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Legend of Wilbertson Hill

Jimway

Well-known member
I felt sorry for the little girl. Having a guardian that was completely absentminded and with no sense of responsibility so as to leave the little girl in my care. I figured that the guardian and the Mrs. could use a little lesson in civility too. I had just come home from a couple hundred mile jaunt on the sled. I roared into the drive and ground to a stop. I slowly got off the bike and went inside. Here I found the guardian and Mrs Jim about to embark on a shopping session of some sort. They ordered me to provide care for the little girl. The little girl looked up at me apprehensively. "What's your name there?" I asked. The guardian notified me that the little girl hadn't spoke since she had been party to some domestic violence. I was smart enough to not be standing in the way of the door as the two shoppers vacated the premises with strict orders for me. I wasn't listening.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
As Mrs Jim and her friend drive away, Mrs Jim points her finger at me, frowns, and narrows her eyes. Her gaze nearly burns a hole in my leathers. Thus unburdened of oppressive supervision, I ask the little girl if she likes motorcycles? She turns both her palms out, touches her elbows together and hunches her shoulders down and slowly nods in the affirmative. "You thirsty, go get yoself a Sprite" I tell her. I figure some sugar might just get things on a role. The little girl heads over to the fridge and returns with two cans of soft drink. I like this kid already, I think to myself. "Climb on up there on the bike and I'll show ya how it operates" I tell her. I reach down to pick her up and she cringes and holds her hands and arms up to protect her head. Kind of breaks my heart. Once we start honking the horn and turning turn signals on and off, her mood improves right up to the point that she looks at me and quietly asks "Are you a pirate"? I smile.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
You know, I probably look like a pirate standing there in all black with a bandana and all that hair. "Now looky here" I tell her. "You have a name haven't you?" I ask. It comes out something like De- ge- anni. "I'm gonna call ya D until you get your nickname" I tell her. I got a buddy named, appropriately enough, Nick, who is the spitting image of Santa Claus. He's big into toys and we collect up a few every year and give em out. "you ever hear of Santa Claus?" I ask her. I pull out a Bob's candy cane candy from my vest pocket and give it to her. "Got that right from the man hisself" I tell her. She frowns and half closes her eyes in a I don't believe you look. "You want ta meet him?" I ask her. "I do a little work for him from time to time". "He's got a place in town, we could go over right now if you don't mind a ride on a bike?" I tell her. Faster than you can say get down on it, I've got a little beany helmet on her and some cheap sunglasses (ZZ Top accolade here). I plop her on the seat right in front where I can keep an eye out and we roar off down the lane. I look down and she's got each hand on a gas cap and she's all smiles. I yell at her "This aint too fast is it?" She shakes her little head no. I roll on the throttle. I smile, if only her guardian, who rather disdains two wheeled motorized transportation could see us now, heh heh.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
As much as I would relish the look on the guardians face, I figure D and me will be back before the shoppers return and thereby save me the wrath of Mrs. Jim for taking the kid out on the bike. While we're in transit to Nicks workshop, we make a little potty stop where I call Nick on the cell phone and bring him up to speed on D while she's in the port a potty. So when we roll up at Nicks, he calls her by name and she's all big eyed and talkative. While were at Nicks place we teach D how to mix up some Southern Comfort and Coke just right. We keep all of them toy donations in a big room and we let D pick out some stuff. She's happy as all get out. We even find a little leather biker jacket out of the clothes. Hanging on the wall on the main floor of the shop, in a place of honor, is a smallish four wheeled vehicle. The oil and gas has been long drained from the tank and sump. It looks a lot like a mid 50's F1 car without much of the bodywork. There's a big gash that runs through the air scoop, through the top of the steering wheel, through the roll bar, and back over the tail end of the machine.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
If you Google the 'real life monopoly car' at the Wheels Through Time museum, you can get an idea of what the car looks like. She sits pretty low to the ground. She was hand built by some young fiend with his own three hands. The motive power came from a hay swather (Google a Hesston 110 hay swather and you'll get the idea). It is a Wisconsin v4 air cooled engine. The swather, a big hay mower, was belt driven, kind of like a snow mobile belt drive system but all lever operated. The drive pulleys are lever adjustable and start out small at the engine and big at the drive end. As you adjust the pulley at the engine to increase it's diameter. the pulley at the drive end gets small. From the drive end of the belt system is a chain final drive on each side to the rear wheels. It has an electric starter and generator and a rudimentary brake system. So rudimentary a brake system was it that it was for all practical purposes non existent. You might imagine 30 horse power in a pretty light weight vehicle would go like mad and you would be right. I don't ever remember clocking it at top speed but it would outrun most traffic on the highway and that was when the speed limit was 70 mph. So while we were there at Nicks, some folks stopped in to drop off some toy donations and they stood around oohhing and awwwing at the little speedster. The conversation soon centered on that big gash that runs down the center of the machine. "If you folks have a few minutes, I can tell you a little story about that gash" I say. "You see, I was there the day that the gash was put in there". They seem pretty interested so I pull out some fold up chairs and get them seated while I block their exit. Nick rolls his eyes back and runs out the far door headed for the house.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
I tell D that "Me throat is dry as toast". The visitors look on somewhat incredulously but silently as she drags a chair over to the liquor cabinet and quick as a wink mixes up a little snort just for me. I gently rub across the gash across the top of the machine. You have to go back a to just after the last ice age, that is to say, when we were still in elementary school. In those far off times, kids walked, ran, rode bikes, skate boards, scooters, mini bikes, go karts, horses, goats, dogs, and even, as it turned out, a motorcycle. It was Fall and we were just starting yet another stretch of incarceration known as a school year. On the front side of our old school (sadly it is no longer standing but don't worry, I had nothing to do with it) there was a road and parking area. The back side of the school was open to the countryside and therefore enjoyed a kind of wild west atmosphere as to travel means. The school stood on high ground. To the North of the school was a road that went down Wilbertson Hill. A rather tame, innocent name but far from the truth. It should have been called Deadmans drop or Say Goodbye Hill. The select few who actually drove down it did so with one foot on the brake and the other on the running board. We all figured Wilbertson must have been some kind of mountain climber. If you fell off of your skateboard, it would, unburdened by it's rider, just about exceed the speed of sound by the time it reached the bottom of the hill. The hill had become the focal point of heated competition of all types, by a hearty select few, to see who could reach the bottom first albeit mostly in one piece. That Summer we had put the finishing touches on the machine you see here. We named it the Cherry Bomb but not in relation to fire crackers and Cherry Bomb mufflers were not yet in existence. It was birthed behind the barn, born out of wedlock, a cross between a midget racer and a hay swather. The back half of the body work was a copper bath trough. The front was channeled down from some unidentified, even at this late juncture, automobile from the teens or perhaps earlier. Up front was that wonderful V4 Wisconsin engine and all of those belts and pulleys. Amidships (Boating reference here) was a jackshaft that had exposed sprockets at each end that protruded out the sides of the machine. The chains went from there to the rear axle. There is a gas tank of sorts, at the very rear of the machine. She sits low down to the ground. The exhaust pipe sticks straight up from the hood and does it's best to asph-- asphy-- choke the driver to death at all times underway. The carb intake sticks out the side of the hood, down low. The machine is surprisingly quiet but moves out smartly when the right sequence of levers is manhandled. Up on the diminutive dash was a push button starter, a choke handle, a throttle lever, headlight switch, and gas guage/ammeter. At low velocity the machine was surprisingly docile and would putter along all day. Upper velocity, which came quickly when requested, was just like a horse with it's ears pinned back. Terminal velocity, so to speak, hadn't been properly researched up to that point as we hadn't as yet found enough room suitable to let it run wide open.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
So as the first week of jail er ah school drew to a close, Friday came along. One of the wonderful things about
Friday morning was a little thing known as Show and Tell. I figured that I would drop a bomb on everyone and show up in the Cherry Bomb. Little did I know that the new kid in class would show up on his fancy Yamaha racing bike. His name was Tommy Lee Gentry. He was up from California, good looking kid with some of the nuances of the surfer crowd. His little Yamaha was painted red white and blue on the fuel tank and he had some leathers that matched. He had a box of trophies and regaled the class with his exploits. I yawned. The female portion of the class seemed completely taken by Tommy Lee, all except a certain beautiful young thing that was not only the apple of my eye but the whole basket of fruit. We now know her as Mrs. Jim. We can call her Future Mrs Jim or FMJ. She looked at Tommy Lee and then across the room at me and rolled her eyes back into her head. I winked at her in approval. Since Tommy Lee was new to the school he got to go first in Show and Tell. My turn came and I gave a tour of the Cherry Bomb. Before you knew it it was morning recess and we all staggered out to the playfield to size one another up. It didn't take long for Tommy Lee to become insufferable. There I was in my cowboy boots and Levis's with a white T shirt. Tommy Lee makes a couple of comments concerning my attire and likening me to a 'hick from the sticks'. "Let me tell you something about these boots" I tell Tommy Lee. "You see them points on the front there, that's to kick the blank out of smart----s like you" I smile. "The heals is so I don't step in it afterwords" I add. A murmur passes through the crowd of onlookers as they take a step back. An uncomfortable silence passes until Tommy Lee suggests a drag race between the two of us. I don't think he thought anybody could last two seconds going up against him. I cut right to the quick. "You got any money?" I asked. "Good" I say. "I got a dollar right here says that I'll be the first one down Wilbertson Hill, and I hold up a dollar. Another murmur shoots through the crowd. Todays youth might think that a dollar is a paltry sum but back in those far off times, a dollar could feed a family of four for a week. The race is scheduled for the following Saturday morning. News of the race zips through the whole school like static electricity and there is much betting of lunch and milk money even though gambling is strictly forbidden at school even though it is a gamble for most kids just to go out on the playfield at recess.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
So I'm there at the top of Wilbertson Hill first thing in the morning. I pick up FMJ on the way. A few of the neighborhood kids are showing up. I do my best to look intimidating in my aviator glasses with a pack of Lucky Strikes rolled up in my left 'T' shirt short sleeve. Wibertson Hill roadway had just been paved and was smooth as silk. It stretched off for five blocks down the hill and then for another six blocks befor it meets a 'T' intersection. At the top of the hill was a cul de sac and then it was flat for the first block before cresting the hill and heading down. A streamlined kid on a sting ray could nearly break the sound barrier by the time he reached the bottom. Quite a few classmates were now there along with some from our rival school across town. Presently, Tommy Lee rides up on his dimunitive little Yamaha. Ring-ding-ding it says. Well, at least he wasn't chicken. When he started shooting his mouth off, I threw out another dollar on top of the original dollar wager. I pulled out a smoke and struck the match with a flick of my thumbnail. I was careful to not inhale for fear of turning green and having a cough attack. The crowd shot glances at each other, swooned and murmurs were heard. Their jaws hung open like a broken gate. I suggested that FMJ hold the purse and act as a starter for the race. We discuss lane choice and start procedure. The crowd is electric with anticipation as we fire up our machines and pair up at the starting line. Tommy Lee gets all up over the tank of his bike and revs it up. The Cherry Bomb doesn't have a throttle pedal. It has a throttle lever on the dash. The normal procedure is to advance the throttle about a quarter of the way and pull back a lever on the right outboard side of the cockpit to it's first detent, there by engaging the belt to the engine and driving off. You can pull back on the lever and speed up. The governor on the engine was still hooked up so it would keep the engine at a selected rpm. A second lever works the back pulley and acts like a low/high range. A third lever out there on the right is connected to the brake but don't expect it to do much. FMJ steps up front in between Tommy Lee and me and puts her hands up.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
I flick the cigarette off to my left at Tommy Lee and smile. I advance the throttle half way. Tommy Lee blips his throttle repeatedly. Rrriiinnggg ding ding goes the Yamaha. I study FMJ with steely eyes, hand at the ready on the lever. FMJ drops her arms. Tommy Lee enjoys a sleight lead as he momentarily pulls ahead with the holeshot. The Cherry Bomb spins it's rear tires some and pulls to the right and then begins to hook up straight. I haul back on the lever and the car surges forward. That Wisconsin V4 engine makes around 30 hp. It left two black skid lines for close to 30 feet. As we crested the hill and started down I was busy advancing the throttle to full and hauling back on the first lever and then the second lever. I ducked down low in the cockpit. At the bottom of the first block going down I had her up to speed. I glanced back and didn't see anybody. My heart leaped up. By the bottom of the second block I had her in high range and you could hear the governor kicked wide open. At the bottom of the third block I was beginning to wind her out. It was a heady experience. I glanced back quickly over my shoulder and couldn't make out much due to the wind and vibration. I could make out enough to see that there wasn't any motorcycle even remotely close. We had positioned a bunch of kids down at the bottom of the hill at the fourth intersection. They were supposed to report on the first person across the intersection. They were so intent on watching that they didn't even see the delivery truck until the driver honked his horn. I never heard the horn. The kids down there were supposed to stop any traffic from interfering with the festivities. They stated later that they were collectively alarmed at the speed at which I was approaching them and were in the process of scattering away from the intersection when they were honked at by the delivery truck. Nothing in our experience had taught any of us expect to see a delivery truck there on a Saturday morning. It was one of those tractor trailer rigs with one drive axle on the truck and only one axle on the trailer. Nothing in the truck drivers experience had taught him to expect to see some kind of race car hurtling at him in a quiet residential neighborhood reported the exasperated driver later. I was rather alarmed to see the intersection fill up rapidly with delivery truck. I hauled back on the first lever I could grab a hold of, prudently thinking that the time had come to slow down as fast as possible and let that truck clear the intersection before I burst through. The car unexpectedly surged forward, apparently there was some high range left and by the way, that aint the brake lever. Time stood still for a moment as that truck filled the whole of my field of vision. I could see the driver raise his left arm to protect himself as he jammed on the brakes. His eyes were wide with terror and he was pale as a ghost. Suddenly there seemed to be plenty of space just behind the landing legs of the semi trailer. I eased over on the wheel. Literally at the last microsecond did I see the spare tire hanging down. I ducked down and leaned to the left, fully expecting to emerge from under the other side of the trailer.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
The spare tire under the trailer was held up by a cradle. As I was ducking down as far as possible, I could see all kinds of daylight on the other side of the underneath of that trailer. There was a big flash and I felt like I had been hit by a wild baseball pitch. I don't remember pulling back on the throttle lever or anything else. That cradle is what put the gash that runs down the top of the machine. I became aware of the engine at idle. I was looking down at the seat cushion and thinking that the engine was blowing oil all over and it was dripping down on the seat and my pants. I wiped my right eye and my hand came off covered in red. It stung too. I looked around and found that I was clear down the road nearly to the 'T' at the end. I was off the road onto the parking strip. The scene comes to me now as it did then in little bits and pieces. There were kids going this way and that. Grown ups were coming out of their houses and the truck driver was suddenly there shutting off the Cherry Bomb and gingerly lifting me out. I hadn't seen folks look so alarmed before. The whole world seemed to be spinning around. I was hearing statements like 'Oh my God' and "Is he alive'. Several of the female portion of the crowd took one look and nearly fainted away while covering their faces with their hands. The cradle under the spare tire had peeled back the skin above my right eye and the white bone shone through. Concerned neighbors fetched my poor Mother to the scene. I was bundled off to the neighborhood horse doctor for a few sutures. My head hurt for days as did my posterior. The Cherry Bomb was confiscated by my Grand Pap but thoughtfully hidden away, drained of fuel and oil. I was told about it's whereabouts years later on my sixteenth birthday. We never again drove the machine but hung it on the wall here in Nicks garage where it has held a position of prominence ever since. If you look inside you can still see the blood stains. The folks that I had been telling the story to all gathered around the car and looked inside. If you guys look close you can still see the scars above my eye here. I glanced at the clock on the wall in Nicks garage and jumped. "S--t D, we better get the blank out of here and get back before the girls get back from shopping". "You need to watch your language around that young lady" scolds Nicks wife. "That's one of the reasons that old Jim is on Santa's naughty list" says Nick to D. We get suited up and head back to my place. As bad luck would have it, we roll up just as the girls are about to send out a rescue party for D and me. They are standing on the porch with hands on hips. They are less than enthused at the sight of D and myself clamoring into the driveway and coming up to the garage where I cut a neat little half turn and quick as a wink back the bike into the garage. "What in the blank do you think you are doing" growls Mrs Jim as she grabs my helmet and gives it a jerk. "And how many times have I told you to not run that G-- ---n thing in the house"! she adds. I conceal my fear of the both of them behind a big grin. D looks up at me as I'm pulling her helmet off and says "What's a G-- ---n thing"? I look at Mrs Jim, raise my brows and frown while tucking my chin to the left. "Oops" I say to her. She's pissed. The guardian looks at D with tears in her eyes and blurts out "You can talk"! D looks at her and states "I can, I do, and I will". "I created a talking person" I say. "I can't help it if motorcycles and Santa Claus is a big hit with the little lady. "I think it might be time for an adult beverage" I say absent mindedly. The girls stare in disbelief as D makes me a comfort and Coke. "Well your just full of surprises aren't you" says Mrs Jim with much malice in her tone. I can tell that the skin is about to drop off of her face exposing a skull with red glowing eyes that will try to burn a hole in my stomach lining. D turns to her and states, "What, you thirsty? Grab yerself a Sprite" and motions toward the fridge. And so it goes.......
 

1954bmw

Active member
Maybe I've asked before, are you currently gainfully employed or have you been lucky enough to retire??? If you are retired, you really need to write a book, I know I'd buy a copy or two, signed of coarse.
 

Jimway

Well-known member
Greetings my friend. Yes, I am still affected or is it effected or maybe infected with work which is a four letter word. You are on the list for an autographed edition of the first in a series collection of short stories. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that the truck is all back amongst the living. Ended up completely stripping it to the block and starting over with new liners and pistons. The heads and cams were good. Freshened up the blower and turbo and even installed a propane injection system for those big pulls upgrade. At the end of the day it's kind of a brute of a truck. Even with dual exhaust and mufflers to stacks up the rear of the cab it is loud. Being a two cycle, 2800 rpm sounds like 5600 to the ear. It howls everywhere it goes. It has a super heavy duty suspension so that it rides like a buckboard when not loaded. I've taken to wearing ear protection when behind the wheel. It might be going to Eastern Washington to live on a hay farm. I'm working a deal on a 29 coupe.
 
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