Sunday, October 2, 2022

North Carolina and the Wheels Through Time Museum

Dear Family & Friends,

Today was an extremely successful day! First thing we did this morning was head over to the Wheels Through Time Museum. It is a world famous collection of American motorcycles and memorabilia. It did not disappoint!! It was a huge collection of everything American motorcycle imaginable and even more.

As soon as we walked in the curator came over to greet us. He was a gentlemen from England living in North Carolina running the museum. We immediately hit it off with our knowledge of motorcycles and my knowledge of England. He loved to talk and had an amazing amount of knowledge. I would say he was in his early 50s and had lived an exciting adventurous life. He had served in the British army and fought in the Afghan war, then after injuries and it sounded like dissolution with war he set out to ride around the world on a bicycle and sometimes motorcycle! Now he has settled down, married, and living in Maggie Valley, NC running this museum.

As he was showing us around he showed us some absolutely perfect motorcycle restorations and a 1930s race car. He told us they were restored my Steve Huntzinger.  He was shocked to learn I knew Steve and lived in the same town! Immediately we became friends. He gave us a personal VIP tour including starting some of the motorcycles and race car just for us!

When he learned Brian was from South Africa he made us some Rooibos tea, a specialty of South Africa! Don’t ask me how he came by this in North Carolina….

For more details of the museum look at the photos below. One motorcycle that really caught my attention was a Traub. Supposedly the rarest motorcycle there since they only built one in 1917. For that era it was amazingly advance. A big V twin with overhead valves, springer forks, kick starter, tank box, and other features that were not widely used until the late 1930s. The bike was built by two German Jewish brothers. When WW1 broke out they sealed it in a brick room in Chicago. After the war they abandoned the project due to the anti German sentiment in the USA and rising anti-semitism. I guess they felt it wasn’t a good time to start building  motorcycles. To learn more see the photos below and watch the video.

After the museum we rode an hour to the next town of Robinsville. It was a short but great ride because there was no rain, the sun was out,  the country side was beautiful, and it was in the 70s!

Tonight we went out for an authentic North Carolina Mexican dinner. Not something you expect here, but there just wasn’t much open here on Sunday. Also we learned that this county is a “Dry Country” so no wine or G&T tonight…..

Tomorrow we ride the famous Tail of the Dragon. About a 130 mile loop of beautiful scenery and great twisty roads. This area is made for motorcycling. Every small town has lots of motorcyclist riding the area and stores and restaurants that cater to motorcyclists. 

We picked up a motorcycling map of the area. They have marked out loops of roads that are great on a motorcycle. You could ride here every day for a month and not cover them all!

Tomorrow I should have some good scenery photos and stories to report. For now that’s all folks!


PS: You will notice the adverts on my blog. They are part of GOOGLE ADSENSE. Every time you click on an advert I make a few pennies. So far this trip I have made about $1.25. I am hoping over the next few weeks to make enough that at the end I can treat Brian and myself to a lunch at Taco Bell, so start clicking!!  :)

This rare race car was restored by Steve Huntzinger who lives on my town. To hear me start it up go to this video link:

Our enthusiastic and friendly tour guide from England, Andy....

Listen to how nice this 100+ year old motorcycle runs. It start on one kick. Another great Huntzinger restoration.

This Harley Davidson was modified to use in WW1. See the cage on the back? That moved carrier pigeons behind the line to carry messages back to headquarters. I am going to assume they didn't have email..

This is the Jewish motorcycles I wrote about. Extremely advanced for 1917. To hear the curator talk about it go to this video link:

There were many of these displays that re-created the workshops of the era of the motorcycle. Kind of looks like my garage....

They even had a collection of chain saws.. not sure why.

Another great re-creation of a period correct workshop.

The founder of this museum had quite a passion for all things American motorcycle. I read his bio and he certainly had an interesting life and a real passion for what he did. 
Reminds me of me.

The worlds most complicated scooter..

The founder of the museum. He died a couple of years ago but his son took it over. We met him there.

This is a 1960s Harley Davidson touring motorcycle. Stock it would have weighed about 750 lbs. With all the extras and do-dads on it I am sure it is well over 1000 lbs. There is a technical name for all the trim, lights, and chrome added to a stock motorcycle. It is called FARKLE. Now you can impress your friends with your vast knowledge. It amazes me how much I know that has no social or financial value... ;)

This is a local map and every color indicates an interesting motorcycle route to take.

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