Don't know how well any of you know Ross Wesner but he and I spent a lot of off-ship
hours together, eating many late night suppers together in my home.
One time Ross helped me rebuild and restore a 1947 Harley Davidson Twin
motorcycle that I bought from an electrician on board named Gunner VanderWerker.
He and Artie Piazza were running a race car at the Key West Speedway and
needed money for some used tires.

Some months before, they had completely dis-assembled this huge motorcycle in a garage they'd rented
in town. They'd then gotten into racing the car, and pad-locked the garage.
But the garage got flooded and it left behind sand in the garage 2 feet deep!

Gunner heard of my interest in motorcycles, and told me about the one
he had in that garage, so after working hours, I took Ross with me, and we
accompanied Gunner to the garage. I'll NEVER forget the sight that
greeted us when Gunner finally muscled the garage doors open! The
sand filled the garage floor as if it was a kid's sandbox! The ONLY
thing we could see of the motorcycle was the top of the leather seat, and the
upper front portion of the frame holding the handlebars. We haggled a
bit, and Gunner finally took my offer of $50, after guaranteeing me
that ALL of the parts were buried in the sand.

Ross and I built two wooden frames about 2' square, one with hardware
cloth' (rabbit pen wire) nailed to the frame, and the other with
screenwire. For 5-6 hours each evening for the next 4-5 days, Ross and I
shoveled the sand out of that garage, one shovel full at a time, into the
larger screend frame, and then the screenwire frame, retrieving parts as
they became visible. Of course the larger parts (gas-tank, wheels, engine
parts, chain etc.) we found with the shovel, but sifting every shovel full
of sand became a necessity to find every small part including nuts, bolts,
carburetor fittings, spark plugs, small engine pieces, etc.

Other than being gritty, the pieces were in remarkably good condition. We kept
everything together until we'd swept out the garage floor, and we ended
up with the frame with seat and handlebars, the tires and rims, and the
chain, plus three bushel baskets full of miscellaneous parts.

We indeed had found ALL the parts, and Ross worked with me on my back
patio walkway helping me put the larger pieces back together. I spent
many nights, wire-brushing, priming and painting component parts, and
installed most of them by myself, calling on Ross when I needed extra
hands. He was always ready to help. I spent about $350 with a local
machine shop rebuilding the engine and transmission, and another $200 on
stripping and painting. The bike turned out beautifully and looked and
ran like new!

I finished it up one early one Sunday morning at about 5 a.m. and
decided to take it on its 'maiden voyage' before dressing for church. Of
course my wife and kids were still asleep. I pushed it out to the street
and down the road a bit before cranking it up, then made my way out to
the Boca Chica Highway near the Air Station. There wasn't another car or
human in sight! I ran it through the gears quickly, and was amazed at
it's power and its smoothness. In short order I was at the speed limit,
and decided to see if I could get it to 100 mph (the speedometer
registered 105!). I did, but it was all I could do to hold on, and I
only stayed there a few seconds, fearing I was going to get blown completely
off the bike. I slowed to a crawl, and quietly retreated home.

The next night, my brother Arnold called me from Littleton, Colorado
and said he was getting married and wanted me to be his best man at his
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