NOTE: The descriptions of the places in this guide were accurate at the time the articles were posted. Please be advised that you should call ahead before traveling to any of them.
York Harley Davidson Open House
as Cabbage Patch Doll lovers have Baby Land General Hospital, Teddy Bear
lovers have Build-A-Bear Stores, Harley-Davidson enthusiasts can witness
the birth of these mighty machines by touring the Harley-Davidson largest
plant located on 1425 Eden Rd, in York, PA. My own interest was peaked
when I noticed that my bike had been assembled there. So I finally decided
the time had come to make my pilgrimage.
If you decide to make this trip, however, there are a few guidelines
to keep in mind. For safety and security reason, children under 12, open-toe
shoes, knives and cameras are not permitted inside the factory. You must
show a photo ID, turn off all cell-phones and pagers and pass through
a metal detector. After viewing the introductory movie, the self-guided
tour of the plant's manufacturing and assembly operations begins as you
are handed safety glasses. It was at this point, that I began to wonder
if it was worth the trip. Rest assured, I quickly discovered that it was
well worth all the effort.
first impression was that it smelled of machining oil, welding fumes,
and cleaning rags much the same as any other factory I'd been in before.
What greeted my eyes once they adjusted to the light was quite a surprise
though. All around me were parts in various states of creation, but instead
of having shapes that barely hinted at what odd machine part they would
become, what I saw were things that I instantly recognized as being parts
for my bike.
A different points on the tour I found tables set up for the tour that
normally showed 4 stages of a part's manufacture. For example a steel
rod, a bent and welded piece of metal resembling very little, an assembly
that was probably a kick stand, and the chromed end product ready to hold
up an Electra glide just like my own. What was most impressive though
was all the fenders. Good grief! It seemed there were enough fenders to
replace every one in service.
Past all the parts manufacturing came the assembly area. Heavy hooks
suspended from long overhead chains each contained a motorcycle in progressive
stages of assembly. Again, I recognized the beginnings of an Electra glide,
and a sign stated that from start to finish it took less than two hours
to assemble them. I couldn't help but contrast in my mind the hours charged
for the last service I'd had done on mine.
The visit concluded with one of the highlights of the tour - a display
of this year's motorcycles. To my surprise, you were actually allowed
to live out your fantasies by actually sitting on them if you desired.
Of course, the visit wouldn't be complete without browsing through the
gift shop in search of the perfect souvenir.
addition to the factory tour, those of you who are fortunate to go during
the Annual Open House during the fall of the year are in for a three-day
extravaganza that is bound to satisfy even the greatest "Hog Hunger".
Parades, parties, seminars, live entertainment, demo rides and vendors
come together to make event to remember. Even hurricane Isabel didn't
dampen the spirits of attendees this year's 19th Open House on September
18th, 19th, and 20th. Mark your calendars now for next year's big event.
For those of you who don't want to wait, you can tour the factory Monday
through Friday at regular intervals between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Tickets
are free and are given on a first-come, first-served basis. The tour lasts
approximately one hour. It is recommended that you call prior to your
visit as tour dates and times may change due to manufacturing requirements
or other events. Please note reservations are required for groups of 10
or more people.
For more information on Harley -Davidson factory tours, please call (877)883-1450
or visit www.yorkopenhouse.com