gonna take sometime off the computer
for a couple weeks. need to do some stuff.
check below: the photos of the guy you
see took the time to write stories from his
past. stories that somehow he remembers.
living in a time that most of us dream about.
rich thanks so much.,,, your pal, max
Here's the first part of my "Old Ass Man Chronicles. In the weeks to come I'll send you three or four more about us crazy fuckers on two wheels back in the day. Mid- December 1970 found snow on the hills surrounding the Bay area all the way to Travis AFB. Back from 'Nam, discharged in the morning, taken by bus to Greyhound depot in Oakland to go to LA were I was drafted. I'm freaking out. Running gun battle between Oakland's finest and the Black panther's down the street, just out of the jungle, head's on backwards. Need help! Called Tom my pard who came home two months ago. H.A. since high School, Oakland Chapter, born in Richmond. We had each others back over there. Minutes later, H.D. with H.A. on board slides up in front of depot. Tom yells, "get on", we're gone. His wife Charlene cooks Mexican food for two days, can't get enough. Night's it's off to the train tunnel to trip and get adjusted. Mind's right, Tom takes me to depot, I head home. Couldn't find Tom for 40 years. He couldn't find me. Last February that ended. We're so happy we could shit. We're both still verticle and life is good. It's just like it's mid-December 1970 again. Down the road, Rich
Disclaimer (Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the statute of limitations might not have expired) My pard "Bob" and I were in AF together ('67-'69) before he was booted out for K.O.ing our C.O. I'm headed to 'Nam, he's headed to Dick Allen's South bay shop to have a chopper built. Dick builds him a killer '49 Pan in stunning blue/white candy pearl, Model A radius rod 24" over springer with massive head rake, low bike, lot's of chrome, for $3,500. "Bob" gets a ton of tickets for unsafe vehicle and splits for Michigan with friend who's driving 50's Ford wagon. When "Bob" put Pan tins on heads he glued steel wool not felt inside ( let's not go there, I couldn't make this up). Comes loose in Nevada, blows motor, thank God for wagon. "Bob" finds only P.D. mc in small Michigan town in front of diner one night. Cop inside with donuts. Wagon rescues another one. At club house '65 magically becomes a '49. "Bob' goes to concert. Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes plus Johnny Winters. Black man robs hotdog seller, "Bob" and his club are security. "Bob" corners robber, he in turn pulls gun from girlfriends bag, shoots "Bob" twice. "Bob" tackles robber ( glad it was only .38 cal.). "Bob" in hospital, charity concert for "Bob", same players, club steals "Bob' from hospital for show. "Bob" recovers, to many tickets in michigan, flees back to California. Crossing Arizona primary chain explodes. "Bob" is wearing a primary chain for belt. Pieces two together and rides into Long beach. Sells me bike for $750, leaves out heritage. I'm a month back from 'Nam, concrete truck almost severs leg completely with chute (driver passed out at wheel). I'm in body cast to chest. "Bob' modifies it so he can bungee me on to take rides, he calls it physical therpy. When out of cast I put motor in stock '57 straight leg with with stock springer. First HD. P.S. Robber on bail flees to Canada, shoots Mountie, caught and returned to U.S. Out on bail, disappears, never seen again. Down the road, Rich
"Bob" shows up after dropping wife at Long Beach Airport. We go to garage to wrench on two wheeled wonders. Proceed to get drunk and stoned. Drunk O.K., but stoned means munchies. Our plan seemed simple. Take my Knuckle to Bob's Big Boy on Long Beach Blvd. for silver shake, burger, and fries. This is where the drunk part comes in. My Knuck has a 1" rake, 18" over girder, no front brake, jockey shift, and suicide clutch. 'Bob" climbs on behind me and I roll it on. First dip no problem, crossed cross street O.K. Dip on other side big problem. Dumped clutch, stand bike straight up, sissybar head high touchs street, bike comes down. Load seems light. I stop mid-block, look back. Sissybar is gone at cross bar under fender. "Bob" looks like Christ on cross. Knocked out cold, arms straight out at sides, sissy bar under him. Lights in houses start to come on. I park bike, drag "Bob" to curb. Try to get him to come to. Cops show up, down the street, slowly coming our way, don't know what's up, but suspect the worst. "Bob" doesn't know what's up either but I get him to shout at them that he's O.K. and we're going to my house a block away. Don't ask me why but they bought it. I pumped him full of coffee the rest of the night and wouldn't let him crash, afraid of concussion. He wouldn't go to hospital of course. Rang his bell good, massive headache the next day. New sissy bar for me. (1972) Down the road, Rich
Tom Burke, main man at B&O Cycles in Long Beach in the late 60's and early 70's was a very good friend. These last three pieces are just a sample of our misadventures. A ride through Hwy 74 Ortega Canyon to watch the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix with racers Bud Ekins and Steve McQueen. A group of about 20 rider left B&O that morning but not before most had a good chunk off my huge hash ball. Tom was riding Von Dutch's c-cab trike. As a side note my friends and I used to grab some beers and ride out to the Ortega Hot Springs at night. We'd always blast down Atlantic Blvd. on the way home. The echo of our exhaust of the deserted building was awesome. Anyway, some stopped at the Lookout Cafe to look down on the town of Elsinore. The race was run right through the middle of town. Some never made it that far. Things get fuzzy after that. I do remember getting home that evening, solo. I wondered what happened to Tom and rode down to the shop. Everything looked O.K. till I rode around back to the alley. There sat Tom in the trike passed out over the bars with the front wheel wedged firmly in the rear door. Just a pinch between the cheek and gum. Down the road, Rich
Tom Burke's friend, member "Brother Speed'", Oregon, is getting hitched and wants us to come up. Tom, another employee, me, and a youngster I'll call"Junior" hit it for Florence, Oregon. We lose them at a gas stop outside L.A. and don't see them again till Florence. "Junior' and I boogie up Hwy 1 and spend the night in bags just south of the Golden Gate. We're on almost twin knucks with 18" over girders, wasell peanuts, low and long. Up through the Russian River and bags just at the Oregon border. Next afternoon we roll in to Florence about 5 minutes behind Tom. I had to keep kickin' "Junior in the ass or we'd have never got there. He'd space out and fade way back. To much Osley I reckoned. Mut have been over a 100 long bikes down by the river in front of this huge old saloon. Next day after the wedding we headed south to Crater Lake. At least 6" of snow on the road. Yahoo! Tom's oil bag split just north of Grant's Pass, to the HD dealer we went.It was in his garage in his back yard. Lot's of cool old bikes and stuff. Repair done we get into Weed for the night. Junior" misses gas stop above Redding and we watch him fly by. Found him by the road later with a two-piece valve. Pushed into a chicken coop he mounts my p-pad for the next 600 miles to Long beach. We stop at Solidad so Tom can visit Long Beach Hessian Pres. Junior puts top of wood chair between him and p-pad. Finally reach Long Beach next day. A year later I ask Tom what about "Junior". Sold the Knuck (never went to get it), went to Alaska, hiked off in to wilderness, 1 year later stumbles out on to highway, first car is going straight to Long Beach. Truth is stranger than Fiction. Down the road, Rich P.S. One to go!
Last installment. Chris Bunch, Editor, Big Bike Magazine calls Tom Burke. Got O.K., first prison bike show, May 1972, Men's Colony, San Luis Obispo, get bikes up. 20 machines leave B&O Cycles, Long beach up hwy 101. Night camping Moro Bay State Park. Mouse who worked at Tom's shop and for Disney Studios and I ride into town to check bars. Blasted, can't see forks, cold, wet and thick fog, lost, sitting in middle of side road, bike running, hippy in VW rolls up. Follow me to camp grounds, gone like a rocket, I turn to follow, tail light almost disappear. Burning oil from bikes to burn wet wood. "Scrooms' come out, long day, crash. Late getting up, "Scrooms kick in. Oh boy! I've been elected to ride to prison, give we'll be late story. Rolling down 101 at speed, CHP comes up, sign language, he hits lights, follow him to prison at speed. I'm trippin' now. Warrant checks, drain gas tanks into wet, rusty, 55 gal. drum with hand pump, doesn't bode well. Show is great, prison set-up crew did great job, cool awards made in metal shop. Lunch, view "Easy Rider" movie with inmates. We go to leave. Inmates have outside balconies in cells. Their all watching us split. I'm last to go, Chris is in front of me. He forgets 90 degree turn at end of road. I almost nail him as he tries to stop, slides, left, right, high side, he's under Panhead. We straighten various levers, pedal, etc. Standing ovation from inmates. At first gas, we drain tanks, flush, refill. Made it home that night. I got "best road jammer" from show crew and 2nd over all bike from the population. '67 Long Beach Police Special, '47 tail welded on, really narrowed wide glide with Barney lowers. Wassel peanut, all in candy apple red, lots of chrome. Loved that bike. Like hemi in '32 roadster. Yahoo! Check copy of September 1972 Big Bike. Down the road, Rich
Sometime 1973. Paul Barber high school pard, me, and one or two more riders I can't recall left almost dark from Long Beach headed up the mountain to Big Bear. About the 3/4 mark up that pitch black winding road Paul ran short of gas. I went on ahead to Big Bear to secure more fuel. Another group of riders came upon Paul and the others and gave him some gas to continue. That's when Paul's headlight bracket broke and he went over the edge. His Panhead found it's self upside down against the only tree within 50 feet left or right. The other side of the tree was a several thousand foot drop down the side of the mountain. Lucky Paul. I showed up with the extra gas as the new group had pulled the Pan off the tree. Onward to Big Bear. That's where we found Paul had split a seam in his gas tank. A couple hours work with magic epoxy saw us headed down the backside several miles to a place to throw down the bags and get our minds right. Next morning two of the four batteries were dead. I fired the trusty Knuck and push started them with the old straight leg to the rear peg system. They limped into the gas station in Big bear to put some more sparky in their batteries. That afternoon we decided we had had enough fun for the weekend and started down the backside of the mountain and across the desert to home. That's when it started to rain. Let me correct that. Rain is to gentle a word. We managed to get through a couple of flash floods without being swept away and finally made the freeway. After about 75 miles or so we made it to Long Beach. I had lost my glasses so my eyes looked like two cherries in a snow bank. Worst 75 miles ever spent on two wheels. We had a blast! Max, I promise this is the very last one. Rich