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A Harley's tsunami journey from Japan to Canada now a memorial

October 29, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The "tsunami motorcyle" went on display Wednesday at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. It was swept into the Pacific Ocean during the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan.
The "tsunami motorcyle" went on display Wednesday at the Harley-Davidson… (Harley-Davidson Motorcycle…)

The battered and rusted motorcycle that now stands at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee traveled more than 4,000 miles in the Pacific Ocean after it was swept away during the deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.

The 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train, which washed up more than a year later on an island beach off British Columbia, Canada, carries a deeper, more poignant message about the loss of 20,000 people who died or remain missing.

"This motorcycle has an amazing story to tell, and we are honored to be able to share it," Bill Davidson, vice president of the company, says in a statement from the museum.

When the bike washed ashore, it was still inside a storage container and had an intact license plate. The plate was traced to owner Ikuo Yokoyama, who still lives in the hard-hit Miyagi Prefecture.

He declined Harley-Davidson's offer to return it and instead asked that it be put on display exactly as it was found to serve as a memorial to those "whose lives were lost or forever changed" by the disaster, according to the statement.

The bike went on display Wednesday with an explanation of its disastrous back story. The Harley-Davidson Museum at 400 W. Canal St. open 10  a.m.-6 p.m. daily and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is $16 for adults, $10 for children 5 to 17. (877) 436-8738.

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