Revisions to the original captions courtesy of Larry Evans who provided a large list of errors which we were most grateful to receive, and Ron Carroll who also took time out to point to some missing caption details.
Shortly after our trip to Portland in 2003 we looked ahead to which spring show we might be able to attend in the USA, subject to travel and work arrangements. The Tulare show had received good reports in the past on the engine Lists, so we went ahead and booked flights for April 2004 to coincide with the show dates. Our friends in California were also going to come along, and then we received an offer from Larry & Ken Evans to have a look around the Mount Wilson site, which made the trip something to really look forward to!
What we were not to know at the time was that our friends would be in the throes of buying a house and having some modifications done to it before moving in, so we finished up getting involved in that as well, which turned out to be interesting. Flights were booked for 14th April, and we chose Virgin Atlantic again, having had two previous flights which were a pleasant experience. The outgoing flight was delayed by and hour and a half through a flight deck seat being faulty, but we were away soon and after a quiet flight we arrived at San Francisco about an hour behind, having made up some time in the flight.
Saturday we drove across on route 152 to the 99, then headed south to Visalia where we were booked into the Super8 motel. We found the manager to have come from North London about a year ago, and had a chat with him before getting back in the car and driving down to Tulare, about another 10 miles or so. The weather was surprisingly cloudy compared with last years visit in March 2003, but we had coats to put on and it wasn't too much of a problem. Access and parking were no problem, and we were soon inside the Agri-Center showgrounds. A quick look through the perimeter fence showed a lot of activity - great! The Center hosts a big agricultural Expo each February and has excellent facilities and grounds for this sort of show.
Our first familiar face was Rob Skinner, whom we came upon talking to another exhibitor just across from the WAPA display. After a quick chat and getting our bearings we were able to locate Larry Evans, Ken Evans, Ron Haskell and have a chat about the show and engines etc. I had brought a UK colour chart for Rob to keep as a reference, and was able to run through a few things with Ron about his Lister Blackstone CD and injection system. We walked around a bit more but found that the weather was deteriorating rapidly and soon we had rain on the show, something we had hoped to leave behind in the UK!
We made arrangements with Larry & Ken for the following morning, and after taking a few more pictures we went back to the motel to get changed and sort a meal out. The town of Visalia was notable for the amount of new construction and stores in it, compared with a lot of small US places we had been to, and there was a good choice of eating places available.