Thursday, April 3, 2008 ~ Set-up Day
I got up early and got my stuff packed up both at home and at my storage unit mad loaded it into my poor overworked and overloaded pickup truck.
I had the added drama of a dear loved one having a health problem that morning which added stress to the day.
I tend to obsess and get bogged down when I'm trying to leave town. I often worry I'm forgetting something or feel this or that which I neglected to do for many days previously absolutely MUST be done now right before I leave town or I won't be able to rest. Quite clearly I'm not the least bit OCD. ;-)
Around noontime I called Lew and his wife answered and I found out they were actually opening up the venue (Kern County Fairgrounds Building Two) early for us starting around noonish instead of sixish like our contracts stipulated.
That was nice albeit I was not in a position to take advantage which would turn out to be irrelevant given how Friday played out.
Eventually, I got away and hit the road caravan-style with my business partner Mike Lyons around threeish that afternoon.
We took Highway 41 east from Atascadero to La Panza Road and then east on it to Highway 58 and then east on it to Bakersfield. The wildflowers were fantabulous and mind-blowing especially in the area around the junction of Calf Canyon Road (Hwy. 58) and Shell Creek Road. There were lots of Lupines and Fiddlenecks and Poppies and prolly some other types, too.
I always enjoy the drive across the northern end of the Carrizo Plain as the San Andreas Fault Zone utterly fascinates this geo-nerd/rock geek and the same goes for the Temblor Range which Highway 58 does a great job of putting on display through all the interminable curves. We stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall store in McKittrick, the ass-end of Kern County.
The only cool thing about McKittrick is there are tar seeps there you can read more about here.
I noticed driving through the area of the tar seeps that much of the ground is discolored black and there are zones where plants don't seem too thrilled to grow even more so than usual for the area.
Furthermore, there are plenty of places in the oil fields that appear abandoned without signage warning to stay out and there are no fences which begs the question "Is there good rockhounding for fossils in that area?"
Anywho, the hole-in-the-wall had water and snacks and a toilet which took care of us but I couldn't help but notice all the dust on much of the merchandise which begged the question "Has that stock been there too long or simply is there a lot of dust in the air in that area or maybe even a bit of both?"
We got into Bakersfield not too much later which now stretches out shockingly far to the west compared to just a decade ago thus mixing the beauty of the San Joaquin Valley with with the population density of OC. ;-p
We arrived at the Kern County Fairgrounds and discovered that some dealers both inside and outside were already pretty much set up and others were well into their set-up leaving us a bit behind which I didn't like believing we would be pressed for time in the morning. Silly me!
Mike and I decided to set up our camp first and did so adjacent to the bathroom/shower complex at the north end of the fairgrounds.
After achieving that objective we returned to Building Two and got busy setting up which we failed to finish that evening as Ms. Bossy who works for the fairgrounds came in at 9 p.m. all high and mighty and told us we needed to clear out.
Nobody appreciated hearing that, especially those of us who were behind on our set-up as we were under the impression we could work late. Ms. Bossy, consoled us by letting us know how lucky we were to have been there until 9 p.m. as she claimed we should have been cleared out at 8 p.m. She made the claim show chairman Lew Helfrich told her to do that which might be true but my internal b.s. alarm was tripped by her claims she was simply following orders.
In the end analysis it mattered not as we would have plenty 'o' time in da mornin' and all that following day.
Before retiring for the night we bs-ed around with fellow-dealers Ernie DeFever and Tom DeMaris who were still up and about and got caught up with them which was nice.
Now I must confess something a wee bit embarrasing here so don't laugh too hard as I'm really putting it on the line coming out of the closet like this. I HAD NEVER CAMPED OUTDOORS as an adult so last Thursday night was the first time I had done so since I was a kid in SoCal back in the Late '70's/Early '80's up near Wrightwood.
Oh, and then there was that sleepover up on the roof of our house when I was in Junior High or thereabouts.
Anywho, I was definitely not used to that and to make my first time be in Bakersfield was perhaps a mistake as it would have been in any large city due to all the nocturnal urban noise.
If it wasn't the sirens then it was the traffic or something else but in any case a contant noisome din which I'm not accustomed to experiencing here in Atascadero at night.
I got in bed around a quarter after 11 p.m. but got back up later and listened to music in my car and returned to bed about 1 a.m. and fell fast asleep.
Next: My first Bakersfield Rock & Gem Rendevous Pt. 2