ay 3 started off with another free hotel breakfast and packing our bags for the trip back home. The weather was good for the most part, but there was some spotty showers. We planned on heading back through Maggie Valley so we could stop and see the Wheels Through Time Museum. Here's the route we took back home:
We left fairly early because we wanted to make sure we had enough time for the museum. Looking at their website we could see that there was a lot of unique two wheeled history. The ride was pretty relaxed all the way to Maggie Valley. The roads were kind of mild compared to what we had been riding over the weekend and the traffic was a lot heavier too. I can tell you, as a motorcyclist, the worst thing to see in a curvy mountain road is a bunch of slow cars.
Right as we pulled into Maggie Valley the clouds were looking dark and ominous with rain. Even though we had rain gear, we preferred not to use it. We cruised the strip to see what restaurants were looking good. We settled on the Moonshine Grille. It's the restaurant for Smoky Falls Lodge and they had covered motorcycle parking!
When we pulled in it wasn't raining so we just parked. Right after we ordered the bottom dropped out so we had to go back a move our bikes under the shelter. Luckily, by the time we finished eating the rain had blown over and we were eager to get to the museum.
Wheels Through Time is a very unique place. I would describe it as a casual museum. When we pulled up there was a 1930's Harley with a sidecar cruising around the gravel parking lot!
This museum is run by people who truly appreciate vintage motorcycles and unique vehicles. Not only do they make them look good, they actually get them running. In fact they fired up a few of them while we were there. Here's a video of a 1917 Henderson running.
While we were there we even got to see the shop where they do their restorations. How many museums have you ever been to where they actually used and demonstrated the displays and even showed you behind the scenes? I literally have hundreds of pictures from this museum. Here's a few of the unique things we saw there.
After burning several hours in the museum we needed to hit the road to make it back before dark. As we walked out, there was a family coming in. One of the volunteers was washing motorcycles outside. He saw the kids looking at the Harley with the sidecar and offered them rides. Both of their kids got to ride in that sidecar around the parking lot and he even made it raise the car up a little! I was sold on this place before, but this just topped it all off. It has to be one of the best museums I have ever been to.
We hit the road and headed home. We made a quick stop at Caesar's Head State Park and then finished up our twisty adventure. This was our first overnight motorcycle trip and I was hooked. Even before the trip was over we had already started throwing out ideas for the next one. There is simply no better way to connect with your environment while traveling. Motorcycles make the journey just as good as the destination.
What I Learned:
- Motorcycles have come a LONG way from where they started.
- Touring on my motorcycle can be physically demanding, but the experience makes it worth all the effort.
Galations 6:9 NIV "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
At one time the Wheels Through Time Museum was dangerously close to having to close the doors. I believe this verse applies to them. They continued to do business in a very friendly way and allowed the community to become a part of what they were doing through volunteering and being interactive. How often have we thrown in the towel when a little more perseverance would have paid great rewards?