Gamboa News

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Boys and Their Bikes

chronicled by
Jake Baker, Jim Shobe (For Photo - CLICK || HUGE - close to return)
Patt Foster Roberson, Jay Green (Jeanette Collins), Mark "Jim" Driscoll, Don Connor

Jake Baker
Hi Jim, just a note to tell you I enjoyed the photo of you on the BMW a very fine machine. I've been tempted to get a "bike" but the car drivers here are probably the worst in the country.

Jim Shobe
Jake I swore I would never ride road up here however when my son bought his! Couldnąt pass up the chance to get back on the road. I have done alot of off road biking here in Washigton and some in Oregon. It was nice to drive the blue highays off the beaten paths. The northwest is a beautiful area and has great bike rides. Jake nothing will ever compare with the thrill of getting our first motorscooters and the good times we had with them. Remember the superme test to how well your scooter was running was how well you got to the top of Hidalgo`s hill. Keep in touch
Jim

Jake Baker
Jim, I have a dim recollection of Mr. Weltmer putting an oversized piston in my scooter motor. Recall his home/motorcycle shop on the way to Bill Hidalgo's hill. Somewhere I got other sprockets to help coax more speed out of my scooter and tested it down the hill with the stretch leading to Summit. Must have gone at least 60. Believe Mr. Weltmer was in charge of the Pump station. I know I was in awe of what he could do in his shop. He sure didn't charge us much, guess he knew we were unemployed wannabe motorcyclist. The oversized piston came after Bill & I drove our scooters to the Volcan. Looking back we were lucky our scooters survived that trip. A lot of unpaved (rocky) road and no spare tires, parts etc. History shows that Bill was the true adventurer.

After the Geodetic survey group helped us in our climb up Baru, Bill later joined that organization and rose to even greater heights. Those were the days Jim. We sure had fun!

I'm proud I know the "Gamboa boy" who was in charge of building that masterpiece. Sorry I missed that last reunion, would have enjoyed talking to you and Marvin. We were in Las Vegas at Thanksgiving and toured the Parisian. I'm proud I know the "Gamboa boy" who was in charge of building that masterpiece.

Jim Shobe
Jake one of my favorite stories is when you got your first motorscooter I believe it was direct drive and you were constantly working on the darn thing. One day after tinkering on it you took it up the hill from the duplex (the last one on the left before you reached the school) where you lived. Mr. Veaney lived on the otherside. Somehow on the way down the hill you lost control of the beast and ended up wedged between Mr.Veaney`s car and the garage wall. I recall you going up to inform Mr. Veaney of his and your problem., I certainly admired your courage at the time. Mr. Veaney came downstairs to look over the problem. I remember to this day his exact words "Jake how the ???? did you do this all by yourself"? He then proceeded to help you get your scooter and his car untangled as if nothing had occured or as if this was an everyday occurence. Those were the days I think of them often
Jim

Jake Baker
Jim, you woke up my long term memory with that one. I believe it was a broken brake cable that caused the incident. I didn't get hurt and Mr. Veaney apparently had some compassion for my plight. Lucky me! I bought that scooter in Balboa and still remember pushing it up Paraiso hill. It was getting dark as I neared the top when my Dad showed up and loaded my scooter into his car trunk. I remember Wendell Spreadbury? had a red scooter that shifted automatically. Was that a Salisbury? Anyway I think we were all very impressed with it. We sure had motor scooter fever in those days. Somehow we Gamboa boys all ended up with Cushmans. Believe Bill Hidalgo got the first one. What a great life we were having back then. Take care, Jake

Jim Shobe
Jake I believe the first cushman motorscooter was owned by Bill Kern and I think Bill had a Cushman Commando. I remember both you and I meeting Mr. Spencer outside the pier area and assemblying our Cushmans on the spot. What a thrill ,Also remember all of us making a trip to El Valle and as you said no spares nothing but youth and a lot of luck regards
Jim

Jake Baker
You have a great memory Jim. I didn't remember it was a Commando just that mine had no cover and fat tires. We did get some tires once from an Army dump, Corozal maybe? Fuzzy memory on that one. Marvin told me what happened to Bill Kern. He perished in an explosion in a chemical plant, in Louisiana I think. He was a Chemical Engineer. Think I mentioned to Marvin how smart Bill was back then and then he told me. Mr. Spencer sounds familiar. I can't remember who we bought our scooters from. Mr. Spencer? We must have been 15 or 16, whatever the legal age was for driving scooters. Great times for us! Take care, Jake

Patt Robertson
Hi guys,
Thought you might like to know that several years ago Is corresponded with Carl Posey about one of his books, "Bushmaster Fall." Along the way, I asked if he wasn't one of the BHS guys with a Cushman scooter. His reply: "And it wasn't an (ugh) Cushman, but a Salsbury (spelled that way, I think), an upscale streamlined scooter that daily became more difficult to start. One of the sounds I remember from those days is the forlorn and futile clunk of a Salsbury starter pedal being kicked, and kicked, and kicked, far into the night, to no effect." So, maybe it wasn't Wendell but Carl who you remember with the Salsbury.

Abrazos, patt

Jim Shobe
Jim Shobe No Pat it was Wendal and it was a pretty red streamlined scooter. In fact Wendal told me at the last reunion he has been looking for one to restore. You can bet if I ever find an old cushman for sale its mine regards to you hope to see you at next reunion. Keep in mind that the Northwest reunion is in Bellingham Washington. Henry Cruz his Wife Pat and Noralie and yours truly are hosting . We have an extra bedroom with your name on it. the date is July 27th. How about it?

Jay Green
It really brought back memories about the motor scooters. I was one of two girls that had a 'scooter. Dorothy Frederick was the other. Anyone know what ever happened to her? I have tried, on and off, for years to locate her, but no luck. I had alot of fun with the Cushman. Wanted to bring it to the States when I came back but my dad wouldn't let me. He sold it after I left the zone. I was lucky and never got hurt riding the scooter. Did some really dumb things, racing, etc. Almost went off the bridge one time trying to see how fast I could get across. Saw one for sale as couple months ago in some antique magazine but didn't save it. It was a 50'Cushman in good condition. Don't see that very often, any more.
Perhaps you remember Rene Fueille or Charlie Swisher? Rene and I were friends and he stayed with my family in D.C. in '51 before he went to Texas to college. Charlie Swisher died a few years ago. They both had scooters, too. Rene's had a side car on it.

Jim Driscoll
I also bought a Cushman scooter - when I turned 16 for $30, it did not run well so Art Holmes honed out the cylinder wall, I painted it, and sold for $60. Used the money to buy Anton Peterson's Indian 440cc bike (he was away in the Army), it didn't run until Fritz Cheney baked the magneto to eliminate the humidity, sold it a couple of months later for $120 and bought a BSA 500cc that was literally in pieces which Mr. Zelzman in Peter Miguel put together. Had a great time riding to school everyday with George Harris and on weekends with Penny Pennington's dad.

Don Connor
While reading Boys & Their Bikes I ran across the name of Bill Kern and it brought back a memory of a time I was riding on the back of his scooter as we came down from the ridge on Morrow Blvd. We were making a turn to head down Jadwin when we hit a puddle of water and we had one heck of a wreck. Bill went one way, I went another and the scooter another. Nobody got hurt so we just got back on the scooter and took off again. He was one of the bright guys and I was sorry to hear that he was killed in an explosion in a chemical plant.

Robert Hildago
My Dad is a great fan (still) of Motorbikes. When he was young he had motor scooters, motorcycles and even go-carts.


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