The weekend before the one which is about to end was the 57th Annual world-famous Turlock Swap Meet. What began in 1966 at the parking lot at the McHenry Village shopping center in nearby Modesto, and welcomed just six (6) vendors and a handful of buyers, has grown into one of the biggest automotive swap meets on the West Coast. The modern event hosts more than 1,000 vendors and over 20,000 total attendees over two days. The swap meet uses every available square inch of the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock to create 2,067 vendor spaces which offer parts, accessories, vehicles of all types, all things car related and a good many totally unrelated articles too.
My first visit to Turlock was back in 2011, and I've been at least half a dozen times since. I've learned over the years that at least three things are guaranteed about the swap meet: It’s always held on the last full weekend of January, it will feature more rusted metal and dulled chrome than you can shake several large sticks at, and it will be a mega early start. The swap meet also has a well-earned reputation for being very foggy and absolutely freezing, although it was actually very pleasant this year.
I set the alarm for a very antisocial 5:15 am, and set out on the two hour drive south, only pausing to grab a gas station coffee and pick up one of my BAMA mates. Together we negotiated the pitch black back roads successfully, found parking and joined the queue of eager parts hunters just before 7:30.