The 2004 Harley Davidson Night Train that was recovered on an island off the coast of Canada will make it's way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin rather than back to it's owner in Japan.
The motorcycle, which was stored in a large container along with a few other items, was swept away by the devastating tsunami that took more than 15,000 lives in Japan last year. It floated all the way across the Pacific Ocean to Canada. Heavily damaged by the salt water, the motorcycle was still intact, complete with a Japanese license plate. The Japanese consulate tracked down the owner, who had survived the disaster.
Originally, plans were made by the Harley Davidson Company to have the motorcycle restored and returned to it's owner, Ikuo Yokoyama. Upon contacting the owner, Harley Davidson was requested by Yokoyama that rather than return the motorcycle, that they build a memorial and display the machine in their Milwaukee motorcycle museum.
“It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year,” said Yokoyama. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to Peter Mark, the finder of my motorcycle. Due to circumstances caused by the disaster, I have been so far unable to visit him in Canada to convey my gratitude.”
“My heart really goes out to Ikuo Yokoyama and all the survivors of the Tōhoku earthquake and Tsunami for everything that was taken from them. I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss of family, friends and community,” said Mark. “I think it is fitting that the Harley which was swept across the Pacific Ocean by the Tsunami will end up in the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to that tragic event. It has an interesting and powerful story to convey preserved in its current state.
“I look forward to one day meeting Mr. Yokoyama face to face. I would also like to express my gratitude to all those that have taken part in the retrieval of the motorcycle, especially Ralph Tieleman, Steve Drane, and Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada.”
“I’ve always felt Harley-Davidson motorcycles have a soul, and their owners obviously have an emotional attachment to their bikes. I just wanted to reunite this bike with its owner,” said Steve Drane of Steve Drane Harley-Davidson in Victoria, B.C.
Harley Davidson Vice President Bill Davidson said he was honored to build the memorial and preserve the motorcycle in it's current condition.