My 2 Cents
Jon Upton : The Back Bumper

STIR IT UP (Jun 12)

I’m in that phase of parenthood where the kids come along for the ride. Trouble is, it's a long drive for many of my hobby-related trips, which means I’ve had to become creative in terms of finding ways to make it fun for everyone. Last year, I had my kids up at 4 am so that we could make the multi-hour trip westward in order to catch the car show I wanted to do. That was an efficient use of time, but the kids were entirely out of fun before I had finished my go-round of the show. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too, so this year, I booked a hotel room in Belleville on Friday night. Would it work? Would the extra expense be worth it? It was worth a try.

The drive from Ottawa to Belleville is about three hours, and the kids were a little crabby by the time we arrived at the hotel at about 9 pm. But they like new experiences, and to them, any hotel is a new experience, with the strange sink, TV channels, or even view of the vacant lot from our window. They slept well, and by 7 the next morning, they were both little rays of sunshine, ready for adventure.

They enjoyed their complimentary breakfast of cereal and waffles, although they were a little disappointed that this particular hotel, as comfortable as it was, didn’t have a pool. They got into the car with me and we made the 20-minute drive northward to Stirling. There are always garage sales lining both sides of the road as we come into town.

My son announced, “Dad, a garage sale!” He pressed his nose against the window. “Can we go to one?”

“We’re going to the big flea market,” I said. “It’s much bigger and better than a garage sale… and we’ll be there in just a couple of minutes!” I’m always looking for the positive spin to sell my ideas to the kids.

We arrived at the fairgrounds and parked the car in a field. The kids had a budget of $10 each, and I spent the first hour or so discouraging them from buying the very first things they found. Two years before, I wouldn’t let my daughter buy a dirty, headless Barbie, and I endured about half an hour of crying afterward. It would have been easier to just back off, but I don’t want them buying garbage. Or plush stuffed dolls. That’s my rule of the flea market—no stuffies. We don’t know how many times they’ve been rained on, or what species of mites inhabit the innards. Any toys we get have to be washable—you can’t wash an infested stuffie.

Of course, I come to the automotive flea market for the plates, which I did find, little by little as the morning progressed. At first, there were just unexciting YOM years like 1946 and 1971, but there was plenty of time for things to pick up. We alternated between browsing for plates and stopping at tables with toys. My son enjoys an easy shopping experience at the flea market, since there are Hot Wheels cars everywhere.

While at the show, I saw a really interesting car—a 1948 Packard Deluxe Eight sedan. It was embellished with a lot of chrome on the front end, and had its unique streamlined appearance where the fender cowls gracefully curve into the body. There was also a 1942 Dodge pickup. I’ve seen it before at Stirling, but I really like it because it has a rugged finish that’s in keeping with a utilitarian vehicle. I’m not so much into hyper-restorations with racing mags and neon paint. Another beautiful vehicle at the show was a 1947 Dodge Power Wagon. It was immaculately restored to its stock appearance in dark green, and it had a huge winch, oversized military tires, and pop-out panels on the front windshield.

I did happen to make a bunch of YOM finds for my business, but nothing truly earth shattering. Some of my better pairs were 1931, 1938, 1961 (a shorter number, too) and 1965. The trip had been made possible by the hotel stay, and thankfully, my market finds were worthwhile in spite of the extra cost of the hotel. A bunch of my restorable plate finds were made toward the end of the day, and I suspect I might not have been able to make those finds if I were defending against tired, mutinous kids.

After shopping in the field, we went to see the show lot. There were a couple of YOM-plated vehicles, one of which came from me—a 1968 Chevelle with a hard-to-find low number plate. I’d seen it before at the Stirling show, but the cars were parked fairly close together last time, so I was glad to pull out my camera to shoot a few more pics. I saw a 1965 Cadillac Fleetwood finished in battleship gray, sort of rat-style, with blacked-out racing mags. I did my best to take a profile portrait of it, but it was too darn long and I couldn’t back away far enough to fit the whole body in my viewfinder.

With that, afternoon was upon us. I had found the plates I wanted, and my kids had filled their pockets with various trinkets. It was a short trip spanning two days, made shorter by the fact that I’m not able to take as many pics, or dawdle along the scenic route to and from the show. But I found comfort in the fact that the kids were happy, and we weren’t in any mad rush to get home. Rather than take the 401 back home, I headed through downtown Stirling and veered northeast toward the prettier Highway 7. On such a sunny day, I figured it would be a more relaxing way to get home, and the shorter distance combined with the lower speed limit would get us home in no more time than if we were to rush on the 401. We even stopped for lunch in Kaladar along the way. A drifting musician was apparently stranded and calling whichever people he could to get a lift in the opposite direction from which we were travelling. Not that he spoke to us—he was just more of a loud-talker on his phone while we ate our sandwiches. Stuck inside of Kaladar with the Toronto blues again.



Some previous instalments of My 2 Cents  

Credit Where Credit Is Due (Jan 31/09) 
YOMPlates (Mar 29/09) 
...A Man Alone... (Apr 26/09) 
Stir-Crazy (May 10/09) 
Watson, Steam, Nash and Fun (May 31/09) 
Oro Express (June 14/09) 
Weary in Erie (June 29/09) 
Weary in Erie 2 (July 6/09) 
Weary in Erie 3 (July 15/09) 
Walking the Walk (Aug 19/09) 
Gettin' My Fillia in Orillia (Sep 20/09) 
Destination Super (Oct 29/09) 
Auction in the Country (Dec 31/09) 
Wintertime Update (Feb 20/10) 
Plates and Parenting in Acton (Apr 25/10) 
Ketchup (Aug 17/10) 
Mileage May Vary in Barrie (Oct 2/10) 
Grim Pickings (Nov 2/10) 
Oppression (Nov 27/10) 
Virtual Display (Dec 26/10) 
Variable Virtual Value (Feb 27/11) 
7 2 1 3 (Mar 6/11) 
Police Thyself (Apr 17/11) 
Twofer One (May 12/11) 
100 / 1000 (Jun 8 /11) 
Cruising and Shopping in Merrickville (Jul 11/11) 
Bert's Barn & Bug (Aug 1/11) 
Hot & Bothered in Bothwell (Aug 23/11) 
Summer's Last Gasp (Sep 16/11) 

Some Facts About Fakes (Oct 24/11) 
You Had To Be There (Nov 4/11) 
Load Runners (Dec 24/11) 
Load Runners - The Sequel (Jan 16/12) 
In Search of the Canadian Car (Feb 20/12)
Passing Time (Apr 1/12)
These Magic Moments (May 19/12)
Seller 57, Where Are You? (June 16/12)
Moseying in Merrickville (July 11/12)
Doors Open 2012 (Aug 13/12)
Let It Rain, Rain, Rain (Sep 15/12)
Volksfest 2012 (Oct 1/12)
Why I Skipped Grimsby (Nov 11/12)
December '95 (Dec 2/12)
Five Oh Eight (Dec 31/12)
Ontario Leather Plates: Fake or Not? (Jan 26/13)
Photobox (Feb 24/13)
Half Acton (May 7/13)
Kids' Day Out (May 26/13)
Overcharged in Oro (Jun 16/13)
Merrickville 2013 (Jul 19/13)
Bugging (Aug 27/13)
Opengo-Monck Travelogue (Sep 11/13)
Friday Night in the Garage (Sep 29/13)
Long Time Coming (Oct 29/13)
August '97 (Nov 23/13)
Behind the Bars (Dec 28/13)

Peoria '96 (Jan 18/14)
Bleak Midwinter (Feb 15/14)
Photobox '14 (Mar 12/14)
Lightning Striking Again (Apr 5/14)
Acton in the Arena (May 5/14)
A Gran Torino Day Out (May 28/14)
Daddy - Daughter - Barrie (Jun 8/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Monday (Jul 21/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Tuesday (Jul 27/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Wednesday (Aug 3/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Thursday (Aug 10/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Friday (Aug 29/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Saturday (Sep 8/14)
G-R-I-M-S-B-Y Spells Relief (Oct 28/14)
Peel-O-Matic (Dec 21/14)
Is It Spring Yet? (Jan 25/15)
My 1952 Type Set (Feb 22/15)
Evolution (Mar 27/15)
Acton 2015 (Apr 28/15)
Landing in Lindsay (May 2/15)
Field of Dreams (June 11/15)
Summer of '89 (Aug 11/15)
Stories For the Sake of Telling (Sep 30/15)
The Grimsby Shuffle (Oct 24/15)
Behind The Bars - An Update (Dec 20/15)
Leap Day Article (Feb 29/16)
Auction in Acton (Apr 30/16)

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