A Walk through Motorcycling History at
The Putnam Museum & IMAX Theater Complex
in Davenport, Iowa
Quick Throttle August 08
Before starting I must explain why there are no photos with this story. I sat and looked over the photos
I had for a couple of hours trying to pick a few choice shots to share with you, but it was like not
hanging all of your children’s or grandchildren’s photos on your wall. So I thought this way you will have
to visit the exhibit in order to see all of these Rare Rides yourself.
As you enter the Putnam Museum & IMAX Theater Complex you walk past the huge faucet pouring water
from the wall into a barrel to the ticket counters. Then with ticket in hand you head back to the stairs
up to the main exhibit halls. A couple of doors later and you are greeted by an old motorcycle in a large
glass display case. Now this is a real bike and not just a piece in a stuffy old museum, as the glass pan
under it catching its life blood tells you. Now you have to make a choice, either forward and to the right
into the main exhibit hall or to your left across from another glass display case filled with some fine
examples of custom painting is a door way to the women’s motorcycling exhibit room. No matter which
way you chose to move you can’t go wrong. Since I am a gentleman lets go to the left first. Entering
the room through the double doors a soft voice fills the room, you hear Pearl Smith talking about the
decades of her motorcycling experiences. Looking across the room you see a huge wall sized photo of
women along with their rides. Laid out about the room are various displays depicting, what else but,
women and motorcycling from times past to the present.
Now let’s head over to the main exhibit hall, even before you enter the room you can catch a glimpse of
what’s in store for you. Your eyes move from one side to other trying to take in all the motorcycles,
scooters and display cases and more incredible wall sized photos. There is so much to take in that you
have to stop and focus, get a bearing on things. The Rare Rides range in age from a 1912 Yale to the
present. If I was pressed to name few of my favorite Rides I would pick the Scotts Flying Squirrel from
where the kick start came from, the side car with the leather carriage style top, the WWII era military
Harley-Davidson (which I was told is the best un-restored bike in the country) and of course the servi-
car which even had the original tow bar. Winding around the displays you leave the main hall and enter
yet another exhibit room. You can tell by the sound of a bike starting then taking off this is the Harley-
All of the items on display are from motorcyclist enthusiasts from around the Quad Cities area. The
folks at the Putnam have had this exhibit in the works for 2 years now and it was well worth the time it
took to put it together. So gather the family and get over to the Putnam IMAX to experience Rare Rides
“Americas Love Affair with Motorcycles. I promise everyone will learn something from it. And the time
spent with your family is priceless. For more info see the ad in this issue or visit www.putnam.org
RIDE FREE and enjoy what freedoms we still have!
Bike Down to I Town Part IV
Quick Throttle July 08
It started out as nice day, weather wise and No I didn’t check the weather for one thing I was going in
a car, loaded with the current issues of QT. And weather forecasts are like casting while fishing, most
of the time you end up with an empty hook. As the miles counted up the weather turned to rain for a
few miles then let up only to start again. But as the route turned south the sun broke through the
clouds and shone down pointing the way to I Town and the rest of night was dry and cool.
The first stop was Check in at the Apple Tree Inn. The room was clean and had a small micro & fridge
plus wireless internet. The staff was very accommodating to my somewhat late departure.
Heading south until you are greeted by a huge American Flag flown by the local Fire Department, traffic
flaggers were along the route as you came to the left turn into the southeast corner of the I Town
Square. Riding under a huge Miller Beer blowup dome you entered the event in style. On the main stage
to your right this month was Station 803 playing great rock n roll all night long. They had people of all
ages, from the group of young teenie boppers to the old gray bearded hoofer, dancing and enjoying this
great night out with the nicest people anywhere. This being a Town Square, the loyal Vendors (it was
nice seeing some of this months QT on the tables - thank you), all who have been with them since the
start, were able to set up shop all along the street sides giving you a full 360 degrees of great food
choices, new and hot products from bike conversions to customization and apparel and accessories.
Well this month due part of a building just giving up and falling in on its self part of the north side was
blocked off. It was home to the best tacos around. After meeting the 3 men responsible for the largest
Bike Nite I have ever been to, who shall remain in the background, I met Candy the lady who takes
care of the event’s awesome web site and photos and went with her get a quick lay of land. The first
photo I had her take was of the cool train style trailer set up (I will be taking to them soon). We made
it over to the 95 KGGO Radio sponsors tent and chatted with the very cool Clutch, who I had the honor
of sharing the stage with later that night when he gave away a pair of tickets to the Ted Nugent
concert and some other race tickets.
The Square was being to fill up, but not as many as last month again due to some trusting the weather
forecast. I then went on my way handing out QT and some info on the Davenport Bike Rally and Hot
Rods & Harleys while talking with as many of the people attending this incredible event. So much work
goes into getting it all set up and then all the cleaning after, which I was told couldn’t happen with out
all the local involvement like the Post Prom Group picking up cans and bottles keeping the Square
clean, leaving the area cleaner then it was prior to the event.
I spoke with some of the business such as Winn’s - steak, yummy eggrolls, pizza and more, The Garage
a nice bar, the very cool and a must go to The Corner Sundry, Pete’s the pizza joint with the huge H-D
Bar & Shield and more, that were open and I found them all happy with the event and the extra
business and exposure they get from it. I know whole town benefits as well. Way to go you 3 guys.
This is such a great family event, a place you can feel safe about your children running around meeting
other children and just being kids giving you the time to spend with others as well. You can make a
weekend out it since there are great camping and nature attractions close by. So be sure to visit the
web site www.bikedowntoitown.com or call 515-961-6269 for more info. This is an event you don’t want
to miss. See you there.
P.S. I have to thank Tami Gunn-Connor for letting me cover this event for her.