We're an adventurous family, taking all opportunities to travel and get out and about as much as possible. From our quick day trippin' to weekenders to week and even month long trips I hope to capture as much as I can in this Blog.

Please enjoy our photos and my words and feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post; I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Exchanging trash for treasure

A handful of times since I have known my dear husband, I have traveled with him to various Swap Meets around B.C, Washington, Oregon, and even California. A few of them we literally stumbled upon but most are planned weeks, and months in advance. Hotels need to be booked as far as a year in advance. Days off work coordinated with travel time + extra curricular NON-swap meet outings equals a well thought out and premeditated family holiday.

The annual Portland Swap Meet had us twice booked in for 6 days. Presented by six Portland Oregon area antique car clubs, The Portland Swap Meet is the largest auto parts swap meet on the west coast with approximately 4,200 vendor stalls and over 50,000 shoppers each April at the Portland Expo Center. Enjoying as much as the Children's Museum, Portland Zoo, and downtown markets as well as 3 days of Swap Meet Heaven. By heaven I mean literally, for Big B...heaven. I don't think he would get more excited if In n' out Burger had a grand Opening in our home town! Virtual lists of car parts, wheels, tires, and miscellaneous old car items dance in his head as does Santa's Toy List in a child's head the night before Christmas.

The major goal for him and all 49,879 people at any given Meet is to tour the ENTIRE meet in as little time as possible as early as possible for that once over observation. Simultaneously marking on their 'virtual' lists what items are where and for how much. This sounds like an easy feat, but acre after acre after literal acre of ground covered in what appears to be the same ol' sh%&t, I can honestly say it's impossible to get my bearings much less take note of how much Bob at stall 678 wants for his heater motor versus Andy at stall 6647 is asking for his steering wheel.

The natural course of events for us is to crawl out of bed at an ungodly hour, bundle up, drive to the Meet in hopes there's still available parking in close proximity, enter said Meet, cruise the entire Meet; B looking at parts, me desperately seeking a good Coffee Hut; try to find a clean bathroom to get rid of all that coffee, rewind and do the whole thing over about 17 times until I fall flat on my arse in exhaustion and have to be rushed back to the Hotel Room for a much needed siesta. Now that we have children a few key things have changed. Most significantly is my refusal to drag one or two of the little brats through a Swap Meet at 7am. Nestled warm in our hotel beds is usually where we stay until well past the crack of dawn.

This past weekend however I closed the door on my nagging suspicions that an early morning, freezing cold, wet and miserable Swap Meet would do me and my kidlets ANY good at all and agreed to climb into the truck at 7am accompanied by 2 bleary eyed children and a jubilant husband. Red eyed myself I asked myself what in tarnation I was doing as we rolled up to a virtually abandoned parking lot at the 40th Annual Monroe Swap Meet. Vendors were still pulling in the gates, some stalls still had the tarps covering the goods, and 99% of the folks looked cold, including us.

Either the effect of growing up a car salesman's daughter or being married to a carnut and subsequently becoming enthralled in vehicles, is that I myself have a newfound passion. To own a Gasser. Much like this one below:

The fog was thick, the air moist, noses dripping, fingers freezing, and it didn't take long for the tears to start. Little C lasted around 60 minutes until she let us know she was having NONE of it. She was showing the effects of waking up in our Motel at 5:30am. What do you expect traveling with a baby, a 4 year old, a dog, and a Motel full of early birds banging around at 5am?

By now the Meet was swarming with potential buyers, sellers, and barterers of tin & trash. We weaved ourselves plus our 2 snotty, sniveling, whining kids back to the truck and I scooted back to the Motel where Little C fell fast asleep and Little B and I watched some cartoons. A couple hours later when we were all rested and more able to function on what little sleep we did have, we trucked it back to the Meet and found Daddy with his buddies from Vancouver. Did I mention I was the ONLY wife half witted enough to accompany her husband to this particular Swap meet?
Curled up tighter than a can of sardines, Big B's friends had a $250.00 truck and camper, a cooler full of pop and beer, hot dogs and chips, and no crying whining babies. No doubt their wives were at home getting pedicures and watching soap operas with their feet up.

Little C showing her happy self at Red Robin:

Is the future of the family Swap Meet doomed? I don't think so. In retrospect I can spot the problems a mile away. For one, this was one of the 1st Meets we traveled to with Little C. In the past Little B was older and much more adaptable to early cold mornings. Fortunately for us there is no winter Meets around these parts. The closest Swap Meet to entice us in the near future is in Long Beach California and who knows if we will venture that far this year. Fingers are crossed, toes as well, but staying close to home may be in the cards for us this winter season.

I think someone is following us?

traveling anywhere with an empty car trailer. By the time you get home, it isn't empty any longer:


Kerry said...

Oh my... that looks like the Robin's Egg Blue 1967 Ford pick-up that we sold before moving. Say it isn't so? Is there a 'Free Tibet' sticker on the back bumper?

mbo said...

It may be the robins egg blue but it's a 1963 Chevy. No Free Tibet Sticker but it does have "bird target" spray painted ontop of the cab!
It belonged to a guy who was raising $$ for a mission and the trucks name in a round about way ended up being "Lightning Speed"