Harder-Walker Harley Expedition 1949
In 1949, two friends in California, Paul Harder and Dick Walker spent nine months planning a trip from Long Beach, CA to Rio de Janeiro. They gave consideration to using 4-wheel drive vehicles, as well as other motorcycle models. They agreed on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a 1941 FL and 1947 EL. Both bikes were already well-used, but their confidence was high.
The quality of gasoline varied as they progressed, which sometimes meant hot running for the engines. At times, they averaged 60 mph on good roads. At other points, a road might simply dwindle and end. So they had to make due and go overland.
The adventure tour of Central and South America departed from Long Beach, CA in the Winter of 1949. They left with 250 lbs of supplies, “wads of passports, health documents and tourist information.” In southern Mexico, over 100 of those pounds was discarded.
Harder and Walker also outfitted their motorcycles with auxiliary gas tanks, mounted on the front.