San Fernando Valley
Stones crunched under the tires as Rick pulled into a shady spot under a tree and switched the truck off. He grabbed his phone and thumbed the key pad. Momentarily, he was scrolling a grid search of the neighborhood. “Where are you looking?” he asked. My head was down and I mumbled about being in the neighborhood west of us. “I saw something earlier… wait! What the hell? Where did that come from?” I leaned over and showed Rick my phone. Huge left-handed kidney in an alley nearby. “It wasn’t empty a month ago… I just drove this area. I shrugged. They must’ve updated the satellite photographs recently. We started driving over. In a few quick turns, we were in the alleyway. I stood on the front tire of his truck and peered over the edge. A perfect Blue Haven kidney. I took a quick look. It appeared that the paint was peeling. “Drive around front… we have to talk to these people.”
A lady came to the door and I spelled out why we were there. Glib. Truth. Real talk. “Here’s what I can do for you…” She listened. “Yes, we’re going to repaint and fill the pool very soon. I’ll talk to my husband.” She took my number. We drove off and talked excitedly. The waiting awaits us. A few days later, they agreed to have us come by and look at the pool. The pool was a pale shadow of herself. Cancer had marred her face. Semi-good looking. A well-used street hustler. I smiled. “I wouldn’t change a thing…”
I wasn’t sure that it was worth money for paint and supplies. We talked. I asked if we could scrape, sand and clean the pool out and then give it a few test rides. The transitions certainly looked very good. The family agreed. Rick and I went to work. Once we were done, we gave it a solid half hour session. It worked. It was a bit rough, but the transitions were so mellow, you could carry your speed fairly well. We thanked them and I worked on setting up a super session to help pay for the paint, rollers and pans. That was the trade off. The owners said that if we painted it when they were ready to fill it, we could ride. “A few weekends at the most…”
A few days later, the family informed me that I needed to buy a special pool paint. It would be around seven hundred and fifty dollars but it would last for a few years. I informed them that this was not something I could do… But I’d look into something that might work. I called around and worked on it. Futility.
The following Monday, I asked the family if Ray Zimmerman, Al Brunelle, Chelsea, Rick and Brad McClain could come by with me for a couple runs. “No problem.” We rode for an hour and everyone had a great time. Unfortunately, it would be the last rides we’d ever take. Change was coming… The following week, the family had the pool tiled and plastered. I suppose, paint may have never been an option. Later, we found out that others had ridden the pool a few years before this family had bought the home. It was just another, of the seemingly unending pools that the Valley offers up. Thank you to Rick Stine for helping. Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate – Ozzie