Reader's Digest version: Long drive, decent weather, miles of car parts & cools stuff. No major buys, just some interesting sights/finds and a couple deals. No DeLoreans this year.
All-in-all, a good trip, if only to see the mass of car parts and the miles we hiked over the two days.
Left town around noon Thursday hoping to set up camp before and get some picking done before sundown. Made it to the speedway around 1700, dropped the trailer and headed out to the meet. Way too much ground to cover in only two hours so we just stuck to a quick walk through to lay out a plan of attack, trying to score up a few "set up" bargains and spot some places we would come back to on Friday. Around 1930 - we headed back to our trailer to finish our set up and grill up some steaks and good scotch. That's one thing about doing this road trip with my brother, when he travels, he does it with style. We're not quite roughing it like we did in our younger days.
This year was the 42nd annual meet and it seems to keep growing. Haven't yet seen the final report on attendance, but last year they had over 7,000 vendors on site and this year it was supposed to exceed that tally. The whole meet is laid out in the parking lot of the Texas Motor Speedway. If you have never been to a NASCAR track, let me just say that these things are humongous. I used to think our little weekend football games down in college station were big with a capacity of 75,000 for one game. TMS can supposedly hold up to 150,000 screaming, sunburnt NASCAR fans. The parking lot that surrounds the race track is probably the size of a small town. The meet is set up on the east side of the speedway in streets/rows. The entire meet is laid out in a very logical grid pattern that takes some planning if you want to see it all. The first day, we tried to walk one row from north to south and it turned out to be around 3/4 of a mile in length (that's just one row out of 12). On Saturday, we switched to a grid attach (just combing through each grid to cover the most ground. I started at 0830 (brother was waiting for his son to show up) and we walked until almost 1900 and just barely covered 1/2 the meet. Sure, there was lots of digging and looking and talking along the way, but, in the end, my FitBit indicated that we had covered over 10.5 miles. Almost a half marathon.
Lots of interesting things to see. From new cars to classics to junkers to what-the-hell-where-they-thinking contraptions. Car parts for new/old cars. Car memorabilia. Signs. Tools. Bar lights. Road signs. A general mish-mash of stuff for different tastes.
I found a few minor bargains, but nothing really major. Did score a portable BBQ grill that I have been looking for that is no longer available. Got it for a really cheap price to boot! I intend to keep it in my trailer and use it for football games/camp outs. My brother got a "new" Coors bar light that I spotted. My nephew scored one of those big, official government looking boxes that he intends to paint and put radioactive stickers on for his DeLorean (ala Back to the Future). I found a neat road sign of a Texas Farm Road (shape of Texas) for FM 1311 (the numbers on my brother's trailer). Actually bought two more signs that I intend to peal off the numbers and put on 131 for my dad's rig and 1131 for mine. Another trinket to adorn the garage wall.
I noted a lot of people on motor scooters this year. So many that there were actually two companies running the scooter business and both were sold out by 1000 in the morning on Friday and Saturday. After hiking over half of the meet on Friday, my brother's hip/knee was hurting him so he opted for one to make the rounds on Saturday. As much as I scoffed at the scooters, it did seem to make a difference and allowed us to pick up the pace. Several times we used the scooter to haul out some bigger items (box, grill, road signs) back to the truck.
I also noted a lot of dogs this year. I always thought that dogs were not allowed but it appears that rule has been lifted. Many walking dogs but a few dogs on carts or in wagons or strollers. I debated taking Claire and Grayson, but after our marathon hike on Friday, decided it would not go well. Grayson might be able to handle it but I am afraid that much hiking would do in Claire.
We wrapped up Saturday afternoon and decided to head back south instead of Sunday morning. Weather reports had a nasty storm headed our way late Saturday and would make driving/packing up pretty messy so we chose to bail out early. From the number of vendors packing up at 1300 Saturday, a few others had the same idea. We made it back to Houston about dusk. Good trip. Got lots of good ideas for next year.