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At 70 mph, Motorcyclist Gives Drivers a Wheelie Scary Sight

A never-ending subject of conversation in these parts is the “you’ll-never-guess-what-I-saw-on-the-freeway-today” story. On the laobserved.com website, mystery novelist Denise Hamilton relates “the most horrifying thing” she’s encountered recently: a guy on a sports motorcycle on the 134 Freeway, near Glendale, “popping wheelies at 70 mph.

“ ‘Oh my God,’ I said, not believing my eyes. Then, as I watched in horror, he did it again, riding on his back wheel for a while before slamming back onto the asphalt, where he wobbled precariously before righting himself ...

“At that moment, I didn’t really care if the guy died and removed himself from the gene pool. He deserved a big fat Darwin Award. But I didn’t want him to take me down with him. Neither did I want to spend the rest of my life in therapy because I ran [him] over after he skidded into my lane.”

Luckily for all, the biker, after revving the engine of “his ridiculously over-powered bike ... darted off, weaving through traffic, up the highway and out of sight.”

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To live and drive in L.A. (cont.): One of the strangest sightings I’ve heard of involved a man in a red devil’s costume pointing a pitchfork at motorists on the Santa Monica Freeway several years ago. He told police he was a UCLA student starring in a film project. (Of course. Isn’t that what you’d expect the devil to say?)

A first-strike offense? “Subjects were allegedly selling fake L.A. Dodger tickets,” reported the crime log of the Los Alamitos News-Enterprise. They were advised about “getting a business license.” I see. You need a license to sell fake Dodger tickets.

Harvey’s Hall of Wonders: The other day I mentioned that the Hagerty Collector Network, a firm that caters to car fanciers, asked its customers to submit photos of wacky roadside signs. And I published some of them, including a “used-cows-for-sale” billboard. It got me to thinking about favorites in this genre that I’ve received from readers over the years. They would include (see photos):

* A “management” sign that could apply to a lot of companies (by Bobbi Balderman).

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* A marquee in Culver City that was possibly trying to appeal to folks in the nearby People’s Republic of Santa Monica (by Adam Silverman).

* A pair of seemingly related signs, though the one in back actually referred to a furniture store (by Shawn Chanslor).

* A sign set out by an overconfident gardener (by Diana Lejins).

* A model with some unique hair extensions (by Adam Hagen).

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Those vandals were winged: “The caller told police that unknown people shot up the backyard with paintballs again,” said the crime log of the Seal Beach Sun. “Police canceled the crime report upon learning that the stains were not caused by paint balls, but bird droppings.”

miscelLAny: A while back I expressed puzzlement over a boat described in an ad as “ranch ready.” As it turns out, the vessel didn’t herd cattle. Keith Dekker, among several readers, wrote that the phrase “refers to Hollister Ranch, north of Santa Barbara at Point Conception. It is a piece of coastline that has spectacular surf. ‘Ranch ready’ means you can immediately take this boat to the Gaviota State Park pier, launch it, and go surf GREAT waves. Boats that go there regularly for surf trips are set up to withstand rough and windy seas.”

Guess I’ll have to settle for a car that’s more or less “freeway ready.”

*

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Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083; by fax at (213) 237-4712; by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012; and by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com.


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