Monday, September 5, 2011

BigTrip2011 - Day 14 - Motorcycles and Gold

I had two goals today (August 11, 2011), one was to see the AMA museum, and the second was to get as close to Chicago as I could.  My plan was to spend most of the day on the slab.

That is until I received a tweet from @FuzzyGalore (thanks!). She suggested I visit the Palace of Gold (PoG). A quick check of their website showed that it was on my way. I typed in the GPS coordinates and set off. The GPS took me through some beautifully twisty (and empty) roads on the way to the PoG. The twisty West Virginia roads were a lot of fun!

I turned off the small road onto a smaller road just a few miles away from PoG. The road was in terrible shape. There were spots that could swallow whole cars if you weren’t paying attention. It was still a fun little ride. Then the trees opened up and I saw this.


Wow! In the middle of no-where West Virginia sits this beautiful site. The parking area was mostly empty. I walked through the small entry way and this was my first view of the grounds. Gorgeous.

palace of gold

Other than the gardeners, I was the only non-Indian person there and likely the only non-Hare Krishna follower. Wikipedia has a great article explaining the Palace and the surrounding area: Link


I wasn’t expecting much since their website was lacking, but I was impressed.


It has certainly seen better days since the original construction in the 70s, but still worth the visit. The flower gardens were also impressive. The grounds were free, but they wanted $10 to see the inside of this building. I kept my $10. The outside was good enough. When my wife found out, she wished I would have gone inside. Next time.


The pond in the back had the largest water lilies I have ever seen. The blooms were the size of your head, and the leaves were easily two to three feet across.

After a quick snack, I was back on the road heading west towards Columbus, OH and the AMA Museum. It was nice to recognize some towns and roads along the way from my trip there last year: link.

It was nice to see some other motorcycles in the parking lot. Last year it was pretty empty. Only one AMA employee appeared to ride to work which is a major improvement compared to zero the year before. Did I mention it was sunny and high 70s? Perfect riding weather. The lack of riding by the AMA confuses me.

The museum rotates their displays every other year. 2010 was the new year, so hardly anything had changed since I was there last.

Here are some of my favorites from this visit.

The Vetter “luxury-touring” motorcycle built around a 250cc engine. No mention of the mpg or top speed. I wonder what it is like to ride.


The sign to the right explains the contest.

“In five years [80-85], the fuel economy of the winning entrant went from 98mpg from a carefully tunes and ridden 1,000cc Harley Davidson to an astounding 470mpg on a full-faired and miserly tunes machine built around a Honda XL125 motor.”

Amazing what some aerodynamics can do for motorcycle mpg!

Another streamlined Vetter below:


A neat looking engine from a 1914 HD with pocket valves.


One of my favorites from last year – the Dakar Racer.


A close-up of the chains on the rear tire of a hill-climbing motorcycle. A clever idea to recycle a used drive-chain for traction.


Dave Barr’s story impressed me. He lost both of his legs, but still rode around the world on his motorcycle solo! wow.


A Shickel. I like the drive belt.


After looking around, I hopped back on the Interstate and continued to ride west. I made it about 30 miles east of Indianapolis before I decided I was too tired to keep going. I got a hotel room and promptly fell asleep.


Full Flickr Set: Day 14 Pictures


About 400 miles today. States: WV, PA, OH, IN.

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  1. Nice pictures. The PoG is interesting and I was checking out the website this morning. Pretty cool. Thank you for continuing the virtual tour.


  2. West Virginia continues to surprise me. What a find.

  3. Wow, what a beautiful temple. Looks like you have found a real gem down there.

  4. Maybe next time you and your lady can go to the palace together. So beautiful <3

    That gray/white Vetter is so Bosozoku!

  5. Speaking of belt drives... I think that was one of the most enjoyable museums I have ever been to... sadly I cant, for the life of me, remember it's proper name, but there is museum in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan that is an "industrial revolution / farming" like museum, and they had a lot of interesting steam driven equipment ... mostly employing a moveable steam engine with a big belt wheel on it, that would be belt drive up to various implements of destruction... of which various examples were there in the museum ... ahh.. that was... 13 years ago I visited i think...

    PoG looks very interesting. There is a Hindu temple in Houston that kinda reminds me of that... although.. much less gold. :)


  6. hmm, I replied yesterday, and it didn't save.

    RichardM: Thanks. It was an interesting place. I wouldn't have found it without fuzzy's help.

    Keith: Indeed. I also continue to be surprised. I haven't seen any banjos either.

    SonjaM: It was a nice site, but not a temple. The temple is another 1/2km down the road. This is more of a shrine.

    Fuzzy: That would be nice, but I think we'll end up on the west coast before I get to go east again. Unless I win the lottery and then who knows! thanks again for the recommendation.

    William: It was a nice site, and the road there was a fun ride. It does remind me somewhat of the Buddhist temple in houston. I didn't see the hindu one when we were there.