Vanning is a compulsion, an obsession, an occupation, an affliction, a fascination, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it, must. Those who don't, think it's a waste of time. For me it is a calling.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Trip West cont'.........

After leaving Dallas I headed to Utah. I had a few days till the party, so I wanted to hit Manti. The trip was smooth and my route took me through some beautiful terrain. The shortest route took me through Moab,Utah, past Arches park. I would have stopped in the park except it was getting late. The closer I got the colder it became. But the roads were clear. Arrived late in the evening and went to see Ilene.(Roth). Had a good visit and got some things for the Moon show. That night a cool front came through.. Got down to 26 below and dumped 10 inches of the white death. Damn that's cold! The truck wouldn't start. Got a jump but decided to stay. Stayed a couple days till the streets cleared off. Headed out on Wednesday. Before I left, Debb and I went to the local diner for some breakfast. We were in Ephraim, Utah. About as remote a place as you will find. Most of you know me to be a big Ohio State Buckeyes fan...Well half way through breakfast this comes and sits in front of me. UUGGGGH!! Hows that song go? I DON'T GIVE A DAMN FOR THE WHOLE STATE OF................. O Well, I headed south toward Arizona and Nevada .Just before I left Utah, I hit St George. Guess what was there..... Let the burger fest begin!!.....I drove to Primm ,Nevada, on the California border, and stayed at Whiskey Pete's that night. Not before a stop on Sahara Blvd, in Vegas( might there be an In-N-Out there?). It was still cold ,but a lot better than 25 below. Friday I drove into the L.A. valley. Went to see my buddy Jimmy C. Found him at his studio, getting ready for the Mooneyes show.
This would be Barstow , California.... Damn .To early, they are still closed!! And, the one in Victorville, Damn!! I was greeted by Buster the wonder dawg. Hi Buster! Got there just before lunch. As fate would have it ,Kenny is working at a movie studio just up the street from Jimmy's, so we called him and we went to lunch... Guess where....... Now that's some trick photography! Nice Van! Went back to Jimmy's and got out the can I've been working on for the party. Had a few finishing touches to do on it. Then we got a visit from the contingent from Japan.. Nash comes over every year for this gig, and brings some of the stripers from Japan with him. I've met all but one before. From the left is Dirty K, Yours truly, Jimmy C, Mr. G, And Ghost. The American hot rod scene is big in Japan. Anything to do with it is a big deal to them.There is a Mooneyes store in Tokyo. They hold a big show there the week before the one here. These 3 stripers are but a few of the guys that come over for it. They are really great artists too. I am Lucky enough to have some of their artwork hangin in my house. Good to see you guys again!!
I have to show you this bike that Jimmy had in his shop. He had a customer bring it to him, and told him to cover it with stripes....Wow, what a beautiful job. Must have taken a week!

Jimmy and Dena put me up for the night, again.. Thank you both! It's always fun to stay with them. Next day we went back to the shop.I helped jimmy get some stuff ready for the show... Kenny called and wanted to take us to the Fatburger for lunch. Not being one to turn down a burger, especially a Fatburger, we were on our way.
I was to pick up the "boys" that evening in Ontario, which is on the other side of the valley, so I had to leave shortly thereafter. Picked them up later that evening. They were hungry from being on a plane for 6 hours,and guess what they wanted....... Tomorrow we go to the show!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Heading west.........again

Every year for as long as I care to remember, I have gone west a couple weeks after the Turkey Rod Run to go to the Mooneyes show/ Christmas party, what was once the Rat Fink Reunion. But before I could go I had a couple things to finish. Last summer ,Jim Bags truck got rear ended. He needed the stripes and the Pepe replaced on the rear

Stripes are finished

And now Pepe... It was beautiful and warm. Too bad I have to leave

I left to head west on Friday. It was raining. It continued to rain till I got to Louisiana. Then it started to snow. I expect that in Ohio, but New Orleans?? Spent the night there. It got down to 28 above. Next morning , got back on the road and headed into Texas. My route took me through Dallas. So there were 2 places I wanted to stop. First was Kincaids Hamburgers. When my bud Kenny was working the movie studio in Dallas his favorite burger place was Kincaids, so I couldn't resist calling him...

Payback for all those calls I get , when he goes to the In-N-Out burger....OOO! It was good too! They make a fantastic burger!! The other place, was one I had been to once before.

Anyone of my generation will recognise the school book depository in Dealey Plaza. The murder of president Kennedy was an event that scarred us all. The debate around the who, and why has never gone away. Even tho nearly all the principals involved are all gone. My first exposure to the doubts about the events of that day were from my Grandmother. She never believed the excepted explanations from the Warren commission. After many books and documentaries and a few experiences ,I don't believe it either. This is the column where Mr. Zapruter took the famous movie of the assassination. It was creepy to stand there. What strikes me about the plaza is how small it is. I've seen pictures of this area for years and it looks like this big open space.But in reality it is dinky. To stand behind the fence at the so called "Grassy Knoll" is chilling. If I wanted to shoot someone coming down the street, This is the place I would pick . Even though its hard to tell from a picture, from this fence to the x on the street is maybe 30-40 yards..Any marksman could hit this shot with ease. It is also a good place to hide. There is and was a parking lot right behind the fence and would allow for an easy getaway. Many witnesses said a shot came from there. There have been many theories through the years.Even though the warren report claims Oswald was the lone gunman. The Senate assassination investigation of the late 70s concluded there was a probability that there was a conspiracy. I've heard many theories including the CIA or powerful industrial interests were behind it. To me that is a stretch. These use the motive of something that Kennedy was GOING to do (get out of Vietnam) as to why they wanted to get rid of him. It's more likely it was something he did. I have always been bothered by somethings that don't add up. Oswald was suppose to have shot 3 times from the 6th floor window. There were 3 shells found there by the police. The gun was found on the complete opposite side of the 6th floor. It had a live round in the chamber, ready to be fired. The rifle had a telescopic scope on it. Now put yourself in the shooters place. The Kennedy car has passed the front of the building. your lining up for your first shot. You shoot and miss. Then manually load another shell into the chamber. Remember it is a bolt action rifle. Your second shot hits Kennedy in the throat. You then reload another shell, and shoot again, hitting Kennedy in the head. You are looking through a scope. You have to see that you hit him in the head. WHY THEN DO YOU LOAD ANOTHER SHELL INTO THE GUN, THEN GET UP AND RUN ??? Also, it doesn't make sense that your first shot is the worst and the last the best.The first shot gives you the most time to line it up. Very suspicious. This past month I saw a documentary on the history channel about the assassination. I haven't seen this one before. It was all the original newscasts from that weekend all put together. It was quiet enlightening. At the police headquarters, there were no efforts to control who came and went in the hallways. It was crammed with news reporters as well as anyone else who wanted to wander in. When police wanted to move Oswald, they had to fight their way through a sea of bodies. They were shouting questions at Oswald and trying to get to him. Oswald seemed to be self assured, defiant, even arrogant. But there was one thing that I have never noticed before. There was an effort to have a news conference where they would make Oswald available to the press. Oswald came in and several reporters started asking questions. At one point a reporter asked"Did you shoot the president?" Oswald answered "No, I've not been charged with that". Then the reported said, " You have now", and Oswald reacted as if he had been hit with a ball bat. He was visibly shaken. His whole demeanor changed at that point. He was escorted out, and he shouted that he was "a Patsy". I believe he knew he was being set up. There is a lot of evidence that has come about in the last 30 years. Including acoustic evidence that suggests there was 2 even 3 shooters that day. But the one thing that convinces me that Oswald wasn't the lone shooter is an experience that happened to me. In the early 80's. My club rented a stable / party grounds for our annual event. The place was owned by Dr. Donald Plotnick, a local podiatrist. Doc wasn't exactly a model citizen. After one of our events several of us and doc were sitting around talking. He told us a story that sent chills down my spine. Doc had done time in the 60,s. He didn't tell us why but he told us that when he was in prison, his cell mate for a time was Jimmy Hoffa. He told us that the FBI had come to his farm shortly after Hoffa's disappearance and drained his lake ,because there was a rumor Hoffa's body was there. He also told us that Hoffa had told him that he knew who killed Kennedy. He never said who. I have no proof that any of this is true. I suppose that some of it can be confirmed but I don't have the resources to do it. My belief has always been that the mob had Kennedy killed. They would have had the resources to pull it off. They also would have had the guts to do it. The Kennedy brothers had been going after organized crime ever sine Kennedy had been elected and the mob didn't like it. Hoffa was mobbed up. He hated the Kennedy's. If the mob did do it, he would know about it. About the same time as Hoffa's disappearance, the senate was about to reopen the Kennedy investigation. I believe Hoffa's disappearance was to keep him from testifying in that investigation. Sorry to have run on about this, but it all came back having visited this place. 50 years hasn't dimished the emotional affect. Well its time to get back on the road. Man, that burger was good. More later.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I've always wanted to take this picture......only in Kentucky! The day after Ohio State Put another beatin' on Michigan, I headed south to Florida for another edition of the Turkey Rod Run. This was my 18th year at this show,and as usual,it was a success. The weather was a little cool. There was a cold front that followed me from Ohio, but that didn't stop the hot rodders from comin' out. Jim Bag was there to help me all weekend,and we had the normal dinner trips with our friends from Fla, Don, Kathy, Bonnie and Joe. This beautiful 59 wagon was my first victim
It is a repeat. I keep adding to it each year. Love those fenderless cars!!
The best one of the weekend was this sedan delivery.

Took me most of the day ,but it was a super car and it was a pleasure to work on it.

Jason, A local striper, stopped to see me again, Hi Jason! It was a long day.. this will do it for this year!

The following week found me in St Cloud, Striping another car for one of my regular customers. A very nice Camaro convertible. These are the other cars I've done for them over the years.