The sky was dark grey and threatening more rain, but it had been quite a while since I had been able to hook up and ride with my buddy Dave. So I wasn’t going to let a little rain stop me. In this economy you do what you have to in order to get by. Dave’s wife is going to community college about an hour away from home, and has a job about forty-five minutes from there. So she stays in Centralia with Dave’s Grandparents, and he gets to see her on the weekends.
Dave asked me if I wanted to ride this one backroad he had discovered before he came back Sunday and I said sure. I was hoping the weather would cooperate, but we don’t call this the ‘Pacific North Wet’ for nothing. When another buddy of ours, Chris, and I got into Centralia to meet up with Dave, he asked if we wanted to check out that road. I said let’s save it for a good day when we can enjoy it without having to deal with wet twisting roads there and back. He could understand that, so he asked if I minded taking a different little road that passed by a collection of old cars and trucks alongside the road about 5 or so miles away. I said “sure”. So off we went.
The road almost immediately began a steep climb through a series of very tight S curves. All the way up to the top of the ridge behind his Grandparents place, then back down the other side. The hill straightened up as it dropped back down into another little valley, and we hung a right, passing through old farm land and making the occasional ninety degree property line turns you find on really old two lane country roads. It wasn’t long before we came to another right turn at an intersection that Dave made and pulled over. We had arrived at the place he wanted to show us.
Across the street was a very old gas station with two pumps. The antique kind with the glass bottle on top from the early 1900’s. On both sides of the street were parked old relics from a bygone age. Cars and trucks, dump trucks, even a fire truck. All from the 1920s or older just sitting out in the weather and slowly decaying. The old gas station was full of tools, old gas signs, and other things you would expect to find in a 1920’s vintage service station. With a few more old derelict rigs parks along the side.
Back across the street where we parked the bikes, was a much newer building. With even more old rigs parked around it. After spending about ten minutes or so scoping out these hidden treasures, a car pulled up and the driver said if we wanted to check out what was inside, to call the number on the sign. The owner only live about a quarter of a mile away, and was happy to show people the stuff inside. So Dave pulled out his cell phone and called the number. The guy said he’d be right down, and in a couple of minutes, a car pulled up in front of the gas station.
When he got out, and said ‘hello’, he looked up around the sky and then at us and said he wasn’t expecting a group of bikes on such a nasty day. But if we gave him a minute to unlock the big shed he’d show us what was inside. Then he let the first little bomb drop; “There’s a couple of bikes in there too.”
As we stepped through the door, and our eyes beheld what was inside, we knew we had discovered a hidden treasure trove. These weren’t the dusty and semi rusted rigs we had expected to see. These were sweet jewels to enjoy and be amazed by. Cursing the fact I didn’t have my camera with me, it took a few moments before I realized I still had my phones camera. Even if it does take crappy photo’s, they’d be better than nothing. Looking deeper into the crowd of cars and trucks, I saw a glimmer off of some old English iron.
Here was a 70’s vintage Triumph chopper with a springer front end and dual rectangular headlights. He just bought it for $2,000 at an auction in Las Vegas a few months before. Between the chopper and an immaculate old Model T Ford with a “Desert Water Bottle” hanging from its radiator, was an old Simplex Automatic. Next to it was a very clean, but rather plain stock Triumph. Then Dave looked passed me and saw the bikes he had to go check out. A black mid 40’s vintage H-D flathead 45. Behind that was an immaculate Indian Scout. I am sad to say the damn phone only took a barely usable pic of the H-D, and a very blurry pic of the Indian. The place was filled with cars and trucks, mostly from the 20’s, and mostly Fords it seemed.
Somehow, a few choice rigs from the 50’s and 60’s had found their way in as well. Including a sweet ’64 Chevy Bel-air, an equally cool Dodge Dart GT from the mid 60’s. There was even a ’56 Ford pick-up with a high rise manifold and a Tri-Power carburetor set-up on it. Just a very cherry rig! Plus several old Whizzers from different years scattered around. The guy even had a couple more of the antique gas pumps, and engines on motor stands.
But don’t think he has a big stash of parts for sale, or that you can buy any of these rigs from him. They’re his collection, and he didn’t collect them to sell them. Man, it must be nice.
Now that I know it is there, I will definitely be going back. All along the hour or so ride back home with Dave and Chris, I kept thinking about going back on a nice day and spending some real time getting to check the place out. It just goes to prove that even in an area that I thought I knew well, there are hidden little treasures to be found. This makes three ‘motorcycle museums’ I know of within an hours ride from home. I am for sure going to have to go hit all three and take a bunch of good photo’s next time!
Catch ya on the road sometime…