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Day 24 – Apr. 12th: Dan’s FCs and The Lost Romanian

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<– Day 23 – Apr. 11th: Vintage Cars and Campers | OVERVIEW | Day 25 – Apr. 13th: Port Why-Knee-Me –>


Dan Horenburger and I in front of his Streamline FC Motorhome. See more pics here:

Our home for Friday and Saturday night was the Thousand Oaks Hampton Inn. Thousand Oaks was great in part because they had some good food stores. The local Whole Foods had some sliced bison meat they sold in a warming bag (kind of like they do with chicken). Since Ann avoids beef most days (beef protein sensitivity) having some Bison was a treat for both of us!  Not only do they have food, but this small community seems to have more shopping per square foot than most. There are shops everywhere, but not many houses (that we can see) to support them all.


Saturday we did a big loop. The drive north and west on 23/118 was particularly beautiful, due to the beautiful rocky and hilly terrain. The remainder of the drive (especially 101) was full of traffic.

On Saturday, after sleeping in late (due to being awakened by someone walking very heavy in the room above us at 4:30am), our first adventure was a meeting with Dan Horenburger, who has collected an amazing collection of Forward Controls. It was a unique treat to have him share their history with us.

Dan explained that he was brought home in an FC after being born. Clearly he caught the Willys Sickness within just a few days of his birth, the poor guy. By his mid-teens he purchased and rebuilt his first FC. By then there was no turning back, so instead of medication or therapy, he embraced it. Since then he’s spent many years searching for unique vehicles. Fortunately, his professional (carousel restoration) allowed him to travel far and wide to search for them. As you will see he’s been successful.

Here are some of the Fire FCs he owns:

2014-04-12-dan-firejeep1 2014-04-12-dan-firejeep2 2014-04-12-dan-firejeep4

He also has this rare Mobile Driller attachment on the back of an FC-170:


Among his collection you’ll find all four of the Military M-67X series of FCs (built for the Navy and Marines): The M-676, M-677, M-678 and M-679. Below are two of his M-677s:

2014-04-12-dan-m677-2 2014-04-12-dan-m677

On the left is the M-678 Carry All Van, while on the right in the M-679 Ambulance Van.


This photo shows the driver side of the M-679:


Here are a several photos of the M-679 ambulance with the original equipment inside:



Here are a few more FC photos:


He even has a couple FCs that look like they are performing sentry duty from on top of a container:


Dan doesn’t only have FCs. He collects other kinds of vehicles, too. One particularly rare vehicle is this Willys convertible Brazilian Interlagos (here’s the coupe version), the only one known in the US:

2014-04-12-dan-interlagos-convert1 2014-04-12-dan-interlagos-convert2

One problem with this vehicle is the location of the gas inlet, which isn’t far from the motor in the rear of the car. Yikes!2014-04-12-dan-interlagos-convert3

Dan collects a variety of other items besides vehicles. One particular thing caught my eye: A soap box derby vehicle from Somerset, Pennsylvania (Dave, I thought you’d like that).


This last photos are a nod to the carousels. The first photo shows some of the less polished carousel animals, while the latter photo shows the high quality ones (ready to be shipped for a private carousel).



After thanking Dan for a wonderful tour (I think we had as much fun there as we did in Disneyland!), we said our goodbyes and headed for the home of the original M*A*S*H filming location in Malibu Creek State Park. We were going there to enjoy a hike and photograph the rusty jeep that remains there.

The signs to the State Park were easy to follow. As I’d read, the cost to park was $12. The Ranger warned us that the hike round trip distance was about 5 miles, which I also knew (I figured this would be quite a hike for Ann, given her knee, but she wanted to go). After paying my fee I asked the Ranger for a map and received the rather unhelpful map below.

Not only was the map in inaccurate and incomplete in regards to the M*A*S*H site, but it also didn’t show other spur trails. A review I read about the hike assured readers the hike only had an elevation gain of 175 feet, but that gain is all at once on a hill that taxed Ann a bit (and I got a few sideways glances), but she preserved (though is now passed out now on the bed).


The hike is very beautiful and is divided into three sections: Section 1 is a lovely walk along a wide dirt road. Section 2 climbs over the hill on a wide dirt road. Section 3 turns into a single track, unmarked trail that had us wondering if we were going in the right direction. Here are some photos of the hike:


The hike starts with this beautiful view. The MASH set is location behind the left of the two peaks in the background.


Beautiful walk among the trees.

After leaving the flat road and summiting a hill, we found ourselves walking along this single track trail:

2014-04-12-mash-4Eventually, we found the set and had some fun taking photos. The jeep is a CJ-2A. Not sure why they didn’t put a military jeep there.


One of the intrepid photographers hard at work.


Overview of the set from the helicopter ‘landing pad’ area. Some of the hut locations are marked in string just beyond the rusted ambulance.


A sign just in case we didn’t know where we were.

With the sun dropping, we decided it was time to go. As we left a woman kind of lingered near us. We got to talking and she turned out to be from Romania. She’d been hiking with her husband and son when she’d taken a phone call. She finished her call only to discover her family was nowhere in sight. So, she hiked toward the MASH set, which is where she assumed they would go.

Unfortunately, as she hiked through the single track area, the sounds in the bushes un-nerved her. Thinking the sounds were snakes, and scared of them, she ran to the set and stayed there hoping her family would come. They hadn’t yet. Afraid to be there alone, she decided to befriend us for the hike back to her car.

During our trek back, she talked pretty much non-stop. We learned that she’d been in the US for nine years. Apparently, it is hard for her to break into the fashion industry in Los Angeles (she loves fashion). Even the famous Romanian designers won’t help her. But, having spent the last few years as a stay-at-home mom, she knows she must re-enter the workforce somehow. She also explained that not all Romanians were gypsies (we knew this, but this seemed important to her). Oh, she had some much to tell us . . .

By the time she spotted her family and ran off to them, we were ready for some quiet. She was sweet, but she clearly had some stress issues she needed to overcome. At least we helped her overcome her fear of snakes for a little while. Here she is running toward her family:


That’s her to the right. We never did get her name.

All in all it was another wonderful day full of adventure. Tomorrow we continue our trek north. Here is a look at our anticipated path for the next couple of weeks. I expect we’ll spend at least two nights in Monterey and two nights in Santa Cruz. We’ll be in San Fran/Oakland area 3-4 days.


<– Day 23 – Apr. 11th: Vintage Cars and Campers | OVERVIEW | Day 25 – Apr. 13th: Port Why-Knee-Me –>


10 Comments on “Day 24 – Apr. 12th: Dan’s FCs and The Lost Romanian

  1. Mike Finegan

    Truly amazing collection of FC’s. Dan must be one happy fella, to be able to live life to it’s fullest.

  2. Buz

    Some curious Chef you are Dave, you should have asked the lost Romanian if she could share the recipe for ciorba de perisoare with you. (lets see how long it takes him to figure that one out !).

  3. Bob

    That is quite a collection of FCs.

    Mindy and I ran into a Moldovan couple at the zoo on New Providence Island in the Bahamas last year that sound much like your Romanian…the woman sounded like Natasha from the cartoons, they were a riot.

  4. Jason Micallef

    Hi there, does anyone have just an old fc cab or bed laying around? The Fc my son and I were restoring got squashed by a large tree branch. Talk to you soon, Jason

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