Saturday, August 22, 2020

attended Guinness biker rally yesterday near Birmingham, Alabama, that was to die for

George Barber

Yesterday brought welcome real time social relief adventure from cooped up Covid-19 existence and wrangling about that and other matters online. My Key West amigo Todd German flew through Birmingham en route to visit his daughter elsewhere, to spend the night and catch up with me. I learned of perhaps more important attraction when Todd called from the motel on the outskirts of Leeds, U.S. A., about 15 miles east of Birmingham, on the road to Hotlanta (Atlanta). Todd is a serious collector and restorer of vintage cars and motorcycles. Further details provided in his Facebook post and reader comments.
One of the most amazing museums I have ever experienced. Pictures do not begin to capture the scale. Was great spending time with Sloan who happens to know the owner. “They shared a love interest years ago, Sloan won.” That’s a story for him tell.

  • Adam Royse Wow have you never been!? A must see.
  • Bill Murphy Incredible! I want to go. That steam powered bone shaker would take dedication to ride.
  • Sloan Bashinsky Er, it was a friend of my then wife who loved George Barber, my wife simply knew him as a friend. George's vintage car and motorcycle museum and the surrounding grounds and race tract are beyond spectacular.
    • Todd German Sloan Bashinsky thanks for the clarification but I’ll leave it as stands to draw people in. Your story about paying off the art loan is still worth telling.
    • Sloan Bashinsky Okay. After met my 2nd wife to be, as we got to know each other, she said she had quit painting. She was a well-known local watercolorist. After some time, she told me that she got tight for money and George Barber loaned her $3,000 and she was to repay him with her next two paintings. She quit painting. She never did like trying to sell her work. So, I went to my bank and got a cashier's check for $3,000 made payable to George and gave it to her and told her to go see him and pay him back, which she did. It was slow, but in stages she returned to her gift and ended up painting a great deal in Birmingham. She won first in shows at Pensacola and Disney World, was given a blue ribbon and prize money check by Mickey Mouse himself, which I did not tell Todd today.

      Eventually, we moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and she fell in love with it, got into a prestigious gallery and still is in that gallery, i think. She has more talent her right hand than you can shake a stick at. She never completed high school. Her parents sent her to the Birmingham School of Fine Arts, where she excelled and met very good local artists who helped her develop. When we were married, we hung out in Islamorda a couple of times a year. We met the watercolorist Millard Wells, whose wife Jean ran his gallery there. My wife traveled with Millard and some of his other students to Key West one day, where they painted on the sidewalk and he instructed. Her artist name is Jane Shea. We had some really good and funny times with Millard and jean and our mutual flats fishing guide friend Rick Ruoff.
    • Sloan Bashinsky There was one other thing I told you today at the museum. Back when I was with Jane and practicing law in Birmingham, I bumped into George one evening at an Arby's, as recall. He had driven there in one of his elite cars, perhaps an E-Jag, a Ferrari, I don't recall. But I recall as we talked, I rested my right foot on it's front bumper. Later, I heard from Jane that had really bothered George..I felt embarrassed, then got over that and told Jane, if George was so worried about that car, why'd he drive it on the streets of Birmingham at all? I just now wonder if that somehow convinced George that he needed a museum for his cars?
  • Sloan Bashinsky It is not possible to begin to imagine the size of this museum and the seemingly infinite variety of restored vintage motorcycles, as well as quite a few restored vintage mostly sports cars. Todd told me the motorcycle part of the museum is in Guinness.
  • Sloan Bashinsky Off I-20, about 15 miles east of Birmingham.
  • Donna Johnson It truly is an amazing place!
  • Sloan Bashinsky The museum required face masks and when Todd and I reached the front counter, a masked employee walked over to us and put a device to our foreheads and took our temperature. I asked him if I had temperature. Normal, he said. I said I just wanted to make sure I still had temperature. Then, the amazing adventure began.

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