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Author Topic: THANKSGIVING DAY OF LONG, LONG AGO.......  (Read 2210 times)
johnl
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« on: November 22, 2012, 17:40:35 pm »

I woke up this Thanksgiving day thinking of my VW drive 48 years ago.  This would have been in 1964 and my Ruby Red VW (later to become the Butternut car) I had only owned just over 16 months. 

As I recall it was a gray day in So Cal and I was bored.  Picked up the phone and called my school friend Ronnie Munoz who lived over in the east part of Anaheim close to the Bean Hut on Los Angeles Street.  http://www.myspace.com/chavo66/photos/2235014#%7B%22ImageId%22%3A2235014%7D

He agreed to take a “drive” with me and so in short fashion I was at his door and we were off.  Neither of us had a clue where to go but when you are a 17 year old kid with a shiny red VW and have the only one with a Judson Supercharger probably in the County you MUST make a statement.

Off we went out the 91 Freeway east which at that time wasn't complete so you were off and on new sections.  Next thing we knew we were driving through Corona where there was no Freeway.  It was a two lane road in each direction with large Eucalyptus trees in the middle.  Then on to Riverside and headed up to San Bernardino.

Once there with nothing open we discussed what to do and came up with the brilliant idea to drive further east.  This would mean going up Cajon Pass which is a challenge even for many cars today.  By the time we reached the summit the temp had dropped down into the 30's.  At this point I think we found an open gas station which is not like today where you can get gas anywhere, anytime.  We filled her up for under $3 and continued east.

The drive from that point on is rather boring with not much to see as the upper desert looks all the same to me.  Drove by the exit to Calico Ghost Town http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calico,_San_Bernardino_County,_California without seeing much traffic in either direction.
 
At this time I'm thinking we might just make it to Las Vegas but in short fashion something changed.  The car started making strange sounds and running ruff and loosing power.  I was traveling between 70 and 75 mph so the little 40 HP was wound up tight.  Immediately I backed out of it and slowed to about 50 mph and the problem went away.  Pulled over got out and checked the engine oil and the glass bottle that contained the Marvel Mystery Oil that fed the Judson.

 All seemed to be okay but I thought I shouldn't push it so just after the California State Inspection Station http://www.desertdispatch.com/news/yermo-4192-inspection-planning.html we pulled off and turned around.  I remember driving through the station with the guard looking at us as if we were from Mars.  He must have not seen two kids driving a VW in the middle of nowhere on Thanksgiving Day.

Something told me not to push the VW going back so I don't think I got much over 60 mph except coming down Cajon Pass.  That day we didn't experience the engine problem again so I passed it off as bad gas or just a fluke.  Little did I know that it would return in the near future with disastrous results.

By 12:30 we were back at the Munoz home eating Thanksgiving Tamales.  I still remember how good they were as Mrs. Munoz was a wonderful cook.  After filling my gullet I said my goodbyes and made the short journey home which was about one mile.  I arrived just in time for what else, Thanksgiving Dinner, traditional American style without Tamales.

The next Monday it was back to school and work at Crawford's Market as a box boy.  Shortly thereafter Ronnie also became a box boy at the same location.  We had may more good times through our High School years along with two other friends, John Long and John Kerr, the Cops kid.  John Kerr Sr. was a highly respected Anaheim Police Detective.  Gee, I wonder if Detective Kerr had any idea of what his son and pals were into back in those day.  Somehow I suspect he did....

Not to long after that on a Friday night some of us VW guys, Rich Kugel, Bob Wilson and others were out driving around in the Irvine area which was just fields back then.  We were driving back on Irvine Blvd. - Fourth Street and my car started running rough again.  This time I saw billows of smoke coming out of the Fourtuned Header pipe.  I pulled over along with the other guys and oil was covering the rear of the car.  Seems that #2 piston top had decided to open up into a rather large hole.  Ah, those words that Joe Schneider, Schneider Motors had said came to pass.  I think the Judson Motor lived about 2800 miles but they were 2800 miles of pure driving fun.

After High School and some College at FJC (Fullerton Junior College) I lost touch with Ronnie and both Johns.  A few years back I found John Kerr who is now living in Kansas City, Missouri and is the retired editor of the Odessa Daily Texas Daily American Newspaper.  John and I e-mail occasionally and he always brings up our adventures in my VW but those tales are for another time.

John Long I believe lives in Brea, California but I haven't seen him in over 40 years.  Funny as we use to travel to Hollywood and cruise almost every night back in the day.  I should make the effort to get in contact with him and see how he is doing.  Over the years I've tried to locate Ronnie Munoz without much luck.  Even John Kerr asked me if I knew were John Long and Ronnie were and at the time I had no clue.

Recently at Nick's on a Sunday night just as I was getting ready to leave DKP I member Art Alvarez came up to me and said “do you know a Ron Munoz”?  My eyes lit up an I said YES.  Art proceeded to tell me that his wife has a cousin by that name and she has heard him telling stories of his youth and having a friend named John Lazenby who had a VW and they use to go a lot of places in that car.

Art tells me he lives in Big Bear City, California (San Bernardino Mountains) and is retired.  I did a bit of research and found out that after years of working for the Gas Company he got into photography http://www.bigbeargrizzly.net/outlook/article_5a9405eb-8c5e-5aea-af7a-cbb45a722bcb.html  If  you go to the second photo on this link you will see a photo of Ronnie today although today it looks like he goes by “Ron” these days. 

Art promised to get me phone numbers so I can reach him and I look forward to doing just that.  What a kick it would be for the four of us to meet up somewhere, sometime and share those great old times.

Anyway, that is my Thanksgiving story for all of you.  Wow, 48 years ago just seems like yesterday.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all who celebrate it.......................
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
Jason Foster
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 05:55:23 am »

Thanks for the story John.
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STRENGTH THROUGH JOY...........

Der Kleiner Panzers
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Keep smiling...


« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2012, 09:32:19 am »

Cool, John. Hope you enjoyed Turkey Day! Cool
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Der Kleiner Panzers VW Club    
So it took some guy 17 years to run 0.31secs quicker and he boasts about it? A case of All Talk and...
.
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2012, 02:39:41 am »

Always love your history lessons John !
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving !
 Smiley
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johnl
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 03:37:25 am »

Always love your history lessons John !
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving !
 Smiley

Thanks Richard and yes I guess they are "History" but I don't know about the "Lessons" part.  Our Thanksgiving was quiet as we have no immediate family in the area so Christie, myself and a longtime friend went out for Thanksgiving Dinner.  It is just easier for us that way.

Earlier in the day I kind of finished off a project that had been brewing for a long time.  Our '63 black sedan hadn't been used much since the arrival of the Green Monster this past May.  The old girl wasn't running her best and I thought I had it nailed down to bad throttle shaft bushings in the 30 PICT 1. 

I had our Royze rebuilder go through it and also replace the bushings.  Installed it only to have the same issues.  Got the brake clean out and started spraying and discovered that the left manifold boot was leaking.  Stopped by Dave Greiner's shop the other day and he provided me with a pair of EMPI split boot replacement.  Yep, I have read much negative on them but I thought for the little it cost me and the ease of replacement it was worth a try.

The one boot was replaced in probably under 10 minutes and that seemed to resolve the issue.  I adjusted the carb and took it for a spin only to loose the right rear hub cap somewhere on the freeway.  The car ran well and I had original replacement caps so one was installed today after the VW logo was painted black as they were back in '63.

I gave the old girl a bath and cleaned up a few trim pieces and put her back in the garage.  The Fuhrer would have been proud to see two VW sedans and two BMWs within the walls.

Tonight Christie and I took it out for dinner and drove probably 20 miles with some on the freeway hitting 75 a couple of times.  Horsepower is good and a lot of fun but there is much to be said for the purity of a pretty much stock VW sedan.  They are not fast but do everything pretty well.  We got lots of looks and a couple of thumbs ups on the drive.

She is back in the garage but will come out early tomorrow for a trip down to Irvine and Cars & Coffee.  It has been about six weeks since I've made my last appearance and the '63 and I are looking forward to being there.
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
johnl
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2012, 03:58:22 am »

I should have included this in the previous post but didn't think of it until I'd pushed the button.  Went to the garage and shot this photo.  Far left front is Christie's 2000 323ci, silver with red leather, the 1963 sedan and the '60 Green Monster.  Behind the Green Monster are my '52 Schwinn Black Phantom, Christie's '54 Schwinn Hornet and my modern day Electra bike.  Second row left to right and all covered are the '55 C300 Chrysler, 2001 BMW M5 and '56 300B Chrysler.

I have far to many toys as this is only half of the cars and I'm even more blessed to have a wife that allows me my vice and has fun being involved too.  I'd show you the second story of the garage but that would be a bit of an over kill at the moment.

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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
.
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2012, 04:32:03 am »

Yes, a ride an a vintage aircooled VW can put a smile on your face no matter what else is happening in your life.
I still hope to run into Johnny Slayton again soon and tell him we know each other.
 Smiley
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Fritter
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 04:37:54 am »

Happy thanksgiving!  Great pic of your garage.  Christie's BMW looks similar to my E46, mine is a silver 4 door.  I love that car.

My six year old and I took my '64 Bug to Home Depot to pick up some small supplies for our basement remodel today.  Fun stuff!  Lots of people looking and smiling.   Grin
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Mike F.
'64 Indigo Blue sunroof Bug
johnl
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 23:18:16 pm »

UPDATE:  Today at work I was buzzed to advise me that a "Ron Munoz" was waiting.  My first reaction was to pick up a phone line but there was no one there.  I walked out of my office and there he stood !!  We hadn't seen each other since about 1966 but I knew immediately it was him.  I guess he felt the same although both of us had changed a bit physically over the years we found our common bonds still remained.

The next couple of hours were taken up discussing old times, old friends and of course old cars.  Ronnie remember many adventures we took in my VW back in the day and even told me a story that I'd forgotten. 

We went over to Ruby's Diner very close to Anaheim High School and had lunch and then drove around some of our old haunts a bit.  So I got my Christmas gift a day late, but none the less still got it.

Now that we are in touch we plan on visiting more often and I look forward to that.  Sometimes when you find old friends you also find that things are very different but for us I think we will do just fine for our future visits...   Smiley Smiley
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
DKK Ted
DKK
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2012, 04:19:15 am »

Very cool John, first John, now Ron. Excellent Xmas gift's.

Ted
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VW Classic 2012
johnl
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2012, 04:26:50 am »

Very cool John, first John, now Ron. Excellent Xmas gift's.

Ted

Ted, no doubt you are right on..  When Ron left my office today he was heading to Brea to try and meet up with another old friend that we both grew up with.  His name is also John and I'm excited to hear how this one works out.

I've really enjoyed seeing my old friends and we all seem to enjoy sharing where our lives have taken us.  So far I'm the only one that has remained a car nut....
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
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