4:30 sharp. We took our regular trip down to the Circle K to get coffee and hot chocolate (thank goodness they put the hot chocolate machine back in!) It was surprising to see so many people out on the road even at 5 in the morning. At around 8:00 we reached the Catchuma Lake exit (Hwy. 154) and took the scenic shortcut until it met up back with U.S. 101. We refilled the tank in San Luis Obispo on Hwy. 1.

We arrived in Cayucos at around 9:30. Dwayne and Sid were already there. We stood around talking for about 15 minutes when up drove Dave Hall and Paul Alleeson. Dwayne made a point of heckling them for being so late. We all went in and set up the tables and chairs like always, and had a lot of the people set up by noon. We went down to the Smokehouse (previously Taco Temple) and had one of Jim Ruddell's "world-famous" smoked tuna sandwiches. It was wonderful! I'll be having that from now on when we come up.

The first buy of the day was over at Bruce Tooley's table. He had a CD 160 Hewingray error. This one actually looks like it says Hewiigray! It also has a large 0 in No. on the back. The second purchase was of an insulator that Larry Shumaker had at the previous show, but didn’t purchase because of its price ($100). This time around, however, I was a better equipped money-wise, so I decided to take the plunge, with a little help from the price guide. This CD 121.4's color was ice green, a rare and unlisted color for this piece! Combined with the fact that I did not own an A.U. Dec. Pat. and the fact that it was in pretty near mint condition, and having talked him down to $90, I couldn’t refuse!

The next two pieces came from Larry's table as well. A CD 128 Hemingray CSO (the O stamped over an A) with a front and back dash and the special 1939 embossing style in mint condition was acquired, along with a CD 190/191 Hemingray No. 50 in aqua. As I was walking over to Dave Hall's freshly-unloaded table, I noticed two B&Os. The first one was obviously a Brookie, but as my glance scanned to the right, lo and behold, Patent Dec. 19, 1871 was looking right at me! I picked it up, hoping for the best. I couldn’t have hoped for more. It was dead mint. And a very managable price of $25! That was the second unique Dec. Pat. this trip. I was on a roll!

My third awesome buy was a CD 283 V.G.Converse Provo Type sitting over on Dwayne's table! I knew how hard it was to find one in any shape, so the fact that it only had two unobtrusive bruises and a skirt flake made the $80 price tag very appealing. (How often can you find a provo with all its drip points intact?! Let alone a Converse!) I talked Dwayne down to $70 and that was that. I had landed yet another long-wanted piece to my collection.

By this time I was pretty darn tired. I still had a lot of money left, which made me feel pretty good, but so far I hadn't found any super color pieces. My energy picked up again as a man and his wife walked in with a thick, well-worn list of Hemingrays. It brought back memories of my early collecting days, when I took my "Hemingray Checklist" to the Denver National in '93. Thanks to my photographic memory (when it comes to insulators, at least) I proceeded to lead him to several of the tables where I had seen the styles he was looking for. He walked away from that show with several new additions: a No. 38, 11, 14 (CD 102 style), and 51. He was very grateful and I had the time of my life! It was especially weird teaching someone about Hemingrays that was much older than I. But I hope to do it again.

As late afternoon approached, we drove the van up to the camp site up at Bella Vista Motor Lodge and parked in plot #56, one of the best seats in the house. With an unobstructed view of the ocean and the pier, it doesn’t get much better than this! We went back down to the show hall and I made my final two purchases of the day: a CD 257 Hemingray-60 Wide Groove in ice blue from Dwayne's table (dead mint for a very reasonable $25!) and a CD 134 Hemingray-18 (the no crossbar G variant) from Clarice Gordon's table. We went over to Pierce's Pier Café right across from Veteran's Hall and got a couple cheeseburgers, took them back up to the van, ate and then retired for the evening.

I awoke at around 9 and took a shower. After dropping in at the show hall to say good morning, we went down to "Chez Chevron" to get our annual breakfast burrito. We sat in our regular spot at the picnic table out behind the Veteran's Hall next to the pier. Delicious, of course.

My first purchase of the day was a CD 262 Hemingray No. 62 Cable with the Knowles b/o on the R-skirt in Hemi Blue. I simply couldn’t let her get away. All of her tiny sharp drips were mint! The only damage was a chip on the inner skirt. For $8, I couldn’t refuse.

It was now time to pick a color piece. I had a few in my sights, including a real beautiful yellow amber CD 162 Hemingray-19, sitting on the bottom shelf in the corner of Dwayne's corner display. I picked it up several times throughout both days. It was priced at $150; a deal it seemed. The price guide listed it for $350-400 in yellow amber. I confirmed the color with Dwayne just to be sure. He said that yellow amber in fact went for a lot more than the price guide; up to $900! This signal suffered a fracture on the back skirt, but all the glass was still intact! It displayed one drip short of mint from the front. He knocked it down to $140, and I couldn’t refuse. I had found my color piece of the show, and MAN was she a beaut! Larry later came over to talk to me about it. He said that he had eyed it early on in the show as well, and that $140 was indeed a steal for that piece; he estimated that one in mint could fetch up to $1,100. If Larry was impressed by a signal, you can sure bet I was!

We actually won the raffle again this year. I picked up a mint CD125 Hemingray-15 in aqua. I forget if I have one or not; I think the one I have is Hemi Blue. We'll see when I get home. I decided to get one more piece from Larry Shumaker: a CD121 Hemingray with a May Patent date and a smooth base! It was mint, and it was in the later embossing style (compared to the early prismatic style embossing variation I already own). $40 was not too much to swallow for an uncommon piece such as that.

I figured that was the last of the buys for the show. I had $40 left. I decided to take one last pass around the room. I got back to the Merzoian brothers' tables, and I saw a carnival TS_2 sitting on the top shelf of their display. I had been putting off upgrading my TS_2 for years—my original had been given to me at the first Cayucos show I attended. It had no copper liner, and a big chip taken out of the back upper wire groove lip. So the fact that this one was mint and had the copper liner intact was pretty tempting. And the price… well, it was $40. I talked him down to $37, and gave him two $20's. He only had two ones, so I said $38 was fine. Upon closer inspection, the embossing on the front had a faint TS_2 behind the Hemingray embossing. Time to add yet another embossing to the MacDougald's price guide.

Now that I was down to $5, it was indeed the last of my purchases. I was perfectly happy with my acquisitions for this trip. We started tearing down at 2:10, and the Sid's famous sausage was already being handed out. By 3 we had the tables set up for eating and most of the other tables broken down. I took a few pictures of the barbeque, and fortunately my dad saved me a place in line. After the delicious tri-tip meal, we said our goodbyes and went back up to the van. We got the TV out of the trailer and watched The Pink Panther Strikes Again. We retired around 10.

The next morning we took showers, packed up the van, and headed out. We stopped at Margie's Diner for breakfast. I had the sausage & eggs with biscuits and gravy, and daddy had the bacon & eggs with potatoes and grilled biscuits. We got back on the highway and took Hwy. 1 south to the U.S. 101 South to the Betteravia / Sisquoc exit. The road took us on a beautiful drive through farmlands and hillsides. We took plenty of pictures, including this cool little house between two huge palm trees. The road forked off onto Foxen Canyon Road, where there was a neat little general store, the Garey Store. On we continued until we reached the quiet town of Sisquoc. We stopped in at the Sisquoc Store for water. Our next stop was at an old church on a hillside, the Chapel of San Ramon. We continued on Foxen Cyn. Rd., passing a lot of vinyards and even more beautiful scenery. The road eventually split, and we took Zaca Station Rd. which junctioned with the 154. We took the 154 south, back past Los Olivos and Catchuma Lake.


I'm still taller, Dwayne!

Bud on the bridge overlooking the show hall and Cayucos pier.

I loved this little shack between two palm trees.

Very scenic farmland

The Garey General Store

The Sisquoc Store

Chapel of San Ramon

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