Thanksgiving Fun Facts

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As you sit down with family and friends this Thanksgiving take a moment to remember one of America’s most well loved holidays, while you ponder this list of little known fun facts about, “Turkey Day.” The Pilgrims that arrived from the United Kingdom in Plymouth New England on the east coast of America were the very first to celebrate Thanksgiving. The feast itself lasted three days, and according to historians was more about

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celebrating a successful harvest and the ability to stay alive as apparently hundreds of colonists died the first year after arriving on Plymouth Rock. Back then, both the Native Americans and the pilgrims also danced and sang, which makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Who could eat like that for three days straight?

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The Wampanoag Indian tribes were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving with the pilgrims. The tribe also taught the colonists how to cultivate the land and how to use what grew wild in the new land. You may be fond of your turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, Mac and cheese, pumpkin pie and of course stuffing and cranberries, but the pilgrims and the Native Americans most probably said thank-you with a mouth full of lobster. Other first Thanksgiving choices included chicken, rabbit, fish, quail, and duck with sides such as hickory nuts, cabbage, radishes, goat cheese, eggs, onions, beans, squash, leeks, dried fruits, honey, and maple.

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Apparently, somebody forgot to put forks on the Mayflower as the pilgrims ate with their hands, spoons, and knives. One of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, urged the United States to make the turkey the national bird of America. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Thanksgiving became official on October 3, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued an official Thanksgiving Proclamation. The national day would be the last Thursday in November.

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Nearly 290 million turkeys are bought and enjoyed for Thanksgiving in the United States, with California being the largest consumers of Thanksgivings favorite bird. Most folks presume that Thanksgiving is an American thing. However, the Canadians also celebrate the day of thanks on the second Monday each October. The average weight of a turkey purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. A 15-pound turkey will have around 70 percent white meat with 30 percent dark meat.

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The most popular Thanksgiving leftovers are sandwiches, chili, casseroles, soup, and burgers. Not all turkeys gobble. Hens make a clucking sound while the males gobble. This Thanksgiving, Travels with Harley would like to wish everyone a very safe, loving, and happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family and friends, and don’t forget to say thank-you!

Just Another Motorcycle Road Trip in Massachusetts

Motorcycle Road Trip

A Motorcycle Road Trip can take an hour or ten days, depending on where you are headed, but as Jim and I like to say, any Motorcycle Road Trip is a good trip, as long as you are prepared ahead of time.

If you follow our Travels with Harley Blog, we have been sharing some great examples of the perfect Motorcycle Road Trip and this week we’re headed to Massachusetts.

Motorcycle Road Trip

From the thick forests in the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts, to the huge bluffs in Cape Code, Massachusetts really does have it all. You can hit the small towns, or spend a night in Boston for great shopping and dining. The Mayflower landed in Massachusetts followed by the Revolutionary War and the Witch Hunts.

Motorcycle Road Trips

Through the Country to the Castle is a great Motorcycle Road Trip that has mountains, ocean and country roads that take you to Castle Island all in just 36 miles. You’ll go through Blue Hills Mountain where you will see amazing views of Boston and the surrounding areas on winding roads that are invigorating and well paved. Quincy Shore has a couple of great eateries including Tony’s Clam Shop, which has a great selection of seafood platters.

The Country Whip Inc

Scenic Route 105 is another great Motorcycle Road Trip in Massachusetts that you will not want to miss. You will drive through orchards and farms taking you through Acushnet ending up in historic Marion. There will be lots of 90-degree right and left turns. When you get to Acushnet, stop at The Country Whip Drive Inc, and try a lobster roll and some fried clams.

Sams Pizzaria and Cafe

If you don’t have all day, but feel like getting out for a great little Motorcycle Road Trip, take the 23 mile Route 66 to Northampton. You’ll ride past mountains, farmlands, and state parks on good quality roads with lots of curves and hills. Once you get into Northampton, you will find a lot of great places to eat and shop, two of my favorite activities. Try to find something with outside tables, such as Sam’s Pizzeria and Café where you can enjoy a gourmet pizza washed down with an icy cold beer. Sam’s has live music Wednesday through Sunday and is open until 3:00 am on the weekends, not that Jim and I are ever up that late, or early!

Motorcycle Road Trip

Jim and I love Massachusetts and hope to get in another Motorcycle Road Trip for another Travels with Harley adventure soon. When that happens, we will definitely keep you posted!

Never an End to Harley Davidson History

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2008 was a big year as far as Harley Davidson history was concerned with the beginning of the year seeing an all-new frame for the Harley Davidson touring family. Not only did this provide a longer wheelbase, but it also lowered the seating position making it easier to maneuver.

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On July 12, the new Harley Davidson Museum opened displaying hundreds of classic and custom motorcycles. The sixth and Canal Street museum also featured exhibits and never released photos and films from Harley Davidson history.

That same year saw thousands head to Milwaukee for the 105th Harley Davidson Anniversary. That same weekend the Harley Davidson Owners Group celebrated its 24th anniversary.

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In 2009, Harley Davidson history continues with its expansion into India. 2009 also saw the first three-wheeler available to the public with the new FLHTCUTG Tri Glide Ultra Classic.

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In 2010 the XL Forty-Eight Harley Davidson was introduced which recalled the custom Sportsters reminiscent of earlier days. That same year Seth Enslow broke the world’s record for the longest motorcycle jump on a Harley Davidson XR1200. Bubba Blackwell in 1999 and Evel Knievel previously held the 183.7-foot jump title in 1975.

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Harley Davidson history continues when the company streamlined the H-D1. This allowed riders to take possession of a factory built custom motorcycle with personalized customization. Later that year in 2012, Harley Davidson introduced the new Seventy-Two and Softail Slim.

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In 2013, Harley Davidson opened a new exhibit at the museum, further solidifying Harley Davidson history with Project Rushmore allowing visitors to get a behind the scenes look at the original drawings and prototype of Project Rushmore touring bike.

2013 was the year that Harley Davidson turned 110. The anniversary saw thousands of people celebrating Harley Davidson history, with Travels with Harley’s own Jim and Demea Loyd participating in the parade proudly carrying their H.O.G. chapter’s flag.

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Another new exhibit at the Harley Davidson Museum opened on April 10, 2014 and sees James Cameron’s classic film, The Terminator, come to life in the Terminator 2 Judgment Day exhibit. The special display includes a motorcycle used in the film along with costumes and props featured in the movie.

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To this day Harley Davidson history continues to grow with new and exciting chapters to add to Harley Davidson history, and you can bet that Travels with Harley will be right there to share Harley Davidson history with you as new chapters begin to develop.

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Harley Davidson history is fascinating, and if you have a story that you would like to share with Harley enthusiasts all over the world, send us your story here and you may be featured in one of our popular Travels with Harley blogs. We can’t wait to hear about your adventures making your very own Harley Davidson history.

More Problems in the History of Harley Davidson

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Over the past few weeks Travels with Harley has shared the History of Harley Davidson coming up with some amazing facts and stories that you probably weren’t aware of. This week we will take you from the late 1990’s to 2007 in the History of Harley Davidson

The first overseas Harley Davidson factory opened in the free economic zone in Manaus, Brazil in 1998. The location positioned Harley Davidson in the Southern Hemisphere motorcycle market, securing another notch in the History of Harley Davidson.

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During the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the History of Harley Davidson saw its demand peak and began a program that expanded its dealerships throughout America. During that same period, existing dealers were waiting for new inventory for up to 12 months for some of its more popular models.

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Just like car manufacturers, Harley Davidson will record a sale when it is delivered to the dealer, not when a customer buys the product making it possible for a manufacturer to inflate the sales numbers. This requires Harley Davidson dealers to accept more motorcycles than they want or need. Known as channel surfing, it means that there could be a dramatic decline in stock prices, which is exactly what happened to Harley Davidson.

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In April of 2004, Harley Davidson Owners Group shares fell from $60.00 to under $40.00. Just before the decline, CEO Jeffrey Bluestein saw a profit of $42 million prior to his retirement. This was followed by a class action suit filed by Harley Davidson stockholders, who claimed that they were intentionally duped and defrauded by directors and management.

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In 2000, several United States Police departments began reporting problems when it came to instability at high speeds. In fact, the California Highway Patrol reported weave and wobble instability while testing on a track in 2006. This problem was quickly dealt with at the factory providing another interesting chapter in the History of Harley Davidson. However, Highway Patrols across the country started to go with BMW instead of Harley Davidson.

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In January of 2007 more than 2,700 Harley Davidson employees from the York, PN plant embarked on a strike after the company failed to agree on health benefits and wages. The company shut down the plant after negotiations broke down. In February of that same year, an agreement was reached. However, the strike disrupted the national production of Harley Davidson causing a layoff of 440 employees. This also affected suppliers who were forced to lay off Harley Davidson workers because of the Harley Davidson strike.

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Next week Travels with Harley will share the last chapter of the compelling History of Harley Davidson from 2008 to today.

More Fascinating Harley Davidson History

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If you have been following our Travels with Harley blog over the past few weeks, you will be well versed on Harley Davidson history. This week we take you to the 80’s and 90’s to find out more about Harley Davidson history, and how it has changed motorcycles over the years.

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When AMF saw a decline in sales in the early 1980’s, the company decided to sell Harley Davidson to a group of investors that included members of the original Harley Davidson founding families thus solidifying Harley Davidson history once again. Today, the Davidson family is still involved with the running of Harley Davidson with one of Harley Davidson’s direct descendents, Willie G. Davidson serving as the President of Styling.

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During the 1980’s and the early 1990’s Harley Davidson history strikes again with the new owners introducing the model Harley Davidson families that are still being manufactured today. The Softail, FLT, and the Road King joined the ranks of the classics such as the Electra Glide.

In 1990, Harley Davidson introduced the FLSTF Fat Boy, which immediately became a legend as far as motorcycle design was concerned.

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Harley Davidson introduced the Dyna Line of Harley Davidson motorcycles debuting with the FXDB Dyna Glide Sturgis in 1991. That same year, Harley Davidson began the installation of a new art paint facility. The $31 million dollar factory in York, PA became operational by 1992.

Buell Motorcycle company

In the middle of the 1990’s, Harley Davidson took a controlling stake of the American sportbike and street bike Buell Motorcycle company and began manufacturing and selling Buell bikes to Harley Davidson dealers across the country.

In 1993, Harley Davidson celebrated in Milwaukee with a family reunion for its 90th anniversary with more than 100,000 people riding in the Harley Davidson motorcycle parade.

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By 1997, all inventory was moved from the warehouse on Juneau Avenue to a brand new parts and accessories distribution center in Franklin, WI. The 250,000 square foot facility is just another spoke in the wheel of Harley Davidson history.

Next week Travels with Harley will share the last chapter in Harley Davidson History from the late 1990’s to 2007.

Harley Davidson motorcycles during the 1950s

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After the last of the Harley Davidson founding fathers, Arthur Davidson, passed away in 1950, the company was in for a restructure of sorts with the second generation of management taking over.

The second generation of Harley Davidson motorcycles management took the company to newfound heights over the next 44 years, replacing the original founders of Harley Davidson. Although there were plenty of ups and downs, thanks to mechanical problems, image and the rise of the Japanese manufactured motorcycles, Harley Davidson motorcycles remained true to the tradition that was originally established by the founding fathers.

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Harley Davidson motorcycles the 50’s

In 1950, Harley Davidson motorcycle racers won 18 out of 24 National motorcycle championships while setting six motorcycle records.

Always the innovator, Harley Davidson motorcycles introduced the K model, which featured a side-valve with an integrated transmission and engine that would compete with Great Britain’s sportier style motorcycles. The K would eventually become the Harley Davidson Sportster.

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Celebrating 50 years in style in 1953, Harley Davidson motorcycles created a new logo that depicted a, “V.” The, “V,” was in honor of the V Engine that had brought Harley Davidson so far in such a short time. The V had a bar overlaid that read Harley Davidson with the words below and above, “50 years-American Made.” Harley Davidson made a medallion version of the new logo that was placed on the front of the 1954 model fenders.

In that same year, Hendee Manufacturers, the name behind the Indian motorcycle, leaves the scene going out of business. For the next 46 years, Harley Davidson would be the only United States motorcycle maker. In fact, because the founding fathers kept faithful to development, quality, and most importantly, tradition, Harley Davidson is the only survivor of what used to be 300 motorcycle manufacturers in the United States.

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Over the next couple of years, Harley Davidson motorcycles continued to rule the Daytona 200 track with a seven-year run of victories. During that same time, and over the next eight years, Harley Davidson racers rode to victory in the Grand National Championships.

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When young new star Elvis Presley posed sitting on a 1956 Harley Davidson KH 957 XL Sportster for the cover of the popular magazine the Enthusiast, Harley Davidson remained at the top of the heap.

In 1957, the public was introduced to the Harley Davidson Sportser. Premiering as a smaller version of the hog it featured a 55 cubic inch overhead valve engine. Within 12 months, the Harley Davidson Sportster was being hailed as the very first super bike creating yet another Harley Davidson motorcycles legend.

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Never one to rest on its laurels, the decade finished out with the company unveiling a new rear suspension and the hydraulic rear brake on the new Duo-Glide Big Twin Harley Davidson motorcycles Models in 1958.

Next week we’ll take you to the 60’s and beyond to share another piece of Harley Davidson motorcycles history on Travels with Harley.

Harley Davidson Motorcycles Survival Mode

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Last week Travels with Harley shared the history of Harley ending with Harley Davidson Motorcycles having some difficulties thanks to the Model T and the slight depression that hit American in the 1920’s, and as you will see in this week’s blog, the troubles with Harley Davidson were only going to get worse, for the time being anyway…

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Always thinking ahead, part of the Harley Davidson Motorcycles survival plan was to convince American Police Departments that Harley Davidson Motorcycles were ideal for law enforcement and by the middle of the 1920’s Harley Davidson Motorcycles were being used by over 2,900 state patrols and sheriffs.

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Harley Davidson Motorcycles soon began to captivate the public with law enforcement cops taking on a Wild West image complete with saddlebags, boots, and britches. Always looking to branch out and expand the Harley Davidson Motorcycles brand, Walter soon recognized the motorcycle look launching a successful campaign to sell clothing and accessories. It was this inventive marketing ploy that helped Harley Davidson Motorcycles survive the 1920s creating a booming market that remains successful today.

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Thanks to Harley Davidson Motorcycles marketing and additional improvements, which included front brakes and a larger engine, Harley Davidson saw its sales increase with over 22,000 motorcycles produced in 1928. The optimistic attitude of Harley Davidson Motorcycles returned with a vengeance, but proved premature with the Great Depression.

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When the stock market crashed in 1929, Harley Davidson Motorcycles sales began to plummet with only 4,000 Harley Davidson Motorcycles produced by the year 1933. To help with declining sales, Harley replaced the old block letter logo with a new and improved tank design that featured a stylized and graceful eagle. Harley Davidson Motorcycles also started making bikes in a variety of color schemes.

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With Harley Davidson Motorcycles development continuing, the EL model was released in 1936. The EL boasted a new engine that could provide riders with double the power, a new suspension, new tank design, and a new frame. When the new EL Harley Davidson Motorcycles hit the pavement, sales started to increase with production climbing to nearly 10,000 annually. That figure would remain until the end of the 1930’s.

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World War II would also see an increase in Harley Davidson Motorcycles sales and production with Harley Davidson building and shipping over 90,000 Harley Davidson military versions overseas for American allies.

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After the war, Americans began to return to Harley Davidson riding exploding the demand for Harley Davidson Motorcycles. To meet the huge demand, Harley Davidson purchased more manufacturing facilities in Wauwatosa, a Milwaukee suburb, in 1947. When the last of the Harley Davidson Motorcycles original founders, Arthur Davidson passed away in 1950, Harley Davidson Motorcycles were indeed the King of the Road.

Next week Travels with Harley will share what happened to the company when the second generation of Harley Davidson management took over from the founding fathers.

The Harley Davidson Entrepreneurs

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Harley Davidson is the most well known motorcycle in the world as well as the oldest. Harley Davidson truly is an American Icon and is the symbol of pure inventiveness, pioneering spirit and individualism. However, the world’s most recognized bike, the Harley Davidson, was actually invented out of laziness.

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Back in the late 1800’s, the bicycle enabled people to get where they wanted to go faster and farther with millions of people all over the United States exploring every corner of America using the humble two-wheeled bicycle. Nevertheless, that wasn’t quite enough for William S. Harley, a draftsman at the tender age of 21 and pattern maker Arthur Davidson who had just turned 20.

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In 1901, both of these young men, who had been friends for years, embarked on a mission to, “Take the work out of bicycling.” Their dream, which is still going strong today, was to build a bicycle with a motor that would allow folks to travel fast and reliably without using pedal power.

After sitting in the garage one night, William and Arthur realized that their dream could not be achieved without a mechanic, so they asked Arthur’s brother Walter to lend them a hand. Arthur was a railroad machinist who quit his job after the boys promised him a ride on their motorcycle.

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Once Walter arrived in Milwaukee, he quickly discovered that he would have to help the two build the motorcycle before he could actually take it for a ride, but regardless, he stayed anyway. William, the oldest of the Davidson brothers who was a foreman in the tool room at the Milwaukee railroad shop also decided to step up and pitch in.

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Work began in a 10 by 15 foot wooden shed with the name, “The Harley Davidson Motor Company,” painted on the door. The shed sat in the back of the Davidson home. Harley had top billing because, after all, it was his idea to build the motorcycle in the first place.

 

Travels with HarleyThe first three Harley Davidson motorcycles were produced by the four men in 1903 and, like early motorbikes at the time, had a single-cylinder engine, a bicycle crank, a leather drive belt, and of course, pedals. To start the bike, all you had to do was pedal, until the compression had built up, and ride away.

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The next few years were all about development with the partners building three more motorcycles in 1904 and another seven in 1905. Thanks to the growth of the company, the partners had to move to a factory that they built in Milwaukee on Juneau Ave in 1907.

So, what happens next? We will share more about the Harley Davidson partnership in next weeks, “Travels with Harley blog.”

Things You Might Not Know About Harley Davidson

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Harley Davidson is a name known all over the world, but what even the most enthusiastic motorcycle fans may not know is how unique that history actually is.

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In 1901, William S. Harley created a blueprint for a motorized bicycle. In 1903, William and Arthur Davidson built the first bike that was made available to the public. A short time later, Arthur’s brothers, Walter and William joined the pair. William quit his job with the railroad in Milwaukee to become part of the Harley Davidson motor company.

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The very first Harley Davidson was built in a small wooden factory, 10 x 15 to be exact. The name was crudely carved into the front door.

The first buyer of a Harley Davidson was a friend of Arthur and William, Henry Meyer. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was the first person ever recorded to purchase a new Harley Davidson from the small wood factory in 1903.

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C.H. Lang in Chicago, Illinois set up the first Harley Davidson dealership in 1904, the same year that the first motorcycle was built.

Not one to rest on its Laurels, the company entered its first race a year later in 1905 winning first place.

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In 1906, Harley Davidson moved shop and opened its new plant hiring six employees. That same year the company released its first catalog. In 1910, Harley hired its first full time worker.

In 1910, Harley Davidson placed first in every race including speed, endurance and the hill climb.

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Janet Davidson was the first woman to sit on and ride a Harley Davidson. She was the Davidson brothers Aunt who helped with the pin striping and writing the name Harley Davidson on the bike.

Harley Davidson earned the nickname, “Hogs,” in 1920 because the race team used a pig as a mascot. After every win, the driver would lift a real pig on the tank and drive his victory lap. The Bar and Shield Harley Davidson logo was painted in 1911.

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Always a cult classic, Malcolm Forbes, founder of the magazine, loved the motorcycles so much that he owned fifty Harley Davidson’s and gave just as many away as gifts.

In 1998, Brazil became the first country outside of the United States to open a Harley Davidson factory.

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The most expensive Harley Davidson motorcycle, the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide, will set you back $40,000.