31 December 2008

Epic Fail

Someone please hit the "OFF" button.

In the thirty plus years I have been turning wrenches, this is the ultimate example of stupid people who have a license to operate a motor vehicle.

From an Email I just received, these are not my words because they have too many letters in them for how I would be describing this nightmare.
I can only hope that this complete moron was charged 75 dollars to diagnose this obvious problem and then FOUR HUNDRED dollars to cut this giant birds nest off of his drivetrain.

This guy ran over a mattress and decided to keep going. The ensuing jumble finally whipped around enough to put a tear in the gas tank, the subsequent lack of fuel is what finally brought this vehicle to its knees.

It had still managed to drive 30 more miles decently with a 60lb tangle wrapped around the driveshaft.

This genius complained that the vehicle had a "shimmy" when driving at high speeds.

This is what the dealership found...........

Someone give this idiot a bus pass.

19 December 2008

Oddball Old Crock of the Week

No, for once I'm not referring to myself. This is a 1929 German Triumph 500cc Side Valve single, or 'flatinzeehead' if you prefer. Note the hand gearchange and exposed valve gear. The muffler musta fell off back there somewhere...

18 December 2008

Dude ...

When the sidewall of the right front (curb feeler) tire on your Caddy looks like this, you ain't getting an inspection sticker. Don't argue with me about how good the tread is, you cheap fuck. You're buying a tire.

I'll be damned how it held air.

11.55 Seconds in The Quarter Mile , An Electric Car.

OK, now somebody in Detroit needs to explain to me why there aren't thousands of these being built every day.
I don't want to hear about crash tests and air bags, I want to know why we can't have a small runabout town car that has half the horsepower and the simplicity of plugging the damn thing in to go get groceries that this vehicle obviously has.Yes, it isn't cheap, no, there is no good reason not too.
At this point, after GM and Chrysler have announce they are shutting down for a month, why the hell not do this and jettison the money losing vehicles they are trying to keep foisting on the American consumer?

Reality is a bitch boys, get with the program, this is really making you look bad.

H/T to my Pop.

10 December 2008

Lightin' Ranchero farts

One of my all-time favorite Ford models lights 'em up!


Go see this one too. I wonder what all the guys in the trunk were thinkin'!

03 December 2008

Easy brake job ...

Yeah, right. Had this fucking Chevy Avalanche in today. Inspection, service, and I spotted the front brakes were thin when I inspected it so I sold the guy pads and rotors.

Well son of a bitch, I was cursing General Motors all morning. An easy brake job (shouldn'ta taken me more than 20 minutes) turned into 2 hours.

Usually, I pull the caliper bolts, compress the piston with a small prybar, pop the caliper, pads, and the mount, get out the big brass hammer and give the rotor a whack, pop it off and then reverse the procedure with new parts. About the time I gave the rotor a whack, I knew it wouldn't be easy. I could swear I heard the damn thing laughing at me. I hit it again, and again, and again, and again ... Got out the torch, heated the fuck out of it and hit it again. The laughing got louder and it still didn't move.

Seems GM has a very close tolerance between the inside of the rotor and the wheel hub (Ford does this too on the Expeditions). In areas where road salt is used (like here on Long Island), the inside surface of the rotor rusts to the hub. No matter what you do, you ain't breaking it loose ... until you break out the Sawz-all.

I sliced the rotor down to the hub, squirted everything with penetrating oil, and then beat the fuck out of it some more until it let loose. Hadda do the other side the same way. Notice the rust ring around the outside circumference of the hub, just outside of the wheel lugs.

So, being a guy who looks long-term, before I put the new rotors on I sanded and gave each hub a coating of adhesive copper grease to prevent this problem for the next guy (me or Nunz probably) who services the brakes.

Like I said, this ain't indigenous to GM, just the latest crap I had to do this on. Ford is just as guilty of this poor design and it makes you wonder, after a hundred years of building cars in the United States, how simple engineering fuckups like this still happen. Once again, there's no surprise these guys are on the balls of their ass.

27 November 2008

Singularly disappointing ...

2005 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.0 Liter V-8, 6-speed standard shift, all the toys. And utterly disappointing.

Had one in the shop the other day and naturally I got to beat on road test it. You know what it reminded me (especially the interior) of? An '86 IROC Camaro. The clutch was heavy and shifting was laborous. Compared to the Porsche 911 Boxster it's a load. Handling was good but nothing impressive, no comparison to the Honda S2000 which takes off-camber, decreasing-radius turns like a slot car.

And while the 6 Liter is powerful, it's more suited to a Suburban than a sports car. When you can get a better ride and save 2/3 the fuel doing it, why bother with the big load?

70s thinking, 80s styling, and 90s engineering. No surprise why GM is losing their shirts.

23 November 2008

Interview with 'The Squirrel'

You might enjoy this interview with legendary SoCal desert and flattrack motorcycle racer and movie stunt man Eddie Mulder. He's my age and we hung around in the same neck of the woods for many years. I've met him several times. He'll be faster than I ever was when he's dead!

From the Banner is Up!:

[...] The last Big Bear Run was in 1960, and ran from Lucerne to Fawnskin and back to Lucerne. Eddie Mulder won that one on a 500 Royal Enfield thumper...

What that quote fails to mention is that one of the rear shocks was broken in two! Eddie was a crazy kid and he's a crazy old man. An inspiration to us all!

Thanks to peckhammer.

16 November 2008

Saved By The Bell

I don't know, would you pay a quarter of a million dollars for a forty five year old rust bucket Pontiac Tempest?
No motor, no transmission but it has Plexiglass windows and is one of only six ever built, I guess that makes it just a little bit rare.

Quite the amazing story behind the final price tag for this old factory produced drag racer!

The eBay auction for this 1963 Pontiac LeMans Tempest started out innocently enough. Obtained after owner died. Appears to have original interior but no motor, no transmission. Body has a little rust and some dents. There's stuff in the trunk, but no key to open it. Opening bid nine days ago was a mere $500. After one week, eBay seller 123ecklin will pocket $226,521 before auction fees. What happened between Day 1 and Day 9 is an amazing story.

The car's plexiglass windows, unusual suspension setup and a dash plate bearing the name of a racetrack tipped the owner to its racing history. But what he didn't know is that the car is one of only six 1963 Pontiac LeMans Tempest Super Duty coupes ever made. Hemmings recently did a story on the rare cars in which they listed all ever built. This one looks to have been driven by Stan Antlocer and was the fastest drag car in 1963 before disappearing.

There is a little more of the history behind this story here.

I think it is awesome that someone recognized the cars provinance and history, I do think a quarter of a million as is was a bit steep though.
I am tickled that this rare race beast now has the chance to be restored, it is part of an under told part of the Factory wars in the early Sixties.

Hat Tip to Fark for finding this story and publishing it.

14 November 2008

The Brammo Enertia

In a mind-boggling leap from the post below, here's what's happenin' now:

I want one. These guys need a gearhead venture capitalist to invest some serious money to get the retail price down.

More at Brammo.

Don's Road Tests

I like motorcycles that are older than I am. They're getting harder to find (sobs). I found a whole bunch of vintage road tests from Limey Telly at Trapper 100. Enjoy.

Don Hall road tests a Brough Superior V twin 990cc 1920-30

Here's a coupla excerpts from The Road by Thomas Edward Lawrence. Sheer writing beauty:

Boa is a top-gear machine, as sweet in that as most single-cylinders in middle. I chug lordlily past the guard-room and through the speed limit at no more than sixteen. Round the bend, past the farm, and the way straightens. Now for it. The engine’s final development is fifty-two horse-power. A miracle that all this docile strength waits behind one tiny lever for the pleasure of my hand.

Another bend: and I have the honour of one of England’ straightest and fastest roads. The burble of my exhaust unwound like a long cord behind me. Soon my speed snapped it, and I heard only the cry of the wind which my battering head split and fended aside. The cry rose with my speed to a shriek: while the air’s coldness streamed like two jets of iced water into my dissolving eyes. I screwed them to slits, and focused my sight two hundred yards ahead of me on the empty mosaic of the tar’s gravelled undulations.

Once we so fled across the evening light, with the yellow sun on my left, when a huge shadow roared just overhead. A Bristol Fighter, from Whitewash Villas, our neighbour aerodrome, was banking sharply round. I checked speed an instant to wave: and the slip-stream of my impetus snapped my arm and elbow astern, like a raised flail. The pilot pointed down the road towards Lincoln. I sat hard in the saddle, folded back my ears and went away after him, like a dog after a hare. Quickly we drew abreast, as the impulse of his dive to my level exhausted itself.

The next mile of road was rough. I braced my feet into the rests, thrust with my arms, and clenched my knees on the tank till its rubber grips goggled under my thighs. Over the first pot-hole Boanerges screamed in surprise, its mud-guard bottoming with a yawp upon the tyre. Through the plunges of the next ten seconds I clung on, wedging my gloved hand in the throttle lever so that no bump should close it and spoil our speed. Then the bicycle wrenched sideways into three long ruts: it swayed dizzily, wagging its tail for thirty awful yards. Out came the clutch, the engine raced freely: Boa checked and straightened his head with a shake, as a Brough should.

Awesome. I never caught up with no airplanes, but I've hidden from a couple police helicopters. Heh.

09 November 2008

Where I work* ...

So this is my first post since I started at Nunzio's. Completely different place than Harry's. Where Harry's place coulda been snatched up off a dirt road in the desert and dropped on Long Island, Nunzio's is Europe.

For instance, I'm there alone one day (Nunz was off on a road test) when I hear this sweeping noise. I was wondering what it was when I got to the office and there's a little old Italian lady sweeping the floor. Nunzio's mom.

"Does yer boy make you sweep his place?" I ask her.

"He dona do ita right," she replies. "People come ina here, they thinka he's a slob."

And so it goes. Couple times a week, she's in and cleaning.

Then one day, his father-in-law (another off-the-boat Guinea) shows up in his beat up old pick up truck. He takes a garage door opener out and dumps it in the shop.

Then he and Nunz argue whether it will work or not (the old man found it in somebody's garbage). It's been laying there for a week now. Nunz is waiting for the old man to forget about it so he can put it out for the trash.

Then there's the shit I work on. A first for me, in 35 years of being a mechanic, is rebuilding a differential in an old Maserati.

It's different and that's pretty good. I work on all sorts of shit I never did before. Next week, I gotta look at a gearbox in a Ferrari Quattroveloce.

Part of an ongoing, semi-regular series.

02 November 2008

Pinup Girls and Rockabilly Cars

Here's a little eye & ear candy for everybody who slicks back their hair and carries their cigarettes in their t-shirt sleeve. You know who you are.

27 October 2008

Not "no" ...

But "fuck no"!

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp., the largest U.S. automaker, has asked the Treasury Department for financial aid to help complete a merger with Cerberus Capital Management LP's Chrysler LLC, two people with knowledge of the matter said.


$10 bln worth at last count.

Didn't we just hand the U.S. majors $25 bln last month so they "could modernize in order to be competitive"? Fuck them. Sorry you decent, hard working folks who work for GM, I feel for you, but enough is enough. GM and the other major U.S. auto houses have made one bad business decision after another since 1978 and I'm tired of bailing them out.

The reason they can't compete is because they refused to learn from the Japanese and Europeans, even when the writing's been on the wall for the last 25 years, longer for the more perceptive.

Fuck them. Let 'em drown.

Off to work on their crap ...

Cross-posted at the Brain.

24 October 2008

Split Precision

I have so many aspects to my personality that this it what it looks like when I go for a ride.

22 October 2008

Erzburg Rodeo

I'd never heard of this event before, but I done found it. It's sort of a cross between Free Style and a Hare Scrambles, held in a quarry in Austria. This is the gnarliest bike race I've ever seen.

I think 'Erzburg' is Austrian for 'Turn a $10,000 motorcycle into 10,000 beer cans in 35km'.

Later. I gotta go watch 279 more of these. Fixer, you might like this one. This video is from 2006.


Here's the 2008 event. Good video, strange music for anyone older than about 15.

11 October 2008

Motorcycle Rider Training in 1959

And a spin down Memory Lane as well. Found this at The Kneeslider:

Yes, we’ve come a long way with motorcycle rider training and safety courses. I was digging through The Kneeslider research library and came across this Jawa training motorcycle in an old issue of Cycle. It was powered by a 250cc 2 stroke engine and had complete dual controls. The instructor sits in back and has fully functioning handlebars connected by rods to the front fork with a throttle, front brake lever and clutch. He had a rear brake pedal and footshift for the 4 speed transmission and there was also an ignition cutoff.

That had to be an odd experience for both student and instructor. I wonder how many of these they sold.

Not many. I actually remember these things, and I could be wrong, but I think there were two of them. The other one is probably still in its crate somewhere.

From memory, the photo was taken on the sidewalk (Great place to learn how to ride a motorcycle! Could (and has. Heh.) come in handy...) in front of Clymer Publications on Alvarado St. in L.A. to where I pedalled my bicycle every Saturday when I got my allowance to buy back issues of Cycle. The lady is Cycle staffer Carol Sims, and the guy on the front seat is another Cycle staffer whose name escapes me, although I will probably remember it at 3 AM and sit bolt upright in bed. The grinning gent on the back seat is Jack Snyder, at the time the general manager of Cycle Imports, the JAWA importer on La Brea Ave., and later the sales manager at Bud Ekins Motorcycles from whom I bought my brand new '69 Triumph Tiger. Nice guy. A coupla years later, Jack gave me my first job in the motorcycle industry, also at Ekins' shop. I remember that he brewed his own draft beer and had a tap in his den.

I did a little more digging and found this page from Motorcyclist:

Still Jack on the back, but in front is Clark Atkinson, a friend and schoolmate who already knew how to ride but just happened to be at Cycle Imports when they needed a photo. The blame, or credit, for my love of motorcycling is all on him, as he gave me my very first ride on a motorcycle on his own 175cc JAWA circa when the above photos were taken. I haven't seen him in forty years, but the bike thing has kinda stuck.

09 October 2008

More Flat Track Porn

Here ya go Gord.
I wished you had been there, you would have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I know I did, what I can remember, whoo, did I get hammered for three days!

The guy on the left is the one who owns the two silver Nortons, quite the character.
The Two on the right are Ma and Pa Knuckles.

What can I say?
These three sisters were all over the place.

Muy Caliente!

Here We Go

Click on them.

There are more to come.

07 October 2008



Here is The Beast.

Crap, I been as busy as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.

I went to do a post last night over at the Ornery Bastard and fell asleep right in the middle of it.

I busted my ass all day Saturday, drug a 3/4 ton truck up onto a trailer with a come along and some help and then brought it to work and stripped it down to the frame and the cab. I think I popped a rib out of joint yarding on that damn come along.
Then I took the service body box off of my old Ford and swapped beds so at least it looks halfway decent.Of course I broke the back window out of it during this process, luckily the one I was stripping had the same window glass.
I had a buddy stay after work and help me put that back in too last night, then I spent two hours last night getting the bed bolted down and some of the wiring hooked up, cleaned all the crap out of it that I have been storing in it and put the canopy on it.
I still have a TON of work to do to this thing.
My Boss is on vacation so I am trying to get as much done as I can INSIDE of the shop instead of OUTSIDE in my gravel fucking driveway.
I still have brakes to do, a major tune up and the whole exhaust system to be replaced with headers and Flow Master mufflers.
I also still have to drill the frame so I can install the tow hitch assembly and put the back bumper on it.
That will at least make it street legal.

Much work to do, again, no rest fer the wicked!

03 October 2008

Just A Little Teaser

I have asked my Dad to try and find the rest of the pictures I took at that Flat Track race I went to a while back, I did manage to find a couple.

I am currently unable to enlarge these, I am waiting to see if Pops can resend the whole batch and if I can't play with them then, sorry!

Here are a couple of old Nortons that were right across the road from us.

I am looking forward to this event next year already.

28 September 2008

25 September 2008

Wearable Motorcycle

Go see this video.


The Deus Ex Machina is a wearable exoskeleton motorcycle concept, and it's pretty damn cool (although it looks a little impractical to me). Note that it says he invented a concept vehicle. It means he invented a concept, so it's legit. Crazy, impractical, and unworthy of attention, yes. But he did legitimately invent a concept. A very, very bad concept.

And here I thought center-punching a tree on two wheels was an unattractive prospect!

21 September 2008

The best laid plans ...

As I told ya about 6 weeks ago, I started my temporary 'retirement' at the beginning of the month. I started it off well, taking a nice vacation. So I get home Thursday night and the answering machine had about 10 messages (the first 9 from Mrs. F's clients who forgot she was out of town), the last from my buddy Nunzio who owns the place up the street from the shop.

"F-man, can you call me as soon as you're back?"

Mrs. F called it right away. "The Greek quit and he needs you to help him out."

"And where do I have the time?" I ask her. "I left Harry because it was too much and you want me to go work up the block?"

"He's your friend. Call him," Mrs. F said. "You'll figure something out."

So I call Nunzio (against my better judgment) and it's as the Mrs. thought. I start in 2 weeks from 8 - 12 in the morning until he can find a full-time guy. So much for my time away from fixing cars. Oy!

And, speaking of vacation, I spotted some wild things on the streets of Europe. Click the pics to make big ... very big.

I was in a hurry to get somewhere in Amsterdam when I spotted this GI-looking thing across a canal. I didn't have time to get over there so I zoomed in as best I could. Got any idea what it is?

And when I spotted this parked on the main drag in Amsterdam, I figgered Gord would get a kick out of it. The next amphib for the Marine Corps maybe? Heh ...

And I thought this wood carving in a shop in Florence, Italy a very cool thing.

I told Mrs. F I need one of these to run back and forth to Home Depot with.

08 September 2008

'Sickles an' old pals

I'm back from another whirlwind thrash to L.A. It was a dual purpose trip. The first purpose, chronologically speaking, was to pick up a piece of sporting gear. Backstory here and here. This is it:

Click photos to emhugen.

It's an '05 290cc Sherco. The engine is a watercooled two-smoke. I could no way afford a new one at about $7Large, but I got this one for considerably less than half of that and I know its backstory and where it's been. My friend Steve bought it new and sold it to the gent I bought it from at the end of the '05 trials season. It has not been ridden since. It's been sitting for three years, which in a sport where the bikes get dropped off of cliffs, literally, pretty regularly, is a heck of a deal for me. I saw examples of this year, make, and model with four seasons on them for a $Grand more than I paid.

I bought it from Mike, a New Zealander who owns Kiwi Indian in Riverside. We got treated to a showroom full of Indian motorcycles, most of which were manufactured before 1954, and in the Back Room AKA the Service Dept., a full-bore dyno run on a customer's bike while said customer stood there watching his sled run faster sitting still than it probably ever has with him on it goin' down the road. I don't know what the dyno run turned up in terms of numbers or problems but it sounded great!

I've done similar dyno runs myself, and have been an interested party at dozens of 'em, and I've always kinda wondered what happens if the engine goes 'POP' and there is sudden silence, a brief flurry of shrapnel, and a hot oily mist in the room. Thank you Lord for my ignorance...

I haven't ridden the Sherco yet, or even started the engine, but I know for a fact, on the basis of what you can see in the photo, that it will go 70+ miles per hour for hours on end in 100° heat. And sideways at that!

The photo was taken at the Coso Junction rest area on US 395 in the southern Owens Valley. Click the link and zoom out slowly to see what the middle of nowhere looks like.

Just as an aside here, you make your choice as to which end of L.A. you want to go to at an intersection about 130 miles out in the Mojave Desert. Quite handy, really. From Riverside to the Sunland-Tujunga area of the east San Fernando Valley was a straight 60-mile shot on the connecting 210 Freeway.

The second purpose of the trip, and by far the most fun, was to go visit our friends Dave and Joy, and to attend our friend Arnie's 60th birthday party.

Dave is one of the best friends it has ever been my good fortune to have. We have had untold numbers of adventures over 35 years and we have a damn good time whenever we manage to get together. Joy is just plain gorgeous in every respect you could think of. She makes me look like a wingnut, and if she ever upgrades from dial-up, she'd be on the Feds' shitlist in a New York minute. Heh. We weren't there for politics, so enough of that.

By trade, Dave is an electrician. He figured out a long time ago that the way to make money is to do custom work for rich folks, and since he retired (yeah, right!) has more work than he really wants. He'll keep doing it 'til he has more money than he wants...

By avocation and nature, he's a stone(d) gearhead. Here's a picture of his dining room:

That's my Maggie heading for the kitchen. I took a picture of that as well, but forgot to check the batteries or the result, so it didn't come out. Suffice it to say there's a row of potted palms(?) and a small-block Chevy engine between the counter, the corner of which you can see, and the stove across the room. He has more kitchen workroom since he moved one of his Triumphs to one of the sheds in his back yard.

Dave is an El Camino freak and has several of them in various stages. I swear I can look at which ones he's been working on, and which ones run at any given moment, by looking at his house on Google Earth and seeing what's been moved around. He doesn't work very fast, so yes, Google changes the photos nearly often enough...

We sat around and shot the breeze all afternoon. Dave and I left the girls to their own devices and traipsed out to his shop, well-equipped and with wall-to-wall projects going on, a good many of which we chatted about. His shop is about the most fun old Triumph guys can have in L.A., and it's quite exclusive. Dave's latest deal is to dismantle LED taillight bulbs and rewire them to work on positive ground English motorcycles.

We were gone a long time. I sort of apologized to Joy and Mrs. G for that and Joy just laughed and said for as far back as she could remember, every time me'n Dave would smoke some home-grown and go out the back door, we'd be gone a while! Some stuff never changes.

We all watched a DVD I brought with me, and this takes a little background, but it's germane to this story.

The motorcycle club that Dave and I and Arnie all belong to throws a big invitation-only desert party every year and has been doing so since 1960. It's not a race, but there's a dirt bike run as the centerpiece of a three-day party in the middle of nowhere (there's a lot of that in the Mojave). The club is kinda famous for it in some circles, and an invite is a sought after hot-ticket item. Since the anti-fun people may, probably are in fact, watching, I won't go into the details. Let's just say a rollicking, rowdy good time is had by all.

For about 5 years in the '70s, I took Super-8 movies of this thing, both to record it for folks to enjoy and to get out of doing any actual work to pull off the event. I spliced the reels into 30-minute films and showed them at parties, in the club hang-out saloons, etc. There are four or five of them. No one, including myself (my projector broke), has seen them in 28 years.

For the last coupla years I've been wanting to transfer the movies to DVD but didn't know quite how to go about it. The answer came one day a few weeks ago in a blinding flash of inspiration while I was walking past the photo counter at Costco and saw a big sign that read "Put your Super-8 movies on DVD! Right here!". Doh...

I took one reel in to have it done. Just one because I wanted to see how it came out. It's $19.95 for the first 200ft and 12¢ per foot after that. They'll put titles and music on it. Your choice of music genre from a list, their selections. They add features so you can click to a variety of points, and put a montage on the case. It cost $49 and included two copies. It came out totally bitchin', and I'm going to get the rest of them done toot sweet. I was a little worried that it might have faded, but it hadn't. The movies have been in a nice cool place all these years and in fact look better on DVD than I remember them.

Purely by chance, I picked the DVDs up at Costco the morning I left for L.A. On the way down there I decided to give the spare copy to Dave, since he's in a position to make copies and dole 'em out to interested folks in and around the club. I never made the mental connection between the movie showing up in L.A. on the day of Arnie's party and the fact that everybody there was in some way connected with the club and had been to these desert runs. Dave made the connection instantly when I handed it to him, and off we went to the party in Joy's Honda Hybrid, DVD in hand.

On to the festivities!

First, a little mush is order. This was a surprise party given by Arnie's main squeeze Vivian. They've known each other almost forty years, the same time I've known both of them, but have only been an item for a year or so. I think that's nice.

Arnie is a Vietnam Vet brown-water Navy river rat and was in the same class to learn that stuff as John Kerry, although that meant nothing to him at the time, it's just interesting. He's also a hardhat diver and once cleared mines in the Red Sea. He's a member of the Piledrivers, Divers, Bridge, Wharf & Dock Builders Union. I'm not sure if that's the right local. Hard work, good pay. Besides being a dirt rider, he's an old Harley guy since back before they were all middle-aged yuppies.

The photo shows Arnie, bag in hand, not being very surprised. Vivian is in pink on the left almost, and Dave is in the formal t-shirt and ball cap. In between them, sitting, is another old pal, Chris, who is 81 years young and still rides his dirt bike pretty regularly, although he admits he can't do it like he could in his 20s. He proved later on that he could still smoke enough weed and drink enough beer to fall down. Heh. He had a slight heart attack at his 81st b'day party, and since all the guests were getting high, they couldn't exactly call 911 so they loaded him into a car and took him to the hospital. The nurse wasn't exactly amused by the alcohol on his breath, and told him he should quit all that and give up riding motorcycles too. When he innocently asked "Why?" as in "What? It'll keep ya from livin' to a ripe old age?", she had no good answer so he didn't.

Also there from the octogenarian set was a founding member of the club from 1949, 81 years young, the #1 desert racing champion in 1960, and great-grandfather of four, who rides his 650 Triumph desert sled every week, along with his club member son who is the grandfather of the four. The old dude has gotten high every day of his adult life. If weed'll kill ya, it's takin' its own sweet time about it!

The SoCal hard partyin' desert-racin' lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. I suppose some would say not for the particularly intelligent either, but they'd be wrong.

It was a lovely evening so most of the party took place outdoors on Vivian's patio.This photo shows, l to r, Chris, Arnie's brother Howard, Vivian, Arnie opening presents whilst seated on the lowest chair he could find, and Jamie in the pink.

Everybody trooped in to a huge flat screen TV and Dave put on the DVD. It played over and over all evening and was a big hit. Most of the folks at the party had been to that run and a lot of 'em were in the movie. Everybody had a great time of the "Look! There's _____ passed out under his bike!" variety. Toward the end of the movie, a young lady pulled down her top, exposing a little slice of heaven. Actually, it wasn't 'little' at all, a honkin' great boobie! This may have been in response to the 'Show yer tits!' sign I had hanging around my neck. Anyway, one guy actually said her name and nobody believed it. Determined to get to the bottom of this, and not minding a little hard work, a small band of guys watched the scene over and over, trying to figure out who it was. They finally did, believe it or not, by her smile. Turns out it was Jamie, in the photo above, who when they told her, promptly grinned and did it again! As a compliment to a pretty lady in her '50s, I must say gravity has ignored her so far!

Another reason I'm glad I gave the DVD to Dave was I knew he could keep control of it and not 'lose' it, and he's going to have to do just that. Everybody wants a copy, and they know there are more to come.

It was not a huge party, maybe twenty or so people, but it was the best party in years, they tell me. Folks got drunk and stoned and laughed a lot. No bummers except Jamie lost her shoes for a while. A good time was had by all. It would have been worth the trip by itself. Click here to see the birthday cake if you haven't seen it yet.

It must also be said that there was word about folks who are no longer with us. We're at that age, though.

It was the latest night out we've had in years. We were asleep at Dave's house by midnight. The four of us went to breakfast and me'n Mrs. G hit the road for home.

Lotta old memories and a few new ones as well. Couldn't ask for more.


Since I described Arnie's service, in fairness I should tell you about Dave's. He is a Navy Vet. He was a machinist and has a rather odd service-connected disability because of it. He goes to the VA for all his health needs, and has for 40-some-odd years. He was using a grinding wheel in port when there was less demand on the compressed-air system than at sea and the thing blew apart from excess speed and opened him up from belly button to sternum. I've seen the scar. It is not pretty. I saw him take his shirt off in Mexico once and about a dozen Meskins crossed themselves from being so close to one who had had such a close brush with death.

Dave served on the Bonnie Dick and went ashore in Southeast Asia during the Laotian Incident in '61 I think, perhaps to bolster the Thai government. He doesn't really know why, just that he was tagged for a landing force to augment the ship's Marine detachment. He remembers getting handed a rifle and being told to "do what the Marines tell you". Woulda scared the shit outta me.

31 August 2008

2008 NZ Classics Festival

I got this via e-mail from my buddy Larry in L.A. Just go see and have a good look at some oddball stuff as well as just yer normal run-of-the-mill old bikes. If you have any questions, please ask.

3rd photo down is two young ladies with the Red Bull Royal Enfield. Ya think Red Bull'd help mine? Heh.

29 August 2008

Phil Hill 1927-2008

If you are my age you know about Phil Hill. Much younger and you might not. Please hit the links and read about him.


Phil Hill, a reserved Californian who became a gifted race-car driver and the only U.S.-born driver to win the Formula One international auto-racing championship, died Thursday. He was 81.

"Phil set the standard" for other American drivers who competed overseas, such as Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti, Shav Glick, the longtime motor sports writer for The Times, wrote in 2006.

Hill won his Formula One championship in the season's penultimate race in Monza, Italy, after he had swapped the series lead all year with his Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips of Germany.

In the same race, Von Trips died in a crash that also killed 14 spectators. As a result, Ferrari did not participate in the season's final race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Hill was unable to celebrate his championship in his home country.

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991.

Another pioneer is gone. Godspeed, Phil.

28 August 2008

New Sled Hauler

Click to emhugen

Since me'n Mrs. G are gonna take a shot at trials riding (backstory), we figgered it isn't feasible to be taking the cap off the pickup all the time. We like the cap for day-to-day, so it stays.

The Joe Hauler hitch receiver-mounted JH-08 rack is our answer.

Specs: weighs 68 pounds, carries up to 600lb bikes, and has the Cam-Loc anti-rattle feature. That's a screw-operated wedge device that tightens the rack up in the receiver. Cost $389.95 + (gulp) tax. Also went for a locking hitch pin.

Just fer grins, go see their clever loading ramp/bed extender.

I ordered it at my local smoke an' roar motorcycle emporium, Thin Air Motorsports, on Tuesday. It came from the Parts Unlimited warehouse in Sparks NV on Wednesday. I actually wanted a slightly different model, but the $120 shipping from the manufacturer was a deal-breaker. This one with no shipping charge will do quite nicely, thank you. The $120 will buy a lotta enchiladas and chiles rellenos!

Note the provision for storing the loading ramp. Saves room in the bed, and I don't wanta try opening the tailgate with a bike on the rack or try to wiggle the ramp out with the cap open. I drilled two holes in my 30+-year-old ramp. Mrs. G came out to look at the finished project and asked if there was something I could do to make the shabby-lookin' ol' ramp look better! Heh. Badge of honor, baby. That thing has loaded hundreds of bikes from mopeds to baggers, and has been bent and straightened several times. When it goes, it goes, but for now it's goin' with us.

My tie-downs are 30 years old too. They work fine, but there's always been a pickup bed to catch the bike if something went wrong. Got a new set of Ancras. I like that brand because I think they have the best buckle device. I've used them for years and they've never slipped.

Reflective tape and a lighting kit are on the way as we speak from The Cheap Chinese Tool Co.

But wait!, you readers with good memories might well ask. Gordon, are ya not putting the cart before the horse? Yer partial trials bike kit is scattered from hell to breakfast around yer Little Ponderosa. You don't even have a bike yet and yer makin' plans fer haulin' it around?

Well, truth of the matter is I do have a bike. Well, not here and not yet, but it's comin'. Stay tuned...

25 August 2008

Um, no ...

Seems the US carmakers want a buncha guaranteed loans to upgrade their assembly lines and develop new cars more compatible with the 21st Century (as opposed to F-150s, Denalis, and V-10 Rams).

WASHINGTON - Automakers plan to urge Congress to support funding up to $50 billion in low-interest loans over three years to help them modernize their assembly plants and develop next-generation fuel-efficient vehicles.

Industry officials said the loans, which are twice the amount authorized in last year's energy bill, are a top priority when Congress returns next month because of the declining fortunes of Detroit's automakers and tightening credit markets.


Dear GM, Ford, and Chrysler,


I was alive and aware in '73 (the first gas crisis). The writing was on the wall then. I was driving in '78 (the next gas crisis) and your response was to foist hastily thrown together, supposedly fuel efficient vehicles, that were nothing but rolling pieces of shit (Chevette, Citation, Omni, Pinto). You idiots didn't give a shit when the Japanese started putting their minds to the problem 35 years ago. Instead of seriously looking at alternative fuel vehicles (and hi-mileage gas vehicles), you continued to put out V-8s and V-10s and your vehicles got bigger.

And now, because of your shortsightedness and greed, you want taxpayer money to make you competitive now that the Japs have handed you your collective ass? Fuck you. You should get nothing and hopefully you'll all go under to be replaced by a less myopic bunch (what should have happened to the major US airlines after 9/11 too, by the way).

And a big "fuck you" to all the other US industries (mortgage bankers come to mind) who've reaped big profits on the US taxpayer over the years and now, thanks to their bad business decisions, expect us to now keep them afloat.

Let me ask you mofos something. When did you ever give us a break? During recessions and tough times, when did any of you corporate sonsabitches ever say "hey, times are tough, maybe we should give the public a break now and create goodwill for the future"? I'll bet my house (singular) you never did. When did you ever willingly take less profit to ease the burden on the consumer until the prevailing economy turned around? Never. We need what you got (hello, oil companies; don't laugh, your time will come too) and you milk every bit of profit from us for it, good times or bad.

So I say "fuck you" to the corporate assholes who think the US taxpayer is their personal mint, just handing over money, maximizing your profits and minimizing your losses. The day one of you stands up and accepts responsibility for your idiotic business plans (get rid of golden parachutes for executives and bring CEO pay more in line with the rank and file), you can all just go shit in your collective hats.

No more government bailouts, period.



PS: Now I have to go work on your pieces of shit.

Cross-posted at the Brain.

24 August 2008

Biggest Motorcycle

Don't let Fixer see this or he'll be adding a second story to his garage so one o' these'll fit...

11 feet high. 20 feet long. And, a $300,000 pricetag. No one believed he could pull it off, but he built it anyway.

Alone in his workshop at home, Greg Dunham crafted the world's largest motorcycle. Not only does the giant machine look amazing, it actually drives!

"Alone in his workshop" speaks volumes! An idle mind is the devil's playground...

09 August 2008

Off To The Races

I am currently in the little town of Castle Rock Washington with my parental units in their beautiful motorhome, using my trusty air card, to watch the First Annual Dick Andrea Grand National Flat Track motorcycle races and I am having a blast!
My Dad used to come here in the Seventies, back when he did motorcross, to watch the Flat Track races and there are some of his buddies here from way back when still running teams.I used to live nearby and have partied here several times.

I haven't been to a flat track race since I got dragged out of the San Jose Mile back in the Eighties in an arm bar by the local police for telling one to Fuck Off, after getting drunk on Tequila at nine in the morning.
Ahh, the good old days, that was a long, painful walk, over an eighth of a mile, getting my arm twisted out of the socket.
No sense of humor assholes.
Anyway. I had a blast last night and they are just now starting to practice for the even better show tonight.

This is a small track, kinda in the middle of nowhere and ya kinda have to know about it but there are a lot of people here and they are all friendly as hell.

Imagine trying this at a sporting event, walking up to the gate drinking a can of beer, several times, and just tossing the empty into a can and heading on in to yer seat.
The security guy's just smile and nod at ya, as long as ya ain't being a dick or are obviously impaired.
My kinda place.
I love it!

I have Dads digital camera and have been taking lots of pictures of some beautiful old bikes, Triumphs, Nortons, Harleys, oh, and a trio of the hottest young ladies, I won't go there, my, my, my.

As soon as I badger him into downloading and Emailing them to me, I will post them here.
Ol' Gord would be in heaven here and I have been thinking about him constantly.

Ta ta, I have many more beers calling my name before the evening is over.

08 August 2008

Go for a ride

A 4½-minute ride on a Danish rider's '69 Bonnie. Pleasant scenery, GREAT sound! Enjoy.

More at bisgaardmotors.

04 August 2008

Damn you, Storz!

Me'n Mrs. G had a terrific weekend. Tipped off in advance by my old friend Steve, owner of Storz Performance, we went up to Donner Ski Ranch to visit and to watch him and his sons ride a trial sponsored by Sacramento PITS, the premier NorCal-based trials club. An explanation of Motorcycle Trials here.

'The Ranch' aka 'The Granite Patch', is about ten miles from home. We rode our bikes up there on Saturday morning. The 'sections' are laid out in a loop over a coupla miles so we just hiked up to the nearest one to the parking lot. At our age and that altitude (7200'), we deemed that sufficient exercise. I took this photo on Sunday of the trail we hiked up on Saturday. You can see our bikes in the upper parking lot. On Saturday, we were parked in the much larger parking lot and pit area beyond the ski lodge in the center. Camera-shy Mrs. G saw me pointing the machine in her direction and scampered behind the tree on the left. Heh. Although resembling a trials section, this is actually access between sections. This is gnarly country, folks.

Click photos to emhugen

The Saturday event was for Vintage bikes (and riders. Heh) and Beginners. Steve finished the section and hollered at me, "This is the sport for you, Gordon". More on this later.

Steve invited us for burgers. We decided to go home for a coupla hours and come back up in the pickup on the theory that a) it gets cold up there when the sun goes down and, b) in our tourist area, after the sun goes down, every driver is drunk.

We got home in time to watch a little of the NASCAR Nationwide series roadracing in the rain in Montreal. First time I've seen windshield wipers on stock cars, although some of them lifted off at speed. Best NASCAR race I've seen in years! They should water Daytona... Then a few minutes of an unlimited-class motorcycle hillclimb. 200hp bikes going straight up! Sometimes over backwards, too.

I called Steve to ask what I could bring for dinner, and what kind of pie he liked. His answer, and I'm not making this up, was "Oooh! Chocolate cream pie! And bring some burgers...". Come for burgers, and oh yeah, bring some burgers. I love that guy!

We had a nice dinner and a good visit. We watched a little extreme-o-cross bike action on the TV in Steve's motorcondo. One guy did a handstand on the bars about ten feet up in the air. I said, "I've done that", to which Steve replied, "Not on purpose, I bet". Well, no...

Thus endeth day one. A nice bike ride on two-lane mountain roads, plenty of sunshine, dirt bikes, old friends, met some nice folks, food, laughs, TV motorsports. Pretty good day.

Rode the bikes back up to the Ranch on Sunday. This was the regular event for Intermediate and Expert riders, and Steve and his sons Neil and Eric all rode. There were a coupla former National Champions there, and they were absolutely amazing to watch. Here's Steve after his first loop:

After his second loop, Steve was noticeably more tired and called it a day. 10 sections per loop and it isn't as easy as it looks. The trial was scored on 'best 2 out of 3' loops, so Steve had completed the event. His comment was, "Remember how we used to thrill ourselves at 80 miles an hour? Well, now we can do it at two miles an hour!"

His sons, 16 and 18 years of age, are really good at this sport, and have competed as far away as East Tennessee. I outsmarted myself by preemptively changing the batteries in my camera and installing bunk ones, so I apologize to them and you for no pictures of them.

Steve had gotten me thinking with his "This is the sport for you" comment, and I bit the hook by accepting his offer to ride his fantastic Sherco around. Grrr. It took me about ten seconds to fall in love with the damn thing. Here, kid, the first one's free...

Steve's an old Pommy single man like me, so in retaliation I made him clatter up and down the road on my Enfield. He got me better than I got him.

This is a great motorcycle sport for old farts like me. Low speeds, no handlebar-to-handlebar action so less chance of an ER visit (we heal a lot slower than we used to), ride at your own pace, and a relatively low investment in equipment. Also, PITS puts on several events each year within an hour's drive from my home. Feel sumthin' tuggin' atcher lip, old man?

Now, a new $6Large bike is out of the question, but I've got a garage full of old iron, of which several of whom could easily be converted for a casual fling at trials, perfect for a Vintage Beginner like myself. Then I remembered that I have an actual vintage trials bike that I took in payment for a $25 debt about 20 years ago. It's a Honda TL125. I had to dig, almost literally, around in my back yard for it, but here it is:

It's not as bad as it looks. I have the rest of it except for the rear axle and sprocket, and a few (we'll see!!!) minor mostly proprietary items. Funny story: I had this thing hanging from the ceiling of my motorcycle shop. One day a guy came in needing a rear sprocket for one of these but not really expecting to find one in a podunk 'sickle shop like mine. I smiled and said something like "we need only look to a higher place to fulfill your desires" and pointed up. Sold him the sprocket for 60 bucks, which was half the price from Honda dealers. I get the feeling that one's gonna come back and bite me on the ass...

More on all this happy horseshit as it develops, but I think I got a little winter project.

Damn you, Storz.

As a special added feature, here's part one of a two-part video on a PITS trial just south of Lake Tahoe, along with some very good commentary about the sport of trials. The Lewisport folks were at the Ranch as well. Please enjoy. Part two is here.