The Wrench Whore
How it all began


I've been ridin' and wrenchin' for 40+ years.

Way back in the 60's, my brother Roger put me on the back of his Sportster and took me to the Long Beach indoor short track races. Somewhere between the ride from Newbury Park to Long Beach, all the thrills of racing, the action, roar of the engines and smell of exhaust, he might as well have stuck a needle in my arm, I became addicted to motorcycles.

Roger satisfied his commitment to the United Sates Navy, moved out and got married. Our family moved from Newbury Park to Camarillo that's where and my life of motorcycles all started.

I learned to ride in the time honored tradition, 'on other peoples bikes'. "Hey Doug, can I ride your bike?" "Sure, I know how to ride...". BIFF! Doug never let me ride his S90 again. That was my first encounter with a clutch. Prior to that I managed to conquer the world of internal combustion assisted travel on a friend's mo-ped. You know, more pedal than motor. Mind you all this two wheeled motorized fun was done on the hush, my mother didn't approve of motorcycles. She felt motorcyclists were just a bunch of hoodlums. Just look at my brother Roger.

My first bike was a Honda CB77 basket case which I had to assemble prior to riding. As my feeble memory recalls, I was 'house sitting' for a neighbor, you know, pick up the mail & newspapers, feed the cat, keep an eye on the place while he was on vacation. I kept my eye on the place alright. I had my eye on the Model T parked in his garage.

One day I peeked under the tarp in the corner. There all clean and disassembled was a Honda CB77, 305 Super Hawk. The daydreams started BIG TIME. I would spend the afternoons putting the pieces together and taking them back apart, no gaskets or tools just fingers and an inquisitive mind. After all I, aced the 'small engine repair course' when I was in the 8th grade. The Briggs & Stratton engines were a snap, how hard could it be to put this engine back together?

Bud returned from his vacation, I told him I had been messin' with the Honda. I explained to him that I REALLY wanted to own a bike but that my mother wouldn't allow it. Bud had a heart of gold. We struck a deal where by he traded the basket case for my services as a house sitter. We expanded my duties to include gardening and lawn care in exchange for use of his garage and a few dollars a week so I would have money to buy a shop manual, tools and the required parts to put the bike back on the road.

Bud was no mechanic. He could appreciate nifty toys and well afford to buy them as well as pay to have them repaired. I later found out that Bud was from a wealthy family and spent summers at 'his summer house' on the Eastern seaboard. He had purchased the Honda on a whim and managed to seize a piston.

Bud was impressed by my resolve. I would ride my bicycle from Camarillo to Oxnard Honda to ask questions and buy parts. Can you imagine a motorcycle shop service writer taking time out on a Saturday to answer questions of an inquisitive 15 year old?

The whole time I was 'buildin' my first putt' I was beggin' rides on all my older friends bikes. I would tell of my project in the neighbors garage and they would say "yea, sure, you've got a 305 you're putting together, right. OK, big guy, take my CB160 and get me some cigarettes."

It took me a whole summer of odd jobs to get the bike together and running. Bud's yard never looked so good. The Super Hawk ended up with a 331cc kit and a mild cam. Needless to say it was pretty damn fast with a 98 lb kid riding it.

Dad says there were far to many reports from the neighbors about me riding a big black motorcycle that I was keeping in Bud's garage. My mother found out about the bike and I had to sell it. I took the money and bought a go kart. Talk about an education in mechanics. That damn thing did nothing but eat money. I would no sooner get it together and race it all over the neighborhood only to end up pushing it home.

Mom saw that I was interested in engines and things that went fast, so when I traded the go kart for a BIG box of Honda 50 parts. She figured I was never going to get it together so I was allowed to keep it. Little did she know it was a whole bike I disassembled prior to bringing it home.

Well, a few of dozen years have passed as well as countless motorcycles and a marriage. She said "it's either me or the motorcycles". That was an easy call. I knew I would miss the motorcycles, so I packed up my truck with my toys and tools and never looked back.

That's how it all got started. I've been riddin' for 40+ years. My toys have always run better than my friends so I've had a long running supply of 'buddies' wanting me to fix their bikes. It didn't take long to figure I could pay for my toys by fixing my friend's toys.