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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

14th Annual Oklahoma Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet

I enjoy going to swap meets and/or motorcycle shows.  I don't buy much at the swap meets, but it is fun to look around.  A couple friends and I decided to combine fun and business with a weekend trip to Oklahoma City and the 14th Annual Oklahoma Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet.   The event was held at the Oklahoma Fairgrounds at 3001 General Pershing Blvd in OKC.

I was pleasantly surprised with the event.  The fairground is a typical array of building/barns with most buildings empty during the third weekend of February.  The builds are in good shape, but you can tell they were built many years ago.

The event was split between two building 50 yards apart.  There was plenty of parking space and bikes were allowed up on the "lawn" area near the buildings.  Both buildings had well over 100 10X10 booth spots.  Many vendors occupied multiple booth spots.
Papa's Leather Barn - a great place to get your leathers.
There were leather vendors (big stores and smaller individual shops), new and used parts, knives, t-shirts, flowers, candles, trailers, organizations, and more.   We had our Moto Oz booth open.  The Oklahoma City Roller Derby a.k.a. Tornado Alley Rollergirls made appearances both days and even had a few "matches" for the people to watch.  Not "my cup of tea," but others seemed to enjoy it.
The Modern Living Building was full of bikes, vendors, and people.
The highlight was the motorcycle show.  There were some very impressive vintage bikes and custom bikes.  I have been to several shows and I felt this one had some of the very best bikes I had ever seen.
There were several different classes of bikes in the show.
The show included vintage Harley-Davidsons, Indians, Honda, Triumph, Yamaha, Moto Guzzi, Ducati, Suzuki, Cushman, and a rare Matchless that I had never seen.  The quality of the vintage bikes was great.  The 1926 Triumph model "P" looked new.  The owner, Gerald Tims, had to be very proud of it.
1926 Triumph Model "P" used white gas from the fuel tank for the head light and tail light.
Rare 1966 Matchless MKII - reported to be one of only two in the United States
1940 Indian Model 440 - 1278 cc
1968 Triumph T120 Bonneville - 650cc
1961 Harley-Davidson Pan Head
Custom Bobber
Trike dedicated to our brave armed forces 
Harley-Davidson Road Glide customized
2006 Arlen Ness Custom dedicated to three soldiers KIA 2007
Another nice Indian
A customized cruiser.
The show and swap meet was top notch.  A great variety of vendors and bikes.  Of course roaming through the bikes parked outside was also interesting.  Saturday was a nice sunny day so there were at least 1,000 bikes parked outside.

This was a very good event.  If were in the market for some Harley parts this would be the place to shop.  If you like looking at custom and/or vintage bikes this would be the place to go.  The show may not have big names entered, but the quality was great.  If you are in the Oklahoma City area next year in the third week of  February make your way by the show.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Talimena Drive - 50+ miles of fun

Southeast Oklahoma is home of one of the best National Scenic Byways, but possibly, one of the least known in the country.  The drive was designated a National Scenic Byway in 2005.  The Talimena Drive is 54 miles of curves, switchbacks, and rolling hills running along the ridge of the Ouachita Mountains from Talihena, Oklahoma to Mena, Arkansas.
West Entrance
In Oklahoma the drive is known as Oklahoma 1 and in Arkansas it is Arkansas 88.   The road travels through the Ouachita National Forest and on the crest of Rich Mountain and Winding Stair Mountain.  Rich Mountain is Arkansas' second highest mountain at 2,681 feet.  There are 22 scenic overlooks and several historic locations allowing for great vistas and good locations to stop and enjoy the views.
The Talimena Drive - miles of fun.
The two lane road is well maintained and well traveled.  One has to watch for rocks on the road that come from rock slides and/or gravel from side roads and overlooks.  There are several long straightaways that allow for some great acceleration, but be forewarned, the road is periodically patrolled.  No trucks are allowed, but you will come across so RV's at times.
Notice the road on the top of the far mountain.
Any of the overlooks will provide a great view of the Oklahoma and/or Arkansas landscape.  The drive also has its share of wildlife.  I have seen deer, bear, rabbits, and other small mammals.  Golden Eagles are active in the spring and winter.
Golden Eagle - seen from Eagleton Vista
The east 18 miles of the drive are in Arkansas and runs through the Queen Wilhelmina State Park.  The park is home of the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge, one of the most historic lodges around.  The lodge's restaurant has an awesome lunch buffet daily.  Many times we have ridden up for lunch and then headed back home.
The lodge has spectacular views, hiking trails, and great food.
The views can make you take your eyes off the road, but don't.
Historic train at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Arkansas
The road is awesome and well worth the trip.  Several of the roads to get there are also scenic and great motorcycle roads.  After you complete the drive you will want to turn around and run it back!  It is a premier motorcycling road and screams to be ridden.