Monday, March 11, 2013

Yucca Valley Trip - Part III

This is the continuation of a trip Jacob, a good friend of mine, and I took at the end of February.  We were on the second day, having just finished touring Joshua Tree National Forest, before stopping at Jacob's dad's house for a BBQ dinner.  We had arrived early because Jacob had told me his dad, Mac, had some amazing cool stuff to look through. He wasn't lying!  After helping Mac unload a few items he let us have the run of the place.  It was like being on the set of History Channel's American Pickers!  Jacob and I just started wandering around Mac's property taking pictures.  There were so many cool things to look at I took a million pictures.  What you see below is only a tiny subset of the final :)

Jacob told me Mac has been into motorcycles for a long time.  There were quite a few stashes of bikes in various states of being located here and there.  This is some sort of Honda SS90?? There was a old Trail-90 behind that.
A neat looking Massey Ferguson 85 I think.  Reading through Wikipedia, this made me laugh - (Regarding the company) Its television and radio advertising featured an upbeat jingle, with a male chorus singing, "He's a get-up-early, keep-'em-rollin', Massey-Ferguson kind of a man."
This reminded me of "Built like a brick s.."  well you know what I mean.  And no we didn't use this, Mac does have indoor plumbing:)
A ongoing art project by Mac.  I saw something like this on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show, only with Patron bottles.  I asked my wife if I could implement something similar in our own backyard but got shot down. :(
Quite a few older cars everywhere you turned.
Anytime I see older engines like this one I'm reminded of a line out of the Mad Max movies.  "Last of the V8's"
The old girl still has some life in her yet.  Just needs a little love.
Someone once told me that old Harley tank emblems always go for big money on ebay.  Not sure if that is true or not..but I have looked at old Triumph ones and they do get pretty pricey.
Had never heard of the name, but apparently Garelli Motorcycles was established in 1919!
Jacob and I eventually wandered into Mac's garage.  A chorus of angels chimed in from somewhere. While rays of sunlight streamed in on dusted chrome and metal.  Picture Nicholas Cage lighting the torches in the Mason's treasure vault in the movie National Treasure.  Well that's how it went down in my imagination anyway.
Not sure if this is a Kawasaki or Honda with a Mojave sticker on it, or if Mojave is really a brand.  Can't find much online. Jacob sent me the info on this bike.  See description below.
UPDATE - Bike is a Montgomery Ward Mojave made by Benelli '68
I've been unable to find the correct year for this one.  Something close to a CB77 Superhawk??  I'm not up on all the vintage Honda bikes.  Jacob sent me the info on this bike.  See description below.
UPDATE - Bike is a Puch SR250 sold by Sears probably a '65
I'm trying to find an hold headlight like this off of eBay.  I think it would make a nice art piece for the office.  If anyone knows of a listing, let me know.
About this time Mac comes in from outside and points to a Monark bicycle sitting in the center of the garage.  He says, see that bike there.  Harrison Ford sat on that bike.
Mac proceeds to pull out a picture of said bike with Harrison Ford.  And I say.."What the?".  It turns out that the whole story revolves around a old motel/gas station along the legendary US Highway Route 66.  The name of the motel is Roy's Motel and Cafe.
Long story short, or as short as I can tell it.  First! click the link above and read the history on the place.  If you've seen the Pixar movie Cars, Radiator Springs would be the town of Amboy without the happy ending.  I'm going to link in the important part here from Wikipedia:
White period
In 1995 Timothy White leased the entire town of Amboy and Roy's from Buster Burris, White was a noted New York photographer, who saw value in maintaining the property in a weathered, worn condition as a filming location. White contracted with his 'high school buddy' Walt Wilson to manage the property, and later completed the purchase of the whole town in February, 2000.
As stated Timothy White is an amazing celebrity photographer.  You can see some of his work HERE, including (if you click far enough) a similar Harrison Ford picture on the bike.  Turns out that Harrison Ford would fly his plane into Amboy, occasionally, so Mr. White could photograph him for magazine articles and such.

OK! so what does all this have to do with Jacob and his dad??  While working out near the town of Amboy they run into Timothy and Walt, and strike up a friendship.  About this time the Laughlin River Run is starting to take off and Jacob and his dad end up helping out at the gas station when bikers from the LA area would ride through on their way to the California/Arizona border.  As Jacob describes it, the week before the river run started Amboy would turn into a little camp site with a lot of cool people passing through.  As such, they end up meeting people like Harrison Ford, Indian Larry, etc.  Mac would eventually end up loaning his motorcycle and bicycle out to Timothy for some of his photo shoots.  WHEW!  So there we have it all tied in, I think.:)

Mac allowed me to take some pictures of Timothy White's pictures.  The first one is of Mac himself in Walt Wilson's police car.  Amboy never had a police department as far as I know.  I think the car was created just for show.

A Timothy White photo of Indian Larry.  Taken somewhere in the area of Yucca Valley since we can see the distinctive Joshua trees in the background.
This is a neat photo of Indian Larry in one of the dilapidated buildings of Amboy.  The gentleman in the right of the photo is actually Jacob's younger brother Joey.  On a side note, if you're into Indian Larry, or his bikes, Mr. White produced an amazing book of photos revolving around Larry.  You can find it HERE at Amazon.  Mac had a copy and let me leaf through it.  Amazing stuff!
Mac also had a couple of saved motorcycle magazines from that time period.  Indian Larry signed the first one.
He also saved another magazine after Larry had passed away.  Mac was telling me the small flags came off of Larry's 49th birthday cake.
A couple more pictures taken by Timothy White.  The first is of his brother Joey again.  Jacob recently acquired the car and is trying to sell it if anyone is interested.
I can't remember who these fellows are. 
If I'm not mistaken I think Timothy White is the guy on the left(Ooops! I was mistaken.  Person on the left is a friend named Richard) and Mac is on the right.
Mac is on the right, Richard is the gentleman on the left again.
After looking through all the photos I noticed this picture on one of Mac's cabinets.  I turned to Jacob and told him we had to go visit this place!  Our destination for the following day had found us.
We continued to explore Mac's garage.  Neat looking hubcaps and old lights.
A Chevy Big Block 454 project just waiting to be placed into the right vintage frame.
We dug out Mac's old cruising jacket.  Can't you just see Frank or Mike, from American Pickers, wanting to pick this up at a good price?:)
And old pair of motocross boots sitting in a corner.  I thought the layer of dust added a cool look.
Mac even had a couple of storage containers to peek through.  There were a number of nice looking vintage bikes just itching to be restored.
Jacob was joking around that we should mount this sissy bar on Bonnie.  I told him I didn't think it would fit in with the look I was going for.:)
Eventually the sun started to set on another great day.
Mac's coonhound Shirley came out to tell us dinner was ready.
As the moon started to rise we headed indoors.
Mac's wife Janet had prepared BBQ ribs, beans and salad! Soooo very good!! after a long day of riding with no lunch.
We enjoyed dinner around the living room with Mac, Janet and Janet's mom.  Good food and good conversation!
A final shot of the house guardian Purry.  She/he?? watched over us while we ate.  Jacob and I eventually bid our farewells and headed out.  I had a great time visiting Jacob's dad and came away with some amazing stories!
Stay tuned for Day 3!  Thanks for reading.


  1. Ummm WOW. Simply WOW.

    As an avid American Pickers watcher - I agree, I could totally see those guys having a hay day at Mac's. I can see why it needed it's own post. So many cool things in one place. It looks like Mac has seen and done a lot of things in his time.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  2. @Trobairitz - Thanks for the comment! I had a blast spending the afternoon with him and his son. It would be fun to see if Mike or Frank could actually buy anything off of Mac. It would be one of those episodes where they say "At the end of the day we actually have to _buy_ stuff to keep ourselves in business."