Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Southern California
Re: Pomona Swap Meet
Tim, I live about six miles west of the L.A. County Fairplex. Having been to the swap meet on numerous occasions (even in August) I'll offer a few thoughts in an attempt to make your visit to the San Gqbriel Valley a more pleasant experience.
1. Zero in on the area on Google Maps. Become familiar with the routes of access and the proximity of goods and services in the area.
2. Accommodations: Focus your search on motels along Arrow Highway, west of the Fairplex in the town of San Dimas. Specifically, the area within about half-a-mile around the intersection of Arrow Highway and route 57. Don't bother searching south or east of the Fairplex.
3. Meals: There are several of what I call "yuppie watering holes" in the San Dimas/Arrow Highway corridor (Appleby's, Red Robin, Zendejas', as well as Denny's Diner, pizza, fast food, etc.). Again, there's not much to the east or south of the Fairplex. An out-of-the-way eating spot for those of us who race at the NHRA events at the Fairplex is "Norm's Hangar Coffee Shop" at the dead end of McKinley Avenue, west of the intersection of Fairplex Drive and McKinley. It's the Brackett Field airport coffee shop. Best prices in town, good service, down-home food (nothing fancy), and you can see the Fairplex out the window while you're eating and watching the general aviation traffic taking off and landing.
4. Swap Meet -
A. If possible, try to get into the grounds on Saturday at gate 15 off Arrow Highway. There is far too much to see in one day and the set up process is fascinating. Most of the parts/junk dealers will set up on Saturday and will be willing to talk with you as you circulate through the aisles. Parts/junk is displayed on the east side of the main aisle while cars for sale will be on the west (nearest the drag strip grandstands). Most of the cars for sale will come in on Sunday morning although many will be there on Saturday.
B. If you have only one day, plan to be at the gate (15 or 17) at 5 AM. Prepare yourself for the fact that you will not be able to see everything unless you possess super-human stamina and the extraordinary ability to navigate through a sea of humanity at an insane pace. The pavement is very uneven so roller skates wouldn't be of much help. Decide if you want to focus on the parts/junk for sale or cars for sale and try to do your best to see all the stalls on that side of the grounds. There is no logical order to the layout of stalls and no consolidation of like vendors for the sake of convenience.
C. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, a wide-brimmed hat, loose clothing that covers most of your skin, carry sunblock, and bottled water. It will be a somewhat uncomfortable experience (probably over 100°, there is NO shade, with intense sunshine and considerable air pollution). I have heard that there are some extreme conditions in parts of Australia and that Californians are widely considered to be wimps, but I'm here to tell you that you've probably never seen a combination of factors such as will be presented by the L.A. County Fairplex in August.
D. Have fun!
E. Assuming that you will survive the experience, feel free PM me for a phone number and, if I'm in town that weekend, I'll be happy to join you for a cool libation at Appleby's when it's all over.