Tuesday, November 22, 2011
A PLACE IN THE SUN
I would rather share with you about this Place In The Sun. I pulled into Orange County, California during rush hour on Thursday afternoon. I had forgotten how many people they had crammed into this geographical area. The last time I had been here was in the late 80's while I was in the Army and it was crowded then. I found my way to the home of my dear friend, Russ Niedwick and after a short catch up with him and The Man known as "Pothole", we proceeded to a local watering hole. Sailor Jerry and his friend Jack Daniels joined us for a celebration and in the morning the question was asked many times. "What Happened".
A cup of coffee and a dip in the hot tub started off my Veterans Day. The day had no plan and that's the way I like it. The only thing on my agenda was spending time with a friend and checking out his machine shop. Russ Niedwick is the third generation owner of Niedwick Machine, a full service precision metal shop with costumers from dishwasher manufactures to the military. If it is made of metal, these guys have what it takes, including motorcycle parts. Grandpa Neidwick started this business in 1956 working on airplane parts in Long Beach. Now they have diversified into all kinds of different industries. I found pleasure in seeing Russ, his father and his grandfather talking about a set of brass handlebar risers they are soon to put into production. Those of you who watch Orange County Choppers on TV have seen some of the pieces they have made. The DNA wheels and The Gears of War Trike Wheels among many other pieces and parts. It was truly my pleasure to spend time with these people. Craftsmen each and every one of them.
One of the things that I loved about the area was the closeness of all the different trades and Craftsmen. Because of the population density there is enough work to have a machine shop, auto paint shop, powdercoating shop, metal plating, parts houses and metal suppliers and all the other connected trades. All of this in a 5 mile radius. For a guy like me, living in the hills of Tennessee, the availability of those services is damn near mind blowing. The amount of knowledge in the area was also mind blowing. We were in the area where the So. Cal. speed movement started back in the day. I was thinking about how it must have been back then. I have heard lots of stories of the glory all these people were trying to achieve. These were the people who were defining "West Coast Cool". These were the guys that punched horsepower and speed to a whole new level. And Then I met Wink Eller. Russ knew that I would appreciate meeting and talking with this Legend of Speed. Wink Eller's body of work is greater than I could address at this time but I can say this. He has set 67 official land speed records and that doesn't include the 13 records they took from him. Keep your eyes open. This man has some huge plans in the works including a live cam for your viewing pleasure.
Saturday morning found me rolling my throttle up the Pacific Coast Highway. Destination Beverly Hills for The Cycle Source Mag. West Coast Bike Show. Morning rain kept some of the people away but all in all it was a great show. It is always a pleasure to run into good people like Mr. Johnson, The Mailman and talented Sara Liberte. They seemed just a bit surprised to see me on the west coast.
Take some time. Invest in yourself. Go see a new friend and enrich your life with new things. Get on your bike and ride. Find you a place in the Sun.
I AM DON WOOD
Posted by I AM DON WOOD at 11:26 AM