Tail of the Dragon – Part Deux – Wheels Through Time Museum

Wheels Through TimeWhile taking in the awesome roads  in North Carolina I felt compelled to visit the Wheels Through Time Museum, and I’m so glad that I did because I’ve never experienced a museum quite like it.  

The Wheels Through Time Museum is home to the world’s premier collection of rare American Vintage Motorycles.  Located 5 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, in beautiful Maggie Valley, NC, this All-American motorcycle museum houses over 300 of America’s rarest and most historic classic motorcycles, with over 24 marques on display, including the likes of Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior, Crocker, Henderson, and much more.  Featuring dozens of motorcycle-related exhibits, ranging from board track racers, hillclimbing, and original paint machines to American Dirt Track racing, choppers and bobbers, and one-of-a-kind motorcycles, this is a must-see place if you are a motorcyclist.  And if you are Harley Davidson fan then this must be as close to Mecca as one can find.

Riding from Deals Gap I once again found myself surrounded by amazing riding roads and the most gorgeous scenery.  This was also my first opportunity to ride a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and riding the full length of that was immediately added to the bucket list.

From the outside the museum seemed a little disappointing.  I’m not sure why but standing in the parking lot looking at the entrance it didn’t seem that big and I was wondering whether I should bother.  I went and was immediately greeted by staff that were so genuinely happy so I paid my $12 and headed through the gap in the wall that serves as an entrance.

On the other side begins an Aladdin’s cave of motorcycle treasure and the atmosphere and attitude of the staff was beyond friendly.

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Only when heading upstairs and looking out across the whole space did I truly start to appreciate how vast the place is – truly TARDIS like.

I wandered around with no particular goal but just taking in the wonders of the place.  Every nook and cranny is filled with motorcycle memorabilia and, just when you thought you had seen it all, another aisle would appear with something new to behold.

While standing and admiring one particularly beautiful old Henderson one of the staff came by and the following conversation occurred:

  • “Beautiful machine isn’t it?”
  • “It sure is.  I’ve always loved Hendersons”
  • “Yup….Want to hear it run?”
  • “What?….Ummm…really?  SURE!”

At which point he fiddled, twiddled, tickled and twisted a few things and then spun the rear wheel.  Immediately the bike roared to life sounding both raucous and silky smooth at the same time.

I can’t think of any other auto museum that I have been at where they are happy to actually start the vehicles right in front of you, but that happened multiple times during my visit.  Sure every so often it made your eyes sting a little…but it was worth it to see and hear those amazing machine run!

All too soon I was out of time and needed to get back on the road but what an amazing experience.

This is a must-do event for any gear head that is in the area.  Just make sure that you have plenty of memory in that camera!

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Filed under Automobiles and motorcycles, Travel

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