Saturday, October 17, 2015

North Carolina Trip Pics and The Katie Bug!

So after many months of planning we finally got to make our trip to the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina to the "Katie Bug". The JD powered airplane once owned by my dad's cousin Chris Kusto. This was a bit of a pilgrimage for us. I've never seen the plane in person, only in old photos, and my dad has not seen the plane in 25 years.

Chris and the Miller Light Plane, aka the "Katie Bug".

Chris sadly died at an early age in 1990. After the funeral my dad got a few shots of Chris' shop.
Chris' Buick and Shovelhead.

The plane with the wings removed.

Hanging from the rafters was a prototype Chris got with the plane when he purchased it. 

Fast forward to the mid 2000's my dad and I were watching Speed TV one night and the show we were watching was touring the Wheels Through Time Museum. Dale Walksler was showing off his collection of unique machines built with motorcycle engines. All of a sudden there was the plane! We couldn't believe it. Since then we vowed to take a trip to see the plane. It took a number of years to go but we finally got to go this year. Below are the photos from our journey. We originally planned on riding down but we ran out of time between some mechanical issues with our bikes and impending hurricane so we drove down. 

First stop was the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum in Strasburg.

Cooter's Place in Sperryville, VA. Ray was super stoked on this.

Somewhere near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina

The third day into our trip the weather cleared and we made it to Maggie Valley. All I can say is if you have never been to this museum before, you need to go. I regret waiting so long to go. Photos don't do justice, you just need to see it in person.

 The "Chopper Graveyard"

The burnouts inside are no joke. 

The best part of the museum there really are no ropes, just stuff parked everywhere. And, if you ask nicely, Dale will let you start something up or try on something for size...
Ben got to try on his dream bike for size.

Panster anyone? 

 And lastly the whole reason we came to the museum. It was amazing to finally see the plane in person. The documentation on it is incredible. Tons of old newspaper clippings and popular mechanics articles on the plane. There were even photos of it actually flying back in 1927! 

Transfer of ownership, and theres Chris' name.

"Katie Bug" was still there on the side. 

The best part of this whole trip was getting the chance to talk with Dale and share our family history with the plane. We were able to put a few more pieces of the puzzle together on the history of plane for Dale as well. I made a poster print of the Chris and plane so we could all get a photo together. We then gave the print to Dale for the museum. Huge thanks to him for giving us the VIP treatment and a tour of the back shop during our visit. It's something we'll never forget. 

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