Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hugh's HandBuilt: Biker Metric - And other randomness

Hugh's HandBuilt: Biker Metric - And other randomness: Trent Reker of BikerMetric dropped in for a bit last week, we discussed the more important things in life. Beer, Hot Rod Engines, Women, M...

Wheels Through Time Museum.

Don Wood Approved

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my wife and daughter. We had planned on a quiet weekend at home, away from the traveling masses. This was the plan till about 7pm friday night. I asked the wife how she felt about a little road trip. As usual, she was game and asked, "Where we goin.?"
We got up Saturday morning and set out for Maggie Valley, NC. Destination; Wheels Through Time Museum. The owners, Dale Walksler and his son, Matt call it The museum that runs and for good reason. A lot of the bikes in their collection run and it is not uncommon for a staff member to hop on a bike and crank it to life. Burn outs are not uncommon. I had done a little checking and I knew that Dale and Matt were in Davenport, Ia. for an event so I called a dear friend who works at the museum. John Dills has been a friend for quite some time and when I asked him if the Museum would be open with the Walkslers being out of town he told me. Come on. When you gonna be here.?
We arrived to find John and a young fellow washing one of the many collectible cars on display at the museum. It is more than just a bunch of motorSickles, you see. Cars, Trucks, chain saws, Ice saws, Harley powered toboggans, outboard motors, Harley powered farm equipment and even a Harley powered airplane. I'm not sure of the oldest  but there are many motorcycles that date back to the beginning of time. Knucles and pans. Shovels and wl's from the war era. Full dressers and board track racers. Choppers and Police specials. Harley's and Hendersons, Arrows and Indians. and some motorbikes that I have never seen before in my life.

In the last 2 1/2 yrs I've been to this place I call Mecca, 6 times. I've probably spent over 20 hours walking amongst The history and collectibles. I have been given the high honor of being invited to the back room to see where the magic of restoration happens. I can tell you this.. I could spend another 20 hrs there tomorrow and still not see it all. Some folks go to Art galleries or to a comedy club. I like studying motorcycles. I've been to quite a few Motorcycle museums and a few very impressive private collections. I am yet to find anything that compares to The Wheels Though Time Museum. It's the people that make all the difference in the world. They are the kind of people who know that they are blessed and they treat their work as if they are caretakers. They have a desire to share their knowledge with anyone who might have a question and if you have a motorcycle related question you couldn't find a more prepared group of people to find your answers.
The area around Maggie Valley makes this Museum a destination for a rider of motorcycles. Maggie Valley is a town of 1,000 people but this is a tourist town and there are many options for eating and lodging. This small town lies on the eastern edge of the Smokey Mountain National park. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs within a few miles of the Museum. Check their website for days and times of operation.
I want to thank Dale, Matt and the rest of the staff for always making it a joy to spend time with them and their collection. I also want to thank John Dills for the time and friendship he has shown me and my family. These are some of the greatest people on planet earth.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I have long wanted to do a motorcycle ride that would be a defining moment in my life. I'm not talking about a crash or going from pavement to gravel at 60 mph in the dark with a video crew hanging from a mini van 5 feet from my front tire. I'm talking about a ride that books are written about. A ride that is large enough in scope that someone else is willing to pay for that trip. This past weekend, I think I got a little closer to recognize that dream.

This past weekend I was with a film crew that was doing a documentary about Moonshine for the Discovery Channel. We had two days of taping in Oklahoma and Kansas. During one of our down times the producer of the documentary asked me what my dream trip would be.??? I have pondered this question many times. I have ridden all over the USA and I have thought hard about branching out across our border. Before a moment past I answered his question. "The Pan American Highway". I told him a little about this dream trip and within about 3 minutes he said, I want to do that...

We are still in contact and trying to figure out the logistics of such a trip. I have no commitment as of yet but I think that this thing will happen. The goal is to start this journey in June 2012. Timing is because of extreme weather at the north and south ends of the trip.

There it is. My goal is out of the bag now. Let the Haters and the Doubters line up. The rest of you, Just wish me well.