Thursday, August 13, 2009

Harley-Davidson, Baby

Today's post is all about our time at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

Nathon, at Amber's wedding.

Before we get to the post about the Harleys, I have to give a hello to my nephew Nathon and his mom and dad, sister and brother. He's having surgery today on his knees.

In this photo, he was stuffing as many bubble containers in his pockets as possible.

I'm sure it'll all go very well, but I know everyone is nervous. It's normal to be nervous! But, it's gonna be OK and I'm looking forward to hearing it's all over later today. Just know I'm thinking of all of you today and wish I could be there to lend moral support in person. This is the best I can do from here!

Exterior of the museum.

Hang in there, big guy. Looking forward to seeing you in September! And, now for a little distraction - Harleys!

Right out front - motorcycle parking, of course.
Cars park down the block.

S thinks he wants a Harley. He's been pontificating about how his life would be complete if he owned one for quite some time now. I used to keep it at bay because our old neighbors' little girl used to tell him that motorcycles were bad. But, they moved away and there is no longer that constant reminder. So, he waxes poetic about the bike that would complete him with abandon.

Thus, when we were in Milwaukee, we had to check out the museum. It was a pretty cool place, I'll have to say. And, these are the photos to prove it.

This is Harley-Davidson Serial #1.
It was behind glass.
Serial #2 was sitting in the open.

The first section of the museum is the really old stuff.

It was probably my favorite part.

I liked the old ones the best, for sure.

Interestingly, the company was started by one Mr. Harley and three Mr. Davidsons. I bet it ticks the relatives of those Davidsons to no end that the name Harley-Davidson gets shortened to Harley...I mean really, it was 3 to 1!

There was one section dedicated to Harley-Davidson and the military. Basically, motorcycles would be sent in boxes like those on the bottom of the collage up there, and there would be instructions about how to assemble them enclosed. The armed forces personnel would assemble them and voila! A bike!

There was of course a whole section on the mechanics of the vehicles.
Here, a bike "blown up."

This is a wall of motors.

There was also a section on prototyping through the years.

And, a section on unique Harleys - mail carrier, golf cart, tricycle, and 60's Vespa wanna-be called a Topper.

And, there was this very photogenic wall of gas tanks that displayed all the logos over time.

There was also a section on racing, current and historical.

An example of the historical racing items.

And there was a whole archival building.

I took these photos mainly for my librarian friends - motorcycle archiving is just like any other kind of archiving, it turns out - a controlled environment with workers inside, a cataloging system not unlike the shelves we use at work for music, shelves full of who knows what, and an arduous process of restoration. Very similar. Sort of like the time I was at the brewery and I realized brewing beer was a lot like a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant - fermentation is fermentation, sister. Archiving is archiving.

I was OBSESSED with the little details.
Lots of cool stuff to snap at.

The second half of the museum were the "newer" bikes.

This one of the oldest bikes in the "new" section.

I liked the tassels on this one.
Reminds me of that line, "Give me some Tassal!" from Aladdin.

There were famous bikes...

Some were famous because of who rode them or where they had been, or were famous to Harley lovers because of their dedication to the craft and brand. That one on the lower right - that's a replica of one of the bikes from Easy Rider. If you've seen the movie you know why it's just a replica. Ahem.

This was the 100th anniversary bike, signed by every employee.

I just thought this one was cool looking.

I mentioned we both designed our own "dream" Harley.

When it was finished, it "drove by" on the big screen overhead.

There is a glimpse into S's head-his dream.

Near the end there were bikes you could sit on of all varieties.
Well, they were all Harley-Davidsons...

This is my attempt at an "artsy" shot in the rear view mirror of the bike I was sitting on.
Didn't work too well...

At the very end, there was this book for everyone to sign.

Usually, it is my "job" to sign such things for our little family, so I went over and wrote, "Thanks, Amy & S, Dallas, TX, 8/5/09". S then went behind me and wrote his own sentiment.

That's his entry, right under my scrawl.
He thinks he's funny.

We then went across and perused the gift shop and even got a snack in one of the two restaurants. Then we walked all the way back down to the car parking and drove away. It was a well put together museum and very interesting. I'd recommend it. There is also a power train factory tour in Wauwatosa, nearby. We didn't make it to that, but it also comes highly recommended.

So, there you go - I just saved you $12! No, you'll want to check it out for yourself when you're in Milwaukee. Until then, this'll have to do. See you tomorrow for the exciting week's conclusion! Thanks for stopping by.


  1. It looks like I signed the log directly above you guys! :) Just ignore the "l" that changes the word entirely! And the fact that I have never been anywhere near the HD museum. Nor am I from France. But, aside from those things, that totally could be by signature! :)


  2. You went to the Harley Museum too? Cool!!!


  3. Loved the collage 16 pic of details. One of your best collages!


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