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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wheel Through Time - Awesome!

Sometimes people rant and rave about a place, building it up, only to result in unmet expectations.  That is not the case with Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum.  During our recent trip to southwest North Carolina some friends and I visited the museum in Maggie Valley, NC and my expectations were met and exceeded.
The unassuming building holds an amazing amount of history
Maggie Valley is a nice town that sits on US 19 on the eastern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 35 miles west of Asheville, NC and 66 miles east of the famous Deals Gap and the Tail of the Dragon.

We arrived early Sunday morning and there were only two other motorcycles in the parking lot.  We were greeted by some great vintage bikes before entering the building.  Once in we were welcomed by very friendly staff.
 One of the bikes on the outside steps
What a nice Harley
A staff member answered many of our questions and started telling us about different bikes.  We learned that all the bikes are American made and nearly all of them would run.  Using their computer in the gift shop I showed him the photos of my grandpa's bike on my blog and asked if they had one like it in the museum.  He directed me to two bikes and he felt it was one of them, either the 1915 or 1916  Harley.  It was cool to see the bike up close.
 This might have been the same model my grandfather rode.
As we continued looking the owner's son Matt came by and spent a great deal of time with us.  He told us many interesting stories about different bikes and how they acquired them.  He told us the history of different makes and styles.  He talked to us about flat track racing, dirt racing, hill climbing, and the historic Jack Pine enduro races.  

Matt also started up 5 different bikes for us.  One of them was 100 years old!  A very rare 1913 Thor 1000c race bike - watch the video below - turn up the sound and hear Matt tell us about the bike.
1913 Thor racing bike (Video by Jerry Bryant) - subscribe to YouTube Channel
Matt also told us the history to the Jack Pine enduro race and how they got the Harley-Davidson with sidecar that had raced in the Jack Pine several times.  He then fired it up for us.
Jack Pine race (Video by Jerry Burden)- subscribe to YouTube Channel
There were so many bikes and many were rare.  The rarest was the one of a kind Traub.  The 1917 Traub was found bricked up in an apartment in Chicago in 1967.  There is no information about the builder.  (For more info click here.)
1917 Traub - a true one of a kind
There are 26 different American made brands in the museum.  The history is amazing and the personal attention the owner Dale and his son gave us was awesome.  Too many bikes and too much information to put in a post.  If you are anywhere near Maggie Valley do yourself a favor and visit the Wheels Through Time museum.  I really don't think you will be disappointed.  Below are a few more photos to enjoy.
 DOT approved ???

 A rare Elk in running condition
 Check out the big rear fender
 Flat track racer
 American made ACE

 Board trac racing display
Military Harley
Many more bikes, parts, cars, and more are on display at the museum.  If you enjoy motorcycle history this is the place to visit.  A bonus is all the great roads to ride while you are in the area.

9 comments:

  1. It's on my list of places to see the next time I'm in the area. Thanks for the post and the pictures.

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  2. Awsome pics and a bit of great history there. thanks for sharing mate. Fantastic. Great pic of you and your son also.

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  3. The museum has so much more than I could describe. The pic with my son is special. We had the same backdrop 4 summers ago and he was so much smaller. It will be both good and bad having him on his own bike next summer.

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  4. Motoroz:

    I think it's neat that you could find a machine your grandfather once owned. He was certainly a pioneer rider when machines were evolving from bicycles with motors. It was a great time to be enjoying their new technology of the day. Thanks for bringing us there

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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  5. Great post about a great place that I had never heard of. Thanks for the photos and all the information you shared.

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  6. Yep, very close. You too have a safe journey and a good time.

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  7. i visited this museum once myself, i like it because not all of the bikes are 'over restored' like some other museums ive been to. i remember seeing that Traub also - i believe it was Motorcycle Classics that did an interesting write up on it. great blog.

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  8. Glad you included the videos, to hear those machines running must be amazing, 1000cc and 7HP, wow, how things have changed. Another museum for me to visit. I visited one recently in NY but haven't had a chance to blog it. What bike is your son looking to get?

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  9. George, the guys at the museum were so friendly and answered our questions. It is a great place to visit. We have a pretty good one in Texas, but nothing like Wheels Through Time.

    My son thinks he wants a Ninja 250. We will be looking at a lot of options.

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