Monday, August 13, 2018

Museum tour

My drive to California this past spring was based around the AHRMA races at Hallett, Ok., and Willow Springs, Ca., but they were really an excuse for a museum tour.  The first day of the trip, I drove just short of Columbus, Oh., and the next morning I visited the AMA Hall of Fame Museum at their headquarters in Pickerington.  Free if you're an AMA member.
a '61 250 Honda four
Some of the motorcycle art
This beautiful NSU Super Max was stuffed in the back with an LE Velo, an Cleveland, and a Suzuki Rotary.  Clearly they need more space.
From there, I drove to the USAF museum at Wright Patterson AFB near Dayton, Oh., a huge, chronologically arranged museum which I didn't have time to get all the way through.  Free.

a B-24.  The B-29 was even more impressive
After spending the night with fellow vintage racer Jason Roberts and his family in Pawnee, Ill., I headed to Donelson Cycles in St. Louis, Mo., which has a great in house museum of mostly flat trackers.  They claim to have the BSA Rocket 3 flat tracker that Jim Rice crash in 'On Any Sunday'.  I was surprised that it had a road race style seat.  Free.
the Jim Rice Rocket 3 mile dirt tracker

a BSA Beagle

From there, I rode across town to the Mungenast  Motorcycle Museum.  Dave Mungenast was an enduro/ISDT rider of some renown who was also a very successful car dealer.  He established a museum in a great old building, which is oriented towards dirt bikes, but has interesting road, road race and drag bikes too.  Free.
An overview of part of the Mungenast Museum
An Ace
A MotoGuzzi Falcone
From there, I drove to the race at Hallett, Ok., and after stayed with my high school classmate in Oklahoma City, then on to Sandia Park, N.M.  The next morning, I visited Craig Murray in nearby Cedar Crest.  I mentioned that I thought I'd check out the Petroglyph National Monument just west of Albuquerque.  Craig thought that was OK, but highly recommend Acoma Sky City, a mesa that has be continuously occupied for 1100 years.  Doing that made it too late to drive through the Painted Desert in Az., and Meteor Crater was also closed, but I drove down to it from I-40 anyway.  I spent the night in Flagstaff and in the morning drove north to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and walked around the ancient lava fields.  I continued north to the Grand Canyon, stopping at a few turn outs, then parking and pulling out my bicycle and riding along the south rim a ways and walking down into the Canyon a little ways.  Spectacular.
I spent the night in Kingman and drove to the Hoover Dam the next morning and took the tour down to the generators.
Hoover Dam
Looking down at the outflow
The massive generators
From there I drove to Red Rock Harley Davidson in Las Vegas.  They have a great collection of race bikes, mostly non H-D including Sheene Suzukis and Steve Baker Yamahas.
The Don Castro H-2 dirt tracker, Nixon's KR750, Steve Baker's TZ750 dirt tracker and road racer
Two Sheene  TR750 Suzukis, Dale Singleton's TZ 750 and Lawson's YSR Yamaha
A Pasolini XRTT, a Springsteen XR,  Rayborn KRTT, Nixon '70 high boy Trident
I drove on to Willow Springs, where I had a big crash on the Sunday and took a ambulance ride to the Hospital in Lancaster.  The next day, I drove up to Lompoc to my dear old friend, Mary.  Because of my injury, I didn't go to Virgil Elings excellent Motorcycle Museum in nearby Solvang, which I had been to twice before.  Mary and I drove up to Pacific Grove to visit our friends Peter and Marsha.  Peter arranged a visit to Jameson Classic Motorcycle Museum in Pacific Grove.  It's small but had a couple of interesting, rare bikes.
A H-D with a fore/aft opposed twin ala Douglas

a stylish Heinkel moped
a tank shift Rudge Special
Peter and I then went to the Moto Talbot Motorcycle Museum in Carmel Valley.  It has a lot of Italian Moto Giro type bikes but also some ex Roberts (father and son) and Rainey 500 GP and MotoGP bikes.  An excellent museum.
never heard of a MAS before

nor a Devil
Ron Halem's Goldstar, which I raced once
The Kenny Roberts Proton MotoGP bike
an early BMW racer in the workshop 
a center port Bultaco motor in a modified side port frame.
Then we had lunch in the Baja Cantina, also in Carmel Valley, which had motorcycles and race car motors on display.
never heard of this one either
a Scott with high exhaust
On the Sat., we went to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, also in Carmel Valley.  This is decidedly not free, but you get a superb feed and a huge display of vintage and custom bikes in a beautiful setting.
I'm a sucker for the horizontal single.  It's the sacred architecture

carbs and float bowls on a Yamaha YDS1? 
There were plenty of bikes like this--modernized, customized vintage bikes
I headed back via I-80 stopping in Wendover, Ut., Kimball, Ne., then visiting vintage race bike owner, builder and sponsor, Dale Coffman in Eldon, Ia.  Dale took me to the American Gothic House Center.  This is the house in the iconic painting 'American Gothic' by Grant Wood and Dale's late wife was instrumental in preserving the house and establishing an interpretive center.  From Eldon, I drove to to the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Ia., which is extensive and cover all disciplines and eras.  The museum has an excellent website with extensive photo of the bikes:1962-victoria-155
There were quite a few Bonneville and drag bikes including this Dennis Manning H-D streamliner ridden by Cal Rayborn and also featured in 'On Any Sunday'
A '30s Husky V-twin
An '09 Thor in the board track display
There is a lot of attention to the art in motorcycles as exemplified by this Benelli Toronado by Felix Predko
Another type of motorcycle art: a '62 Victoria 155
From Anamosa, I spent the night in Chicago with friends, then on to Sharron, Pa., then back to Hicksville.  It was a wonderful trip, other than repeatedly crashing.