“Drove my Chevy to La Costa but La Costa was prime”
Fri Sept 16, 2011 – Fly in to San Diego take the Coaster to Encinitas. Alex and Anna Braswell (his girlfriend) pick me up we go to El Espical del Norte one of their fav Mex restaurants for dinner. I make a toast to my new truk. They never saw that one comin! In fact neither did I but Margaret told me it was OK to get it before I left. It all hinged on Judtih Gille and Paul Atlas allowing me to store it in their barn up on Lopez Isl. Cause we don’t have room for it here in Seattle.
Sat Sept 17 – Alex (Sandy) and I spend the morning at the Wavecrest Woodie Meet at Moonlight Beach, Encinitas lookin at 300 some Woodies of all makes and models. We take 400 shots of the scene. Brother-in-law John Caterino an nephew Johnny show up in the arvo and I look at em again. Go for a bite of Mex for lunch.
Sun Sept 18 – Call this guy Mike re: 49 Chev p/u I see on Craig’s List. Walk all over TJ lookin for the truk cause he can’t remember name of place where it’s being worked on. Found it. It’s all in pieces, but engine looks good. Lots of old truks being restored in TJ. Take pix of 1939 International Harvester green panel, starts right up, old Mex dude’l take 12 G’s cash for it right now. Buy sombrero, serape, jewelry and belt for planned shots highliting my new outfit. Hightail it back across border. Didn’t take nearly as long a wait this time. Probably cause it weren’t no frikin holiday.
Wed Sept 21 – John and I make drive to Fullerton, LA to look at this guy’s 49 & 53 trux. Get there get all bummed cause trux don’t look nearly as good in person smell even worse – bunch of trash in bed of red one. Richard arrives late pulls out 6 volt and 12 volt batteries sticks um in and fusses w/ key – nothin – they won’t start. We take off we get halfway home Richard calls says he got 49 started and it “Runs Strong!” We tell him “FAGGETTABOUTIT.” Guess Richard’s too busy w/ his Thailand and Mex endeavors to deal w/ his trux. Sandy buys surfboard from Hansen’s in Encinitas.
Thurs Sept 22 – Sandy goes surfn w/ his new board first time at Cardiff Reef.
Fri Sept 23 – John and I drive out to Palm Springs to Exotic Motor Cars to look at 49 truk. Get there @ noon and it’s 109 degrees. Meet sales guy Ralph Woods. We take it for a spin, runs strong! Course I fall for it right away and have to have it. The color is tan or “Cafe con Leche.” Me an John check it out, no rust on body looking good. Price posted on internet $ 21,200 but negotiable. Now we trade old war stories w/ Ralph. He’s had colon cancer, I’ve had colon cancer, heck, John’s Dad has just passed from colon cancer etc. After half hour of this, “How much will you take?” – JABIII. “$ 17,900 firm.” – Ralph. “Well these things need fixn, will ya take $ 16,900?” – JABIII. “Just a minute.” – Ralph. He goes into back office shuts door. John snoops around finds out they paid $ 15,500 for it. Ralph comes out after 15 minutes we’ll split the difference. $ 17,400. I lay down $ 500 to hold it based on contingency. We shake on it and leave to go. Have lunch at Casino John wins $ 35 and I buy lunch. We drive back.
Sun Sept 25 – I call Margaret tell her I need $ 16,900 to cover. She doesn’t bat an eye seems more concerned if it’s safetly drivable and transfers $$ from her own account cause there’s some problem w/ Schwab Accnt.
Mon Sept 26 – Spent day dealn w/ bank, cause screwed up password and got locked out of acct. That was a hastle, always hate those things.
Tues Sept 27 – Wake up in middle of nite in a panic cause I thought only had $ 17,000 in acct not enough to cover. Gonna have to borrow $$ from Sandy to cover. I’ll tell him it’s an investment in the future, his future. After all he’s gonna get it when I’m gone.
Wed Sept 28 – Check acct first thing in morn, “Whew!” Have $ 17,900 I miss read it. My sister Mary Anne Caterino’s neighbor, Enzo Contardi arrainged for a truk and trailer to haul it back John didn’t think it wise to drive it back to the coast. First we all go to Sunrise Cafe for breakfast then back to Enzo’s to drop his dog and get tiedown straps. Of course I let all the dogs out when goin in to meet his mom. That takes 20 minutes to round em all up again. Off we go, Enzo doesn’t pussey foot around he lead foots it all the way. But first we got to gas up that’s $ 100. Finally get to Palm Springs, not as hot today. Sign papers takes 10 minutes at most. Owner Mort Sohl is there I drop $ 17,400 and he won’t even buy us lunch. Go out to truk radiator is dry. Danny some European mechanic dude comes over to help us says truk runs strong will make it to Seattle. We get the thing tied down take an few shots and off we go. People given us thumbs up whole way back. I sit in back admiring the thing all the way home (can’t believe bit’s really true.) Get back gas up Enzo’s truk nother $ 100. Take Johnny out for a spin in it.
Thurs Sept 29 – Change oil take Johnny to Surfride in Oceanside on Hiway 78 get it up to 50 mph, just barely, sounds like it’s ready to explode. On way back take it by Mary Anne’s work so she can get a good look at it she says it looks “Cute.” She gives some pink plastic rosary beads to hang off mirror.
Fri Sept 30 – Get key made so I can lock it. That nite we take it to “Esco” (Escondido) for the last “Cruisen Grand” of the season. Lots of hot rods and old restored vehicles. We find a place on Grand to park it w/ all the other old ones. People admire truk gonna name it “Leche,” and take pix of it. Saw a couple more like it. We take lots o pix of everything. We swing by Palomar JC to watch Johnny blow glass. All-in-all big success.
Sat Oct 1 – Drive to coast then drive down Pacific Coast Highway 101. I swell with pride this is were I used to drive when I was a teenager it’s such a beautiful little piece of road with all it’s little surf towns, Leucadia, Encinitas, Cardiff-By-The-Sea, Solana Beach, Del Mar still has a quaint charm to it. Many memories come flooding back. Sandy and Anna get first look at it. They fall in love with it. My old eight grade history teacher from Earl Warren Jr Hi School comes over to admire it too. Mr. Jay Williams he’s 90 some years old and still looks in good health. I credit Mr. Williams with jump starting my interest in Remington and Russell – American Artists of the Old West, when he first showed us a film which used alot of their art in it. It was very dramatic and immediately captured my attention. Out of that interest I produced a video documentary “Charles M. Russell – Preserver of the Old West.” Sandy, Anna, and Tuli, their dog and I head off to Del Mar for a spin on the Old 101. Rest of the day devoted to watchn football.
Sun Oct 2 – Drive Leche to Leucadia Farmers Market buy stuff for BBQ w/ Jeanie Radakovich and boyfriend Greg. Afterward we drive down in truk to Swami’s to look at Red Tide phosphorescent phenomena at nite where surf glows blue-green. Swami’s is a world famous surf spot across from Hansen’s surf shop in Encinitas. Parmahansa Yogananda started the Self Realization Fellowship Center there in the 1920. The old Dorymen of Cardiff-By-The-Sea remember him talking to them about ther fishing back in the day.
Tues Oct 4 – Our 31st anniversary so call Margaret to wish her love. Just happenned to walk on other side of the street today and drop into vintage clothing shop “Flashbacks.” See someone out of corner of my eye who looks familiar but out of place. “Jules? What are you doin here?” – JABIII. “Jack? What are you doin here?” – Jules Roman. Turns out Phil Tippett and fam are in town for a wedding and visitn his mom. I take Phil and his daughter Maya back to their place in Del Mar on the Old 101, natch. They seem to dig it reminds Phil of the film “Grapes of Rath.” Well, were all Joads here! We go to dinner w/ Phil and he gets to meet Anna. On way back hear a loud “POP” and truk steadily looses power stalls out and wont restart again. Call AAA tow truk and get it towed to Scott’s Automotive in Leucadia and drop it off for nite. Finally get home @ midnite.
Wed Oct 5 – Sandy drops me off at Pannikan’s Coffee House in Leucadia on his way to work. Walk to Scott’s @8am> Everyone comes over to help Scott, the owner, Mo the old Mex shop junkie, and Colin the Brit chimes in too. They put hose in gas tank. “It’s empty!” – Scott. “Your kiddin!” – JABIII. Now I feel like a real dope. Text Sandy and Anna they can’t believe it either. Mo runs off to get gas but we find more stuff wrong, turns out same old stuff wrong radiator leaks carburator leaks. Thing is broke down nite before right across street from gas station. But since gas guage was broke didn’t know how empty it was. But good to have those guyses input on what to do. Drive it to gas station takes 17 and half gallons. Limp home.
Thurs Oct 6 – Up early drive PCH 101 North to Oceanside, for maybe last time. Love that beautiful drive man. Then head east on the 76 past the old California San Luis Rey Mission south on Santa Fe drive into Vista to John and Mary Anne’s out to breakfast let it cool down. John pulls radiator, bad. I pull gas float, bad. Take radiator in turns out costs as much as new one off internet to recore old one so order one from Classic Parts of KC. Enzo has guy in O’cide who rebuilds carbs. We’ll do that.
Mon Oct 10 – p/u water pump from Napa and replace also thermostat and spark plugs. Swim in Mary Anne’s pool, nice!
Mon Oct 17 – Enzo has truk up at his place, replaces radiator at nite puts Leche back at Mary Anne’s.
Tues Oct 18 – Johnny and I pull carb and take it to Ralph Strausser in O’cide.
Wed Oct 19 – Go to O’cide get Ralph to come to Vista to install carb. Drive it around, it leaks. Tear it apart on the road, put it back, but can’t get it to duplicate the problem again and leave it at that. Take ralph back to O’cide see his 51 Ford V8 Flathead a beautiful 2-tone cream/tan p/u. Fully restored.
Thurs Oct 20 – Visit Carl Ekstrom, 80 yr old Surf Shapn Shaman w/ Jeanie Radakovich. He talks to us for 3 hours showin us his life’s work, including furniture, surfboards, shoes, water parks, race cars. Truely Amazing dude. I mean what hasn’t he done?
Fri Oct 21 – Sandy’s day off so out to Vista 3 times that day. Take Leche to get weigh bill cause I opened my big mouth askn ?’s so district manager steps in and says I got to get weigh bill. On way back Sandy gets to drive Leche and does pretty wells get the hang of it right away. P/u Penske truk and trailer drive it to Mary Anne’s have to back it up the street so I can head out in morn. Spend nite at Mary Anne’s. Course you realize I won’t be able to fulfill my dream of drivn truk up coast all the way to Seattle takn my time which for me would be the ultimate road trip. Oh well, plans change. Got to go w/ the flow ya know.
Sat Oct 22 – Up early to load up Leche still leaks from carb, also horn honks when turning. Finally get goin @9am. Take Hwy 15 north to 395 north to 58 west to 99 north at Bakersfield at @1:30pm. Amazingly easy goin and smooth sailn. For my money and avoiding LA this was the way to go. Not much traffic and I love the desert anyway. Arrive at cousin Bruce Bergen’s place @5pm in Merced. Nice neighborhood Leche is rallyn point for neighbors who all seem to dig it.
Sun Oct 23 – Leave Merced @10am get to Martha and Gerry Blank’s in Folsom @1pm. Martha, Margaret’s sister takes me to Ford Towe Museum in Sacramento where they have an exhibit of German cars including a 1964 VW CamperVan just like kind we used to have. Same color and everything. Hang out for a few days visitn Grandma, Mary Clair at nursing home.
Wed Oct 26 – Sac/Folsom,Cali – Salem Oregon 7am – 7pm Woman chases me down at rest stop outside of Weed, Cali asks about Leche says I got a good deal no matter what is wrong w/ engine. They cost whole lot more in Orange County. By now Margaret probably thinks I’m married to truk not her.
Thurs Oct 27 – Salem, Ore – Lopez Isl. WA Spend nite at Motel 6 nice and cheap if you can put up with bathroom smelln like catbox. I think it’s permeated all my clothes. Nite manager is from Esco. Imagine that! Get in line for 4:30pm ferry @2pm in Anacortes. Talk to Bob Rainy on ferry, nice guy says I can use his tools. Pull into Paul’s @6pm his dogs go nutzo he snaps pix, sundown.
Fri Oct28 – Lopez Island Mechanical Services – Kevin and Ken, Leche starts up pretty good no leaks from carb. Drop it @9am. Rains hard all day. Paul and I get barn ready to house truk over winter. Take shop manuel by Kevin’s in arvo.
Sat Oct 29 – Drop Penske truk and trailer in Sodo end of that story. Beginning of new one. 1949 Chev p/u’s new life on Slopez Isl. in the Mystical – Magical San Juan Islands.
Wed Nov 9 – Me an Gertie walk the 2 miles to Lopez Isl. Mech. were up there for a few days to take back control of the Leche. when we get there Leche is sittin outside so go in and talk to Kevin and Ken a while. Mostly they rebuilt the carb put in new points and condenser etc. Thank em an Pay em. Were good to go. Load Gertie and stuff in cab and take off. No leaks, thank God. Pullin to Woodman Hall for a $4 lunch w/ the seniors. BBQ chicken, baked potatoes, vegs, salad, and jello for desert. Guess there are some benes to gettn old. Sit w/ Mary and Patrick she’s head of Senior Svs on Lopez. Take nap w/ Gert then spend arvo tooln round Slopez shootn shots in different locales. Drop key at Claudia and Christine’s, Judith and Paul’s land partners. They get all animated about truk and tell me about a book called “Truck.” It’s about some guy who restores a 51 International Harvester. Gotta read that one. Head to south end of Slopez talk to Jan while gassn up at Islandale gas. He used to have auto repair shop there back in the day. He tells me about all his old cars he’s got still around. Talk to the guys at Napa they come out and admire truk.
Thurs Nov 10 – Took my Cevy to the Levee (actually the spit on west side of Fisherman’s Bay) for lunch. Then back to barn for winter. Have to build a ramp and lay down tarp, gas stablizer, disconnect battery, car cover, etc. “Go to bed Leche.”