Travels Near and Far


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Though winter is solidly here and I’ve spent more time cleaning and fixing motorcycles than riding them as of late, I did manage to get in one good little trip before the snow started to fly.

My brother Phill and I found a few days on the calendar to load up our saddlebags and head west. Back roads and small town main streets came and went, and after a few hours of riding we found ourselves in Lindsborg, Kansas, a small college town some 70 miles north (and a bit west) of Wichita. We made a pass up and down Main Street to drive by the gift shops and the Öl Stuga pub, then headed north of town to see Coronado Heights Park. Situated atop a 300-foot bluff, the park features a “castle” and picnic areas built in 1936 as a part of the Works Project Administration.

After an hour of walking the park and drinking in the views, we put the earplugs back in and the helmets back on and headed farther west to the town of Marquette, home of the yearly Thunder on the Smoky motorcycle rally and the Kansas Motorcycle Museum. Founded by Marquette resident and accomplished motorcycle racer Stan Engdahl, the museum features more than 600 trophies, all won by Stan during his 60 years of racing dirt track and scrambles. Stan ran a TV repair shop in the historic downtown building that now houses the museum. When he retired, he turned the shop into a display of his trophies, along with a few of his old race bikes. Many other people contributed motorcycles, and today the 4,500-square-foot space features a rotating collection of more than 100 bikes, with a large collection of early American motorcycles.

While wandering the museum, Phill and I stumbled into a discussion of which museum bike we’d pick to have for ourselves. He chose a neat old Indian Scout, while I kept coming back to this 1956 Harley FLH (see below). I've never ridden a Panhead, but I've always loved their look, somehow much more elemental than the modern versions.

Though Stan passed away in 2007, the museum lives on as a non-profit, run by volunteers, and its more than worthy of few hours of your time. I know I’ll be visiting again. (Find it on Facebook or visit here.)

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