RODE TRIP: WHEELS THROUGH TIME, MAGGIE VALLEY, NORTH CAROLINA
Hey Y'all... this is a copy of the work that ran in IronWorksBlogger.com I will have another feature there this coming week as well, I'll come back and give you the link soon, so those of you who have read this story already, can have something fresh to read...till then, come back and enjoy my take on Wheels Through Time!
“Wheels Through Time”. Simply saying those 3 words produce a myriad of images featuring transportation of the human body. But as bikers, hopefully we have an idea of what these iconic three words should conjure into our consciousness. Motorcycles, beautiful American built motorcycles. In fact, Wheels Through Time is a museum housing the largest collection of RUNNING antique and classic American built motorcycles. With over 400 brands of American made motorcycles to choose from; you will not have a shortage of wonderful antique wonders to exhibit.
Locating Wheels Through Time is easy. The museum is situated in an area of Western North Carolina that is a Mecca destination for all manner of bikers. By now most of you have heard of the famous road running over the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, commonly known to the biker crowd as “THE DRAGON”. This is Highway 129 in both Tennessee and North Carolina. This road is an attraction on its own. The towns surrounding “The Gap” have adjusted their tourist pursuits to include the hoards of black clad bikers who descend on the area looking for the most fantastic motorcycle ride routes in the Eastern United States. Now we come to Maggie Valley. A little town whose industry is in attracting the biker to stay in her cabins and motels, eating at her restaurants, and stopping at a fantastic little family run museum housing over 300 antique and classic American motorcycles! Punch this address into your GPS: 1986 Soco Road, Maggie Valley, NC, 28751. It’s easy to find since it is just off the main drag through Maggie Valley.
I arrived shortly after they opened for the day. I had barely dismounted before I was greeted by a woman who I suspect to be one of the many volunteers who donate their time to help the curator, Dale Walksler and his son Matt. I am always happy to find people like her in my travels. I learn so much from the friendly, smiling and helpful southern people I’ve run into here in North Carolina. I tell her who I am and why I’ve come. She tells me I’m in luck! Both Dale and his son Matt are in town today, ready and willing to talk to me, give me the tour and keep me informed of the exhibits and their history.
As I’m removing my leathers, I’m casting an eye about the grounds: they are amazing. Lush green carpet of grass in front of the building with picnic tables, seating, a small creek, shade trees and flowers inviting the rider to rest and regroup after our tour through the museum. I hadn’t even been inside yet, but I was sure it had to be set up this way so the visitor could come out and sit amongst our peers: regaling our friends and new acquaintances on our knowledge of the sights we had just witnessed inside this incredible building. (Once the season fully kicks in, it appears there will be a refreshment center open on the lawn as well.) This seems to be a well thought out application of hospitality.
As I’m walking up the long cement ramp leading to the doors of the museum, I’m caught by the sight of several motorcycles sitting on the patio section. Sweeeeettttt…. Whipping the camera to my eye, I’m already starting to click away. I haven’t even entered the museum proper…yet here was eye candy…enticing me to enter… “there is a hell of a lot more inside” this little display whispers to me… a hell of a lot more.
Passing through the front doors… more classic and antique motorcycles are on display. Wait! We haven’t even been asked for a dime. Yet, here the museum has on display for our curious eyes more wonderful candy. I’m stoked. Everywhere I cast my eye within the lobby; I see informative and interesting displays, all encouraging me to walk beyond the wonderful lobby and gift shop searching out the machines I have come to love. But wait! Don’t forget to stop at the desk and pay your entry fee…$12.00 for you and each of your mates if you’re under sixty-five. For the seniors you guys have a 2 dollar discount and the rug crawlers are a measly six bucks for entry. Oh, and how can you pass by raffle of the 1947 HARLEY DAVIDSON RESTORED FL KNUCKLEHEAD? Get your butt back over to the counter, pull out your wallet and try your luck for this beautiful motorcycle! You have until Nov. 13th 2010 to enter to win. You can either take the Knuckle or you can opt for $20,000.00. You damn sure had better take the bike buddy…I mean, why would you come here and not LOVE TO OWN this beautiful machine? THE PROCEEDS OF THE RAFFEL SUPPORT THE MUSEUM!
Walking through the wide opening from the gift shop to the museum proper, you enter in an area maintained for the display of the Velodrome Board Track machines. On display here is a 1914 Harley Davidson “A” model racer, a 1916 Excelsior Big Valve Racer, a 1921 Harley Davidson SCA Single, and my personal favorite: the 1909 Reading Standard Twin. To learn more about these particular machines, visit WTT’s web page @ http://www.wheelsthroughtime.com/vintage-motorcycles/board-track-racers.html
At another featured exhibit known as “SLANT ARTISTS” we come across a circular raised exhibit. Here are featured hill climbing machines. On a very realistic hill display we see various motorbikes positioned as if racing up the dirt and boulder strewn hill. It’s a display that allows the viewer an idea of how the motorbike was utilized in its heyday. On this hill you’ll find a 1930 Harley Davidson DAH 750 OHV, a 1929 Excelsior Overhead Valve 750, a 1928 Indian Altoona OHV 750, and a 1930 EXCELSIOR overhead 750. http://www.wheelsthroughtime.com/vintage-motorcycles/factory-hillclimb-specials-speedway-specials.html
At this juncture, I’m going to leave you to look at some of the photos! I’m nowhere near done. The next installment will feature so much…you won’t believe what you’re looking at! See y’all soon at the next RODE STOP!