F&F Day 7: Nice Museum; A Little Rain; Some Bro Time
I’ve revised my opinion of Anamosa after visiting the National Motorcycle Museum for 2 1/2 hours this morning. From the outside, the Museum looks like a remodeled K-Mart store (because I think that’s what it is), but once you pass through the front door, a professional, well-stocked, impressive motorcycle museum awaits. I’ve been in bigger motorcycle museums, but this one is as good as any I’ve seen.
I also learned some of the history of the museum, which was the brainchild and pet project of the “J” in J&P Cycles, John Parham, before he died last spring at age 62 following an extended illness. Despite the death of the museum’s founder, president and driving force, the museum will continue under the direction of Parham’s wife and a board of directors committed to its future.
Like many museums, you can spend two hours or two weeks going through it and still miss some of the details and some of the nuances. But that just means you should return to it if you can. I know I will if I’m in the area again.
While there are plenty of Harley-Davidsons in the 450 bike collection, I think nearly every bike ever manufactured is represented at least once. Indians, Excelsiors, Flying Merkels, and scores of other early 20th century bikes are on display, as are many classic European bikes from the 1920s and 1930s. Many of the bikes took me back to my early days of motorcycle cravings: Nortons, Triumphs, and BSAs, as well as the first new bike I every owned, a Honda 350.
In addition to the bikes themselves, the museum displays included old photographs, military motorcycles, dirt track racing, speed records, hill climbing, motorcycle-themed vintage movies (e.g Easy Rider), Evel Kneival, clothing, badges, custom parts, a board track recreation and even an entire shell gas station from the 1930s. In short, the museum visit was easily worth the $10 admission fee. If you’re going through Iowa and you get bored with mile after mile of corn fields, stop by Anamosa for a few hours.
After the museum visit, I had a 340 mile ride, almost all of which occurred on the Interstate or other four-lane highways. Not terribly exciting, but I covered the miles fairly quickly and made it to Lincoln, Nebraska, to spend a few hours with brother Kent and his 9-year old daughter Mary Rose. Scattered rain across Iowa meant an unscheduled stop to suit up and for two hours I rode in and out of rain which rarely lasted more than 10 or 15 minutes but which would have soaked me without the rain gear. As soon as I cleared the last rain shower, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees into the mid-60s and the rain gear stayed on for a little extra warmth.
Today was Father-Daughter day for Kent and Mary Rose, so I joined them at an adventure center that had it all: go-carts, mini-golf; bowling, batting cages, and dozens of games of chance for the kids. They had been there since 10 a.m. and I left them still riding go-carts at 7 p.m. so I could check in at my motel, write a quick blog entry, and get ready for a trip tomorrow to the town where I grew up–Topeka–and then on to Wichita to see brother Jon for a couple days.
So far, the F&F tour is giving me exactly what I wanted.