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A winning poker hand gave David Day a shot at buying this 1931 Harley-Davidson VL from his wife’s uncle. Day is seen here on his property on Badger Mountain.

Classic Bike

Comes With a Classic Backstory


ou never know where casual conversation could lead you. Thirty-three years ago, it took David Day down the steps of a basement in Ohio. One hand of poker later, he owned a 1931 Harley-Davidson VL motorcycle. The bike has won numerous awards, and is its own conversation starter whenever Day, who lives off the power grid on 130 acres atop Badger Mountain near Waterville, rides into town. Day, 60, was in Port Clinton, Ohio, on that lucky day visiting his future in-laws

Wheels of wonder

to ask permission to marry his wife, Julia. They visited her Uncle Hank one evening. “We were playing cards, having some beers,” says Day. “He said he had a Harley in his basement, and I’m thinking, ‘Sure you do.’ “We went down there and, sure enough, the old ’31 was sitting in the corner. It had been sitting there quite a while. It was covered with cobwebs. “He said if I won the next game, I might have the opportunity to buy it … And I won the next hand.”

Day was quick to offer the man $1,200 for the old Harley. He has since restored the bike to mint condition, and has turned down a $15,000 offer for it. Uncle Hank was the Harley’s original owner and “bought the bike because his brother had one,” says Day. “He was a hell-raiser and a hell of a poker player. He rode the hell out of the thing,” before storing it in his cellar. At the time he scored the 1931 VL, Day, a general contractor, already owned a 1934 Harley-Davidson VLD. He’d previously had a 1974 Harley Sportster,

Story By sharon Altaras photos By mike bonnicksen

Foothills Magazine Sep-Oct 2013  
Foothills Magazine Sep-Oct 2013  

The premier lifestyle magazine for Wenatchee and North Central Washington