Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A Harley In My Archeology

When my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather first homesteaded in the Yellowstone-Teton corner of Idaho, only stagecoaches with big teams were permitted to take visitors into and through Yellowstone Park.

Several years after my Grandparents Mel Bowman and Adah Neeley were married, cars were permitted after lobbying by motor clubs and and a few years later saw the end of stagecoaches when it became too complex to keep them separated.00447_p_10aeuyf6sw0579_b

I learned two things from a photograph of my Grandmothers that I recently scanned along with 2,000+ others. One, I may not be the first in my family with a Harley and two, Harley’s were used for a time around the 1920’s by rangers patrolling Yellowstone.

Click on the image to above/left and it should open larger.

Harley’s as early as 1926 resembled what I can see of the one here. If my Mom isn’t able to identify “Laurence and Regis on their way to Missouri,” maybe someone who sees this blog will.1926_model_B_harley_jpg_w560h420

I believe I spot a “spud” cellar in the background so I assume the photo was taken in that mile-high part of Idaho along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River which at that time was first experimenting with what became a world-wide reputation for seed potatoes, that and “Gateway to Adventure.”

The Yellowstone Park banner may indicate it was a promotional trip of some kind. All I know is it was no easy trip. Most of the roads from LA to Kansas City weren’t paved back then. The Yellowstone Trail, an association founded in South Dakota in 1912 to promote roads and travel to the Northwest was active then as well.

Half the Harley’s sold during WWI went to the US Military. In fact the first American to enter Germany after that war was on a Harley-Davidson. So sidecars were more common then than they seem to be now.

People have been teasing me to get a sidecar so my English Bulldog, Mugsy could don goggles and go out with me to see my Grandsons. As they would say, WOW – Yeah!

You can see one just like it at the American Classic Motorcycle Museum over in Asheboro , south and east of Durham.

In the meantime if anyone can give me more information on the people in my Grandmother’s photograph, or the era when Park Rangers used motorcycles, please comment on this blog.

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