Motorcycles, Good Friends, Great Weather and a Ford Flathead

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Cholo

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Last Thursday a friend rode his bike down from Green Bay and early Friday morning another friend met us at my place. It was chilly, but the forecast was for perfect riding weather for the next 3 days. Our destination was The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, AL for the annual Barber Vintage Festival.


We rode up Lookout Mtn. in GA for the ride south along the scenic Lookout Mtn. Parkway. Lookout Mtn. is the southernmost mountain in the Appalachians and we rode it until it ran out in Gadsden, AL. We checked into the hotel in Leeds, AL and then got our wristbands for the event tomorrow. We had some time to kill so we rode to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at the Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, AL. We about had the place to ourselves.

I've never been a die hard NASCAR fan, but I can appreciate what they do. Here's a few pics of interest. I LOVE the Flathead! Absolutely gorgeous!










The next day was bluebird skies with a high of 73* and low humidity. The Terrible Trio--L-R Mark, my friend of over 48 years, Lyle, my friend and Mark's cousin, me.



This complex is huge! We watched the vintage bike races on the 2.3 mile track. Then we took the shuttle to the first stop where folks had their classic Japanese bikes on display. Yes, I do consider some Japanese bikes classics LOL

I had a friend who bought a '72 Kawasaki Z1 when they first came out. He just had to show me how fast it was with me on the back and nothing to hold onto other than the grab bar behind the seat. I don't know who the bigger idiot was--1) Him for showing off with me on the back. 2) Me on the back. Anyway, fast bike by '72 standards! I don't recall anything stock that could beat it in the quarter.

These are 2 separate bikes, one owner. The first is a '72 the 2nd a '73. I don't recall any changes between those years, even the color.





I really liked this next bike-a first year 1969 XS-650 Yamaha in mint condition. I bought a new one in '76, kind of a better Triumph but without the character. They were still great bikes! The cases are polished, not chrome. Nice!









We went to the museum which is the largest in the world. The always have 900+ vintage bikes on display with about 700 more in other locations. I was here a year ago June so I didn't take many pics. My favorite this time was a '52 500 Triumph hardtail. This is a polished aluminum bike and there's always something I'd change :) The chromed oil tank and tool holder looked out of place. Pics don't do it justice, nor do they show how tiny this little chopper was.

This bike is what I call "clean". Zero unnecessary clutter or added on doo-dads. Sweet!









We left early Sunday AM to clear skies and about 47* headed to the Talladaga Mtns. It warmed up nicely to about 63*. We entered from the south in Lineville on 49 north. What a road! Huge yellow arrows mark the curves because so many are blind. IOW: You crest a rise and have no idea which way the road is going if it weren't for those massive arrows all the way to the top. Lyle likened it to a roller coaster ride. It's not a road you get stupid on!

We were heading for Cheaha Mtn., the highest point in AL, in Cheaha State Park. Before we got there I was accelerating about 40 mph and got stung by a yellow jacket next to my left eye, the little bas**** :mad: Mark pulled the stinger out when we got to the top.

If you're near the Talladega Mtns. they're worth the ride. There's not a bad road to be found!

The ride back was leisurely and beautiful. Lyle commented that he's never seen so much cotton in the fields, and neither had I. It's obviously bringing more that other crops. I regret not getting a pic of the beautiful Alabama cotton fields. We finished the trip with dinner at a local Mex. place and a 32 oz. Dos Equis beer.

We all agreed that we'd never had more beautiful weather for 3 days than we just had. I was drinking a cup of coffee about 90 minuted from home and commented: When did we all get so old? We also agreed that this was absolutely the best 3 days in a row any of us had ever had on a motorcycle. That's saying something for these 3 old road dogs who have been riding bikes since we were kids.
 

noahmercy

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Sheridan, WY
Awesome ride, story, and pics, brother. Thank you!

Older metrics most assuredly deserve the title of "classic"...bikes and cars both. Heck, the old 240/260/280 Z cars were cool by any standard, and some of those old motorbikes continue to thrill. Much as I love the sound of my single pin crank V-twin, I think the CBX1000 inline six makes one of the most incredible noises at full chat of any road-going machine ever. And the Kawasaki two-stroke widowmakers are still competitive on the drag strip and hillclimbs.

And I agree with you about "clean" machines...if they look like there's not enough there for them to even run, it's just right IMO.
 

turd

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Jan 8, 2012
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Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Cholo, you take the best trips and the best pics. Thanks for letting us ride along. In the interest of this thread I wish I could find pics of my KZ900 my friends and I stripped and chopped back in the early '80s. Was good enough to draw viewers parked on the main drag at Sturgis in '80. Maybe I can dig out the pics one of these days. I've moved several times and I know they are in a box somewhere....... 😎
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
5,711
Location
Richmond Texas USA
Hey Cholo,
WOW Quite the museum. Looks like you and your friends had a great time.
A friend of ours is REALLY into Flatheads in racers and drivers.
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Like us he also likes guns and has quite a few Class 3s
1665588715344.png
 

graygun

Hunter
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Sep 24, 2008
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Junction,Tx
I'm going up to the Texas Motorplex this weekend for the NHRA Fall Nationals. I've been there many times but don't recall seeing or hearing any flatheads.

It would be cool to see some.
 

Uncle Howie

Buckeye
Joined
May 28, 2004
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Location
MN
The Barber Vintage Festival is OUTSTANDING!

Racing in countless classes, sponsored by AHRMA. The “Barber Shootout” is my favorite- flathead Indians and Harleys, on the roadrace track. The riders wear “period” gear over their racing gear- leather aviator caps, striped shirt like Lee Marvin in The Wild One, etc.. 😎

Swap meet, bike displays, watching the crowds ride in, making new friends in the campground 😇, etc.!

Did you see the Wall of Death? That’s one of my favorites, and Mr. Barber pays the bill- it’s included in the admission! The guys are SUPER cool, too- I got to go inside of it!

If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast who is even mildly interested in vintage bikes or vintage racing, it’s an incredible experience! 👍

P.S.- get a Barber Museum flag, or Barber Motorsports Complex flag, from the museum gift shop. They’re the actual flags that fly over the park and track! Great garage art!

You can get a “pit pass,” and check out the racers prepping for their events.

I’ve only had two bad experiences there. My buddy crashed on the track, one year. A fairly minor low-side, but he had a lot of internal injuries. Broken wrist, ribs, punctured lung, lacerated liver, etc. That whole ordeal was a story in itself. They’ve got what just about amounts to a hospital ER right on site, along with the ambulances waiting for their next customer.

I had tickets this year, but work got in the way. I decided to make the responsible decision for a change, and mailed my tickets and campground pass to my buddy, Pigeon Forge George! 🤠

Can’t top your ride down, Cholo. I usually wander down on secondary roads. The trip has brought me to Dixie Gun Works twice, and the Coon Dog Cemetery once. https://www.coondogcemetery.com/

If you’re a dog person, the Coon Dog Cemetery is pretty cool. Brought more than one tear to my eye! 😥
 

Cholo

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I agree it's outstanding, Uncle Howie.

Our original plan was to see the museum for a few hours the day we arrived. They wouldn't let us in without an event pass and it wasn't worth the price for a few hours. We went to the Talladega Museum instead.

We didn't get to see the Wall of Death :( Lyle rode all the way from GB, WI and only had so much time. Mark and I have been to the museum before, but we spent hours there for Lyle, which was fine by me.

Next year, God willing, we'll skip the museum and only do the event stuff. To do both really is a 2 day event.
 

dbracing

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 18, 2011
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Location
Southwestern Ohio
Only 2 days to do the whole event? Having been there multiple times, I guess you could accomplish that.

I was at Barber for an SCCA race, and went a day early to visit the museum, and could have spent another day in the museum alone. The track there is glorious, and I consider it one of my favorites along with the Glen and Mid-Ohio, which is my home track.

I worked the AHRMA event at Mid-Ohio for a number of years driving a rig to pick up broken and crashed bikes, and enjoyed every minute of it. The very best year for that event was the year I was assigned to move Agostini’s MV that he rode in winning The Isle of Man TT on multiple occasions from the infield display to the grid whenever he was going to ride some hot laps.

I really should ride over from the island to see the races there. I hope you get to go again in the future.
 

jyo

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Jan 5, 2011
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I photographed the AHRMA event here at Willow Springs in California for 25 years working for the promotor of the event---gone now...
 

6GUNSONLY

Hunter
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Nov 30, 2004
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Location
Alabama, in the bend of the Tennessee River
Cheaha area is beautiful. My wife and I did our (December) anniversary camping trip there two years ago but it rained sideways for three days. We need to go back when we can do some hiking and really take in the scenery.

About that Kawasaki Z1- I almost bought one of those but after I rode it, I sez to myself, "Self, that bike will get you killed." I bought a tamer Honda 750/4 instead and really enjoyed that old bike. Haven't ridden in many years now, but I still miss it.
 

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