About Us

Welcome to official blog of the Florida West Coast Motorcycle Club. An American Motorcycle Association Historic Club (No. 165), we are a family oriented riding and social club with a history back to 1936. Our motto is "Ride and Have Fun". Learn more about us or how to join our club.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tale of the Cobra

     Before we got to the Tail of the Dragon last weekend, we spent some quality time on the Cherohala Skyway, which winds its way through almost 40 miles of Tennessee and North Carolina back country.
     At one point Scott led us off the road and onto a scenic overlook, where we spent a little time taking pictures. While we were there, a really beautiful silver Cobra came in and parked near us. A middle-aged couple got out.
 The woman headed for the rest room, and Scott approached the man and asked him about the car, specifically whether it was an original Cobra or a reproduction. The man said it was a built from a kit.
     “I don’t own it, but I helped build it,” the man said.  “It belongs to the lady.”
     The fellow went on to tell us that the woman’s husband had purchased the kit, but he soon was diagnosed with Lou Gehig’s Disease and had to stop the construction project before it had really begun.
     “I was a friend of his,” the man said. “When Don got sick, 40 friends got together and we all pitched in and finished the car.”
     The car was completed in 2009. The owner, Don "Vorcy" Voorhis, got a chance to drive it. He died just three months after it was completed.
      The driver said that the woman, Cheryl Voorhis, didn’t drive the car, but every once in a while she liked to take a ride in it, so he would go over and they would get the car out of the garage and take it for a spin.
     A beautiful car, and a beautiful story.
     If you would like to see a step-by-step report on the build process for this car, visit:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Riding the Dragon


     This adventure to the Tail of the Dragon got started innocently enough – Scott Tillesen happened to mention that he was going to ride by himself to Milwaukee for the 110th Harley birthday celebration, and he said he intended to ride the dragon on his way there.
     That sounded interesting to me because I had never ridden the Dragon – I’d been up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway many times, and I had ridden a bit in the Smokey Mountains, but I had never made it to the Dragon. I told Scott that if he could put up with me I might like to ride along with him as far as the Dragon, and then head back home when he continued his trip northward.
     Scott suggested that I ask other FWCMC members if they would like to come along, so I put out an e-mail inviting anyone and everyone along. That got a response from Danny Buckley and Jim Lawrence. We started making plans.
     On Saturday, Aug. 24, we headed north from Scott’s driveway.
Minor repair to Jim's bike on the way out of Florida
   Our plan was to put in a fairly long day on Saturday to get north of Atlanta, and that’s what we did – about 530 miles to an extended-stay motel, Sun Suites, in the town of Cumming, Ga. This place wasn’t exactly a disaster but my no-smoking room smelled strongly of cigarettes and Jim’s room didn’t have any pillows. It also had the world’s slowest check-in clerk – it took the better part of an hour to get all four of us checked in.
     We started off Sunday by looking around for a breakfast spot. The two places I found on Yelp were out of business. We ended up in an IHOP about 20 miles up the road.
     Our plan was to ride a couple of hours to the Dragon, spend some time doing that road, then riding on to Maggie Valley for a visit to the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum. That didn’t even come close to working out; it took longer to get to the Dragon than we thought because of the country roads and the fact that we decided to include a tour of the Cherohala Skyway, which turned the 11-mile Dragon into a 120-mile loop. We hoped we would get to Maggie Valley by mid-afternoon; instead, we rolled into town at 8 p.m., just in time to meet ol’ pal Roger Reed for dinner.
     Anyway, back to the Cherohala Skyway and the Dragon…
Scott leads the group through a turn on the Dragon
   This is a really gorgeous set of roads, and they are crowded with motorcyclists. The Cherohala is longer and has gentle, sweeping curves. Some people we met said they really prefer the Cherohala to the Dragon because it is so scenic and easier to ride. I liked ‘em both.

Da Dragon!
     If you haven’t ridden the Dragon, it should be on your bucket list. Go back to the July newsletter and read Jim DeLeo’s story about riding up in that area, and Google up some stories and pictures. The Dragon is something like 318 curves in 11 miles, which means a lot of banking, turning and countersteering. We came upon one accident (a sport bike traveling in a group of sport bikes) and one section of construction that reduced the road to a single lane, with traffic controlled by temporary traffic lights.
     Actually, the stress level on the Dragon was less intense than I expected. It’s challenging, but not so tough that any decent experienced rider shouldn’t be able to handle it. It also was shorter than I expected – it was over pretty quickly.
     Once we got done, we rode on to Maggie Valley. As it turned out, the shortest way to Maggie Valley was going to mean a return trip on the Dragon, something that none of us really wanted to do. So we took an alternate route, north and east through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. This was a very beautiful ride, but it added some time to our day.
     There was going to be no time for the museum in Maggie Valley, so we decided to put that off until the next morning. We got to Wheels Through Time at just about the 9 a.m. opening time. 

A 4-cylinder Henderson
   This visit was the highlight of the trip, at least for me. Wheels Through Time is, according to its own website, “the world's premier collection of rare American vintage motorycles,” and that may not be an overly-ambitious claim. The museum contains more than 300 of America's rarest and most historic classic motorcycles. There are more than 24 brands on display -- Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior, Crocker, Henderson, and many more.
     Besides road bikes, there are board track racers, hill-climbers, dirt track racers, choppers, bobbers, and one-off machines of all types.
An Indian drome racer
     Owner-founder Dale Walksler was on hand, and as we were leaving he was out in the parking lot, happily giving a sidecar ride to one of his museum visitors.
     After about an hour-and-a-half visit, we were ready to go. This was Monday morning, and we wanted to make it home by Tuesday afternoon. That meant a 350-mile ride to Americus, Ga., that afternoon, and then another 350-mile ride on Tuesday. We got to Americus by about 6 p.m., and we were on the road again the next morning by 7:30. We were back in Pinellas County by around 3 p.m. after a long day down US19.
     This was a great ride. We saw a lot and did a lot in just four days. I think maybe we’ll put this back on the schedule for next year. Anybody game?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cigar City HOG

One of the greatest things about motorcycling is getting to meet other bikers. Today, Holly and I road out to Tampa Harley-Davidson on North Dale Mabry Highway to attend the Cigar City HOG Chapter meeting as a guest of Director Mark Freeman. Since transitioning from the Fletcher's HOG chapter to an AMA club, I've been trying to reach out to other local riding clubs and chapters to forge relationships.

The tiki bar meeting location
Unlike most club meetings I've attended, Cigar City has a Saturday morning meeting with a ride afterwards. Very fitting for Florida, the meeting was held outside a Tampa Harley's huge tiki bar. Donuts and coffee were served and I got to socialize with some really great people.

One of the main reasons for my attending was to invite them to join us on our trip to Sturgis in 2014. I gave a little of the history of our club and hopefully got a few people interested in the trip.

Me and Holly enjoying the morning meeting in the shade
Director Mark Freeman (left) conducts the ride meeting
After the meeting we joined the group for a ride planned out to New Port Richey. About twenty-five of us took of on a bright and hot sunny Florida day. Unfortunately, a mechanical problem hit ride leader Mark Freeman's bike half way through the ride. His throttle decided to stop working.

While the group waited for Mark to get a tow back the dealer the heat was getting the best of us. We said goodbye to our new friends, and headed for home.