Day 2 In The Rain

Stage 2 and 3.

Marty and Chrys stay with the bike till 5 am and we leave for 320 miles in the rain at 7 am.  The bike is running, but all we have time for is a quick gas up and go.  Everyone is shot, but happy as I blast off with Scott.

The bike immediately starts popping and we both suffer through another 45 miles before shutting down in a massive rain shower, rolling into a gas station with two or three other bikes not running.  This is a race of attrition, and endurance race, and keeping this vintage of bike running is going to be a major challenge for everyone.

I work on the bike with Steve, forgot last name, another of the brain Trust along for the ride and to help the riders.  We do everything we can and the bike won’t start.  It makes no sense to Steve, nor anyone else, as the bike has fuel and spark and on and on.

Fast forward to another night on the bike and finding out the distributor gear ate up the generator gear, and the next day, in the  andrental car on the way to Milwaukee and the bike in the we essentially call the world’s recourse for parts without success.

At the Harley Museum we park next to a guy in the set-up area in a vintage hot-rod truck and he turns out to be one of the world’s experts on this bike vintage.  We jump in the rental, race out to his farm some 40 miles away, and he pulls three generators for a ’23 from his stash and the bike is now running after another sleepless night.  Mike Lange saves the day.

Off to the races!

Day 1

On the road.

Day one and we take off for a short jaunt to the Motorcyclopedia Museum in Newburgh for coffee and breakfast.  Several hundred motorcycle enthusiasts are waiting for us as we turn off into the lot.  Big fun stacking some 75 bikes handlebar to handlebar in front of the museum.

After coffee and breakfast, we’re supposed to go off in some kind of order, but in reality it’s a bit of madness in the parking lot as the vintage bikes get fired up and we take off through the cheering crowd.  It was a lot of fun and set spirits very high.

I meet up with my riding partner, Scott Jacobs, and his wife Sharon tagging along on her Sportster.  We have a glorious ride through upstate New York and pass flat out gorgeous farms and ride through rolling hills as green as emeralds.  In Northern California it pretty much stops raining for six months and our hills get scorched a golden brown.  Great for grapes, of course, but I sometimes forget that summer is a green time of year elsewhere.

There has been a leap of faith concerning our bike, and in reality it isn’t quite ready for the vigors of the Cannonball.  Banging down the road, about 100 miles out from the start, and I begin to have some popping and backfiring.  I ride through it, trying to let the bike clear itself, and eventually have to pull over and see what’s going on.  We fried the battery, the relay installed to check overcharging not quite handling its duty.

I bum a battery off Randy Aaron of Cycle Visions of San Diego, another Cannonballer and Hamster friend of Scott, and we head off again with the battery in my vintage luggage and wired through it to the battery case – the new one too large to fit.  Further down the road and the popping and backfiring get severe, and at about the same time a bolt rattles loose from my kickstand and the bike has to be leaned against a wall to hold it up. It’s all part of the break-in we never had time for, and shortly after the bike just stops running.  Scott and Sharon have been great sticking with me as my bike slows them down, but I make them leave this time as I rightly guess my day is done.

I end my day in a chase vehicle with the ’23 in a trailer.  We ended up doing around 107 miles with the bike never quite dialed I, but I end up in 56th place out of 75 or so.  We are not alone.  These should have been break in miles in Wine Country, but it is what it is and everyone is here to get on down the road.  It’ll be a long night.

New York, NY – so nice they had to say it twice.

Newburgh actually, and the first time ever in NY state without heading into Manhattan.  Through the rain and rush hour traffic we did see the mist of a skyline as we drove by on our way to Newburgh.

First team member to make it was Chrys, and he came all the way from Brazil.  Marty, Deb and the van show up sometime around 3 am after a four day slog across the country and suffering through storm after storm after accident and traffic.

The bikes are here and in perfect shape and so we are all happy.

We are highly unorganized first thing in the morning as Marty and I finished the bike around ten pm the night before he left, and after securing the bikes in the van, essentially threw everything else in where we could.

The bike starts after some prep and off we go.  It’s the first miles put on the new build and Marty and I are very nervous.  When I tell some of the veteran bike builders and riders of this vintage this story, they are all a little taken back and concerned.  They know we’re not ready, but we have two days to get her dialed in and I’m not as concerned as I probably should be.  Jump in and swim has been my calling from day one. and this is just another adventure in a lifetime of adventure.



New York here we come.

Around midnight last night Marty and I finished packing the van and off he went with Scott and my motorcycle babies.  We will be breaking the bike in while in New York, and frankly, on the road.

’23 in repose

She fired up fresh from the rebuild in a fury, and it took most of the day for Marty and my neighbor Charles to dial it in to where I could actually ride it.  Damn.  Sounds great, and needs a lot of fine tuning by Sept 7.

What follows is a photos from the packing.  It wasn’t easy getting two Cannonball bikes in a van, but I never lost faith.  When there are no options but to charge forward, there is always a way.

Ready to go

Marty packing in

Loaded for bear, and yes, the cooler is full of wine