After returning from
In order to avoid paying about $25,000 in taxes, I must leave the
Tiajuana hasn't changed a lot, just gotten bigger, and I wanted to see something new, so we drove through to Playa del Rosarito, and got a motel room.
I wanted to go fishing, and the boys wanted to go fishing, so after driving around, we came across the marina, and lo and behold, there were deep sea fishing trips, so we signed up, and the next morning we got on the boat, and headed for the kelp beds. The fishing was really good, and Todd caught a nice sculpin. It came out of the water with it's fins, and gills, and poisinous spines, all spread out. Todd grabbed it with his bare hand, and it stung him pretty good. He looked at me really surprised, and I told him that sculpins were the catfish of the sea. He remembered to this day, and we talked about that a few months ago. Scott is a hazard to everyone's health. He likes to "fly fish" with a four ounce sinker, and multiple hooks, and he makes whistling noises when he casts, so everyone knows when to duck. He doesn't catch many fish, because the bait never stops, and the fish really need to be quick to get caught. I tell him everytime his line comes in, it has fish lips on the hook, and everytime it goes out, it has somebody's eyelid on it. He does catch fish! Todd was doing so well, he got over excited, and when he was dragging in his 20th fish, it fell off the hook, and lay on it's side on top of the water. Todd tried to spear it with his pole, and his whole rig went overboard, and disappeared. The skipper wanted me to pay for the rig, since it was rented, but I gave him my favorite fishing knife, and he agreed to forget it.
We caught 50 fish, and I didn't know what to do with them, so I picked a few out for supper, and rented a frozen locker. The next day, we took off early in the morning, and drove south.
There were fishing boats in Ensenada, but I want to see more of the peninsula, so we kept going south. The car had started leaking transmission fluid, so I had to carry extra cans, and when the trans started to slip, I would stop and put fluid in it. This made Pam really nervous, and I think the rest of the trip, she was uncomfortable. As we neared Guererro Negro, I got the urge to surf fish, but we couldn't see the ocean, and the maps I had didn't show any beach access, so, being on a peninsula, I had to be close. Right? 10 miles of sand dune later, we came over top of a dune, and there was the ocean. We were in what looked like a bay, and there was a small village, seemimgly unconnected to the highway. There were lobster fishermen, tending their pots, and suddenly I was hungry for lobster.
I can't remember where we stopped, but in anticipation of surf fishing, I bought an inflatable boat. I can't remember why I didn't buy an oar, but I didn't, and I remember sitting up one night, and trying to make an oar out of a broomstick,and some string and cardboard. Here we were, in a sheltered cove, and hardly any surf. I thought if I could just get out a ways in my boat, I could catch a million fish. The boat was smaller than I expected, and I got wet getting out to where I wanted to be, and I sat for hours, shivering. I never caught a thing, but the kids had fun, running on the beach. Pam lost all her men to the sea.
I didn't want to get caught after dark, 'cause I wasn't sure where I was. We headed out in the general direction we had come in, but I had the angle a little off, and after about fifteen miles, we came across a house in the middle of the desert. No roads, I wondered how these people survived. I hoped they could understand my feeble attempt to speak Spanish. I asked where is "el camino grande". They seemed surprised to see a car in the middle of the desert, but they understood what I wanted, and they all pointed, and chattered something. Away we went, and after about 2 or 3 miles, we got back on the main highway. Pam is really upset that I would take a chance like that, and the car leaked worse and worse. When we got to town, (I don't remember which town), I crawled underneath the car to see where it was leaking. The steel tube that took fluid to the radiator was rubbing on the return,line, and every vibration wore the hole bigger. Not wanting to do a major overhaul, I separated the lines, and wrapped a beer can patch around each hole, and secured it with a hose clamp. Still leaks, but now I can get a hundred miles on a can of fluid. This makes Pam a little happier, so, now I can continue south. That's all the fixin' the leak ever got, and the next time it got bad, it leaked on the exhaust, caught fire and burned. That's when I bought my V.W. Superbeetle.
The farther south we get, the more bizarre the vegetation becomes. All the plants look prehistoric, and upsidedown. I am headed for Santa Rosalia, but as we get farther inland, the temprature is going up and there is less and less to see, except desert, so we turn around and head north again.
As we approach Santa Rosalita, there is a sign for a resort. We have a lot of time to kill, so we check in and stay over a week. We met the owners, who were Americans, and they told us how they purchased the land, and built the place. It was really nice, and they had excellent dining, and I finally got my lobster, along side a 14 oz. new york steak.
The beach is beautiful, and Pam is as happy as she is going to be on this trip. Her and the boys enjoyed the beach, and I kicked back and surf fished. We finished up our 510 day requirement, and started for the border again. One last stop in Ensenada, one day on the fishing boat, and it's back to the locker with more fish. As soon as they are frozen solid, we pack them in the ice chest, and head for home.
When we got back, we had so many fish that we rented another locker. I needed to get back to work, if I wanted to stay ahead financially.
I hired on at the Deutsch Company, and I worked there until Jim Linkous told me about the job at
After spending a week or so with Jon and Ginger, we found a place in San Bdoo, a trailer park, right off the runway of Norton A.F.B., and the 141s would be less than 50 feet over my roof, as they took off, and landed. When we got back from Baha, I hired on with the Deutsch Company, a plug manufacturer, similar to "Cannon". I hired on as a mold maker, (injection molds), and I became proficient with a surface grinder, thanks to Richard White. They also had several E.D.M. machines, with which I got extensive experience at lemon grove, with West Coast Manufacturing. I met a lot of people, and made some friends. One I remember especially, Gary McMurray, we called "Clinger", after that guy in M*A*S*H, when long hair was still frowned upon. I bowled with the boss, Pat Connolly and his wife Mo. I had a chance to show my "stuff", and I designed and built a machine that would insert tiny brass sleeves into plug bodies. When I finally left, the only thing bad Pat had to say about me was that "He left everything heavy".
In the meantime, I had run into Jim Linkous, and he said that there were openings for flight line mechanics at Miramar, N.A.S., and I interviewed, and got the job.
We found a nice townhouse to rent in
At the time, our rent was about $250 per month, very reasonable. The guy that collected the rent suggested we buy, and told us it would lower our payment, plus we would gain equity. I was reluctant, but it didn't make sense not to. I loved my new job, and my new house, and the kids liked their schools.
Pam answered an ad, and took a job on base at the enlisted men's club. She did an awesome job for her boss, Don, and soon she was responsible for hiring, and booking bands. One year, Don got us tickets to a "Chargers" game, right on the 50 yd. line. The Chargers played the Chiefs, and it was an awesome game, San Diego finally losing.
One of the football coaches had an eye on my boys, and in the process of signing them up, he talked me into taking a "POP WARNER" team of "Mighty Mites", kids over 50 lbs, with an upper weight limit of 80lbs. I had the only Mighty Mite team in Poway, so there was no draft, and everybody that signed up, got on my team. On my first team was Phillip Plantier, who was a tremendous athlete, and when he grew up, he played professional baseball for the San Diego Padres. I had a lot of really good athletes, every bit as talented as Phillip. We went undefeated, and un-scored upon all season. The second year they asked me to move up, with Scott, my son, to Jr. Pee Wees, and there was a draft, and everybody wanted the kids that had been on my team. I lost Phillip, but I got Bart Kragen, an excellent athlete, and he became my quarterback. I also picked up Gordon Browning, and I got a package deal. His dad, also Gordon, became my assistant coach, His two big sisters became my cheerleaders, and mom was cheerleader mother.
I worked at
The video recorder was a reel to reel device, and it was big and bulky, and the control panel had a million switches and knobs, but once I had the prototype completed, the production shop would take what I made, and put it into production. I didn't have a lot of spare time, but when I did, I would work on my "Mini-sub", a device that would clamp onto a spare air tank for S.C.U.B.A., and was driven by a highly efficient air motor, with directional control planes.
The "C.A.T.100", a combination accoustical tool, and video receiver, was used to locate abandoned well heads. When a well was abandoned, a sonar target would be dropped. The sonar target used was an aluminum icosohedron, about three feet in diameter. The C.A.T.100 was four inches in diameter, and about four feet long. The most challenging part about deep water devices, is that they must withstand enormous pressure.
I had my own shop, and it had lathes, mills, and grinders. Occasionally, I was invited along to test certain items, and we usually went to the nearest reservoir, loaded everything into a rowboat, and I was the best oarsman, so I got to drive.
The most interesting thing I worked on was the first 3D television. It consisted of two video cameras, (very big and expensive at the time), which pan and tilt in unison, but focus independently, looking almost straight ahead at distant objects, and becoming more "cross eyed" the closer the object was. That was the camera end, and the viewing end consisted of a polarized plate, mounted at 45 degrees to the screen, which was mounted 90 degrees to the viewer. The right camera is viewed as an un-polarized image, and viewed with a plain lens. The left camera image passes through the polarized plate, and is viewed with a polarized left lens. Sounds simple, but the final adjustments required were a nightmare. It was housed in a waterproof case, intended to be used at great depths. A Doughboy pool was installed in an empty room, and we had a convenient test site, and I had a pressure chamber, where I could pressure test things at an equivalent of 5 miles depth. The first time I saw it working, well adjusted, it took my breath away. If not for the fact that it was black and white, you would never know you were looking at a screen.
After a year, I hadn't heard anything about advancement, or raises, so I reluctantly gave 2 weeks notice, stating that I didn't see any future there.
I took my first job as a temp, with Volt, and they assigned me to a machine shop at Sony, in Rancho Bernardo. That is where I met Peter Weibrecht, an engineering temp. We were on night shift, and I really had a lot of free time, as we were more maintenance, than production. I got so bored, having nothing to do, and, tired of looking busy, I started making outrageous tools, and pretty soon, I had engineers wanting to consult. Peter was one of them. He was so impressed with my work, that he talked me into going partners in a machine shop of our own.
Peter and I work together for a year, and all goes well, until the work goes slow, and one of my assistant coaches has a job in construction, which I take.
San Diego, Lindburgh field, Gordon Browning superintendent. The job is to overlay the asphalt on the runway and taxiways, and to install new landing, and taxi lights. I was Gordons assistant, and I filled in whenever someone didn't show for work. We used my Chevy L.U.V. to haul cones, and barriers, and to take the port authority for coffee several times a night. That was the only bad part, but we had to shut down the whole airport to operate paving equipment. The pavement also had to be grooved, perpendicular to travel, and the grinders used to make those grooves, also make mud, which, if allowed to dry, needs vigorous scrubbing to be removed, so I drove a water truck right behind the grinder, to wash away the slurrey. Then the electricians came in and bored huge holes in the asphalt, to install the landing lights. Each morning, before the strip opened up, I had to drive up and down the runway, and make sure it was clear for airplanes to land and take off. When things started to slow down, Gordon left me in charge, and started another job. I was there for the final cleanup, and after a pressure wash, and a fresh paint job, my painter rented a plane, went up, and took this picture.
A good friend of Gordon, a soccer dad, heard I was available, and I hired on with the McKibben Co., pipefitters, and construction company to work at San Diego Navy Base, to rebuild pier #8. We were to install a four inch air line, a six inch fresh water pipe, and a twelve inch saltwater pipe, the whole length of the pier, both sides, and when finished with that, we scrapped a twenty four inch steam pipe, encased in four inches of asbestos.
The water and air pipes ran in a channel, cast in the concrete, and the pipes were suspended by a channel, which was mounted on two brackets, with four, one half inch, concrete anchors. These anchors required a hole, four inches deep, and a channel every five feet, for one thousand feet, adds up to a lot of anchor holes. I drilled every one myself and at the end of the day, I took measurements, and fabricated the flanged pipes, to be installed the next day. The McKibbens were thrilled that I could operate their pipe threading lathe, and even more thrilled when they found out I could sharpen their dies. I even did a little stick welding, if a pipe, to be cast in concrete, needed a piece of rebar welded on. When the demolition started on the steam pipe began, I tried to wear a breathing mask, but it restricted airflow so much, it was impossible to use. Every day for two weeks, I stripped asbestos, and stuffed it in black plastic trash bags. Even that long ago, I was surprised that McKibbens weren't penalized for contaminating the whole base. I would come home at night, and I could still knock the dust out of my clothes. I exposed my wife, and children to a very dangerous substance.
Details are found in (life in the day.html)
http://www.petesmemories.com/autolife.html -an autobiography-from the beginning