Good wood, the match, and more…

23 July 2014
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We have what has to be one of the fanciest gunstores I’ve ever been in right around the corner from the California Scooter Company factory.   Tucked away in an industrial park with no signs to identify it, this retail establishment offers very high end shotguns and hunting rifles, with the emphasis clearly on the ultra-high-end firearms.   These were toys with price tags ranging from $32,000 to $95,000!

IMG_1201-325As you know, my friend and motorcycle buddy Paul was down here for a few days for our Mosin-Nagant match, and while he was here, Paul wanted to see the CSC operation and “a few nice gun stores in your neighborhood.”  Paul thought the CSC operation, the CSC bikes, and Steve’s Mustang collection was top drawer (hey, who wouldn’t?), and it just worked out that we had time for a stop at the shotgun place I mentioned above.

You know, the owner of that place also collects vintage bikes, and I’m going to ask him if I can grab a few photos of the Gileras, Ducatis, BSAs, Harleys, and other cool iron he has at the store.   He has really nice stuff, and I’ll bet he’ll say okay, so keep an eye on the blog for some real vintage two-wheeled toys.

You’ll want to keep an eye on the blog for another reason, too, but I can’t tell you any more about that yet.  Not yet, anyway.   But when you see it…wow!  So stay tuned, my friends.   Steve is about to rock the motorcycle world again.  Trust me on this…it will be good!

I promised you guys a few photos from the Mosin match last weekend, and let me tell you, it was a hoot.   I have been unofficially designated as the world’s greatest Mosin salesman due to my ability to get others pumped up about these vintage Russian rifles, and we had a number of the newly-converted participate (including my buddy Paul and my daughter Erica) .    These rifles are cool, they’re inexpensive, and they’ve been in storage for decades (like since the end of World War II in many cases).   When they come out of the box, they’re caked in cosmoline, and part of the fun is cleaning them up to find out what’s hidden beneath all that goo!   As Robert Duvall said in Apocalypse Now, I love the smell of cosmoline in the morning (or something like that)…

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So, enough with the gabbing…let’s see some more of these photos!

Here’s one of the crew at the target line.  Paul provided the zombie targets.   Hey, it was a fun match!   If you look closely, you’ll see our good buddy and CSC rider Duane in that mix (he’s third from the left)…

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My buddies Greg and Tyler, a father and son team…

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My daughter Erica, proving the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree…

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Hollister Paul, the original Wild One and good friend for more than six decades, with his sniper Mosin…

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On the firing line, defending Stalingrad…

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That’s it for now, folks.   We’re off on some errands, so I’ve got to run.   Ride safe, and like they say, Держите порох сухим!

 

A pair spanning 50 years…

22 July 2014
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Well, approximately 50 years…check out this vintage red Mustang from Steve’s collection…

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And here’s one of my Baja Blaster out in Death Valley…

Ah, fun times.

The heat out here is oppressive and it’s getting hotter…the forecast for the weekend is 106 degrees!   But I’m still going to get out and get my knees in the breeze…or maybe the broiler!

More photos to follow later today, folks.

 

45 years ago today….

21 July 2014
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I was glued to the television set, along with my folks and probably a zillion other people…

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Did you watch Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the moon on live TV, too?  Heady times, and it was awesome being able to see it as it occurred.

Armstrong passed away a couple of years ago.  I used to work for a guy who actually knew him (that would be Admiral Gordon Smith), and the Admiral said Armstrong was quite a man.    Shoot, he walked on the moon!  How could he not be?

Trying to tie Armstrong to something related to motorcycles went nowhere for me, but I did find that he owned a ’67 big block Corvette…and this was the actual car…

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Back in the day General Motors gave each astronaut two cars every year (product placement, anyone?), and most astronauts chose a Corvette for themselves and a station wagon or sedan for the family.   Armstrong fit the mold and he chose a Vette (if there can such a thing as a mold for a man who walked on the moon).   The Vette you see above was auctioned on Ebay a while back.   It reached a cool $250,000, but it wasn’t high enough to reach the seller’s reserve so the car didn’t sell.   I wonder where it is now.

It’s hot out here today, folks, with a forecast in the mid 100′s for the coming weekend.   Wow!   Too hot to ride?   Well, we’ll just have to see about that!

 

A Pair of Colts…

21 July 2014
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I’ve been off on another secret mission, folks, and this one was in Charlotte, North Carolina.   Lots of time in an airplane again, lots of thunderstorms, and boy oh boy, is the economy ever booming down there.   Good times.   But I’m back, and one of my first things after I returned was to swing by the plant and grab some photos….and the focus was on a couple of stunning Mustangs.   Steve has two original (and fully restored) Mustangs in his collection…and like the title of this blog says, they are a pair of Colts.  The first is an original 1947 Colt, the very first Mustang model…

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With 10-inch wheels, a 125cc 2-stroke Villiers, and classy looks, that first Mustang model was tiny.  Villiers cut off the supply of engines after only a little more than a year of Mustang production.   That was a good thing…it mandated a complete redesign that led to the incorporation of 12-inch wheels and the Mustang format we know today.   It’s the one our CSC motorcycles are patterned after today, and it’s a classic look.

Back in the day, though, Mustang wanted to get back to a value-engineered version of their Mustang, which led to the introduction of a new model Colt in 1956…

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Value-engineered to include undamped Earles-style forks and a centrifugal clutch rather than a transmission, I think the new Colt looked great.   The public didn’t agree, and word has it that the Mustang factory didn’t like it, either.   The new Colt had lots of problems and it was discontinued in 1957 after a short 2-year production run.   The colors were great, though, and Steve’s ’57 Colt really glows (as the photo above shows).

MaverickSo, with today’s blog title (“A Pair of Colts…”), you probably thought this blog was going to be about six-shooters of the Old West.

Nope, not today, folks, although firearms are still playing a prominent role in my life.   We had our informal Mosin-Nagant match yesterday and it was a hoot. The Mosin-Nagants are those vintage Russian rifles I’ve written about before.   I’ll post some photos of the match later, but let me mention now that it was a blast.

My Old West thoughts have been on the passing of one of my all-time favorite actors, James Garner.   I’d say I liked him, but that would be obvious…everyone did.

We first were introduced to Mr. Garner in his role on the Maverick television series.   I never missed that show…a riverboat and western gambler making his way through life playing cards and talking smooth…my kind of guy.   In fact, as I write this, I can hear the music from that show playing in my mind.   It was a classic.   Then there were many more roles, including the ones Mr. Garner played in The Great Escape, The Rockford Files, and many, many more.   Rest in Peace, Jim.

That’s it for now, folks.   I’ll be swinging by the plant later today for more photos after having an absolutely dynamite weekend.   Our friend Pauly was down here and we sure had a lot of fun…but more on that later.  Ride safe and keep the shiny side up!

 

Classic cars…

11 July 2014
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Love these…a ’57 Studebaker and a ’57 Thunderbird…brought to you courtesy of my trusty iPhone…

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Any guesses where I shot this photo?

 

Remember this one?

11 July 2014
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Amazing what used to pass for entertainment in those days.   As a teenager, I don’t think I missed a single episode of the Then Came Bronson series.

Having ridden a Harley in sand three decades or so after that opening Bronson scene was filmed, I can tell you those bikes don’t jump like you see in the video above.

That scene at the end while riding the Pacific Coast Highway?   That’s the famous Bixby Bridge on the PCH south of Monterey, and I grabbed a few photos of it several years ago on a motorcycle ride…

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When I first moved to California back in ’79, I was overwhelmed with feelings of deja vu everywhere I went on my old Harley (I covered a lot of ground on that ’79 Electra Glide back in the day…I went all over southern California and beyond).

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Beasts gone by…my ’79 Electra Glide Classic. I called her the Optical Illusion, because she looked like a motorcycle.

Then I realized…I’d grown up seeing the scenes I was now riding through on my Harley.   I’d seen many of those same places watching TV as a kid back in New Jersey.  They were on shows like Then Came BronsonThe Rockford Files, and many others.

Okay, enough of the memory lane stuff…later, my friends.

 

More photos…

10 July 2014
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Ah, just having a little fun shooting things, folks…with the Nikon, the iPhone, and the Garand.

Susie and I stopped by the plant today and had a nice chat with the boss.   Steve found a comfortable spot (on one of his classic original Mustangs), and while Susie was telling him the many ways in which I had been remiss lately, the Nikon just kind of found its way into my hands and I grabbed this shot…

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Susie has a couple of weeks off and we’ve been just kind of putting around.  We fired  the Vette up this past weekend intending to the visit the Patton Museum out in the desert (what with it having been the 4th of July weekend and all), but it was just too hot.   As we rolled through Palm Springs on Interstate 10, the Corvette’s thermometer told us it was 114 degrees out there.   Yikes!

The temperature scared us a bit, and so did the traffic headed back toward Los Angeles on the other side of the freeway.  All of the river rats were heading home from the 3-day weekend.   So, we chickened out, turned around, and pointed the Vette back toward home.   Just as well, I suppose.   That heat was brutal.

The 4th of July weekend always gets me to thinking about the Greatest Generation and the sacrifices they made for us.   The Patton Museum is a good tribute to what happened in World War II.   It’s about two thirds of the way across California heading toward the Arizona border, located right at the Chiriaco Summit.

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That’s not my photo above, but one of these days I’ll get out there again and grab some good ones for you.   They’ve got a bunch of cool old armored vehicles outside (like that Sherman shown above), and a bunch of even cooler stuff indoors.   It’s a great place and it’s definitely worth a visit.

My interest in things from the war years includes the small arms of that era, and a couple of years ago I bought a Garand rifle.   Old “Blood and Guts” Patton called the Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” and that sure is a good description.   When I wore the uniform the Army had already gone to the M-16 (which never felt like a real rifle to me), so when I saw the Garand at a dealer I grabbed it most rickety scosh (loosely translated from Korean, that means “real fast”).

The problem with my Garand, though, was that it didn’t feed reliably (you know, it didn’t always chamber the next round).  It fired okay, but there wasn’t enough gas pressure to force the action all the way back to shove the next round into the chamber.   Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.  My buddy Pauly (who knows more about guns than anyone I’ve ever known) diagnosed it as a gas cylinder problem (that’s a consumable wear part on these rifles).   Pauly found me a place to order a GI service-grade gas cylinder, I ordered it online, and after installing the new part, my Garand was humming the way ol’ John Garand intended.  My daughter Erica even grabbed this photo of me firing it, and she caught the ejected cartridge case in mid-air with her iPhone’s camera!

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And speaking of Pauly and the guys, we’re having the next big shooting event the weekend after next…a rifle match at the gun club and a BBQ at my place the night before.   The guys are bringing their World War II military surplus rifles and it should be a hoot.  I’ll grab some photos for you.   And Duane and Twin Peaks Steve, if you’re reading this, we’d like to see you guys there, too!

That’s it for now, folks.  Ride safe!

 

Headed for Texas

10 July 2014
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Another drop-dead gorgeous P-51 Mustang…a custom 250 headed for the Lone Star state!   This motorcycle is stunning…kind of cross between our Greaser (but with gloss black instead of rattle-can black paint) and a Classic.   This beauty has the Greaser’s red wheels, lots of tasty chrome goodies, gangster Coker whitewalls, and many more custom touches.

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The real cream in the cupcake on this puppy, though, is the hand-painted gold leaf Mustang logo on a deeply luxurious black tank.   Wowee!

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It’s funny how the little things on this bike just flat work, like the red border on that Mustang logo and the red Greaser wheels.  It just looks cool.   I like it!

Another cool thing about this bike…it’s going to our good buddy Larry in Texas, and this is his second CSC motorcycle.  He bought one a ways back, rode it for awhile as he got back into motorcycles, sold it to buy a Harley, and then realized the CSC was just a lot more fun.   Yep, this one is going to fill the empty spot left by that first CSC motorcycle.   Larry, you are going to have a blast out there in Rockport!   Riding your California Scooter along the Texas coastline…man, I wish I was out there with you!

 

Pike’s Peak

10 July 2014
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10 minutes of pure adrenaline, folks….the run up to Pike’s Peak!

Take a peek at this!

Wow.   That’s a hoot!

 

Not me, folks…

8 July 2014
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And there’s no chance I would even try something like this…take a look…

I’ll probably dream about that video tonight…maybe in my dream I’ll run that trail on my California Scooter.   If you hear me waking up in a cold sweat and screaming…you’ll know why.

 

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