Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

"Strangely strange...but oddly normal."

More on that in a bit, but the continuing ed seminar was a blast. Despite not being able to make use of my sweepstakes tickets this past weekend, I still got to go visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, even if I did have to sit through an hour of incredibly dull Alabama Power Company propaganda. (Hee--I bet I get a comment from some gal I know who works there...)

And to make it even better, they had the barbecue I missed, too--little bit of pork, little bit of chicken, some beans, potato salad, a slice of pecan pie, and some sweet tea--in other words, stuff that'll make my blood turn to syrup. Sure was tasty, though.

As was the museum.

I've yacked and blabbered about this place ad nauseum in the past, but it really was a treat to finally get to see the place. They have a collection of around 750 motorcycles and a few cars, arranged in a huge, airy concrete structure with a central ramp connecting the various levels--it looks a bit like a parking deck, but despite the industrial materials and finishes, it really sings. The view out the window to the track and surrounding hills helps some, too.

The collection is incredibly deep, with an amazing assortment of bikes from glorified bicycles like a fully restored 1905 Indian Camelback (something like this, from another site) all the way to the spectacular and quite huge Honda Valkyrie Rune with its watercooled flat six and custom bodywork.

The nice thing is that not all of the motorcycles are restored--some have the patina of careful, long-term use, while others, like the racing bikes, have a fair amount of road rash; and then there are others that look as though they came right out of a shed. In any case, they are all impeccably presented and no matter how fanatically restored or just used, for the most part they can all be cranked and ridden. Not that I did that.

The title for this post came from a description on one odd bike, a 1995 Aprilia Moto 6.5, designed by Phillipe Stark (he of the craptacular line of Target non-necessities) as a motorcycle designed to appeal to scooter riders or car drivers. The styling, at least to bikers, was controversial, at best, but I kinda like it.

Another cool bike, especially if you hale from the Bottom Side is a 1996 Britten V-1000 racing bike, designed and constructed by a now-deceased young man named John Britten from New Zealand. The bike is full of innovative details and has a large number of carbon fiber parts including the frame and wheels. It is reputed to be one of only ten in the world.

As I mentioned, there are a few cars sprinkled in amongst the two wheelers, including a whole area down on the (inaccessible) ground floor restoration area full of vintage Loti, with a polished aluminum 7, three or so 11s, an Elan fixed head coupe (probably one of the straightest around) along with a pile of tiny Formula cars. Again, these were all beyond reach, but up on the third floor was a beautiful black John Player Special Team Lotus F-1 car originally driven by Elio de Angelis (teammate most of the time at Lotus with Nigel Mansell). I always liked the looks of the JPS cars.

In all, a great place, and they have a gift shop, too, which meant that I had to buy a couple of tee shirts. I'm going to give them to Reba, but I think she'll let me wear them.

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