Warehouse Run - 8/13/99-8/14/99

This, is a story of dedication to the hobby and endurance.

On Friday, 8/13/99 at 3:30pm, Five men set out on a journey that would test thier enduarance in ways never known.

First off. Collectors are VERY passionate about thier collections. This is a historical document to an event that occurred. I am told that the warehouses in these pictures are EMPTY now. Don't bother asking if "This" or "That" is still available. It ISN'T. Since it has been so long since this event, most of the games acquired in this trip have been sold. If you know the people in the pictures, don't waste your time asking if they want to sell what they got. I can tell you for sure that they either DON'T want to sell the games they got or already did. That said, enjoy what you see here, it is a neat story and collection of pictures.

My friend Steve called me at work and told me that he might have found an Exidy Victory. He has been looking for one for the past 6 years. I asked him where and he said it was suppose to be in a warehouse in VA. He later found out that the warehouse was supose to hold other treasures but didn't have any details. Over the next week, he found that there was a TON of Black & White games and the guy who owned the warehouse wanted to get rid of as much as possible. Most games, as-is $150.00 but the popular classics were off-limits (PacMan, Galaga, Tempest, Donkey Kong, Etc.). The plan came together that we would drive down to the warehouse on 8/13/99 and arrive at about 9PM. We would then get what we wanted and drive to Winston-Salem NC where Steve had reserved two rooms with "Late Arrival". The following day, we would go to to the auction and stay until 11am or so. It would be Steve, Rob, and Myself - We would be going in Rob's truck and he was going to rent a u-haul trailer to pull behind. Another local collector, Seth might join us if he could make it.

As of the 12th, plans changed. We would be taking two trucks (Steve's and Rob's), Seth was going, another guy, Pete was going to ride with us too, he was taking a bus from New York City to Philadelphia and we would be picking him up. Then we were all going to drive down to Baltimore and meet up with a friend named Jeff who was renting his own truck for games they might want. We would be meeting at Rob's house at 1:30pm to leave as soon as we got there.

8/13/99 - I leave work at 11am, stop at the bank and am home by 12:30. Steve was to arrive at 1pm 1:15pm Steve arrives, "we're not in any hurry, Pete is on a bus that won't be in until 2:50pm and we have to pick him up". We're at the bus terminal in Philadelphia at 2:50 and the bus arrives promptly at 3:05. We're at Rob's by 3:20. Seth is there and we all pack up remaining items for the trip. We're off by 3:40. Traffic on Rt 95 is always horrible, but this is a Friday and it's always worse. By the time we get to Baltimore, it's like 6:30. Rob called Jeff to tell him that we would not be stopping, but would let him know where/when we stopped to eat so he could possibly join us. After we got through the mess known as the Washington DC beltway, we found an exit and stopped for some McDonalds. 30 Minutes later, Jeff joined us and we were a caravan of 3. Continueing down 95, we were suppose to pick up Rt. 85 and get off at exit 12. When we finally got to Rt. 85 it was like 10:45pm and the first exit we saw was 68, that's right, we were still 50+ miles away! We got there at 11:30PM, Jeff got there a bit later, his Truck wouldn't move that fast.

The warehouse was full of EM games / Pinballs, Early Solid State Pins, Old B&W vids, Early Color Vids, Classic Vids, some not so classic vids, and NO Conversions. Like a dream come true. We were told that some of the best stuff was moved to another warehouse and that we would be going there after a while, machines were stacked on top of each other, Junk was stacked on top of stuff, weird. Very dark, absolutely no light so we had brought Flashlights. You had to move machines to get to other machines, they were so tight. Steve called out "I've found the Victory and there's a Tempest right next to it".

I took the pictures of the Tempest and a few other games and we all drove 1 mile to the other warehouse. Two more Victorys were there. Steve decided to buy the best two and bring one back to an Exidy collector named Rick Jeff got the other one. Also there was a Zoo Keeper with a couple of missing boards but really nice side art. Rob has been looking for one, but passed. Seth bought it.

Back at the other warehouse, I asked the guy what he wanted for the Tempest. He told me it wasn't for sale. I asked why and he said that he knows that they go for a lot. So I inquired as to how much. He said $400.00. Now I knew this thing was not working and I asked him if he would take $300.00. He stated that he could not, but would take the $300 and a check for $100. I reached in my wallet and I pulled out all of the cash, $353.00. I showed it to him and asked if he would help me out because it was a 400 mile ride and Tempest is the only game I'm really looking for. He said that he would take the $350. I said OK, and put the money back in my pocket and asked the guys what they thought. They thought the machine's condition equated to $350.00 so later that morning I paid him.

Jeff got a deal that the whole truck he brought would be filled with B&W games and a few color (including a sit-down Star Rider that needed a power board) for one price. Quite a haul!

Steve got the two Victorys, Rob Got "The Pit", Pleides, and Domino Man, Seth bought a nice Crossbow and the Zoo Keeper. Pete bought something, but he had Jeff haul it to Baltimore for him where he was to pick it up at a later time. He drove back with Jeff. We hadn't had anything to drink or eat at this point, but we kept loading up.

By 5:30am we were back on the road and I was driving Steve's truck. We stopped for gas and drinks. Then I drove all the way home. I was home at 12:30, I had been awake for 30 hours. Steve CONvinced me to plug in the Tempest when we got to my house. It wasn't working right. I took a shower, went to bed and slept until 6:30 when Courtney (my 4-Year old daughter) got me up for dinner. I went back to bed again at 9:00.

The next day, I tested the Tempest board. It came up, but the upper left quadrant of the screen was the only part that displays and it comes and goes. The optic board for the controller was missing, but the game sounded like it was working. It would take me a few months, but the Tempest would end up being one of the nicer games in the permanant collection.

As time passed, I would ask myself if this whole experience was really "worth it". From a financial / investment standpoint. Not at all. For an experience of a lifetime, absolutely.

(c) 2001 Al Warner
All Rights Reserved