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2009 San Diego Bottle Show Journal by Christian Willis.

June 13-14, 2009

Maggi and I headed down to San Diego about 8:30 on Saturday morning. Traffic was only slow in a few places due to the rain, but overall it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. Our first stop was at the San Diego Bottle Club Show, held at the Shriner’s Hall. Inside we saw a few familiar faces, including Dwayne & Ofelia Anthony, Dave Hall, Norm James, and Jewels.

It was nice for Maggi to finally be able to meet Ofelia, and much to my surprise Dwayne had yet another floor tube insulator that was on my wanted list! This one was the only non-screw type in Hemingray’s catalog (apart from the split-plain style), and it was only offered up until 1915.

Over at Norm James’ table were a couple of great pieces I didn’t have as well: A CD 132 Dec. Pat. “B” mold in green, and a CD 145 H.G.CO. backwards “N” mold in light lavender. At $25 and $15 respectively, they were a great deal.

There wasn’t much in the way of Hemingray glassware (except for a few amber Globe fruit jars), so after about an hour we said our goodbyes and headed down to “Antique Row” on Adams St. & the I-805. When we got off the freeway we were greeted with a nice “Antique Row” sign and I already had a good feeling.

We parked right outside a little house that had a bunch of records out front, and I knew this would be our first stop. When I walked in, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of vinyl! Rows upon rows of record albums covered every square inch of space, from floor to ceiling. Aisles were barely big enough to fit through sideways; there were literally tens of thousands of albums in that place. It was amazing! I started over at the section labeled “Novelty” and “Spike Jones”, and I was in heaven.

I ended up getting yet another Tom Lehrer album I didn’t have (Tom Lehrer Revisited), Spike Jones Omnibust (one I’d been looking for for years!), another Flying Burrito Brothers album, a 10” LP of Tom Lehrer’s first album, and Maggi got the soundtrack to Hello Dolly! I chatted with the owner for awhile (who was a real music buff), and learned that he had actually gone to college with Dr. Demento! He showed me his personalized autograph and everything. It was very cool!

We had already spent about an hour there, so I said my goodbyes and we proceeded to head across the street to a little corner café. Maggi had soup and salad and I had their club sandwich. It was pretty good! After that, we headed down the rest of “Antique Row”. The so-called “row” consisted of maybe 10 or so shops, but the majority of them were antique furniture. It was a little disappointing.

With the better part of the afternoon still to go, I was left without a plan of what to do next. I was expecting huge antique malls to steal away the hours. So we decided to head over to Old Town San Diego, which was only about 10 minutes away. Once we were able to find a parking spot, we walked through the state park and checked out the “historic” buildings (in quotes because all of the buildings were replicas!) From an historical standpoint, the state park was a bit of a disappointment as well, and the whole place had too much of a commercialized feel to it.

After awhile, we decided to head over to the Lafayette Hotel, where we had booked a room for the night. This historic hotel was located on the “Miracle Mile” (historic US 80), and in its heyday was a very popular hotel. After checking in, we walked over to Coco’s across the street and had a nice dinner, and brought pie back to the hotel room.

In the morning, we had a continental breakfast, checked out around 11 and headed down to Balboa Park (only a few miles away).  We went to the Model Railroad museum first. It was pretty impressive the amount of detail and technology involved! Barry Hansen would have loved it.

After that we walked over to the historic merry-go-round, and Maggi and I rode a couple of ostriches (definitely a first!) We grabbed a couple of snow cones, and then went inside the Botanical Garden, and then over to the Timkin Museum of Art. By that time it was almost 2 o’clock and time to head over to the Spreckles Organ Pavilion for the concert.

Robert Plimpton, San Diego’s previous civic organist, was performing this Sunday, along with a trombonist. The concert was great, and left both Maggi and I with some rather nice sunburns (so much for it being overcast.)

After the concert, we went up both sides of the pavilion to take a look inside at the pipes. As we were getting ready to leave, I overheard someone talking to a member of the Spreckles Organ Society about “going downstairs”. I heard a jingle of keys, and after them I quickly went! In the corner was a little narrow door leading down into the basement. I asked if I could tag along, and off we went! Downstairs was the blower room, with a huge motor attached. It was pretty cool! There was a lot more to the basement, but it wasn’t lit and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome so we headed back up the stairs.

Getting to see that was a great ending to an already enjoyable weekend!


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