Saturday, February 1, 2014
SPECIAL KANSAS ATTRACTION
"IF YOU ARE GOING THROUGH HELL, KEEP GOING"
I love motorcycles, but as much as I love them I have never owned a running one or been down the road. They are a fascinating part of our transportation history. A good buddy in high school rode Honda's and I loved to play around with the families little Honda 50's. We had friends out by Friend and we would run around the yard on an ancient moped.
My dad had a lot of smarts on me. When I wanted to get a motorcycle, I was already interested in collectible things, I found an ad for a 'basket case' BSA Bearcat. This was about a 70cc model and very rare. It is a great collector piece even today. But he knew that my mechanical limitations would pretty much assure that I would never get the thing to run.
My buddy and I started on reassembling the pile of parts and it was a pretty good looking bike. But true to his instincts the farthest it ever ran was about 30 feet. I still get laughed at about this. My Grandpa always called them Murder Cycles (but Grandma had dated a guy on a motorcycle before she met him). I also ran enough motorcycle accidents as a firefighter/EMT that I saw the damage that can happen to even the best driver.
So I admire from afar. And a trip that I have not made yet, is to Marquette Kansas to the Kansas Motorcycle Museum. This is the collection of Stan the Man Engdahl. A dirt track racer with over 600 trophy's and a career that spanned the 1940's to the 1990's.
Stan opened a TV and radio repair shop in Marquette and in the back had a motorcycle shop. The result of his death in 2007 his building and several adjoining buildings became the Kansas Motorcycle Museum.
Stan's wife Lavona remained curator of the museum and with the help of several volunteers kept the museum opened most everyday of the year. Lavona passed away recently and a story got put out that the museum was closed. This is not true. Eight volunteers are keeping the museum open and there are no plans for it to close.
The KANSAS MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM has over 100 vintage bikes and over 600 trophies that Stan won. Stan won every championship with a modified Model K Harley Davidson. He invented special features such as running the oil through the bike frame to eliminate an oil pan. I will be making the trip soon.
While you are there plan to spend sometime in a neat community and stop over at Lindsborg or if you are going the other direction Ellsworth. In fact why don't you make a Highway trip. Kansas Highway 4 goes through a lot of scenic places and historic as well.