June 14, 2010: Yesterday we took a ride to Charleston, West Virginia – to the Cultural Center located across the lawn from the Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion. The reason we went was the opening of a Motorcycle Show that will be there for 2 weeks – until July 8, 2010. 

One side of Lobby from balcony

 There are many vintage and antique motorcycles on exhibit and a great video on the evolution of the motorcycle, especially in West Virginia. As Governor Manchin says, “West Virginia has great motorcycling roads…” (And Gillum House knows where many of them are!)

And the other side of the Lobby


Frank and Janet Roberts 2010

In the video there is a clip of Frank “Buzz” Roberts as a young man riding his motorcycle in a bit of an unusual way – standing on the seat. His Father had been involved in motorcycles early on and passed the love of bikes on to Buzz.

The Charleston Motorcycle Exhibit is basically a precursor to the Vintage Motorcycle Show at MountainFest July 22-25, 2010. This exhibit is just a fraction of the exhibit at MountainFest – but this is worth going to see. The price cannot be beat – it is FREE. Held in the Lobby of the Cultural Center, the hours are Monday thru Saturday 9 to 5:30 and Sunday, Noon to 5.

Tom McKee and his wife Debbie are among the major organizers of the Vintage Motorcycle Show at MountainFest and they brought many of their vintage motorcycles to the Charleston Exhibit. John and Tom talked for quite a while and then Debbie joined them and talked with some other visitors as Tom and John found something new to say. They were probably discussing the exhibit of John Panek 2-Wheel Classics (paintings) that will be seen at MountainFest.

Tom McKee and John Panek dicessing motorcycles - Again!

Debbie McKee also talks motorcycle.

While we were there, Jane Bostic, Administrative Assistant to Tourism Commission Betty Carver visited with us and introduced us to her brother, Jack who works at the Cultural Center. They actually convinced John to use a Jazzie. The State Museum has a few wheelchairs and a couple Jazzies available for mobility challenged people – like John. We had been talking about seeing the State Museum that has been open for almost a year now, but just never had the time (and I did not relish trying to enjoy it while worrying that he was tiring himself out with all that walking). I do wish I had taken a photo of it. Jeff Morrison brought the Jazzie to us, showed John how to use it, and then took us down on the elevator to the entrance of the State Museum. Once he got the hang of that “joystick”, John was off to the races!  We had such an enjoyable afternoon. We were short on time so we did what for us was a “skim” of the museum. The folks at the Museum say it takes about 2 hours (we are of the variety of museum attendees that would normally take all afternoon). All I can say is if you have a couple hours (or make the time – it is worth it) go see it. Starting from the beginning of plants and rocks all the way to modern times and everything in between one gets an overview of the history of West Virginia and its involvement in the world.

West Virginia is full of culture, history, industry, the arts, politics, military, space…. Go see it and take the kids and grandkids. Then take them around the State to see its beauty and the places exhibited in the Museum. Show them why West Virginians are such a proud people. We have a right to be!

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