WTT Memorial Day Veterans’ Tribute — May 26-30, 2011

First 500 Visitors to the Museum Receive a Free American Flag!

Memorial Day has always been a day of remembrance.  Dating back to the end of the civil war, Memorial Day was created to  pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives for our country in war.  Over the past 200 years, it has developed into a national day of patriotism, as millions of American’s across the country remember those who fought for our freedom, flying American flags to share their respect and appreciation for our country’s fallen soldiers.   

Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC — currently open five days per week throughout the spring, summer, and fall, is holding its 9th Memorial Day Tribute since its relocation to Western North Carolina and is gearing up for a big weekend.  As a tribute to our Veterans, Free 2-year Membership for Veterans at Wheels Through Time Memorial Day Weekend!the museum is giving away 500 American Flags during its Memorial Day Celebration from Thursday-Monday, May 26-30, 2011. 

As part of the celebration, Wheels Through Time will be offering free admission to all veterans, as well as both former and current members of the military throughout the weekend. 

"Memorial Day is an important day for us here at the museum," says museum curator, Dale Walksler.  "We are proud to recognize all of those who have served our country, and it is an honor to have them as our guests  They have contributed so much to our freedom, and this is just one of our ways to show our appreciation for all that they have sacraficed."

Wheels Through Time, which houses an all-American collection of many of the world’s rarest motorcycles and automobiles–each in running and operating condition, will be showcasing its Military Motorcycles exhibit throughout the weekend.  Over a dozen military machines will be on display, including several of the rarest American military motorcycles ever produced.  The 1941 Harley-Davidson Prototype Shaft-Drive Knucklehead, 1942 Harley-Davidson WLA, and the museum’s 1917 Messenger Pigeon Carrier motorcycle are already in running order for the weekend, and the staff will be holding exhibitions and demonstrations of those machines regularly throughout the weekend festivities. 

For more information on the Wheels Through Time Museum, visit their website, located at www.WheelsThroughTime.com, or call (828) 926-6266.

1916 Harley-Davidson Cutdown

The beginnings of the 1916 Cutdown!Great news from the Wheels Through Time restoration shop!  The 1916 Harley-Davidson Cutdown project is finally finished.

I have to admit, this has been one of the most fun, and most challenging builds that I’ve ever taken on.

About 8 months ago, I dreamed up this project after taking my dads ’25 Harley Cutdown out on the road for the first time.  The bike was a powerhouse, and strongly reflects the earliest days of motorcycle customization.

The term "Cutdown" most likely originated in the early to mid 1920s, when motorcyclists began to modify their machines into their vision of the perfect motorcycle.  By "cutting down" the frame and fenders, removing unneccessary parts and components, and hopping up engines for better performance, these machines were made lighter and faster, lower to the ground, and more manueverable.  Originating in the Southern California area, a region known for its racing history, the cutdown was an answer to those who couldn’t obtain, or afford, a factory race bike.  With a lower center of gravity, a shorter wheel-base, and a more aggressive riding position, these machines became ever more popular among riders through the late 1920s and ’30s, and hold an important postion in motorcycle history.

The 1916 Cutdown Near CompletionThe cutdown build here at the museum has been filled with ups and downs, and after 8 long months of development, its finally come together in a manner that far exceeded our expection.  We started with a pile of parts, and through much work and dedication, slowly evolved this machine into our interpretation of how an early customizer would have envisioned his perfect bike.

Beginning with a rare 1916 Harley-Davidson engine that was adapted for racing during its early life, we found a great period frame that would be perfect for modification.  With the help of my friend John the Painter, from Dills Paint Works, we modified the frame for better handling by lowering the seat position, shortened the tanks, and lowered the motors center of gravity.  Using 100% original Harley-Davidson parts from the period from which the machine came, we spent long hours, day and night, building the machine into a true early American hot-rod.

Aiming to have the bike done for the Cycle Source Big Mountain Run, we had our work cut out for us over the past few weeks.  I’ve got to admit, I was in serious doubt that I could finish the machine by the time the run came to Wheels Through Time and just as I began to hit panic-mode, my dad patted me on the shoulder and said "We’ll get her done".

Boy was he right.  Last night, we cranked it up for the first time and took her for a ride.  What a thrill. 

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, and having a dad that is as supportive as Dale is at the very top.  Without his help, expertise, and passion, this 1916 Harley-Davidson cutdown would have never come to fruition.

Thanks Dad!   Now what do we work on next?  : )

International Media Groups to Visit Wheels Through Time

WTT was featured in France's COOL RIDE Magazine in January 2010Over the next several weeks, Wheels Through Time Museum will be hosting several media groups from the United States and Europe who will be touring the area to visit some of Western North Carolina’s best travel destinations. 

On Tuesday, May 11, the museum will host the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary Media Tour.  Coordinated by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, the tour will include writers, editors, and publishers from a variety of publications and websites, including AAA’s GO Magazine; World Travel Trade News; V magazine for Women; and Mantripping.com, a website dedicated to guys’ weekends, men’s travel, and vacations for men.  The media tour will focus on sharing many of the cultural and historic attractions surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway that make it one of America’s favorite roads.

Wednesday, May 12, Wheels Through Time will host a German press group led by Wit Tuttell of the North Carolina Division of Tourism.  The group will include members of the German Associated Press, staff writers from several of Germany’s largest newspapers, and German radio travel show hosts. The primary focus of the tour is to increase awareness of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary and the unique attractions along its North Carolina route.

Internationally renowned for its preservation of American motorcycle history and its unique ambience and presentation, Wheels Through Time has hosted travel writers in years past from countless countries around the world, including Canada, France, Germany, Russia, and Australia, to name a few. Since its relocation to Maggie Valley in 2002, the museum has been featured in over 70 international travel articles in 8 different languages. 

Recently, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue recommended initiatives to increase tourism across the state through marketing and advertising.  The budget recommendation includes and additional $1 Million for the the Division of Tourism to support the state’s small business tourism economy by increasing the investment in marketing and advertising of North Carolina as a tourism destination.

Governor Perdue’s goal to increase the presence of North Carolina as a travel destination has been met with great enthusiasm from Wheels Through Time staff and administration.  "We’re proud to be a part of North Carolina’s new tourism marketing intiatives, and look forward to continuing our involvement in bringing visitors from around the United States and the world to see what our area has to offer," says museum curator and founder, Dale Walksler.

During the first week of June, the museum will host another German media group consisting of journalists from several of Germany’s largest motorcycle publications.  The tour will be led by Bill Kniegge of Blue Strada Tours, and includes writers and photographers from Motorraad, Europe’s largest motorcycle magazine, and writers from Germany’s largest newspaper, the Die Welt News, which devotes a complete section of their publication to motorcycling.

"Its an honor to have the opportunity to share the museum and its collection with writers from around the world," says Walksler.  "It is our goal to provide the best experience possible for each and every museum visitor, and we are excited to host a multitude of groups that have the ability to share their museum experience with their readers.

For more information about Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, visit their website, located at www.WheelsThroughTime.com or call (828) 926-6266.

First Impressions

This past weekend, the museum started off its 2010 season schedule with a bang.  Hundreds of visitors made their way to the museum for their first experience, and many of our past visitors came back to see all thats new here at WTT.  Dale and I had a great time sharing the history of the sport we hold so dear, and whether it was their first visit, or their tenth, everyone let us know they were glad the museum was back in full swing.  Lots of great folks, all excited to see and hear what makes WTT the museum that runs. 

We had visitors in from as close as Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia.   Long distance visitors included groups from Colorado, Alaska, California, Canada, and even Manchester, England.    

Perhaps the highlight of Dale’s and my weekend, though, was when we met a wonderful couple from Buffalo, NY.  Donald an Linda Reed were visiting the mountains for the first time in over 20 years, taking in all that WNC has to offer.  Both 56 years young, Donald and Linda have each been riding for over 40 years, and have been seeing many of America’s best sites on two-wheels ever since. 

Their visit to the mountains was their first big trip of the year, and with all of the good weather, they were able to take in not only sunny skies but some of the best riding in the country.  Deal’s Gap, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Highway 209…..by the time they got to the museum, they’d hit many of my favorite roads, and were ready to kick back and enjoy some of America’s best motorcycle history at WTT.

We always like to ask folks how they heard about the museum, have gotten some great responses over the years.  Donald and Linda’s response was one of our best yet. 

After Dale and Donald had been talking for a bit, Donald pulled out his altas, and flipped right to the North Carolina map.  Inside was a folded up article from the The Buffalo News, dated September 5, 2003.  When Donald unfolded the full page article, the headline read "Lets Rev Things Up:  Motorcycle Museum making noise in Maggie Valley, NC". 

"I’ve been saving this article for seven years!" said Donald.  "I remember reading it, saying ‘we’ve got to go here’, and put it in my atlas where its been ever since."