Just got back a week ago from my annual pilgrimage to West Coast Meet. It has been twenty two years since my first one and while I have not been able to attend every one, it was my seventeenth time at the show. It's more than the largest gay and lesbian car show on the planet, it is the annual meeting of my tribe and where ever I am, I prefer to be here on this particular weekend. Whether I arrive in a classic, a modern car, or an ambulance, it's all okay once I roll under the Porte' Cochere.
The West Coast Meet, technically a meetup between the Great Autos of Yesteryear and the Freewheelers of San Francisco began as the "North-South Meet" in Cambria in 1985 and was officially renamed "West Coast Meet" in 1997. It quickly outgrew Cambria and moved to San Luis Obispo in 1988 where, with only a couple of exceptions, it has remained ever since.
The event itself doesn't vary dramatically from year to year. We've had a cornucopia of themes, ranging from Autorama Tropicana to Camp Dipstick, taken a CARnival Cruise, Returned to Dodge City, flown Rocket 88 to Outer Space, celebrated Christmas in July and turned the resort into the unforgettable Disco Obispo.
We've had high school reunions and Surfin' Safaris and the Texas State Fair. We've joined the circus, gone Back to the 80's, spent a weekend at the Motorama and what happened in Obispo, stayed in Obispo. This year we celebrated the personal luxury car on the fashionble Cote d'Obispo. It was a Haute Mess, let me tell you.
It's just my favorite weekend of the year. The welcoming party, the drive tour, the cocktail hours, the ginormous car show, the once a year chance to be with my tribe of LGBT gearheads and celebrate the automobile as only we know how to do. The hair is a bit grayer these days (when present) and the mid sections a bit larger, but it's a very grand reunion.
And we're not alone. There are poignant reminders of those who once celebrated with us but are no longer present- at least in the physical world. "Did that car used to belong to..." We open our photo albums from years gone by and see so many familiar faces. Do they come back for West Coast Meet as faithfully as we do? I cannot help but wonder.
As long as I am able, I'll be in San Luis Obispo on the second Saturday in July. It's my tribe, nothing less. And there's no better way to share it then just let the pictures speak for themselves. Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you enjoy your visit to West Coast Meet 2012: