Time to celebrate! They made it to Carlsbad!! Tomorrow as they all start home, it will be the time to relax and reflect on the journey they shared, the friends they made, the country they saw along the way and the family they’re a part of… the Cannonball family. It’s in their blood now and I’m sure the addiction has passed on to Justin and Jared, because I know Steve is completely hooked! It’s pitting man against machine to accomplish this ENDURANCE Run. It’s the realization that you built this beautiful machine. It’s the fact that you start from boxes and boxes of parts. It’s holding each and every part in your hand, not just once, but over and over. It’s the completion of the build and hearing the motor start for the very first time to riding across the finish line. It’s the tears streaming down your face because you have done what you set out to do. It’s the whole range of emotions that you deal with beginning to end. It’s what’s known as the Race of the Century.
IT IS …….THE MOTORCYCLE CANNONBALL!
Thank you Lonnie and Jason for a wonderful experience, for all your hard work, and for sharing it with our family.
Here’s a few more pictures that others have posted that I’ve found and added to our site. Thanks to all who have taken them! Thanks to our Cannonball family for making the trip so memorable for the Wigwam Injuns from West Virginia! Only two more days to go til Carlsbad! Go Indians!!!!!
Steve getting to meet Robert’s son, Ian! What a fine young man!
Steve with Dawn Hamilton. Thanks for keeping him on his toes and for taking so many pictures of my guys!
Everyone who rides the sweep bus gets to autograph it! Here’s Justin’s signature from the beginning of the Cannonball!
Day 12 was to take the guys in the west entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park and out the south entrance as part of the day’s route. As Steve put it, we spent $25 and saw nothing (even though we’ve been there a couple times). He and the boys had been looking forward to enjoying it on their bikes! Instead, they rode through morning pouring rain, fog, mist, and wind finally ending up into a fogged in Grand Canyon National Park by lunch. However, things didn’t get much better until late evening when the wet, wind-whipped crew made it into Willams, AZ
Justin and Jared went to a pizza parlor Wednesday night and met up with some Navaho Indians whom they ate with. They were in awe of the boys being identical twins and the fact that they were riding Indian motorcycles. In their culture it is extremely rare for identical twins and they have a legend that a set of identical hero twins saved the world. Their names were “Slayer of Monsters” and “Born for Water”. Justin and Jared explained about their journey and the Motorcycle Cannonball and so they were given those Indian names. They put their Indian names on Cali and Lexi Thursday morning.
Here are some pictures from the road from the past couple days.
This morning’s ride from Durango, Colorado to Page, Arizona started out at a temperature of 51 degrees and RAIN. YUCK! They made a quick stop at Four Corners Monument (New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona). All 4 made it in again today! Here’s a few shots that I’ve found from others of our crew. Tomorrow they will travel 195 miles to Williams, Arizona making a stop at the Grand Canyon National Park. GO INDIANS!
Despite the appearance of the grim reaper at this morning’s send off for the guys, all 4 made it in on time after the climb up and over Wolf Creek Pass at an altitude of 10,857. They are in Durango, Colorado tonight. The desert will be the next obstacle. Hopefully, temps will cool down!
Last night found the guys working on a variety of problems. Steve’s magneto burnt up on Monday’s ride and had to be replaced. He kept it from completely crapping out by placing cool wet rags on the magneto at every gas stop to cool the magneto down enough so that he could start it without kicking himself to death. He was successful in getting it in. Then, Justin’s replacement oil bag, split apart and began puking oil at another gas stop. Jared ran in the mini mart, got a roll of duct tape and they repaired it the best they could with the oily mess it was. Six quarts of oil later Justin made it in and Cali got her old oil bag re-installed. Steve had previously changed out that one as it was really leaking. He had covered it in epoxy and left it to dry in case they needed it again. And they did! Everything on all the bikes needed tightened, fastened or just fiddled with. Brakes were checked and re-checked in prep for today’s ride off the mountains. SUCCESS!!!!! Go Indians!!!! Another full day’s ride, 264 more miles in for all 4 bikes.
The Cannonball riders, while seriously competing with each other, are also a close knit group and they help out each other, whether it be with advice, parts, repairs, equipment, tools, hauling bikes, or just looking out for each other on the route. They are a rough looking bunch most days out on the run, but each and every one has a heart of gold.
Just talked to Steve and he’s finished with servicing and going through the checklist for his bike and the boys are almost done with theirs. Tomorrow’s ride will take them 262 miles to Page, Arizona. They will make a brief stop at the Four Corners Monument (New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.) Did I just type Arizona? ARIZONA, then CALIFORNIA!! Almost there!!!!!
Have you ever met someone and in an instant you knew they were special? That they made such an impression on you that you knew you wouldn’t ever forget them? That it made your trip more amazing, more fun, and you just bonded with them. That’s what the 2014 Cannonball was like for Steve, Buck and Dick. They met a motley crew from the west coast –Bill, Craig, Sean, Crash and Robert –that just clicked with the hillbillies from West Virginia. They set up and pitted together every night and just shared stories and had such fun that the whole adventure was more memorable and special because of sharing it with each other. They were looking forward to seeing part of the crew again in the 2016 Cannonball and spending time with them. However, tragically, Bill Buckingham, was killed in an accident just two weeks before the start of the Cannonball. It was quickly decided by his Cannonball family that knew this great, humble man that something must be done to honor his memory during the 2016 Cannonball. At the opening night banquet, it was announced that every rider would carry Bill’s number #40 across the country in this amazing adventure. You will be sorely missed, but never forgotten and you will be an angel among us.
During the 2014 Cannonball, Bill and Sean were on a Cannonball Race poster riding their choppers racing a train. Bill and Sean autographed one of the posters and gave it to the guys for the museum. So, it brought chills on Saturday night when an emotional Steve called to tell me that it had been his turn to carry Bill’s number that day, and as fate would have it, they caught a train today, kept pace with it, and he had Jared take his picture to send to the guys. It was even more fitting as Saturday was Bill’s memorial service and it found him still racing a train! Godspeed and Rest in Peace Brother.
Yesterday we had some pretty long and flat running coming through Kansas. However we did have some excitement. Some of the back roads we traveled on were a little rough. Dad’s head lamp vibrated loose (but he noticed it and saved it before it came completely off), but I was not so lucky with my kicker pedal (it’s gone for good). Fortunately, we ran into an old friend in Dodge City who had some extra kicker pedals at his house. Thank you Roddy Newland!
Here is Dad riding next to a freight train. We rode next to this train for about 30 miles and ran almost the exact same pace.