Dale Walksler 1952-2021 Wheels Through Time

For any number of reasons, I’ve been putting off this post about Wheels Through Time since I got home from a road trip in November. Sadly, on February 3rd, 2021, the founder of this great museum Dale Walksler lost his life to cancer.
My first introduction to Dale was about a decade ago when I first visited Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley, NC. As I was approaching the entrance, a roaring flathead came rolling up the wet brick sidewalk in front of the museum. With one hand on the throttle and the other balancing a big tray of freshly cut cantaloupe, Dale greeted his guests.

He rode right through the entrance and offered everybody the cantaloupe. This simple act of warm-hearted kindness defines the atmosphere at Wheels Through Time.

On my recent visit to Wheels Through Time, Dale was noticeably absent. I didn’t plan it this way but I arrived on an eventful day. This was the annual raffle giveaway day. Every year the museum raffles off a vintage motorcycle. This year it’s going to be a ’48 Panhead. I arrived late in the day after the giveaway had taken place and many folks were filtering out. The area where the entrance and merchandise were was still pretty crowded but much to my surprise there were very few people inside the museum.

One of the greatest things about Wheels Through Time is that every bike in the museum is a running machine. Every once in a while you will hear the cracking sound of a vintage engine turning over followed by the roar of a twisting throttle. An old bike may even whiz right past you as you look around.

I was in luck this day as Dale’s son Matt would tell us a bit about a one of a kind machine. The Traub is considered to be the rarest motorcycle in the world. This remarkable machine, built in 1916 was discovered 40 years ago behind a brick wall in a Chicago suburb. There is no other motorcycle like it.

Below is a video from my visit on this day. It is a rare occasion that this motorcycle gets turned over. My video is followed by a more produced video from the folks at Wheels Through Time. It’s an amazing machine with a mysterious backstory. Check it out!

Wheels Trough Time is a very different experience than the Barber Museum where I had been the day before. Nearly every bike here has a pan sitting beneath it to catch the oil drips. The museum’s tagline reads, “the Museum That Runs.” It was real treat to see the Traub start up.

Wheels Through Time has a subscription channel where Dale and Matt discuss many of the fine vintage motorcycles at the museum. I have a subscription and it is well worth it. https://daleschannel.tv/

Dale’s passing is a big loss in the motorcycle world. Have a look below at the phenomenal motorcycle museum that Dale Walksler spent a lifetime creating.

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