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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
February 12, 2016     The Catalina Islander
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February 12, 2016

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The flunking champ of the California DMV Since I became "Catalina's Official Greeter," March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel boats, I have answered 42,712 questions. These are some of the more interesting/ unusual ques- tions/cam- ments I have received: "Do you have any res- taurants?" Referring to the "fire b r e a k s ," Chuck Liddell "When will Columnist the ski slopes be open?" "When will the 4 p.m. boat be leaving for the mainland?" "Do they have wheels on the kayaks?" If you want to have an "Avalon" postmark, you had to bring the letters/postcards to the R O. win- dow. "Do they draw on a post- mark or do they use a stamp and ink pad?" '1 passed 'picture!" : So far, the readers of this col- umn have seen me portray myself as a pretty "normal" person and sofne may have even gotten the irn~pression that nothing hap- p~ned on Catalina Island from 1~7 until the present without License. In order to obtain this classification to drive these "big rigs," I had to take and pass six, yes, count them, "6" tests, each comprising approximately 30 questions (180 questions total) and the tests had to be taken one after the other, on the same day, under the watchful supervision of the DMV. If I failed to pass even one of these tests, I would have to wait a few days and come back and take six more different tests! Since I had never driven a large commercial vehicle, I wasn't familiar with the peculiar nomenclature of the trade. For instance, "Glad Hands" referred to the hand that I extended to receive my "tips" after the tour! Wrong! "A coupling device used to connect air hoses between a tractor and a trailer." "Fifth Wheel," the spare tire. Wrong. "Coupling providing the link between semi-trailer and the leading trailers." "Chalking The Wheels;" I definitely thought I had "aced" this one, because I saw the "code' enforcement" do this to my wheels many times to keep track of how long I was parked. Wrong! '"Wheel Chocks' are wedges of sturdy material placed closely against a vehi- cle's wheels to prevent accidental my involvement. Hardly, but I liave::had a c:harmed iire:+finfi my" ~=~fter taM~o- stories are an attempt to cover our fantastic history from a different perspective, mine. There are MANY MANY more stories that others can tell, but won't, so they will unfor- tunately be lost forever! I am doing my best to share what I can in hopes that others will do tbe same. In order to appreciate this par- ticular story, I must add "literal" to whatever others might think of me. Growing up, I never thought of myself as being "lit- eral," but simply "precise." I prized myself on listening to, and complying with, EVERY word I encountered. When a sign on the freeway says to "Take The Next Exit," I don't know if it means that I should take "This Exit" or the 'Exit' that follows 'This Exit' !" To me, that would be the "Next Exit!" Needless to say, I often take the wrong one. I hope that someone out there under- stands my dilemma! I had always had a dream of driving a tour bus on Catalina Island! Don't ask me why, but I thought that transporting peo- ple around and educating them about Catalina's history, while entertaining them, was one of the "neatest" (OK, I am dating myself!) things that I could ever do! So, at the advanced age of 50, I decided that the "perfect" job was to drive a bus for "Discovery Tours"/"Santa Catalina Island sets of six tests (30 individual :tests, ,900 quesUons), I panicked! There was onls)one, more set of six.: f,.t;::and if I flunked, I couldn't take any more! . movement." THREE STRIKES AND I FLUNKED!!! : -., As you see, I was trying to use "common sense" (which is not so "common" anymore)! I studied and studied and studied some more, but would invariably flunk at least one of these six tests (I seem to recall that I could only miss up to three questions out of 30). I would then return about a week later and take a whole set of six all over again! Again, and again, and again; week in and week out! I would enter the DMV office with my shoulders back, my head held high, and leave on my knees, by the back door (pathos added for dramatic Company!" Chuck versus the DMV Because of the nature of the tour buses, i.e. size, capacity, air brakes, etc., I needed to have a "Class A" California Driver's For years, Chuck Liddell dreamed of driv- ing a tour bus like this one on Catalina Island. But first he had to get a license. Courtesy photo affect!). Let me share an example of how completely useless some of these questions were. I will never forget, "If your tractor/trailer rig went off a cliff, statistics have shown what per- centage of your passengers would perish?" Our particular rigs at the time were carrying up to 40 lJassengers up and down the steep winding switch-back roads and up over the "Summit' which is 1,600-feet high. By virtue of "common sense," I-confidently ansv ered "100 percent!" Wrong! The correct answer was "75 per- cent." I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP! This incorrect answer was the "killer" that would cause me to have to take ANOTHER six tests. I went to the DMV examiner and I threw myself at her mercy! I laid out my most persuasive and passionate argu- ments and explained that on the cliffs and hills of Catalina Island, if my bus went over one of them, Everyone would die! No one would survive." (Of course this has never occurred nor should it with all of the extremely well trained bus drivers that all of the tour companies on the Island hire and train!) Unfortunately, statistics are statistics! She was a "State Employee" (they are not like "normal humans") and so she I then asked her if'she could please replace this "highly theo- retical' question with a "factual" one, but she refused. Back to the Island and back to the proverbial drawing board. After taking five sets of six tests (30 individual tests, 900 questions), I panicked! There was only one more set of six left and if I flunked them, I couldn't take any more! "No passy, no drivey !" Chuck decides to memorize the answers I asked a good friend of mine, who had been driving for years, how to study for these tests and- I was told that the only way tb,, pass them would be to memorize them! Fortunately, copies of all of the answers to all 36 tests were available (including my substan- tial contribution). I decided to simply memorize them, which I did! I actually have friends whose lives have been scarred for life by "studying" with me with "flash cards!" When the last DMV waiting period was over, I went back to Liddell, Page 8 1 51#o25 e , 301 end [t25 Crelcent ilvenue ,, ,, ......... #! ........ ~R~ N Catalina '" ,S,~P,O Re , Lstate February 12, 2016 223 Beacon Streel Hewly built Coniemporary [state 3BR/6BA, 6,800 SF +/-, with 2,000 SF of decks, infinity pool, elevator, manymore designer features! Offered at $8,380,000 333 Los Lores 38R,3.hBA 3500 SF +/- Beautiful Tuscan-Style Estate Home. Wrap around deck with ocean & hill views. 6,766 SF +/- buildable la! induded. Offered at $2,988,000 206 E. Whittley Avenue Unique 5 unit complex. Incredible ocean view. 6,910 SF +/- lot, Close to town. Offered at $2,49%000 11 Crescent Avenue 4BR, 4BA seaside home 1,850 SF +/- Surreal t~rbor views, ocean-front deck, secluded garden polio, attached guest house. Offered at $2,200,000 Villa 9-54 1 8D, 18A, 900 SF +/- V~culion rental permit. Comes ~r~i-d~ed, with 60If (lena to p001, clubhouse end many amenities. Offered $429,000 Villa 18-64 Spacious 2 BD, 2 8A, 1,829 SF+/- Sl~nn/n~ oteoo views, tiled floors, t ooy. m hed w/griT c0a and land p~rd~me included. Offered ~ SI,O00,O00 Avdon Duplex. Quiet locution, 2,872 SF +/-, Hillside and ocean views, great income properly. .; SI,499,000 361E. WhJttley Duplexlwith panoramic ocean, harbor and Casino views. 380 on main level, 18D on boflom, with rental income New Listing $I,250,000 208 Catalina Street Duplex. 1,586 SF +/- Both units ate 2BR/2BA. I block to the beach, off street parking. Offered el $849,000 232 Ckwissa Avenue Duplex. Top unit 1 Bed 13 Bottom unit 2 Bed 2 e&yord New Usting $749,000 320 Oescanso - $~9~,000 End unit with many upgrades. Fireplete, ~ld furnished Offered at $79~,000 91110 1-72 2 BD, 2 BA 1049 SF+/- Spurious with amazing views. Only 35 steps to top of rood. Comes furnished with 6olf cO0 and vacation runlet permit Offered at S579,000 Villa 2-26 : 1 BD, 2BA, 83O SF +/- Two-story end unit. townhame style ~1~o. Private balcony, ~f cart and vottion rental parfait. New Ustino $$7?,000 Villa 5-7 1BD, 1BA, 941 SF+/-, : Ocean views from every room. Vacation rental permit with o good rental history. Tastefully furnished with golf cert. Owner may carry. Offered m S599,000 24 Cd~ilb Dr. - S560,000 HC 960- $530,000 1 ! 3 V' eleu - $780,000 ffC ViDe 8--96 - $855,000 H( ~ 1-11 - $549,000 348 Melrapde Ave. - $475,000 316.5 Whilfley Ave.- $899,000 323 (etdn~ Ave. - $6)'5,000 318 Chnnente Ave. - S519,000 Bd~i~ Vista C-61 - $399,000 HC V~a 2-47- S599,000 344 ~ - $349,000 124 ~aflta - $619,900 HC V'dla 1-53- $699,000 320 ~ Ave~ - $549,000 339 Avenue - $399,000 234 gescanso - S 99,000 1 "READY TO BUILD" View Lot Rare Oppor~nity to Own Island ~epert'/! O@ 1 vat@-owned nffordeHe vacaat parcel left reedy to build your island home. Excavated, decompocM, certificate from soils engineer, utilities on I~ol~rty. Finendn9 evadable. Excellent investment ~ly, For more ida: avdonhts sale.l ogspot.cm i 40 Hill St. 3,325 SF +/- Hillside let Hillside & town views $335,000 THE CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, February 12, 2016 ; 3