My earliest memory is of my sister and myself sneaking out through the
front window of the house and riding our tricycles around the driveway.
This was, as it turned out, to be the pattern for my life.
My first love was music, more specifically Beatles music. I can remember
standing on a street corner in Bombholder Germany in 1964 singing a
Beatles song when an American couple stopped and gave a coin. I don't
think they knew I was American also. It is the only time I ever sang
professionally. At the time I was seven and my love for the Beatles was all
The first time I rode a motorcycle was in the California desert while
camping with some friends. At the time I was about thirteen and the bike
was a Honda trail 70 or 80. I did fall over but only once or twice and more
importantly, no-one saw me. Around the time I entered high school my
step father's brother gave us a Vespa 150. It was a good little bike, and
never gave us any trouble unless you tried to do a wheelie. The back
fender would hit the ground, and the shock would knock the rider off the
bike, then it would continue down the street without the rider.
At the time, I lived in Fountain Valley. Some of my friends lived miles
away but this didn't present a problem. I would simply use the tract streets
and run with my headlights off. If I saw a cop, I would jump off, kill the
engine and start walking the bike. This worked well for a couple of years.
That was all the poor Vespa lasted, but it was not the bikes fault, it was
me. When I was sixteen, I got a Honda 160 scrambler for $250. I had my
driving permit and life was sweet. No more walking or taking the bus.
Unfortunately, I received two tickets and had my privilege to drive
revoked. We moved to Anaheim, and I turned the little Honda into a
custom bobber, but no-one else shared my enthusiasm for bobbed Honda
Around this time, I had started working with a man named Ray cleaning
Sambo's restaurants at night. This was a difficult time for me because I
was always tired working 5 or 6 hours a night and going to high school in
the day time. The one shining moment in all of this was the night I saw
my first old Indian motorcycle.
We pulled into the Sambo's off the 5 freeway in Santa Fe Springs and
there it was, sitting in the parking lot with it's gorgeous rainbow painted
valanced fenders. It was love at first sight.
These fenders were designed by some old geezer around 1940, and as it
turns out, he just happened to make them perfect. You cannot make these
fenders any prettier. The only direction you can go would be uglier li