Call it what you will.
An untimely tire puncture during a JG cross country trip led him to a Triumph dealer in St. Louis. Little did he know it would become a positive entry in his history book. Now it becomes one in mine.
See…people collect things. Some better than others. Get enough similar objects together in one place and you get labled a museum. These will generally fall into one of two types. On one hand, you’ll have the all too familiar museum vibe. Cold, dim, quiet, sterile, organized with a tinge of OCD and all spelled out for you on neat little placards. This usually accompanied by people milling about under employ that are all too willing to hush you or remind you of the boundaries. Please step back. No pictures please. Visit our gift shop….
Then there is the other kind. Crowded, cluttered, confusing, maybe a bit musty and fantastically beautiful. These are not usually governed by an organization, trust, or otherwise 3rd party consortia. No these are curated by people that collected after using the objects only because they were unable not to. Passionate comes to mind. And in all practicality the owners could be part of the display themselves. They were part of it. They lived it. I believe this to be true of Carl Donelson.
Right off the main sales floor of Donelson Cycles, through a small door, lies one of the most alluring collections of motorcycle history I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, smelling, and being surrounded by. Every square inch of floor space minus a foot path are home to motorcycles. Some new. Many lovingly restored to the nut and bolt. And the balance ridden to their very limits breathing fire, blood, and oil. It’s these with crudely welded modifications, cracked and pitted paint, torn seats and dented rims that make the imagination burn. Racing leathers that define their purpose. Helmets that seem to have been hit with buckshot. Walls covered with faded pictures of still vivid glory.
I vow to never swear about a flat again, as it just may be payment for some yet unknown treasure. Maybe we should see flat tires as a sign to stop for a moment. Look around. Take in the local. You never know what you may find.
Go forth. Head East.
Decided to hitch a ride with JG eastbound and down (up actually). His mission was to deliver a truck and truck load to the clan in Pennsylvania. His route was an archers shot through the heart of America within a few miles of my dads place. I stowed away for the voyage.
Luckily the captain was game for adventure, so the travel was often interrupted with a fair amount of leisure and taking in of the local.
Although no miles were actually covered by motorcycle, there was a particularly strong 2 wheeled aroma to the week. Having laid our cameras, eyes, and imaginations on no fewer than 100 motorcycles from start to finish. Not being the sort to let an opportunity of a bike ride pass unanswered, we added that to the list as well.
I’ll cover some highlights in the next few posts.