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Cayucos 2005 Personal Show Journal by Christian Willis, May 20-21.

This year’s Cayucos show I was very much anticipating, as I would be both selling insulators at the show as well as displaying a portion of my Hemingray collection. I spent several days preparing for the display, so by Friday I was just itching to go. Amazingly, I was able to fit all of my resale insulators plus my display case and its insulators into my relatively small Toyota RAV4. Of course, I had to take the back two seats out.

On Friday morning, I was on my way at about 4:45. I arrived at Sambo’s in Santa Barbara at around 7:15, and the place was already fairly busy, due to some kind of volleyball tournament across the street on the beach. After that great meal, I continued on my way up Hwy. 101, taking the shortcut across Hwy. 154 past Catchuma Lake.

I made pretty good time, and arrived in Cayucos at around 9:30. I drove up to the Bella Vista trailer park to say hi to my Dad and Nancy before heading down to the show hall. The tables had already been set up, so we started unloading everything from the car. It took me a few hours to set up both my display and my half of the sales table, but I was finally about to sit down and relax around noon. I had amassed a few large power pieces (non-Hemingray, of course) that I priced to move, and thankfully they did. I was able to move some of my “freebies” as well.

I already knew I would be going home lighter, which is a great feeling! Then I wandered over to Dwayne’s table, and groaned: one of his entire tables was priced half off! Well, so much for going home lighter. I picked up a couple of CD 145 H.G.CO. Petticoats and a CD 162 H.G.CO. Prismatic embossing with no periods, all for about $15. Not too shabby!

I walked over to Larry Shumaker’s table and also saw a CD 134 Dec. Pat. with a one-liner May patent date. Not a terribly uncommon piece, but as I didn’t have one yet, I picked that one up as well. Then, as I walked over towards Frank’s table, I noticed the usual group of porcelain signs, and then I saw a couple of things that made my eyes widen: two crosswalk buttons, complete with porcelain signs attached! Knowing the higher prices that his antique porcelain signs normally demand, I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to afford them, but I asked how much they were just for the heck of it. “$20.” $20?! Sold! I bought one of them immediately and then called up my best friend Jon and asked he wanted me to buy the other one. The answer was an immediate “yes”. I headed back to my seat with the two new acquisitions and knew it was about time for a smoked albacore tuna sandwich from the smokehouse down the street.

I entered the shop and ordered sandwiches for my dad and me, and was surprised and impressed when the owner recognized me and said “You’re Bud’s son, right?” There was a backlog of orders, so I went back to the show hall for about a half an hour. Ofelia Anthony had also placed an order right before ours, so she offered to pick ours up while she was over there. She's so nice!

The show seemed fairly busy for Friday, and gradually died down as evening approached. Around 8:00PM, we started closing up the show hall, when an Hispanic man entered and asked if we were interested in some insulators he had. I looked around for Paul, Sid, or anyone else for permission, but seeing no one, I said sure, to bring them in. Heck, why not. A couple minutes later, he returned with his son and a large box of dirty, common insulators, some still on the pin with their wires attached. Paul Alleeson and I explained to them about common insulators and how there really wasn’t much value to the group. Paul suggested I go through and look for any embossing oddities, so I did my thing. Surprisingly, I did come across an interesting embossing: a CD 106 Hemingray 9 with backwards “N”s, the only 106 in the box. It was a little banged up, so I offered them $5 for it, partly because I felt sorry for them dragging this heavy box over for nothing, and partly because I didn’t have this particular embossing. Shortly afterwards, Nancy came back down to the show hall with a Mexican casserole she had made, and we ate it out on the show hall porch next to the pier overlooking the beach, as hungry gulls eyed us from a few feet away.

This year I slept in the show hall as part of the “security detail”, as I did the last time I displayed in Cayucos back in 2000. I used cushions from the folding chairs to make a makeshift bed, and went to sleep around 10:30.

The next morning came bright an early. I slept fairly well even though I was awoken several times during the night, mostly because of the loud refrigerators in the kitchen. Note to self: close doors to kitchen next time! Another quirk of the show hall was the automatic lights in the new "handicap-friendly" bathrooms that had been installed in the front of the show hall where the art gallery used to be. The sensor is right next to the door, which is great; it picks up every movement in the bathroom… that is, every movement except in the stall! And the timer is set to a ridiculously short amount of time, like 30 seconds. Judging from everyone's descriptions, it was quite comical the amount of hand waving and running around in the dark that was required to get the lights to stay on for any amount of time.

Anyways, Saturday's foot traffic was slightly lower than Friday, for whatever odd reason. I did sell a couple other small pieces and gave away a few more, but most of my time was spent sitting and relaxing. And then I found out that I was the only officially scheduled display for the show, so there wouldn't be any awards this year! Total bummer. Looks like I'll be recycling my display at another show! Maybe a future Tulare show, who knows.

As the afternoon approached and the barbeque was fired up, I started tearing down my display and people started packing up their tables. To help things along, Sid's famous sausage was being handed out. Man, that's the best part of the show right there! I could make a meal (or several) out of that stuff.

The tables were rearranged for eating and we all lined up for the barbeque, which was excellent as always! We sat around and talked with Dwayne and Ofelia, and afterwards said our goodbyes and headed back up to the trailer.

We sat down and watched the Insulator DVD that Bob Merzoian had created, and much to our pleasant surprise my dad and I were on there several times! I went to bed that night, knowing it would be my last night spent at the Bella Vista trailer park in Cayucos, CA. My dad and Nancy would be moving down to Los Osos in the coming weeks, moving into a double-wide trailer. While they would be losing their ocean view, they would be gaining much-needed space, and would only be a short drive away from the back side of Morro Rock and the nature preserve there.

When Sunday morning arrived, I headed home. It was a great show, as always! I’m already looking forward to next year.

Click here to view photos of my display.


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