Friday, July 31, 2009

Well, it was a big deal back then.....

It was a historic occasion. These photos are from the party Rocky Mountain H-D in Littleton, CO threw to celebrate the '82 "Buyback" of Harley-Davidson from AMF, complete with a ceremonial "Out with the old, in with the new...." switching of their dealer signs as the partygoers carried on.

Rocky Mountain H-D is still in business today, having moved to bigger digs a few years later on So. Broadway in Englewood, CO, and then back again to Littleton to a palatial building in 2000.

.....and, speaking of parties

This is why the Long Beach Cops told us we couldn't have our Sinners Liberty Bash at Dustin's house any more. These pictures are from '05, the last time at that location. I think we got four squad cars, and the LBPD watch commander. He was pretty cool, and let us go on with the party, but told us in NO uncertain terms we were finding a new location for next year.

Too bad I don't have a picture of all the rods and customs parked on the other side of the street. And, these were the early arrivals. You should have seen it when it was in full swing later that evening. Those parties were some good ones.

If you're going to Sturgis.......

Part-timer Steve has entered his bike in the Metzeler Bike Show at the Legendary Buffalo Chip. The show is on Tues. Aug. 4th, and the gates open up at 11:00am, and awards are at 5:00pm.

What's cool about all this is that Steve and I rode out to L.A. (2,500 mi. round trip) a couple weeks ago, with Steve riding this bike all the way, and now he's riding it up to Sturgis (800 mi. round trip), and then he's putting his bike in the show!

If you get a chance to drop by the Metzeler show, be sure to look Steve up, and give him a big pat on the back and lend some moral support. He deserves it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"From the mind of Stroker Dallas' Rick Fairless....."

I don't usually dog on another builder's ideas - variety is the spice of life, to each his own, etc. etc. But, I have to make an exception here. What the fuck was Rick Fairless thinking? Do you wake up in the morning, and say..."Man, I can't get this out of my head, I just have to build it!".

On a positive side, it's designed for a 300 series tire, and it only costs $4,999.00 for the bare frame (you do get the axle covers, though). Man, nothing would do more for your self-image with the ladies, or wowing the bros at the next bike night, than riding in on a bike that looks like you're going down the road hugging a huge flacid penis with a ballsack dragging behind you.

Work, work, work......

I got more swingarm frames in here than you can shake a stick at, and one's still at the sandblaster. The left one has some severe cracks (it's a '66) to repair plus some minor mods, the middle one is in for a 4" downtube stretch and a new backbone, and the one on the right is in for a hardtail. The one that's still at the blasters is another hardtail. Keep 'um coming!

You know, a lot of people balk at having their frames blasted before I work on them. Take that frame on the right - after blasting, I found a cracked tranny support, and two cracks in the top motor mount area. Don't be cheap, a frame blast is money well spent.

Flyin', fightin' Micks......

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Photos courtesy of FHK, thanks buddy!

Last year, I redid a butchered-up VL frame for The Harpoon, and took it out to the Sinners' Liberty Party to deliver to him. I gave Harpoon one of my Nazi helmets (that ain't 'glass, that's gen-u-ine WWII steel) to do. I told him to do whatever he wanted on it. Well, this is what his twisted little mind and fingers came up. He gave the helmet back to me at this year's Party.

Is this straight outta the freezer, or what?????

Hoolee shiznett, looka dis! 'Poon did the whole interior in varigated gold leaf, then he topped (bottomed?) it off with killer pinstriping!

Now all I have to do is rivit the original suspension back in. Thank you Harpoon, very much! I never expected this. This was above and beyond, man.

Damn.....just like the old days!

Photo courtesy of FHK

"Well, I guess that answers THAT question!".
The entranceway into Mike Parti's shop. What a cool guy. I wish we'd have had more time, a couple hours just flew by. Thank you Mike, very much.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Because my mind works this way....Part 2

I was working late tonight, and like everybody does, I had the radio on. After hearing Nickelback's Something In Your Mouth for the 10,000 time today, I switched over to the "oldies" station. When I did, they were playing Jan&Dean's Deadman's Curve. It made me think of Jan Berry's (the Jan, of Jan&Dean) horrific accident that almost ended his life, and definitely ended the duo's musical career together, at that point and time. The above picture is of Jan's '66 Corvette, in the impound lot after the accident.

On April 12, 1966, Jan Berry's life was going thru some pretty radical events. He had just broken up with his long-time girlfriend Jill, he had just come from his draft board hearing on his draft status (this was Viet Namn time), he was studying hard for his UCLA medical school exam(which would decide his draft status if he wasn't accepted in med school), and he was running late for a meeting to discuss final arrangements for starting his own record label, J&D Records, to be a subsidiary of Dunhill Records.

Whatever Jan Berry's distractions were that afternoon, he turned off of Sunset Blvd., south onto Whittier Dr. in Beverley Hills. With a slow moving vehicle in front of him, running late, and driving fast as was his habit, he pulled out to pass the vehicle, and smashed into the rear end of a gardener's flatbed truck that was parked at the curb. Police estimate that Berry was going between 80-90 MPH at impact with the truck.

When police and the ambulance crews arrived, they thought he was dead. They checked his vital signs, and found out otherwise. They cut Berry from his car, and took him to the UCLA Medical Center a short distance away. He was in and out of a coma for about a month, and had severe head injuries. When he emerged from the coma, he was partially paralyzed on his right side, and he definitely didn't "have all of his marbles in the right drawers" as a result of the collision. They also thought Berry wouldn't ever walk again.

Well, his mental and physical recovery was long and painfull, but Jan Berry indeed learned to walk again, and was able to regain enough mental and physical power to re-enter the recording studios not as a recording artist, but as a very good producer, in the early '70's, something he loved dearly. Not only that, but he recovered enough to reunite with Dean Torrance in '78, and they were able to actively tour as Jan&Dean again all the way up to a few months before Jan Berry died on March 26, 2004 of a massive stroke. Berry was 62 years old when he died.

Wow, talk about guts.

Now, over the years, it's been said that the reason for the crash was that one of the 'Vettes OEM wheel knockoffs had spun loose, sending him into the truck - that wasn't the case. Also, it's been said that his accident was at the same Deadman's Curve on Sunset, where the 1964 Jan&Dean's song of the same name ends in a violent collision. That's also not true.

Most everybody is in agreement that the Deadman's Curve in the Jan&Dean song is the sharp 35 MPH curve at the end of a pretty long downhill section of Sunset Blvd., right above where UCLA's Drake Stadium is located, in Bel-Air Estates. That curve is deceiving, and had been the scene of numerous accidents. That Deadman's Curve is located several miles away from where Jan Berry's accident occurred.

But, one famous person who did have a very serious head-on collision, driving his sports car too fast on that Deadman's Curve on Sunset, was voiceover character actor Mel Blanc. You know his voices - Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, etc. Blanc's accident happened in Jan. of '61, at about 9:30pm. Blanc too had to be cut from his car, and he suffered severe head injuries, a broken pelvis, and two broken legs. Blanc was in a coma for weeks, but he pulled thru, and had a long, full career afterwards.

Now, what does all this have to do with motorcycles? Well.......nothing. What does this have to do with a part of my life, growing up in the '60's? Well......quite a bit. Like I said, this is how my mind works sometimes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"On a long and lonesome highway.........."

Here we are, off on some ranch exit from I-70 at about Midnight, approximately 40 mi. east of Richfield, Utah. Part-timer Steve adding his gas stash to make it the last of the 20-odd miles of this 108 mi. stretch that has no services. This section of I-70 hasn't had any services for as long as I've been coming thru here, and that goes back almost 40 years.

I love the ancient billboards at each end of this section with the bull with a ring in his nose, proclaiming "THIS IS NO BULL, LAST GAS FOR 108 MILES!". Don't see signs like that too often anymore.

Not exactly sure what Steve is doing right here......I think he was preparing to self-administer some kind of pain medication after he finished fueling up, I believe.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Michael Lichter Studios

Photo copyrighted and courtesy of Michael Lichter

While we were out in SoCal last week, Part-timer Steve got a call from Michael Lichter. When Steve told him where we were, Mike told him that he was home all by himself - the family out on various adventures, and had he known we were going to ride out, he would have jumped on his bike and gone with us! And, he wasn't bullshitting us, either.

See, now here's a guy who's travel schedule and workload would make any frequent-flier corporate exec seem like a piker in comparison, who's already been all over the country this year (and add in Sweden, Russia, and Cuba, to name a few foreign countries) willing to jump on his bike with a couple friends and hit the road, just for the sheer fun of it all. Wadda guy!

I was fortunate enough to have my FXTT bike shot by Mike last year, and featured in Easyriders in the March '09 issue. It, along with all the bikes that Mike shot for Sturgis, Easyriders, and S&S's 50th Anniversary, and the rest of '08 are now online on his website. I encourage you to go over there and just appreciate the artistry and beauty in Mike's work.

Oh yeah Mike, don't make any plans next year at this time, you're comming with us!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Greasy Kulture #10

A milestone for Editor Guy Bolton- the "Big One-oh!" - the 10th edition of Greasy Kulture has rolled off the presses. Congratulations.

Also, you can hear host Ken, with Guy, speaking in depth about GK and it's history, recorded live for Biker Radio Magazine. The link can be found below. Just click on the "Shows" button at the top of the home page, and then go to "Edition 86" to hear the interview. It's the second interview segment, right after Kiwi Mike of Kiwi Indian.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some favorite quotes from my trip to SoCal.....

Photo courtesy of Wes/Four Aces

I had the extreme pleasure of spending several hours with Mike Parti on this trip. I was fascinated with all his stories, scrapbooks, machinery, and not in the least, his motorcycles. Here's some of what the conversation went like:

Mike Parti: They (the AMA) didn't like us (The Galloping Gooses) too much. We got thrown out of a race one time, so we just went down the road about a 1/4 mi. and set up our own admission gate to the races. We did that for a while, but we had to get out of there pretty quick, there were 200 people coming down the road after us when they figured it out.

We used to have this Goose, that was named Jumpin' Joe. He was a jump instructor during the war (WW II). He was a real brawler, he liked to fight. He tried to parachute into the 1955 Rose Bowl, but he missed, and wound up in the parking lot. Broke his leg. When they were carring him out on a stretcher, he kept yelling "TAKE ME INSIDE, I HAVE A MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD!"

Jumpin' Joe was hanging out in a bar we all used to go to, and this guy comes in looking for Joe, so he says "I'm Joe, what do you want?" The guy says he heard that Joe was pretty good with his fists, and Joe told him he did all right for himself. The guy told Joe that he'd like to try him out. So Joe says that's OK, but he tells the guy that he has an "hour rule" in cases like that. The guy replied "An hour rule, what's that mean?" Joe tells him "Well, if I knock you out in 15 minutes, I still get to beat on you for another 45....."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More of my favorite quotes from our trip.......

Droopy and his Knuckle, built in 1963. Still owned and ridden by him.
Photo courtesy of the Early Riders site.

At Bob's Big Boy, the night of July 3, 2009. Frank Kaisler to Droopy:

Frank: Hey, Droopy, didn't they knock your house down when you were gone one time?

Droopy: Fuck, leveled it! That was a bad month. My bike blew up, I got stabbed in Venice Beach, and when I got out, I went home, and the whole fucking house was gone, there wasn't anything left of it, just a vacant lot!

I lived in that house for a year, and never paid any rent. My landlord would come for the rent, and I'd tell him FUCK YOU! and slam the door. He came in one time when I wasn't there, and took the toilet, trying to make me move out. Fuck him, I just shit down the pipe.

We're back.....

I-15 Baker, CA -"Gateway To Death Valley" and home to the "World's Largest Thermometer". I found out something this trip I never knew before. The thermometer is 134 ft. high, to commemorate the highest official temperature recorded in the continental United States - 134 degrees in Death Valley, CA on July 10, 1913. That is also officially the second-highest temperature ever recorded in the world, and it was the hottest recorded until 2006.

No two ways about it - we had a hell of a good time, we had another great road trip. Part-timer Steves rigid chopper didn't miss a beat (although we did have to re-jet his S&S E in L.A.), handled the trip with ease, and our gas stops worked out perfect. Steve took 3/4 of a gal. of gas with him for the 112 mi. I-70 "no services" stretch between Green River and Salina Utah, but we didn't have to stop and add any gas until we were about 80 mi. into it. Steve's seat does have some permanant ass-cheek prints in it, though.....

The only incident we had happened about 20 mi. east of Glenwood Spgs, CO. I waited for a SUV to pass me before I pulled out to pass, myself. I was about three car lengths behind the SUV at about 80 mph when one of those full tail light assemblies that goes half the width of the back end of a mid 80's FoMoCo car fell off the car being hauled on a trailer in front of them, and they hit it square and at full speed....KA-BAM!! the whole assembly in jagged pieces came out from under that SUV ranging from quarter size to football size, like a bomb went off. There was red, black, and silver shrapnel chunks flying directly up, and at me. I thought they rear ended the trailer, it exploded that violently.

I guess I went into auto-pilot mode - I remember cutting to the right, and putting my throttle arm up to block my face. I got hit on the arm and head by some pretty good sized pieces, and I took some pieces in the face and mouth, getting a fat lip in the process. The only damage to the bike were a couple scratches in the lower fairing area, a couple scratches in the fork's cowbells, and a shattered and bent R/H mirror (which I replaced in Glenwood Spgs. at the Harley dealer). Steve was behind me in the right lane, saw the whole thing, and couldn't believe I didn't go down. I always say that God watches over fools and little children, so I'll just leave it at that.

It was another hot trip. It was 100 degrees when we went thru Las Vegas, and it was only 105 when we went thru Baker, CA. Coming back, it was 111 in Baker. When we gassed up in Baker coming back, I drank a quart of Gatoraide, a quart of water, and I still needed another quart of water to rehydrate before we went on to Vegas, and I'd been drinking water all the way from L.A. When we stopped in Vegas to see a friend of Steve's that was staying there, it was 107 when we pulled in at 9:30pm.

Steve shot camera footage all the way there and back, and we have some pretty cool riding shots, some film of our visits to Bob's Big Boy in Toluca, Mike Parti's home and shop, and, of course, the Sinners July 4th Party. As soon as Steve has time, he's going to sit down and edit it, and you'll see it here.

And, can you believe it - about the only time Steve wasn't filming, was when I got blasted by the shrapnel!