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PostHeaderIcon One Bike. Two Guys. 3K Miles. All For a Great Cause

Tweet me!

My name is Bob Stratton and I have lived in Walnut Creek for more than 20 years and am about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

On June 1, I began driving the support vehicle for my childhood friend, David Bieber (left) of San Diego as he rides his completely restored WWII Harley Davidson motorcycle (also left) from San Diego to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.

We'll travel more than 3,000 miles to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, a program that provides assistance for veterans who have been been injured as a result of their military service.

Along the route, we'll stop and David will make presentations at veterans’ hospitals and centers in California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, and D.C.

The road trip has been a longtime in the works.

In 1992, David found an old Harley Davidson (model WLA45 for you gearheads) built for use by the U.S. Army in WWII, in a chicken coop in Minnesota. He bought it and brought it back to his workplace at Paladin Aviation, an aircraft restoration company at Brown Field, a small airport near the California-Mexico border.

Like all good ideas, this one took a few years to get rolling, but he never gave up on the plan to restore the bike to its original condition.

Besides being a pilot, David is a lifelong motorcyclist and mechanic. In 2009, he began accumulating original parts for his bike with the goal that all the components were to be authentic, right down to the grease fittings and gaskets.

It took him more than three years of locating and amassing the parts, cleaning, painting, cataloging, labeling and boxing up the parts before he was ready to assemble the bike last year.

His dream was to work along with his three sons and assemble it as a team in one session, and make a video of the event for posterity.

Along with my friend Mike Montany, a Concord resident and videographer, we hit the road to San Diego with a carload of video equipment to capture the assembly-- both in real time and time-lapse.

Last June, his dream came true when he became the proud owner of the only known running WLA45 made from original specs and parts.

Because David wasn't interested in selling or donating the motorcycle but wanted to do something to benefit from the fruits of his labor, he decided to raise funds and awareness for veterans. He is also honoring his late father who was a Navy man who served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

He hopes to ride it most of the way back home.  We’ll see.  He’s almost 62 and these bikes were designed for combat, not long distance travel.  I’ll be there to assist in any case.  And we do have a trailer.

Wish us luck!-- BS

To help David reach his personal goal of $45,000, click HERE to go to his Facebook page and donate. To see the YouTube video about the process click HERE. David would also like people to LIKE and SHARE both on their personal Facebook pages.

 

Bob Stratton is a retired white collar guy who has taken up acting and can now be seen singing and dancing on East Bay stages. In his spare time, he enjoys doing one-handed push ups and other athletic endeavors. He just finished running his 32nd consecutive Bay to Breakers race.

Last Updated (Sunday, 02 June 2013 18:53)

 

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