The Evolution of Good Clean Fun...
Way back then, in 1974, before the name “Good Clean Fun” found me, it was all about finding a logical location to build a boat. I didn’t want to get all caught up in life and throw out too many anchors. The plan was to remain fluid, sail off and explore uncharted tropical surf locations, so I didn't want to do anything too permanent. I thought two to three years would be perfect. There were a hundred new criteria I was completely unfamiliar with, but I was ready to get going.
Those unfamiliar criteria made it difficult to get everything together in one location. I needed a place to have a small trailer, maybe a tool shed, a place to live. I needed lots of open space to sprawl out, to hold all the requisite boat building components: lots of wood, fiberglass supplies, hardware, rigging storage and the myriad of tools I needed to gather to do this build. Doing it all outdoors wouldn´t be easy. I thought I would most likely find a vacant lot or the back 40 of some local ranch. My buddy Ron had built the Sadhana, his 31’ trimaran, on J street and Saint Mary right in little Cayucos. He operated in a residential neighborhood without glitches or complaints from neighbors. That would never happen in big city suburbia where I grew up. And by this time, I´d adopted a commitment to country lifestyle over city life forever. Deep down inside I knew an indoor workshop had to exist somewhere in the Morro Bay/Cayucos area. So the search began.
I was single for most of this era, and knew if I found someone to settle down with, that person would have to embrace this crazy nautical dream life I was chasing. Now I wasn´t exactly interviewing women to find this person, didn’t even know if she existed. My focus was on the boat. When I landed in Cayucos, I had a brief love affair with a great lady, Jeri. She was divorced with two young kids and was five years older than me. What could go wrong? Jeri lived on Old Creek Road, right at the end of the houses of Cayucos. She was a very gracious woman and was letting me stay with her while I was looking for a place. Her house was right on the creek and the bedroom window faced the water.
I´ll never forget lying in bed one morning, looking out the window, and noticing this large metal shed on the other side of the creek. I’d never clocked it before and was curious why it was there. How did it get built right there on Old Creek? I went exploring right then and there and found the shed was on Hacienda Drive, across the creek and around the corner. Hacienda Drive is a dead-end road, and back then there were maybe a dozen houses on the entire street and this incredible shed/barn, right on a creek that flowed into the ocean a block away.
Upon exploring the block, I found one of those houses toward the end of the road was on a giant lot with a large trimaran being built right there. I was totally blown away: another trimaran being built in Cayucos? The owners were the Wilkinson family, and they were halfway through the build of a ‘47 Cross-design trimaran. Tucked far away up Hacienda Drive was a family doing exactly what I wanted to do! I saw the guy working on the boat and introduced myself and we talked about what I was up to with my project. His name was Jim Wilkinson and he and his wife were getting close to dropping out and sailing off. He was very excited to hear of another boat being built in Cayucos. He also knew my friend Ron Metheny, who had recently completed his ‘31 Jim Brown Sea Runner just down the road.
Everybody knew everybody in Cayucos. This was a great part of this small community, a bittersweet part, as I learned over the years. So I started the dialog with Wilkinson, asking what was up with the shed down the street. Was it for rent? The Wilkinson family had lived on Hacienda Drive for years and knew all about the shed (as well as everything else on Hacienda Drive).
The shed was built by an older gentleman, a Mr. Bible, from the Fresno area. He owned several junk yards and collected metal, among other things. He wanted badly to be a boat guy, and constructed this shed to build a wooden fishing boat so he could commercially fish. He mostly used it to store more junk. But he did have an overwhelming collection of vintage block and tackle, marine hardware, wooden masts, on and on. Floor to ceiling, junk for the most part, but filled with hidden treasures for sure. It was probably the best place ever to consider boat building. Mr. Bible died before he could move to Cayucos and chase his dream, and it had recently sold to a local Swiss/Italian guy by the name of Al Scaltritti.
Al was born and raised in Cayucos. He raised special breeding bulls for a living. He always had young girlfriends. He had never been north of Cambria or south of San Luis Obispo. Rifle racks in the back window of his dually truck and “Beef is Best” stickers all over the bumper. Jim Wilkinson filled me in on Al and mentioned he might be a bit tricky to approach, depending on the day and his mood. And he for sure didn´t like the long haired kids moving into town, Jim said, so be careful how you approach him. Jim was retired law enforcement and had approached Al with no success to rent the shed himself for storage, and told me Al wouldn´t even consider it. I was told it wasn´t likely Al would even talk to me, much less consider me as a renter. But the place was really set up for boat building and I had to take the chance.
While driving back down Hacienda and passing the shed, I noticed the doors were pulled open and there was a truck parked out front. I remember the excitement and my nervousness to stop and inquire. But I had nothing to lose in asking. I walked into this crazy big building thinking how cool it would be to have this place to work in. “Al Scal is what they call me“ I remember him saying when we initiated the conversation. I really hadn’t planned for an introduction when I left Jeri´s and probably looked a little rough around the edges. I had a beard and long hair and didn’t think it mattered. But I had a great talk with Al Scal and introduced my project, how long I would need the space, the possibility of living inside, and how wildly coincidental it was to find this building. Al said he´d have to think on it for a few days and to come back and we´d talk some more. I felt I had a foot in the door at least.
I liked Al Scaltritti. He seemed very genuine and was a true cowboy. And who doesn’t like a cowboy! He was not all redneck and dangerous like his reputation around town. Cayucos was a cowboy town back then! Surfers were outcast hippies. No one knew what to do with all these young people moving into beach towns like Cayucos from the cities, escaping the concrete jungle in search of some tranquility, land, fun waves: exactly what Cayucos had to offer. I knew if it was all meant to be it would happen.
After a few days had gone by I’d gotten the real scoop on the shed specs and who built it. It was 100 feet long and 40 feet wide with a thick concrete slab floor as the entire footprint of the building. It had double rough sawn framing, all studs and trusses were giant compared to standard framing specs. The ceiling had twelve-foot trusses and a vaulted open beam ceiling maybe twenty-five feet at the peak. It was all finished with corrugated steel panels, and the high windows let lots of light in. The place was built bomb proof and could easily house me, the boat, and more! It was all up to Al Scal.
The day it all came together was when Jerry Wells, the owner of the Sudan, stopped by Cayucos to visit and try once again to persuade me to go to Costa Rica with him and live on his boat there just as I did in Maui. I look back on that offer and wonder how Costa Rica was in 74... it was a great era to pioneer most everywhere. I got Jerry in my truck and drove over to the shed on Hacienda. Al was there and wanted to talk to me, so having Jerry there as a reference was perfect. Jerry was blown away with the possibilities of the shed. After all, he had built his ‘50 ketch on a job site of his in Marina Del Rey. He knew how valuable a place like this was for a build. We all started talking and Al had pretty much agreed. But he “had to ask me a personal question?” He looked me straight in the face and said “can I trust you?” Before I could answer, Jerry stepped in and said if he was looking for a trustworthy man, I was it. He mentioned the past few years of me living on his boat, how he could fly back and forth from California to Maui and never worry about Sudan, his prize possession.
So Al Scal and I shook hands on it and it was mine to rent - with a few stipulations. The biggest was that he wanted to be able to store a few things in The Shed (now more than “the shed”) the first year until he figured out where to move his stuff. It was workable but did cause issues until he moved everything out. He also wanted me to do the clean-up of the shed and haul all of Mr. Bible´s junk away. Most of it did get taken to the land fill, but there were buried treasure in there for sure. I´ll talk about those in another round of “Shed Life.”
I was elated to say the least! Al Scal flipped me keys and said $90.00 per month. Water and electric included. Jerry was really happy for me and knew it was exactly what I needed to plot my own course.
Jerry and I stayed friends for years; he settled in Costa Rica until he had a stroke and had to sell the boat and return to Marina Del Rey, coming to live a diminished life at a rest home. That reinforced my knowledge that I needed to live life to the fullest because you never know. Upcoming, I´ll explain how valuable The Shed became to me, and how I eventually bought the adjoining three-bedroom house and The Shed from Al Scal, all on four lots on Hacienda Drive.