Sunday, December 09, 2012


8AM - Today's story
I continue with the story of adventures that I had with my English racer bicycle. In today's story, I arrive at the airport where my dad's airplane is parked. And I tell the story about biking to my dad's machine shop.

Looking for dad [Continued]
At the intersection of Whittier and Atlantic was a burger joint called Stan's Drive-In. They had a peanut vending machine there. I bought some peanuts and sat on the curb eating. The salty peanuts made me so thirsty. One of the car hops offered me a glass of ice water. Is there anything better than ice water after eating salty peanuts?

Across the street from Stan's is a gas station. After eating the peanuts I went over there to ask for directions to East Los Angeles Airport. "Keep going on Atlantic until you get to Washington. Then turn left.", the gas station guy told me. In those days there were large areas of East Los Angeles where nothing was built. Just big empty fields. That's how it was as I pedaled along Washington Boulevard.

Now I was more than 10 miles from my house. This bike ride was definitely the longest of my life. Then I came to the air field. The sign at the entrance was, "Vail Field". I biked into the airport to the hanger area. There was my dad's plane. A two-place Cessna 120. 0-2N marked on the fuselage. Of course my dad was not there with his airplane. He had no idea that I was biking there today. I was an 11 year old kid who had more imagination than reality going around in my head. So, I biked around the airport waiting for my dad to arrive.

The shop
Around 1951 my dad moved his machine shop to Mission Road in East Los Angeles. A couple of years later, my uncle Seymour and his partner Del began renting machine shop space in my dad's shop. On Saturdays, I would bike from my house in City Terrace to the machine shop. For some reason that I could not understand, my dad was hardly ever at the shop. But Seymour and Del were always there.

Before Seymour began working in my dad's shop, he did machine shop work in his garage which was located just across the street from my Woolwine Drive home. Inside the garage Seymour had an old single barrel shotgun which did not work. The gun had a broken firing pin. I asked Seymour to give me the shotgun, and he did.

One day I brought the shotgun to the Mission Road shop with the idea of making a new firing pin. I had played around with machine shop tools in the shop, and knew a little bit about working on them. Somehow Del got involved with me making a new firing pin, and he began to give me directions about what to do. The shop had all kinds of steel bar stock, and Del looked through that inventory and gave me a round steel rod that would be good for a firing pin.

Using a small engine lathe, I machined the rod into the shape and size of the old broken firing pin. Then Del helped me mill a flat into pin, the same as in the old firing pin. Then Del heat treated the new pin so that it would be hard. The firing pin fit perfectly into the shotgun. But I never used that shotgun. Never fired it even once.

I loved just being around that machine shop. Years later, after I was married, I went to work for Uncle Seymour and Del. I worked for them for almost 10 years.

[To be continued]

10AM - Gigantic Tianguis
Every Sunday at the Aticama Cultural Center is a tiaguis [street market]. But this Sunday it is being called, "Gigantic Tiaguis!" John, Carol and I went into Aticama to shop at the Tianguis. There was no food being sold this week! Hmmmmm?

During the afternoon we will be going to Billy Bobs, a restaurant in the center of San Blas. Today is fried chicken day! Billy Bob's has a great reputation with their fried chicken.
Cultural Center sign announcing "Gigantic Tianguis".

11AM - Dave "Dods" news
Readers who follow Dave "Dods" blog [link] may be happy go learn that Dave should be coming back to Aticama shortly after New Years. Dave went to California a couple of months ago to have back surgery.

For most of 2012, Dave has been living in and taking care of Weng and Francisco's hill-top home here in Aticama.

Mostly cloudy


Location: El Chaco RV Park
Elevation: 15 meters