Thunder Press — Aug 09
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Where Am I? Winner Burgess Schnitzius
Susan Swan

Where Am I?

The “Where Am I?” game is for all THUNDER PRESS readers, what ever part of the country you hail from. Offered each month is a set of clues within a riddle, and from those clues your job is to guess where our wandering reporter (and riddlemeister) Susan might be. Lo cations chosen are always in the Western U.S. or Canada.

How does it work?

The clues can be solved either by personal familiarity with the location, with the aid of a map, or by using the Inter net. When a clue is particularly important, and/or somewhat vague, we often italicize that trickier portion to make sure your attention is drawn there.

Where/when/what do I win?

Very important: Do not e-mail your guess until the 8th of the month, so every one in our circulation area has a chance to get a copy of the paper.

Then on the 8th e-mail Susan at and if you’re the fifth correct e-mail you win. Winners are profiled and pictured in the following issue. Good luck.

Last month’s Mystery Location: Flowery Trail Road, Pend Oreille County, Washington John Wesley Powell still stands there Two expeditions began near the spot The city is named for the river That meanders aside time-etched rock The sun reflects off the water And red canyon walls frame the view I’m now leaving the oh-so-hot rec’ area Heading north; a city where I’ll stay one or two I’ll grab a Krazy Moose pie to greet my hosts Hackberry Street is where they call home We might tip a few at the Wild Horse Saloon A 2-days rule means w/thanks I’ll soon roam So tell me, Where am I?
For several months Burgess Schnitzius entered the Where am I? Game, but was never the winner. That great and chewy name, Burgess Schnitzius, intrigued me, and I’d hoped he would be the fifth correct entry at some point so that I might interview the man named (I’ll say it again) Burgess Schnitzius. I was imagining a gentleman sitting in a winged back chair adjacent to a massive fireplace, complete with pipe, smoking jacket, slicked-back hair, and handlebar mustache.

Burgess Schnitzius turned out to be a different Burgess Schnitzius altogether— a lot more fun, and less stuffy than my imaginings.

BS is a Northern California native, and lives in a house that is just a couple blocks from the house he came home to from the Vallejo, California, hospital where he was born in the late ’40s.

Burgess Schnitzius has lived in the same house for the past 20 years. A widower since the early ’90s, Burgess Schnitzius now shares his home with a cat “whose goal in life is to sit in your lap” named Pest. Pest is a 10- year-old domestic shorthair with tortoise pattern coat. Tough biker guy that he is, BS leaves his ice cream bowl accessible for Pest on occasion.

Schnitzius was schooled in Vallejo, and enlisted in the Air Force at age 20, doing 17 months on C- 130’s in Vietnam.

Upon his return he was stationed at Travis AFB. A firefighting job at Mare Island Naval Shipyard would come next, lasting 26 years. He laughed, explaining, “I was on the streets for all of two days, then went to work for the government.” Firefighting entails a lot of maintenance, training, and he said, “endless waiting, punctuated by the occasional call.” He spent part of his tenure working at Beale AFB outside of Marys ville, California. “It was a 100-mile commute, but I was going the opposite direction of the traffic.” Cruise control made the trip a breeze.

Upon retirement, Burgess Schnitzius took one more gig, working at the oldest towing company in the area, “Bob’s Towing.” The intention was to hire him for only a short time, but evidently in the towing industry, some one showing up on time every day is something of a novelty. So he became a valued employee, even being given the hours he preferred, taking holidays off, as well as time off to attend Nascar races at nearby Sears Point. When he took off Veteran’s Day, even though it wasn’t a declared holiday at Bob’s, management didn’t balk, knowing Bur gess had served.

Burgess worked eight more years at the second occupation.

A few years ago Burgess Schnitzius realized that his eyesight was in decline. After a close shave, he felt it was necessary to give up riding his 2003 Wide Glide until the problem could be rectified.

Last August, then again in September he had cataract surgery, one eye at a time. The surgeries corrected his vision to 20/20, and this year he’s back at riding full-time. He told me that in the interim, he’d turned down so many offers to take rides that “people stopped asking me.” Until word gets out that he’s back, he’s enjoying riding solo. We were discussing the joys of riding alone, no stops for others, no smoking or drinking stops that aren’t of one’s own design. He said, “I stopped smoking 11 years ago, and stopped drinking 11 months ago. I’m no fun at all.” But as it turns out he drops in for iced tea almost daily at a local bar.

Burgess Schnitzius has been riding for 45 years, including marques like Yamaha, Honda, and a Norton Atlas among the line-up. His first Harley- Davidson came in 1974, a 61" Sportster, and today he’s the proud owner of an ’03 Dyna Wide Glide. The Vallejo Harley Owner’s Group goes on a ride on the weekend near the March 21 Vernal Equinox, and BS took part this year after missing last.

Vallejo Harley-Davidson changed hands last year, and while BS knew the former owners well, he’s not yet made acquaintance with the new owners. A former co-worker of BS’s owns Tom’s Cyclery in Vacaville, California. “I wouldn’t mind giving Tom a plug if that’s OK.” BS gets his hair cut at Pete’s Barbershop in Vallejo, and last year Pete Anchetta’s wife surprised Pete with a trip to Scotland to play golf at the famous Saint Andrew’s course. Burgess asked Pete if he might pick up a Harley- Davidson T-shirt there, but was met with a response of, “I don’t think there are any Harley-Davidson dealerships in Scotland.” BS jumped on his PC, and found out that, indeed, there are H-D dealerships there, and mapped out the nearest dealership from the hotel where Pete would be staying.

Needless to say, Burgess Schnitz - ius got his T-shirt from Scotland.