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1949 Harley Davidson FL Hydra-Glide "pan head" motorcycle 1949 Harley Davidson FL Hydra-Glide "pan head" motorcycle by Phil Sinner

I decided to write an article about my 1949 HD pan head, and a trip I took to Montana years ago. I had started out in Spokane, Washington for a 7-day motorcycle ride by myself. I had restored my Hydra-Glide to brand new condition and was ready for anything I would encounter on the road, so I thought. I was a little concerned about theft of the bike because of its rare status and new condition.

The first day I rode through a little town in the Idaho Panhandle, I believe it was Wallace. It seemed to be a town frozen in time. There were mines and museums and a nicely preserved old downtown area. I seen several other motorcycle riders in the area, and even though it was a hot day, all the riders were dressed down in their motorcycle leathers and many were wearing skull and bones motorcycle helmets. Many of them looked over my pan head. They wanted to see every detail of the antique motorcycle. After talking for a while, I decided to hit the road.

The next stop on my journey was Regis, Montana. It was a beautiful motorcycle ride. The Hi-way getting there followed the St. Regis River. I could see an occasional trout jumping out of the water. After riding around the area, I decided to stay overnight. I rented a little cabin close to the river, it was small, only about 12’ X 12’, but it was sufficient for a lone motorcycle rider. I think the management was a little upset when I rode the motorcycle into the cabin. But they didn’t seem to want to push the issue. You can’t leave a bike like that sitting outside, it is just too much of a temptation.

After breakfast, I headed down Hi-way 200 towards Paradise, Montana. I saw many big horn sheep and mountain goats. It is a beautiful Road to travel on a motorcycle ride. I turned onto state road 28 heading to Hot Springs. I stopped along the way to give my 49 pan head a little rest, as I don’t like to push my “baby”. I put my bedroll down on the ground next to a little creek. I laid on my back and just looked around at all the wildlife and the bright blue Montana Sky. I was very peaceful and I nodded of to sleep. What happened next, I will never forget! I was awakened by something rubbing against my face. I opened my eyes and could not believe what I was looking at! It was a great big Grizzly Bear licking my face! I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. After a few minutes, the bear started to walk away, slowly.

Then the bear did something that I could not ignore. He stood up and put his front paws on my 49 Harley Davidson pan head. Even though I was in fear of my life, there was no way I could let my “baby” get hurt. I started throwing rocks at the bear and I was amazed that he started running away! As soon as he was about 50 yards away, I jumped on my motorcycle, fired her up and took off like a bolt of lightning. When I got down the road a few miles, I pulled over again, as I was shaking like a leaf! I think I was in shock, I just could not believe that bear let me live. My trip to Montana was taking on a new twist.
I will write more about my adventure on my 1949 Harley Davidson FL Hydra-Glide "pan head" motorcycle, at a later date. Believe it or not, it gets even more interesting than this.

Phil Sinner is the CEO of Home Biz
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