Crossing from Oregon to California was a true highlight of the trip. We had been running all day, and I was at the back of the pack and had to pull over by myself and get a picture with the sign. I obviously wasn’t the first as there was a great puddle of oil where I parked.
Riding the Cannonball hasn’t been the most environmentally friendly activity I’ve ever done, however, somehow it seems worth it to see history recreated and to understand how far we’ve come.
The final night was in Cotati, a suburb of sorts for the City of Santa Rosa, CA, and about 20 miles from my home. It was a fabulous greeting with some former employees, and now friends, from Golden Gate Harley-Davidson and my neighbor Charles who greatly helped building the bike. We had a wedding on my farm that night, and it was surreal to return to my farm after securing the bike, changing clothes and heading out into the night to make sure everything was going smoothly and that the vendors were behaving. I was back in my life with a day left in the Cannonball, and it was wonderful and weird.
The mornings ride to San Francisco was circuitous at best, heading back out to the coast to see Tamales Bay and further into Stinson Beach. Lovely ride, groups sticking together now as we were limping along and everyone wanted to savor the moment of being together one last time.
Through Sausalito and a bunch of surprised tourists to fort Baker and the staging for a panoramic photo in front of the most beautiful structure in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve traveled across that bridge maybe a 1000 times and have never tired of the beauty spanning the gate. Now we were waiting around for a good hour and everyone just wanted to ride. Crossing it was to be a highlight of the trip.
The actual ride across the Golden Gate was a little anti-climatic, at least for me. So many other riders had joined in at this point I was only concerned with my safety and the safety of my fellow Cannonballers. Everyone on the Cannonball was a rider, a true rider, and I was totally comfortable riding next to any of them on a bike that needs a runway to stop. But the looky loos, they scared me. I didn’t know if they truly knew how to ride, wether or not they had a couple of beers at lunch or if they were just a friggin’ idiot. There was a lot of idiots actually. Why they couldn’t ride behind us was a mystery.
After crossing the gate we were escorted by some SFPD solos, what they call the motorcycle cops, and there was some dignity in that, and then we crossed the SF line and all hell broke loose. The SF Motorcycle Club did a great job of trying to escort us to South SF from there, but again the other riders made the whole of it insane. I’m amazed no one went down.
We turn a corner into the industrial park that holds Dudley Perkins H-D, my first Harley dealer when they were actually in San Francicso, and there is a huge crowd in the thousands. What a treat and I was lucky enough to see Abi and Anni at the corner with Anni screaming with glee. I was home, the ride was done and it was a fabulous release.
I am a Cannonballer. No one can ever take that away from me. I say that with incredible pride not because of the difficulty of the endeavor, but because of the quality of the individuals who are also Cannonballers. It is an elite group of men and women of whom I have the highest regard for, and am humbled to be associate with. There will be one last true Cannonball in two years. See you all then and thanks for riding along. It’s time to make wine.