Wheels Through Time---dissappointed - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 11 Old Jul 31st, 2014, 1:10 pm Thread Starter
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Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

We took a weekend trip up to Maggie Valley, NC, where we've been several times before. This time we finally decided to go to the Wheels Through Time museum. I'm sorry but I was sorely disappointed.

First it's not a motorcycle museum, it an American (only) motorcycle museum. But that's easy enough to get past and really isn't the disappointment. It's his museum and he can have it be what he wants. There seemed to be no organization as to what you were looking at. Very few of the motorcycles or pieces had any information with them. The displays or information didn't even go chronologically. One example is the WWII exhibit. There was a Harley that had a shaft drive and a boxer style engine. I thought (and even as some Harley people would) "Hey look, some ingenious mechanic managed to cannibalize a BMW and Harley and put the BMW engine and drive into the Harley frame." I later found out from a friend that during WWII Harley did produce and experiment with a shaft drive bike for the US Army. They also copied for a short time, the BMW boxer style engine. Wouldn't it have been nice to have something there telling you that?

Don't get me wrong though, they did have some nice pieces and some that were obviously even beyond restoration (but still cool). But it was hot inside and not well laid out or informative. There were plenty of spots that I expected to see the guys from American Pickers walk out from behind something.

Chris Ehlbeck
2002 BMW K1200LTE Toscana Green Retired with 85,391 miles
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post #2 of 11 Old Jul 31st, 2014, 2:12 pm
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

Guess it depends on your expectations. Personally I love to visit there. Yea, it's not as organized as the Smithsonian, but there are some amazing old machines there 90+/-% of which are capable of starting and running down the road. I try to visit there every time in in the area.

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post #3 of 11 Old Jul 31st, 2014, 2:17 pm
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

I liked the museum. You get a better insight into the museum by watching "What's in the Barn." If you've watched it then you can see that almost every machine in there runs, and Dale is more into keeping a bike as it was discovered rather than restoring. Agree that it would be nice to have more information on the bikes, but it's hard to find a museum with more original antique bikes that Wheels Through Time, or people more dedicated to preserving American motorcycle history.
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post #4 of 11 Old Jul 31st, 2014, 4:06 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

Oh they did have some neat stuff. But it's just that I felt it was quite a bit disorganized. I had no clue as to what "What's in the barn?" was. But like I said I would've loved to have known more about what I was looking at and any historical significance (if there was any). Instead I felt it was more like "There's a blue Harley. There's an orange Indian. There's a red and green Harley. That Harley has pedals too, I bet it's really old."

I did like the Sportster that completed (and may have won) an IBR. If you gave it a quick glance it looked like a dual sport.

Chris Ehlbeck
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post #5 of 11 Old Jul 31st, 2014, 6:47 pm
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

Should have gone here.I liked it way more than I was expecting to,and they have a genuine replica of Evil's Caesar's
palace bike....http://www.nationalmcmuseum.org/
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post #6 of 11 Old Aug 1st, 2014, 6:12 am
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

I really liked the place, and will go back. The show "What's in the Barn?" does give a lot of insight to the look and feel of the place, and the owners feeling for the bikes.

I also agree that someone should take time to put information on placards for all the exhibits. Dale and son know the information, but sure wish they would take the time to tell someone who could then make up placards. My wife and I took a long walk through, and wondering about many of the things we saw wishing there was more information available.

Still well worth visiting though!

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post #7 of 11 Old Aug 16th, 2014, 1:20 am
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

We just got back last week from 2 weeks in Maggie Valley. By far some of the best roads to ride I've ever seen.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wheels Through Time, but I agree it would have been even better to have info on all the bikes, and what about all the other "machines" in there. Did you see the Harley contraption with the big saw blade attached? Said it was an ice cutter. There was also info written about some of the Steve McQueen stuff, so there were some things that told the story, but for the most part, "all" the bikes were there just to look at.

After talking with Dale and his son, I truly believe they just love the old iron for what it is and making it run. It is a private "Museum" and I don't think their priority is providing a classroom atmosphere. However, there were at least 4 guys and one younger kid that walked around and asked if we had any questions about anything. Anything I asked was answered and then some.



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post #8 of 11 Old Aug 16th, 2014, 1:45 am
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

He come wheeling this original 1911 in while we were there. Said it was one model he did not have.

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post #9 of 11 Old Nov 10th, 2014, 7:06 pm
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

Dale is one real fine fella to meet. I regularly meet with a group in Maggie Valley and ride for 4-5 days. Never fails that Dale will come riding over to the Hotel to spend some time showing us one of his newer bikes and just shoot the breeze with us, great people.
Sorry you were disappointed with the museum experience, but they are real enthusiasts and will answer any questions you might have iffin you just inquire
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post #10 of 11 Old Nov 10th, 2014, 7:41 pm
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

On my 25 state CCR trip last August, I visited both the Wheels Through Time and the National Motorcycle Musuems in Maggie Valley and Amador Iowa. Although both make for a great experience, their focuses are completely different.

The WTT museum was interesting, but chock full of old Harleys and not air-conditioned (or well ventilated). When Dale started up one of his bikes inside, I gagged from the smokey exhaust that basically filled up half the building.

I found the NMM much more interesting with a wide variety of bikes, most in pristine condition. If you ever get out to the Cedar Rapids area, I highly recommend visiting the NMM.

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post #11 of 11 Old Nov 15th, 2014, 10:09 pm
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Re: Wheels Through Time---dissappointed

Agree, I have been to both and they are completely different in every way.
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