Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Old Man Sold Some Gas Tanks on eBay!

We were starting to get kinda worried about where next month’s house payment was coming from, but it’s all good now. Yesterday the old man dug through his parts pile and I helped him list a few things on eBay this morning.

When I logged in this evening to see how things were going, I saw that he had sold a set of Harley Knucklehead, 1940 era, motorcycle gas tanks for $2000!

The opening bid was $1500, and the Buy it Now was $2000. I thought maybe that price was too low, because the auction only lasted about three hours, but a few months ago the same tanks sat there a week and didn't sell. In any case, the payment is already on it’s way, so I'm doing my happy dance.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

23rd Annual Nevada County Food and Toy Run

After the severe wind and rain we had in northern California last week, we had a very welcome break in the weather for the weekend. Saturday, December 14, 2014, we participated in the 23rd Annual Nevada County Food and Toy Run.

We have been attending this toy run since the first year, when there were only 90 riders. It becomes more popular every year, drawing two to three thousand motorcyclists, providing gifts for hundreds of local children and food for their families.

The best thing about this toy run is how the community embraces it, the police department does a great job of controlling traffic for the event, and everybody is all smiles along the way. The children are there at the end, thanking us for our efforts.   

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Biker Games at the Old Hope Valley Run

On the way to Hope Valley - Mid-80s
Years ago, we used to take the Knucklehead up to the Hope Valley Run, up in Tahoe. It was held at a very rustic campground; their were few rules, so I guess it suited us pretty well.

It got cold up there in the mountains at night in September, you needed your warm sleeping bag for this one.

At bike runs, they always had games, the Slow Race for instance. In the slow race you have to take as long as possible before crossing the finish line, without falling or putting your feet down.

Then there was one, I don't remember the name of it, where you pile as many people as possible on a bike, and had to ride it across the finish line. Whoever made it with the most people won.

It was at the Hope Valley Run that I saw the craziest Biker game ever. The game was The Chariot Race. It's the only time I have ever seen this done. One person rode the motorcycle dragging a tire behind it. His partner ran and took a flying leap to grab onto the tire and be dragged.

The one who was dragged the furthest without falling off was the winner. The dust was thick in the air, and on the faces and bodies of the people being dragged. Of course they were all wearing their leathers, goggles and whatever they could tie around their faces to keep the dirt out of their mouth and nose.

I remember the guy who won, He got a 4 foot tall trophy. He said that was the biggest trophy he ever got, and the stupidest thing he ever did.

Slow Race - Hope Valley Run
Chariot Race - Hope Valley Run 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Knuckleheads Find the Lost Coast

The Redwood Run's Over,
You Don't Have to Go Home,
But You Can't Stay Here

Funny thing about a motorcycle rally like the Redwood Run, on Friday night the bikes come rumbling in, the tents spring up all around and soon it's like a biker city in the redwoods.
Saturday they ride and play biker games, drink, and party and stay up all night. But, come Sunday morning they're up with the sun, packed and ready to hit the road. They've got miles to ride and need to get some road behind them before breakfast. As for the laggers, the campground shuts off the water at 11:00 a.m. as a subtle hint that it's time to go.
That first year that we went to the Redwood Run, in 1985, when the run was over we weren't ready to go home. So when everybody else headed home, we got on the Knucklehead and headed for the coast.

Shelter Cove

A group of people at the top of the grade at Shelter CoveI used to live near there in a town called Whitethorn, a long time ago, and I knew about a place called Shelter Cove. 

When I used to know it, it was sort of a town that never was. There was an airstrip there and roads with street signs. It was all flagged into lots, but there were no houses. People used to go out there to hunt deer; it was spooky in a way. 

People said there was a plane crash and all the developers were killed. I don't know if that's what happened, but for some reason development was started and then stalled for over a decade.
The area is known as the Lost Coast because the main highways have bypassed it and the road that leads to it dead-ends there. Therefore, you have to leave the same way you came.

We headed up 101 to Garberville and took Briceland Road. Crossed the Eel River and went through a grove of giant redwoods and through Briceland. We continued out the narrow, winding road. It's only 23 miles, but it seems a lot longer. The final descent is quite steep.
Once we got to the bottom of the grade, I could see that some development had taken place in the 12 or so years since I had been there. There were a few houses and in a large grassy area we saw two elk. We stopped and took a few pictures; they appeared to be fairly tame. Then we continued on up to a grassy knoll overlooking the ocean.


There was a group of locals there. They were cooking burgers and had a keg of beer. They welcomed us in as if they had just been waiting for us to arrive, gave us food and drink and everyone wanted their picture taken with us.
I guess it had been a long winter and they were glad to see some new people. We pitched our tents there on the grass.
Going to Shelter Cove after the Redwood Run became our yearly pattern. The second year we went and camped on the black sands beach on the other end of town. It was an extremely windy day. When our friends tried to set up their dome tent, it got away from them and tumbled away down the beach.

Who Says Vintage Harleys are not Dirt Bikes?

The next morning, my husband and our friend George both decided to ride their knuckleheads down the beach. The bikes were sinking in the sand, but with a couple of people pushing, they got going and were able to ride all the way down the beach out of sight.

Bryan and George were gone for a long time, finally it was almost dark and they came back all wet and laboriously pushing their bikes through the sand. They said once they got to the bluffs at the other end of the beach they had to stop, and then they couldn't get the bikes going again. The tide came in and slapped them off their bikes. It almost carried them and their bikes out to sea.
Man on Shovelhead motorcycle riding through water
Men and motorcycles on black sands beach
We came back to that same beach the next year, after a heavy winter, and it was gone, completely washed away. The road we had ridden in on just ended into the ocean. At least I have a few photos to show it existed.
Shelter Cove developed quite a bit over the next decade. In later years, more and more other bikes started showing up there during and after the Redwood Run, so we became just part of the crowd. There were a couple of restaurants, a bar and a marina, and quite a few more people lived there. I have not been there in over 10 years. I think the Lost Coast has been discovered now. It's no longer our little secret.

Knucklehead motorcycle stuck in sand

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Perfect Day for a Sunday Ride

I just found these photo from a ride we took last winter. It was a warm Sunday, maybe 70 degrees. Amazing for the end of February.

It was perfect day for a motorcycle ride. It was an extremely dry winter, but we had finally had a little rain, so the grass was getting green. The daffodils and crab-apples were in bloom.

We met up with some other motorcycle enthusiasts for breakfast, then headed down to the Valencia Club in Newcastle, CA for the Sunday Blues Jam.

The Blues Jam takes place every Sunday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Anybody who wants to play music can just sign up and play. The music was wonderful.

A really cute older couple got up and danced, the man was in a wheelchair and his wife walked with a cane. 

She had the tips of her white hair dyed electric blue. They were all smiles and seemed to be having a great time.

Close up of 1936 Harley Knucklehead motorcycle motor
We went outside to socialize between sets.
Here's a nice shot of our friend's 41 Knuck.

black 1965 Harley Panhead motorcycle
My husband and I were on our 1965 Panhead. One reason we chose it was that it was the first year Harley to have an electric starter.

That was a big change for us, since we had always ridden a 1947 Knucklehead with a only a kick starter.

Well, wouldn't you know it, when we got ready to go home the bike wouldn't start when he pushed the button!

Everybody was sitting there with their bikes running, waiting for us, I had to get off the bike so he could kick-start it. Fortunately, it did start and we rode home with no further problems.

View of our own shadow from a motorcycle headed for a tunnelSince the sun goes down so early in winter, and it gets cold, we didn't stay too late. I love that you can see our shadow in this shot.

All photos by the author

Monday, November 17, 2014

How We Got the Knucklehead Chopper

The Panhead Came First, but it Didn't Last Long

Back in the early 80's my husband got his very first Harley Davidson motorcycle. It was a 1949 Panhead, but it only ran for a few weeks before it blew up, so I really consider the Knucklehead to be the beginning of the story.
newly rebuild 1947 Knucklehead motor in Panhead frame
It was through riding the Panhead that he met Donta, who was an old Knucklehead rider. Donta became his good friend and helped him learn the ropes when it comes to working on and riding vintage Harleys.

It was 1981, and they were in the process of rebuilding the Panhead after it blew up, when he went down to the motorcycle swap meet in Costa Mesa looking for parts. He ended up coming home with a 1947 Knucklehead motor (all in pieces of course) for the bargain price of $546.
The Panhead motor was soon set aside and over a period of months the frame that was going to hold the Panhead was prepared for the knuckle motor. The first time he built the Knucklehead, it was a chopper in a pan wishbone frame, it had a glide front end, a suicide clutch, jockey shift, and mechanical brakes.

Wrenching on the Sidewalk

Harley Knucklehead motor parts on kitchen table
When the Knucklehead was first built we were living on 80 acres down in the San Bernardino Mountains, but in 1984 we moved to a small town in northern California.

We rented a little house right in town. At our first house in town, there was no shop, not even a yard in front, just a sidewalk. In those days it was not uncommon for us to have Harley parts on the kitchen table for extended periods of time. Then my sweetie would work on the bike out on the sidewalk in front of the house.

There Was No Helmet Law in California Then

couple on knucklehead chopper with homemade bedroll
When we first moved up north, we took a lot of day rides exploring the surrounding area. It was was a good way to get the lay of the land and cheap entertainment for us.

In those days we made do with what we had. Since there was no money for hotels, and we had no sleeping bags, if we would be spending the night on the road we would just grab my homemade quilt off the bed and bungee it on to the front of the bike.

Roadside Repairs

Making repairs to flat tire on a panhead motorcycle on the side of the roadtwo men on knucklehead chopper passenger holding a spare wheel and tire
We were on our way to the Redwood Run up in Humboldt County in these photos. I think it was maybe 1984. The Redwood Run was an annual tradition with us for about 15 years.

When you're traveling on these old motorcycles it's almost inevitable that someone will have an issue with their bike.

Some people like to travel with a "chase truck" to carry their gear, and you can load a bike into it if it breaks down. But we never did, we carried whatever we needed on the bike.

This time it was just a flat tire, so the problem was easily solved.

Those were some good times. Now I like to take things a little easier, but it was all part of the adventure back then.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The 51 Flathead is on ebay

1951 flathead harley motorcyle - rusty yard art

I'm so sad. We put the 51 flathead on ebay today. I just love seeing this beautiful, rusty old piece of history out there.

The Liberator

This is a 1951 WL 45 cu in flathead that has a 1942 WWII motor. The WL was nick named liberator for its wide use in the Pacific and Europe during WWII. The solo model flathead 45 cu was discontinued in 1952, making all post war solo models rare. The 45 cu in flathead 3 wheeler was made clear up into the 70's for police and other municipal functions due to its dependable motor and economical cost of use.
The Flathead is sold, it just left yesterday 12/16/2012 :(

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Redwood Run 2012 - First Road Trip on the '65 Panhead

We just got back from the Redwood Run. First time we've been in 13 years. Still as always the ride was the best part. The weather was perfect and everything, even Yuba City and Williams, are still beautiful and green. I'd almost forgotten how special the Redwoods are, we rode up the Avenue of the Giants, it's like those thousand year old trees make their own climate, so cool and green under there.

We didn't care for any of the music, Fryed Brothers, same old same old. Billy Idol was supposed to be there but didn't show. The one exception was Lucas Nelson, Willie's son, he was excellent, and we'd never heard of him before, so it's always nice to make a new discovery.

There was no steak dinner on Saturday either, and security was a little uptight it seemed to me, especially since the turnout was really low. It wasn't crowded at all, that was really nice. A great camp spot was easy to find, and lines were not long for anything.

I finally feel like I've bonded with the Panhead after this trip. It feels so different after riding the '47 Knucklehead all these years. It has nowhere near the speed, and sure doesn't corner like the Knuck, but it sure is pretty, and the electric start is nice. With the shocks I didn't feel nearly as beat up after riding for 4 days as I used to, and it goes plenty fast enough for me.

2 men look at a 1965 Harley Panhead in front of a redwood log
The View of the Redwood Run motorcycle rally from a tent window
a 1965 Harley Panhead motorcycle on the Avenue of the Giants
A man working on Harley Panhead Motorcycle while camping

Friday, April 20, 2012

We've got New Rust - An '80 Shovelhead, and a '50 Flathead

We've got new rust in the yard. These were burned in a fire. But I still think they're beautiful. In fact they'd make great yard art. But someday they'll be riding down the road again.

The Flathead

This is a 1950 WL 45 cu in flathead that has a 1942 WWII motor. The WL was nick named liberator for its wide use in the Pacific and Europe during WWII. The solo model flathead 45 cu was discontinued in 1952, making all post war solo models rare. The 45 cu in flathead 3 wheeler was made clear up into the 70's for police and other municipal functions due to its dependable motor and economical cost of use.

Rusty 1950 Harley Flathead Motorcycle Left View
Rusty 1950 Harley Flathead Motorcycle Right View

The Shovelhead

This 1980 Shovelhead is a little too new for the old man's taste. It only had a short stay with us, in fact as I write this, it is already gone. I'm sure it will get the TLC it obviously needs. 

Rusty 1980 Harley Shovelhead Motorcycle Left View
Rusty 1980 Harley Shovelhead Motorcycle Right View

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goin' Down in Downieville on the '47 Knuck

Couple riding a Harley Knucklehead chopper with a homemade bedroll
It has often been said that there are two kinds of bikers, those that have been down, and those that haven't yet. I've been pretty lucky in my thirty years as a p-pad passenger, I've only hit the pavement twice. It just so happens that both times were within three miles of each other.

The first time, was in about '87. Me and my old man were coming back home from a long week-end up by Graeagle on the Knucklehead chopper. It was a low-budget trip, we camped in a cow pasture, had canned chili for dinner and whiskey for breakfast. I know, not a good idea, and he gave up drinking altogether twenty years ago, but that's how we did things back then.

We were just a couple of miles this side of Downieville, and were leaning into the first curve on a long switchback, when suddenly I noticed that my right hand was dragging along the pavement. The old man says that we hit some sand, all I know is that we laid it down and were sliding at about sixty mph on the right side of the bike. Lucky for us our path was unimpeded and we had plenty of room to slide.

In a situation like this, time seems to slow down, and he had time to look at me and ask me if I was OK. I just said "we'll see." I had climbed up on top of the bike to get my skin off the road. As the bike slowed down we were nearing the edge of the road and headed straight for a "curvy road" sign. I kicked myself free and landed on my butt in the road. By the time he and the bike hit the sign their speed was low enough that it was a good thing, as it stopped them from going off the cliff.

When it was over, we both got up and after a quick check to see if I was OK he went to pick up the knuck. As it turned out all three of us had relatively minor scrapes. The old man had more road rash than I, as he had been stuck between the bike and the road. His knee and forearm were pretty skinned up, and my right palm was ground down pretty deep. The bike fired right up though, and after nursing our wounds a bit at the next watering hole, we rode home.

Read another of my stories:

Monday, February 20, 2012

The '47 Knuck's Reincarnation as a Stock Bike and the '65 Panhead

When the California Motorcycle Helmet law took effect in 1992, the old man decided if he was going to have to look like a dork, (what he referred to as the Peewee Herman look), it wasn't right to be riding a chopper. So he rebuilt the '47 Knucklehead as a stock bike. He had been collecting the parts for it for years. When he got the stock original frame and the springer front end it all began to come together. I loved it from the beginning. 

Stock 1947 Harley Knucklehead black and orange

So, he had the tank shift, suicide clutch and throttle. We still had the mechanical brakes. After the last trip to Sturgis he went ahead and put disk brakes and a stock windshield on it. It's still 6 volt.

The stock bike was so much more comfortable to ride than the chopper had been. I had a nice wide flat seat, and the foot pegs were positioned perfectly so my knees didn’t get all tweaked and I could use my legs as shock absorbers, because of course it was still a rigid frame and didn’t have them.

Besides all that, I think it looks pretty cool. I was just going through my old photos, and I don’t have many really good ones of just the bike, not packed or anything. We still have the ’47, always will, but it is not in prime shape at the moment. It’s sitting in a corner of the shop waiting for a rebuild, and it possibly will have a new paint job by the time it’s on the road again.
At the moment the riding bike is the “new” bike a 1965 Panhead. It has a push button, electric start and shocks, which do soften the bumps some. At first I hated it. It just didn’t feel stable in the corners. But I am getting used to it, and it is pretty nice that he can start the bike while I am sitting on it.

Black 1965 Harley Panhead motorcycle

For more of my stories, visit my Hubpages
What-to-Take-to Sturgis on your 1947 Harley Knucklehead

Monday, February 6, 2012

She's Gone... Goodbye to the '42

The 1942 Knucklehead has been sold. We'll miss her, but she's off to a new home with many more miles ahead.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Our Trip to Sturgis on the '47 Knuck

The only time I have been to Sturgis was the year 2000. The old man went a couple of times by himself. I'm sharing a few photos here. If you want to read the whole story of our trip, you can see it on my HubPages by clicking the link below. Enjoy and thanks for looking.

1947 Harley Knucklehead motorcycle and rider in tie-dye at Idaho border sign
The old man, stylin' his tie die Sturgis shirt at the Idaho border

1947 Knucklehead in crowd of bikes at Sturgis 2000
Can you pick out the Knucklehead in this photo? 
It stands out like a sore thumb to me!
Stock 1947 Harley Knucklehead Motorcycle at the Grand Tetons
This was at the Grand Tetons
Woman looking in saddle bags of 1947 Harley Knucklehead
Me looking glamorous after a week on the road living 
out of saddlebags

For the whole story:

Sturgis is a great place to see blues music. We've seen some fabulous artists there.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Redwood Run and Shelter Cove

For years my old man and I used to go to the Redwood Run up by Garberville, CA on the 47 Knucklehead. We started in 1985 and the last time we went was about 1997. Most of the time after the run was over we went to Shelter Cove to camp for a couple of days. Here are some photos of those old times.

Harleys parked in front of movie theater in Garberville CA
Redwood Run time, Harleys in Garberville

Kick starting the 47 Knucklehead chopper
Kick the starting the Knuck on a cold morning
Stock 47 Harley Knucklehead in the mountains
Stock Knucklehead a scenic overlook
Harleys at the old Grapewine Station on Hwy 101 in the Redwoods
Grapewine Station Hwy 101
Harleys at the Oasis
The Oasis CA Hwy 20

Pit stop
Takin' a little break

Redwood Run
Sherry and Dwight

1947 Harley Knucklehead chopper stuck in the sand
Stuck in the sand at Shelter Cove

Changing tire on vintage Harley Panhead motorcycle
Flat tire

There was always great music at the Redwood Run

It reminded me of the Hippie Music festivals back in the '60s.

If you like this, you might also enjoy: Traveling and Camping on a Vintage Motorcycle