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Where am I? Winner: Joseph DeJulius

By Susan Swan

June 2017’s mystery location: Creston, British Columbia, Canada

Because Joe DeJulius toured in Canada, and recognized Kaslo, British Columbia, and mention of the sternwheeler, the SS Moyie, he was able to track the route past the Glass House, then onto Creston, the home of Kokanee Beer.

Joseph DeJulius was born in San Francisco, “educated by Jesuits,” spent a portion of his youth in Daly City, an agricultural area where “kids rode horses to school,” and where parking was in a livery. Other classmates rode mini bikes powered by the trusty Briggs & Stratton. The family moved to the city by the bay where Catholic school served Joe through graduation. Military service was compelled by “the Cuban Missile deal” but “by the time I got in the Air Force, it (Cuba crisis) was over.” He spent his tour in Asia and Alaska but afterward he followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and went to sea. The education to become a merchant marine took a good while, but the experiences he enjoyed, places he traveled and ships sailed were just reward. He was comfortable with his machinist role “working on turbo-electric vessels” but found increasingly that the downside to the lifestyle was “no room for accumulated stuff.” So he decided to try life on dry land and by applying the skilled learned and even more education, he started DeJulius Electric in California. “We built Class-100 clean rooms,” among other projects and he did that until his retirement in 2002.

The love of the sea has never left him and his history includes racing in San Francisco Bay and ocean travel “way out past shipping lanes.” He’s owned several boats including a wooden catch, “The Drifter,” and had a memorable experience on a trimaran, “The Atlanta,” coming back from Mexico. A Force 12 (hurricane-level winds) storm hundreds of miles west of California with 70-knot winds and larger than 50-foot waves flipped the 43’ x 30’ vessel, stranding Joe and his wife Jan for three days. That was March 1988 and the experience made him realize that life can be short. It was two years later than he and his wife (since divorced) became parents.

Motorcycling began early and more than a few Harley-Davidsons have found parking in Joe’s personal stable. Among the favorites: a ’77 café racer, 1200 Sportster, ’51 Pan with sidecar, and a FX Super Glide 100th Anniversary edition. He explained, “I used to take the whole family to H.O.G. meetings in the ’51 with sidecar.”

His number one riding companion was daughter Angelina Mia, “Her name means ‘my little angel’,” who was born when Joe was 45 and had survived the capsizing at sea. At age 13 Angelina Mia rode with her dad on a little jaunt that began in Las Vegas, and meandered through Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Springfield, Illinois and on to the Milwaukee for the 100th, a ride lead by Willie G. Davidson. Angelina DeJulius is now Angelina Salazar, living in Camarillo, California, happily married and working as a crossfit fitness instructor.

After his 2002 retirement Joe moved to Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas. He’s been enjoying touring and sometimes is gone a month. He explained, “As a merchant marine I saw the world but spent little time seeing America.” That’s the goal now.

Joe lives in a senior apartment complex in Henderson and enjoys the friendship of several neighbors, including Max. “Max is a tabby cat on a route. He (Max) hides out at Wayne’s or at my place most nights.”

By the time riders pick up their THUNDER PRESS and get this glimpse into the life of Joe, he’ll have ridden his ’02 Super Glide to Southern California to attend some flat-track races and visit friends nearby. The Super Glide’s odometer reads 160,000.

Back home, it’s a fair bet that Max the tabby will hang out at Wayne’s until Joe’s return. 

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