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Pappy's Harley

tnrangertnranger Member Posts: 140 ✭✭✭

Over the years, I've noticed that a number of forum members are motorcycle enthusiasts, so I thought you would enjoy this period picture of my Grandfather's 1917 Harley Davidson. I never saw it in running condition, but as a boy, I enjoyed many imaginary adventures on it – none of which could compare to Pappy's stories. He said it would top end at 110 mph with the right sprocket, but I wonder, as (1) Google says it would top end at 65 – 85, and (2) there would be very few places in the late teens/early 20"s where he could hit those speeds. He told of working his way though Midwest brewery towns with his buddies, and each brewery they toured would give them a sample. As he established the family farm in Arkansas, the Harley was his only motorized transportation. He and Nanny would make Saturday trips to the nearest town on it with my toddler-aged dad riding between them. As you can see, even 100 years ago photographers tended to cut heads off their pics, so I included a period picture of Pappy at Camp Pike. The bike now resides with my cousin (the eldest grandson), and Harley Davidson has made several offers to buy it. It isn't for sale.


  • select-fireselect-fire Member Posts: 69,479 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing

  • William81William81 Member Posts: 23,244 ✭✭✭✭

    Great story and pics, thanks for sharing !

  • 4205raymond4205raymond Member Posts: 2,504 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing.------------------Ray

  • desmo Ddesmo D Member Posts: 15

    don't let the American Pickers find out about that one. or maybe they already know....

  • Ditch-RunnerDitch-Runner Member Posts: 22,722 ✭✭✭✭

    Great story and photo

    It would be tempting to get it running

    But again as is its part of the family history and agree keep it

  • tnrangertnranger Member Posts: 140 ✭✭✭

    Ditch-Runner, if I had the say-so, it would be awfully tempting to accept a HD offer that included restoring it and displaying it with credit to the family. I'll bet parts would be almost unobtainium to the average guy. It reminds me of the bike in the Big Jake movie. Cut can you imagine riding that thing at very much speed with that suspension (or lack thereof)?

  • pingjockeypingjockey Member Posts: 1,875 ✭✭✭✭

    My paternal grandmother had a brother that loved anything two wheeled. He designed different styled bikes. I was told he had a very early Harley and that he was offered a top of the line Electroglide or whatever their most expensive bike was at the time. They wanted it for their museum. Don't know if he ever took the offer or not.

  • Nanuq907Nanuq907 Member Posts: 2,552 ✭✭✭✭

    What are the odds! A Ranger... my grandmother was the first lady Ranger in America, and she rode a Harley too. I have her driver license, 1918, make "Harley Davidson".

  • Ditch-RunnerDitch-Runner Member Posts: 22,722 ✭✭✭✭

    I think its called wheels thru time ? they have a huge maybe biggest bike collection, but I have seen they also help owners with parts and restorations ? see them on TV ( well use to ) now on youtube

    I have to agree having Harley buy restore and display with credit and history for all to see would be very tempting to share it with every one not just tucked away in a garage

  • tnrangertnranger Member Posts: 140 ✭✭✭

    Nanuq - If you're referring to Pappy's uniform, that pic was taken in late 1918 after he was inducted into the infantry, His Army career was brief, as he was injured during training and medically discharged. However if you wonder about my forum handle, I was a Ranger/Naturalist for Arkansas State, then a Ranger for the Army Corps of Engineers in Kentucky and Tennessee. Later, I was a wildlife biologist, and finally ended my career working the Great lakes and Ohio River Basin as kind of an environmental trouble shooter.

    I have a lot of respect for your Grandmother as a Ranger back then when times were really wooly. My training Ranger worked Eastern KY pre-WWII, and he had some wild tales from even then - gunfights with the participants using his Jeep for cover, timber thefts, setting the woods on fire for revenge, etc.

    Ditch-Runner - I wonder if the Garage Squad realty show would take it as a project! I'd even be willing to give them 2 weeks instead

    squad reality shoe

  • Nanuq907Nanuq907 Member Posts: 2,552 ✭✭✭✭

    Whoops! Mea culpa, I saw your handle and the photo, and thought "Wow the uniform really was pretty consistent across America even then!"

    Thanks for setting me straight, and that's a career to be proud of you had!

  • Ditch-RunnerDitch-Runner Member Posts: 22,722 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2022

    Both great story's and history to be proud of

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