This is a picture of my grandma, Carol Marie McKinley at age 15 just about a month before her wedding. The motorcycle belonged to her husband to be, Grover Carroll Wilson. The picture was taken in Excelsior Springs, Mo in the fall of 1948 with a box Kodak camera. This was a 1947 Harley and was Grandpa’s second in his 20 years.
He reported he traded his 1941 Oldsmobile straight up for this beauty (the motorcycle). Outside of Excelsior Springs, on highway 24, he pulled up next to the previous bike owner in his Oldsmobile and was teasing the driver into a little drag racing. He rolled down his window and the bike owner asked him, “How do you trade?” Grandpa replied, “Even up.” Right then and there the deal was done and they swapped. Shortly after, Grandpa married the other beauty in the picture.
Soon after they took off on their honeymoon to Omaha only to get to St Joe, and find they had lost their suitcase holding Grandma’s wedding dress and marriage license. A search turned up nothing and their honeymoon was further delayed by a snow storm. They spent the night with Grandma’s Aunt Mammie and Uncle Ed.
It didn’t take much coaxing to get Grandpa to talk about his bike. I asked if he ever got a ticket and he said no, “Nobody could catch me.” He stated he only got chased once. The incident was for excessive noise. I think now days that would be called disturbing the peace. He admitted he followed the cops for a ways and then turned and ran as if to taunt them. He bragged his bike had enough power to rattle the windows and could go 120 mph.
He belonged to a motorcycle club in Kansas City and his bike was one of the fastest out of 200. I asked grandma if she was scared and she said she was too young to be scared. She didn’t want to go fast on her first ride, but said grandpa got it up to 100 mph. His motorcycle days are long gone but he still has his other love and they still reminisce about his motorcycle days.
Bikers Against Child Abuse Buffalo River Chapter Harrison, AR Event Coordinator 870-754-2063