Museum brings vintage fleet to inauguration

Six vehicles from the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, N.C., were part of the 44th Presidential Inauguration Parade on Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

As part of the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the United States Army’s first transcontinental motor convoy via the Lincoln Highway, the museum fielded a rare 1918 WWI Harley-Davidson sidecar outfit for the parade — a machine identical to the Harley-Davidsons used in the original convoy. “Having the opportunity to participate in a historic event of this magnitude is an outstanding honor,” said museum curator Dale Walksler. “It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we were happy to play a part.”

Known as the “Main Street Across America,” the Lincoln Highway was America’s first transcontinental highway, spanning from New York to San Francisco and stretching through 14 states and 500 cities and towns. It was in 1919 that the United States Army made the 62-day trip from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, bringing with it more than 80 vehicles and almost 300 men, making it the first coast-to-coast trip by a U.S. government entity.

Among the other collectors vehicles appearing were Wheels Through Time’s 1918 Harley-Davidson, the “Spirit of the Lincoln Way” fire truck, operated by the anniversary organizer, Craig Harmon, and a 1917 Ford Model T pickup.

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