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HCCA National Swap Meet and Tour
April 14-16, 2011

Annie and Jeanne with bull
Annie and Jeanne sit beneath the bull at the Kern County Fairgrounds, site of the Bakersfield HCCA Swap Meet.

Jeanne and Lynn take Annie to participate on the tour at the 2011 HCCA (Horseless Carriage Club of America) National Swap Meet and Tour held annually in April in Bakersfield, California. The Kissels share Annie's back seat with a couple from Michigan who are at Bakersfield without a car.

International Harvestor Ford Speedster White Steamer 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile
Lynn estimates that about 50 cars were staged at the tour rally point. The ones pictured here are (left-to-right) an International Harvestor high wheeler, a Ford speedster, a White steamer and a 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile. Lynn notices the White and the Olds on the large-car tour..

The tour is split into two parts, a "small-car tour" that goes locally to the Bug Zoo in Bakersfield, and a "large-car tour" which drives 80-100 miles round trip from Bakersfield to the Wind Wolves Preserve. The two tours are less characterized by the size of the cars that participate, and more by the distance that they cover. Annie, Jeanne and Lynn go on the large-car tour, but so does a plucky 1903 Curved-Dash Olds!

large-car tour large-car tour large-car tour large-car tour large-car tour
Some views on the large-car tour.

Once on the Wind Wolves Preserve, the tour route follows about 25 miles of old dirt road. A host and interpreter from the preserve says that this was originally the main north-south route running through the eastern side of California. (El Camino Real was the main western north-south route.)

About 20-30 cars are on the large-car tour. Once it is on dirt roads, the cars spread out to avoid "eating" each others dust, and the line of cars seem to stretch out for about two miles or more.

On the trip to Bakersfield, Lynn tells Jeanne that Annie is in the best shape and the cleanest that she has ever been since they acquired the car in 2008. That is not to last. The tour has a couple of stream and gully crossings that are quite exciting. Annie and the other old cars all dip their tires in water and mud. The cars raise a great deal of dust which completely covers the lower portions of Annie's body and suspension. Two weeks after the tour, Lynn is still cleaning dust off the car. Still, one can only imagine that these roads are probably as good or better than many that the Kissels' 1914 car faced when she was young.

The Wind Wolves Preserve is the largest non-profit preserve on the west coast. The elevation climbs as high as 6,000 feet. Although the tour does not go that high, there are still magnificent and spectacular open vistas at every turn.

The tour travels to a house reportedly used in the filming of the 1985 movie Return to Oz, apparently not a great movie. They stop to look for the Tule elk that have been reintroduced into the preserve, but none are to be seen.

Later the tour enjoys a catered lunch at a thoroughly delightful picnic area that features a large stone pavilion and picnic tables with a commanding overview of the valley.

Glenn and Lynn in Annie
Glenn Slack rides with Lynn as the two Kissel owners survey the swap meet from Annie's front seat.

At the swap meet, Lynn and Jeanne are pleased to see a large number of friends and acquaintances, people that they have met from years of car activities. Lynn is particularly excited to see what seems like an unusually large number of fellow Kissel owners including: Glenn and Shirley Slack (OR, 1915 Touring); Joe and Isabelle Leaf (WA, 1922 Touring, 1922 Speedster, 1923 Phaeton); Sheldon Donig (CA, 1925 Speedster); Vic and Linda Groah (CA, 1912 Semi Touring); Jim Leir (Canada, 1913 Semi Racer). Glenn is one of the organizers of the 2011 HCCA Portland National Tour (July 26-30) on which Jeanne and Lynn look forward to participating in a couple of months.

On Saturday, Jay Leno and a small entourage are spotted walking the field. As they pass the spot on which Lynn and Jeanne are setup, a member of the group is heard to remark "a Kissel!" as he spots Annie parked nearby.

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Copyright © 2015 Lynn Kissel
Last updated: April 28, 2011