I began a post a day ago regarding the history of women in motorcycling, and ended it with a couple of photographs that my mother and I had found of my grandmother. She was in moto-garb and astride an old Harley Davidson. Amazed when we found these, it was a total surprise to both my mother and me. We were going through Grandma’s belongings together after she had died, not an easy job, but the discovery of this photo album was extraordinary. What stuck both of us, is that nothing had ever been mentioned about this trip, though here it was in all its glory, presented lovingly in a leather photo album complete with captions under each photo. Sadly, there was nothing noting anyone’s name, but one, Frankie, who was the other female companion/rider. I do wish there had been something to hint more at who the people were, the time of year, the route, the roads, as I had a plethora of unanswered questions!
I have to say though, that this pictures captures her impish smile and let’s me know that she was indeed content making this trip even though she never shared it. It was her secret excursion while a single lady, possibly her last vestige to her adventurous self. The picture makes me smile, you know a kind of secret knowing smile between friends. *wink wink, nudge nudge*
It appears my Grandmother and her friends rode the Harley motorcycles from the Bay Area, over to Yosemite, Tioga Pass, down to Mono Lake and then back over Hwy 50, which at that time seems to be dirt. I have tried to find information regarding when it was paved but alas, have found little actual fact. If anyone has any info, I’d love to hear from you, but for now everyone knows fiction embellishes fact 😉
I enjoy conjuring up stories to fill in the blanks, and I suppose that is exactly what I will eventually have to do, create an wonderful story involving the characters from this treasure trove of photos. They speak and I listen to their nuances both in expression and scene. Whatever their silent tale portrays, I know it’s steeped in excitement and adventure.
Their adventure filled with hardships and bad roads by our current standards, it’s simply amazing how these riders endured. I am proud to be of the same stock, but seriously doubt I would have been as adventurous! BRAVO GRANDMA, you were an amazing woman, one I wish that I had really gotten to know.
Photographs, in no particular order, since I have no idea how they traveled, however some of the photographs were captioned in her album. I have placed the captions where applicable.
Click pix for larger image…
My Grandmother’s friend Frankie,
Her title-Vanity Fair
Well, there you have it, the amazing secret saga of Vera Evangeline War, my grandmother. Someday, I hope to share the rest of the story with you and give some closure to this post, but whatever happens, I now know that my motorcycle passion has most certainly been passed down genetically.
The final shot is my mother and grandmother in San Francisco where I was born. My mother was probably about 17 at the time the photo was taken. This is the grandmother I knew…the moto-grandma, was long buried away and silent.