Romney Middle School Students Along For the Ride

For the last two Cannonballs, the 7th grade students at Romney Middle School in Romney, WV,  have been along for the ride through Shawn Groves’ US Geography classes.  They have followed Steve’s progress across the United States  learning about the states he travels through, the cities, the national parks and many other fun facts about the US as he rides from coast to coast.  Then, upon his return, he has taken his bike to school for a day and answered questions about his trip.  It has been an amazing experience for both the students and Steve.  During the 2016 Cannonball, Steve added to their learning experience.  He made daily videos about his trip, filled with what they had to do to keep the bikes running, fun facts about where he was and just videos of scenery, like crossing the Mojave Dessert.

So, with the 2018 Cannonball approaching, Steve and his wife, Dee Dee, were anxious to come up with something  to get the students even more involved.  They met with Principal John Watson and came up with a plan.  Steve was going to let the students name his 2018 bike and come up with a mascot or something to add to his bike to travel across the United States with him.  But to do this, that meant that this year’s 6th grade students would be the ones that he had to talk to as they would be in Mr. Groves’ 7th grade class during September of 2018.  Here’s a copy of the assignment that was handed out to the 6th graders last fall. img_2260-1

Once the contest was complete and the votes tallied, Steve’s 2018 Motorcycle Cannonball bike will be named, “Pride Runner,” in honor of the RMS Pioneers and their Pioneer Pride school spirit.  The winning logo was drawn by Zoey Herriott and will be placed on the “Pride Runner.”  Here is the logo:


Steve and I went to school for a day and spoke to all of Ms. April Corbin’s 6th grade US History classes about the history of Indian Motocycles.  Steve also took along his basket case of what would become the “Pride Runner” and built the bike over and over all day long.  The students were full of questions and excitement.  Here’s some pictures from that day:

The last picture is Steve with Zoey Herriott and her winning logo.  Steve promised the students to start sending videos during the building progress of the “Pride Runner” in January and if, the bike was finished before school was out in June, to bring it to school before the September run.  So, when January was just about over and the students had not heard from Steve, they sent Principal John Watson to check on the “Pride Runner.”   And so, the first video on the heartbeat of the “Pride Runner” was made and sent to them.


The Route for the 2018 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run

IMG_2627September 8-23, 2018 Portland to Portland
Grand Departure, September 8: Portland, ME
Stage 1, September 8: Keene, NH
Stage 2, September 9: Binghamton, NY
Stage 3, September 10: Jamestown, NY
Stage 4, September 11: Bowling Green, OH
Stage 5, September 12: Bourbonnais, IL
Stage 6, September 13: Anamosa, IA
Stage 7, September 14: Spirit Lake, IA
Stage 8, September 15: Pierre, SD
Stage 9, September 16: Sturgis, SD
Rest Day, September 17: Sturgis, SD
Stage 10, September 18: Billings, MT
Stage 11, September 19, Great Falls, MT
Stage 12, September 20, Kalispell, MT
Stage 13, Septmeber 21, Spokane Valley, WA
Stage 14, September 22, The Dalles, OR
Stage 15, September 23, Portland, OR
#coasttocoast #motorcyclecannonball #antiquemotorcycleclub #Hagerty #2018 #portlandtoportland
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Buck’s Indian and their Cannonball Crew

tin type 4 rinkersThe guys are at it again! Yes, the fever is hitting them full force now that the Christmas holidays are over and the New Year has arrived.  2018, YES 2018!!!! You know what that means…the year of the Cannonball.  This time the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run will be bigger, better and more challenging than ever before.  The route begins in Portland, Maine and goes to Portland, Oregon, taking a northern route.  Talk of snow, cold wet weather and days of, did I mention, COLD weather on this run.  Clothes are now just as important as the bike.  Keeping warm and dry are priorities.  Steve remembers the 18 degree temperature and the mist off of Yellowstone Lake freezing on him and frosting his helmet that morning in Yellowstone National Park on the 2012 run.  Being soaking wet in the 2016 Cannonball Run and taking forever to dry all the gear out, keeping the mags running and sparking that day.

Steve (#7) is in the process of building a 1928 Indian 101 for the run.  The “Priderunner” (as the students at Romney Middle School named her) will be ready for the starting line in September in Portland, Maine.  Steve’s twin sons, Justin (#6) and Jared (#37) are returning and will be riding Lexi and Cali, their 1916 Indian Power Plus bikes for a second time.  Excitement is building.  Here’s a little history on how our story began in this amazing journey called The Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run………..

2018 brings urgency of the getting everything in order, and quickly!  For the past 365 days or so since the end of the last Motorcycle Cannonball, riders have been on an emotional roller coaster coming off the high of the last run – The Race of the Century – which was an amazing journey.  It was Steve’s third Cannonball and Jared and Justin’s first.   Riders from all over the world enjoyed the challenge of traversing from coast to coast, Atlantic City, NJ to Carlsbad, CA to be exact, with all the motorcycles being at least 100 years old.  Motorcycle Cannonball is an addiction and once you get a taste of the challenge of this coast to coast endurance run, it doesn’t matter whether you were a rider, part of the support crew, a staff member, spouse, follower or just an enthusiast of the event, it becomes a part of you.  You are always ready to talk about the experience.  You can see them gathered at all the swapmeets, on facebook, during phone calls and everytime two or more Cannonball riders get together, it consumes them.  They rehash it over and over and over.  It’s just like it’s just happening.  It’s in your blood, it can’t be helped.  It has taken ahold of you and become a big part of who you are and what you do!  It is the Motorcycle Cannonball. Period. No further explanation required.

When Lonnie Islam Jr. envisioned the event no one had any clue what it would become.  On that first run in 2010 which left Kitty Hawk, NC and arrived at the Santa Monica pier in California, the bikes were required to be 1915 or older.  At the time, Buck’s Indian didn’t have one that old and had to decline Lonnie’s invitation to participate.  When 2012 rolled around, the cutoff was 1929 for the bikes and once again, Buck’s Indian was asked to join the event.  Steve was excited.  A 1929 101 would be perfect, we had that and Steve was sure it would be a piece of cake!  That run went from Newburg, New York and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Oh boy, did Steve get served a big piece of humble pie during that ride.  Headgasket after headgasket after headgasket plagued him among other things and he gave up 83 miles short of the finish line and told his support crew to turn around and head home.  Stick a fork in him, he was done, disgusted and so disappointed, that I am sure it was a long, quiet ride home.  But,…..on the plus side, he was hooked!  He was determined to build a motor, let alone a bike, to make the coast to coast trip.  He says that he assembled motors up to that point.  Now, he builds one!  A lot of learning, schooling and questions were asked before the next Cannonball.  More machine shop equipment was added to our shop.   He asked more and more questions, talked to more and more of the old guys who knew what was going on.  He has always told our kids  that advice is free, get as much as you can, cipher through it and keep what you can use.  And so, he began the process of learning how to actually build a motor.

When the announcement for the 2014 Cannonball was made, it was pre-1937.  Steve was stoked!  He had pieces of a 1936 Chief that he had been gathering for years.  Now was the time to build it!  Rose came to life through a lot of love and care and she was beautiful.  Blue and silver and so full of power!  She gave Steve the ride of his life and went from Daytona Beach, Florida to Tacoma, Washington and made every single mile!  Yes, EVERY single mile!!!  It was a fabulous adventure.  It’s not just a ride across the country, not just 4,000+ miles, but an endurance ride…man vs. machine.  Until you’ve completed this feat, on an antique bike, you just don’t understand the range of emotions that these riders go through. You’ll find a few of these guys crying their eyes out as they cross the finish line, and Steve is one of them.

Then it happened, the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball was announced as the Race of the Century.  All the bikes had to be 1916 or older.  Every bike had to be 100 or more years old, thus the century ride was born. It was like a brand new sandbox and everyone was wanting to play.  It was going to be a history making event as  the first time that any motorized vehicles, whether it be plane, train, automobile or motorcycle had traveled from coast to coast on a vehicle that was 100 years old.

Steve decided that a 1916 Indian Power Plus would be bike he would build.  Then much to his excitement, Justin and Jared wanted to join in this adventure with their dad and granddad.  So, it was decided to build a second bike and the boys would take turns riding it.  Then as time went on and more and more parts were gathered, a third bike was born out of the left over parts and pieces.  Three, yes, three bikes were built to participate in this history making endurance ride.  And so it began for Justin and Jared… the addiction!  History was made and there were 16 riders that made every mile out of the 97 that attempted.  Hurray!  After 16 grueling days on these power plus bikes, which Steve compared to riding a horse, the journey was complete. Buck’s Indian had two that made history and accomplished this amazing journey.  Our third bike finished up quite well only having gone down the first and second day for partial miles.  What an accomplishment for this three generation crew at Buck’s Indian to complete.

Now, with the 2018 run fast approaching, watch for the next chapter of our story…