Today Earl and I visited the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is where it all began in 1903 when William Harley and Arthur Davidson began tinkering with adding motors to bicycles. Until now, I didn’t realize that’s how motorcycles got their start.
We saw cycles from every year since then up to the 2014 offerings. We even got to sit on some of them, although dismounting proved difficult at our ages. The funniest moment was when I took a photo of Earl’s head poking through a cut-out of Evel Kneivel’s body.
It’s a wonderful museum, eager to entice everyone whether they’ve ridden a cycle or not. There’s an explanation of why Harleys have that unique sound, an historical compendium of the signature gas tanks, and an absolutely wonderful montage of movie bits that featured cycles. There’s Marlon Brando and Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood, all in their youth and ready to roar.
“If you were twenty-five and single, would you have considered the motorcycle life?” Earl asked me as we were leaving four hours later. I’m not sure, but I suspect he might have.