This was my first time at this particular Motel 6. I've now stayed at three different Motel 6 locations in Indy. This one was noisy the whole night and I did not sleep very well. I am not staying at this place again. I love traveling for shows but I really hate the hotels. I don't think a clean, quiet, and affordable hotel exists in America.
Anyway, on Saturday morning, I stopped at Starbucks for coffee and lemon cake before the show. Once at the La Quinta, I was pleased to see that we were in a bigger room. Unfortunately, my three tables were placed directly across from the Bob. Ugh! Bob was on me like cheese on macaroni. He was flipping through my binders before I had even finished setting up. He messed up my 1952 football binder. I had to take out half the pages and put them back in because he had knocked them loose. He told me not to yell at him.
While I did not yell, I was worried when he started pulling cards because he almost always refuses to pay for them all. I am also suspicious that he is a thief so I watched him closely this time around. As usual, he pulled all sorts of stuff. I gave him a nice price and lo and behold he paid me my price without an argument. He also left real early and I was free from his hassling ways for the rest of the day. I am so thankful that I don't have to see the Bob again till August!
Pictured below are photos from the past Saturday's La Quinta Inn card show in Indianapolis. Click on the photos for a larger view.
Around 11:30 a.m. the crowd died and it looked like my day was over. An hour later, a rush of new customers came into the room and I was busy again. A regular customer purchased some 1972 and 1966 Topps baseball cards. A new customer purchased some 1970 Topps baseball cards. A father and son team that I met at either the Schaumburg or Hoffman Estates shows in Illinois a few months ago came out to see me after reading this website and seeing that I was setting up in Indy. Thanks guys! They purchased some T205 Cardinals.
I made the mistake of discussing politics and religion with one of my regular customers. He is a republican and I am a democrat. I objected to a couple of choice words he had for me and argued a bit. Realizing that I was heading down the path of no return, I ended the conversation and focused back on cards. I may not agree with your politics but if you like cards, we can always find a common ground.
I noticed that some of my regular customers were missing today like Big Daddy Dave and John. As a result, sales were off. I ended up purchasing a handful of cards from another dealer like a 1958 Topps Don Drysdale, a Hank Aaron Baseball Thrills, a 1963 Topps Yogi Berra, a 1972 Topps Frank Robinson Traded, a 1974 Topps Nolan Ryan and a 1975 Topps Jim Rice rookie.
There was a tremendous selection of vintage cards in the room on this day. Wayne Johnson was set up across from me as usual. He has some really great vintage stuff. A vintage dealer who I met at the Fishers show was also set up. A dealer I had never seen before had a nice display of vintage cards. Brian and Craig Mayne were set up and they carry some nice vintage stuff along with wax and supplies. Terry also has a few vintage cards on his table. I think Indy vintage collectors need to take note that there is more and more vintage at the La Quinta show.
So back when I left the Chicago area on Friday morning, the temperature was cold and in the 50s there. It was 90-plus degrees in the afternoon when I arrived in Indy. It got really hot after the show on Saturday where the temperature was again in the 90s. I think it was still just in the 60s in Chicago. It was tough to adjust to the heat.
Finding the cheapest gasoline is always an adventure when on the road. I have learned to leave a quarter tank of gas in my car when I head to Indiana because gas is always cheaper across the border and I can get there on a quarter tank. The Shell Gas Station next to the La Quinta was selling regular unleaded for just $2.49 a gallon. When I left Chicago, the gas price there was $3.19 a gallon.
Wayne and Walt gave me some excellent direction out of Indy so I could avoid road construction after the show. Thanks guys! It was smooth sailing out of Indianapolis. I hit some construction much further on I70 and I hit a few slow patches. I ended up stopping at a Mickey D's for a couple of burgers. There weren't a whole lot of food options on the drive to St. Louis. It took me about 4 hours.
I was real tired on the drive from not sleeping well the night before but for some reason I woke right up when I got to St. Louis. I need to be alert when driving in St. Louis because my GPS has all sorts of problems every time I go to this town. It got me to the street where my hotel was located but it took me the wrong way. I eventually figured it out and righted the ship. As my car crept up a hill dotted with old motels that time forget, the whole scene went Film Noir.
I don't know if it was the lack of sleep but I drifted into the past and saw the area covered in fog, big cars, zoot suites, hats, cigarettes, cheap alcohol, and crazy jazz. This was the "Wander Inn," see. The kind a place that a fella down on his luck could sink further. There may be a dame or two around but they were only trouble. Johnny law was always hanging around. Many get-rich schemes were hatched at the Wander Inn. Looking around I could see that dreams were shattered and love was lost as time stood still (I think they used a lot of cliches in the 1940s, right?).
I parked my Packard Clipper in front of a building that seemed like the logical place to house an office. Once inside, I was greeted by the scent of mothballs and stale bread. The clerk, shielded behind a thick plate of glass, was busy explaining the rules and regulations to a pair that seemed like they just jumped ship in Havana. I paid the $61 room fee and was handed a key.
Lester's is a barbecue place and had a great menu. Tony went with some kind of fried fish thing. I went with the barbecue sampler, pictured below, that had smoked turkey, a quarter chicken and some beef brisket. It was good! This was a good call on Tony's part. I drank a fresh Shlafly's Ale.
I tried to watch some TV but fell asleep quickly. I woke early without the aid of my alarm. I bid the Wayside farewell around 7 a.m. and figured I'd find a place to eat breakfast on the way to the Orlando Gardens Banquet Hall, the home of the St. Louis card show. The GPS took me through residential areas and there was no place to eat. I decided to explore and eventually found a Krispy Kreme a few miles from the show. Oh those glazed doughnuts right off the rack were oh, so good! Krispy Kreme also has pretty decent coffee.
Back at the Orlando Gardens, I saw Bill who used to set up in Orland years ago. Once set up, Tony came by and purchased a bunch of cards. Thanks Tony! Most everyone in the room was wearing some sort of Cardinals-related item. My first customer was wearing a Cardinals hat and purchased some 1973 Topps baseball. My second customer was wearing a Cardinals shirt and he purchased a 1965 Topps Mike Shannon. There were lots of guys working on Cardinals team sets today.
My next customer had long hair that was dyed pink and wore a hoop in his lower lip. That hoop did not look very comfortable. He purchased a bunch of 1963 Topps. It seems like he is in a band. I wonder if it is anyone I have heard of. Next up was a customer who told me that he is a goalie and still regularly plays hockey. He pulled out a bunch of hockey cards from both of my hockey binders. One thing I've learned over the years is that St. Louis is a hockey town. They love their Blues and are very knowledgeable on the NHL. I always meet a bunch of hockey card collectors. I sold hockey cards to another guy who had on a black T-Shirt from the Hockey Hall of Fame. He also purchased a bunch of stuff from both hockey binders and gave me a hard time for being from Chicago.
Then a customer purchased some 1957 Topps baseball. A customer wearing a Topps T-shirt also purchased some 1957 Topps baseball. I was surprised that my newly reloaded 1958 Topps baseball binder did not get any action today. Next up were a pair of autograph hounds who purchased quite a few old St. Louis Rams cards to get signed.
Randy, who just may have been my very first St. Louis customer four years ago and has purchased cards from me each and every time I have been to St. Louis, bought a bunch of 1970s basketball cards. An older collector purchased some 1952 Bowman baseball cards. A customer working on a 1956 Topps baseball set found quite a few cards at my table. I rounded out my day by chatting with Mike Oberlander, who hails from the same Chicago suburb as I do. We went to high school together. It is always great to see Mike who now lives in St. Louis. Unfortunately, I did not have any of the 1939 Play Ball he needs. Next time Mike!
Then I have to mention this dealer named Mark who I met years ago at the Sun Times show. He annoyed the hell out of me when I first met him and continued to bug me this past weekend in St. Louis. He is a bad dealer. Hardly anyone stopped by his table on this particular day. He spent much of his time trying to pull customers from my table -- a severe jackass move. I gotta say a really cool moment occurred when Mark went up to Randy and tried to get Randy to leave my table and go by his table. Mark started telling Randy about the new cards he picked up. Randy stopped him short and shouted, "Mark, I don't care!" Mark high-tailed it back to his table. Randy was quick to express is dislike of Mark. It was pretty obvious that most folks in the room share the same sentiments when it comes to Mark. Seems like every town has their own Mark or Bob.
Anyway, my sales were excellent so I decided to spread some of the wealth. There were a lot more dealers in the room than my last visit in February. In fact, this was one of the largest shows I have attended all year. Earlier in the day, Tony introduced me to some younger dealers. I saw a stack of 1952 Topps on their table and ended up getting a pretty good deal on them.
This is also an autograph show with at least three guests at each show. I was kind of amazed that Cardinals fans were lining up to get Fergie Jenkins' autograph on this particular day. I was debating on getting Fergie's autograph because he is one of my all-time favorite players. I decided against it because I still have the scorecard he signed for me at a game at Wrigley Field when I was a kid in 1973. Other signers included Ray King, Mike Ramsey and Reed Low. Fergie stopped to look at my table which I thought was really cool.
Pictured below are some photos from this past Sunday's St. Louis show.
The drive home was much easier than my last visit to St. Louis when I got stuck in traffic with the huge number of Blackhawks fans that were in town for the Hawks-Blues game. My only issue this time was around Lincoln, Illinois, when I hit torrential downpour and hail. It was scary there for a few minutes. Regardless, I made really good time, under 5 hours which is a record for me.
Next up is Wisconsin mania with the Appleton show on Saturday, June 13, and Gonzaga on Sunday, June 14. I priced 1980-81 Topps hockey, and started working on 1959 Topps baseball which I don't think I will have done in time. I also purchased a tremendous collection recently that was in the works for several months. I now have about 500 or so vintage sports publications. I am going to break some of those out this weekend. I also priced a bunch of cards for my display cases. I will have lots of new stuff!
Also, mark your calendars for the Fat Daddy's Sports Card show which is set for Saturday, June 20, at the Clarion Hotel, 5311 S. Howell, in Milwaukee. I plan on pricing more publications for that show including some Milwaukee Braves scorecards from the early 1950s.
I hope to see a lot of people at the Appleton and Gonzaga shows this weekend. Come on out!