A large circle of white peaked tents surrounds a cropped grass field nestled between the hills of Carmel Valley. California sun floods the sky, lifting temperatures and producing a warm smell of flowers and oak trees. I step out of my bug caked truck Friday promptly at noon, eager to begin my weekend at Quail. Kevin, Althea, and I stroll over to the tent in the vendor parking area to check in. We are immediately offered a golf cart with a large cargo area complete with driver to escort us to my set up location. Two trips in the electric box with wheels, brimming with paintings, lights, and walls, and we are ready to start assembling my mobile gallery.
As we set up walls and lights, bikes rolled onto the field to take their places. The peace and quiet of this golf resort is clear as the only disturbances are voices from sound checks and the occasional motorcycle firing up. We slated the whole afternoon for booth perfecting, thus we take our time organizing and double checking. Once the walls were in place and lighting set up, we required sustenance, and rather than hopping back in the car to search the vicinity we walk across the grass to the Quail Clubhouse and enjoy a table on the patio of the restaurant, Edgar’s, overlooking the field. Kevin orders a turkey sandwich, and I, as I most often have to do, created my own meal: a salad and grilled veggies on the side. Not knowing what to expect, surprise lights our faces as the waiter places our plates. I certainly recommend at least one meal at Edgar’s while you visit the lodge. Our plates are artfully presented, and the vivid colors tell us the story of their brief trip from the farm. After finishing our last delicious bites, we discover that our waiter has disappeared. Both Kevin and I take our turn in the restroom and still no check, Kevin goes in the patio door to look for our man. The warm sun and lazy feel of the day has apparently infected our waiter. As Kevin figures out the tip, and grumbles about sales tax, (it is lovely not to have any in Oregon) we both agree the price is fair for the quality of food we received.
Walking back to my booth, we find ourselves side tracked looking at some of the new arrivals. Pointing and heads turning we make our way back to the booth to dig into deciding where which painting will hang where. Althea, having seen me hang paintings many times before in many locations, settles down under a folding table for a nap. I sneakily snap a couple photos of Althea snoozing, and in the distance see someone waving to me. At first I think, who do I know here? Then I see the red Ducati parked on the street and the vintage leather jacket of red, black, and white, and realize it is my friend Rich. Rich offers a hand with hanging and we quickly get all the paintings in place. This one here, no wait over here, and that one over there. We maneuver each painting so that it receives ample visibility and Tetris like placement. Final touches are setting up the small table in one corner for my laptop and brochures, and tada, a completely respectable artist’s booth lays before us.
Back in the truck we wind our way out of Carmel Valley heading to my Mom’s house where we are staying and where Althea will stay during the show. Tired from the sun and the heat, us Oregonians aren’t used to seeing that blazing day star, we’d like nothing more than to get an early night. However, Patrick, my good friend and sales consultant for this show, is flying into San Jose late Friday evening. Thus we arrive at my Mom’s and only have time for a quick dinner before we have to get back in the car and drive the hour to the airport.
We enter the loop road of the airport and prepare for curbside pickup. I see Patrick coming down an escalator just as we are approaching the doors, I roll down the window and yell to him. Once we are back in the car and ready to hit the road Patrick pleas for a food stop, and he’d like to go to In-N-Out. Being from California originally, I don’t see what the big deal is, also being the admitted food snob that I am I also don’t understand why In-N-Out has such a draw to out-of-staters. I try to explain that it is just a fast food joint akin to Burgerville in Oregon. Patrick being the hungry person, I relent and agree to let him try it for himself, so we stop at In-N-Out. All three of us enter the establishment and as we stand around waiting for Patrick’s to-go order we notice the high volume of high school kids occupying all the seats. When Patrick finally receives his meal we escape the adolescent dinner room and get back in the car. Thoroughly exhausted from too much driving, and sun and heat we finally get to bed around midnight, only to have to get up in six and a half short hours.
First thing on show morning, an excellent breakfast with fresh made watermelon, kale, orange juice accompanied by Mom-cooked eggs and potatoes. As we arrive at the show, I try to coordinate with my friend Mark, who is so kindly bringing his beautiful bike to display in my booth. Not sure where we are supposed to go to pick up our vendor tickets, we walk back and forth to every entrance. Finally I am able to get everyone’s tickets, as well as getting Mark’s motorcycle in. His wonderful little bike appears in one of my favorite paintings, “Vintage Ducati”. It is a large gray-scale oil painting that unfortunately was not at this show due to the show it is in at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame extending for another year.
The grassy driving range begins to fill with people. Looking across the lawn I can see that the number of bikes has tripled since yesterday. Torn between looking at bikes and duty to my booth, I try to keep my trips from the booth short and not long distance. This unfortunately limited my ability to see all the bikes at the show, but what I saw was exciting. My heart starts racing as I look through the lens, click, click, I’m eager to get them all. My booth goes between waves of people, it fills and then it empties out. Many brochures are handed out, and compliments and amazement fill the air. I enjoy the compliments, but want to get back out on the field to look at bikes. The day progresses too quickly, and before I know it, I haven’t taken more than a handful of photos. As the announcer starts the award ceremony I use this opportunity to walk among the bikes. So many colors and flavors. There are bike manufacturers there I’ve never even heard of. Many of my favorites are here, and some that I look forward to painting. I found two bikes that will most likely find their way onto my canvas in the future. Here are some of my favorites.
Over all, the show was one of the best I’ve attended. It is geared toward sport, history and future of motorcycling. I couldn’t recommend a better show to attend.