Bringing Ugly Betty Back to Life


Years ago in rural Tennesee, Steve came across this unique 101.  When the skirted Chiefs came out in 1940, the former owner of this beauty wanted one, but couldn’t afford one of the “new” Indians at the time, so he did the next best thing….. he made one.  He added skirts to the original 101 fenders, thus Ugly Betty got her start….

We’ve had this old girl in the museum for quite some time, and when the announcement for this year’s Cannonball came out, the guys decided to all ride a 101.  Steve, Justin and Jared looked over the 101 bikes we have and each picked out what one they wanted to run.  Justin picked Indian Hall of Fame Inductee Art Buski’s bike, Jared wanted to start from scratch in the parts shelves in the shop and Steve wanted this gem.  So, the decision was made to pull her out into the light and breathe new life into her.


The disassembly began and it was soon discovered that her cylinders had seen better days, so sleeves were ordered.


She was more work than anticipated…..


Parts had to be machined, repaired, refitted…..a complete overhaul and then some.

Finally the bottom end was complete, the cylinders sleeved and honed and ready for top end assembly.   But, as with any project, there are always setbacks, and a week’s worth of rebuilding the bridgeport and waiting on the bearings and parts to fix it was included in this rebuild as well.  We’re always up for learning new things and rebuilding a bridgeport with YouTube videoes was no exception!


Then, it was back to bike building.

Somewhere during the process of  bike selection, Justin and Jared’s bike builds, and Steve walking by and looking at his bike selection, she got the name, Ugly Betty.


Time for lights and electrics……

Who knew a 30 over piston ring would be just the right size to fit around the lens to hold this rear taillight? Since this was my idea, I just hope that it stays.  I guess I’d better make sure to have spares on the support truck.

When COVID-19 descended upon us, we got extra help in the shop and Steve had an apprentice to train.  She had to learn where tools were AND where they went, (and Bill Page, you know what his tool box drawers look like).  This added a new challenge to the build.  There were naptimes, freezie pop breaks and time outs for sidecar rides  But, our youngest granddaughter, Estella (at 20 months) helped her Mipa finish up Ugly Betty and was the first one on her when complete. IMG_2363 (1)


IMG_2300Ugly Betty is ready to travel border to border and the adventures that await!  She’s ready to meet the rest of the Cannonball family that she’s heard so much about.  She’s ready to become part of that family.  Let’s ride!

Until next time….

Crossing the finish line at Skamania Lodge with a absolutely breathtaking backdrop.

One last day of fun!

A few last interviews – thanks JJ (lollipop kid)

And the end to another amazing ride!

The vision that Lonnie Islam, Jr. had to take museum pieces of motorcycle history and let the world see, learn, enjoy and appreciate their beauty has been one of the greatest adventures that all of us could ever partake in. Steve refers to himself as “not as an owner, but just a caretaker of history for future generations to enjoy.” To have been on this journey firsthand as support crew and driver has been truly amazing! The love and passion of these motorcycles has been shared to anyone and everyone who came in contact with the Cannonball as it journeyed across the United States from Portland, ME to Portland, OR. This addiction is real!!!! It becomes as vital as breathing and until we gather again in 2020….. let the next epic search for the the perfect motorcycle begin for the man against machine endurance experience that rivals no other. It is the MOTORCYCLE CANNONBALL!!!!!!

Thank you Jason and LeeAnn for continuing to carry the torch that Lonnie lit in 2010. ❤️

Double Dog Dare Ya

With only 1 day to go to the finish of yet another epic ride across the US first envisioned by Lonnie Islam Jr, this Cannonball family knows it doesn’t even take a “double dog dare you” with Steve. 😆😂😘 As we tell the grandkids you’ve got to have fun and lots of it AND be able to laugh with others and at yourself. Life is too short otherwise!

So, today instead of riding a dime store pony, 🤣 Steve got to be a sprint car driver. Rebecca got it on video. Like I said— I cannot control my 8 year old (and I really don’t want too)

The wind got everyone today. They rode through onion cloud whirlwinds, dirt storms from plows and just the crosswinds of the Columbia River Gorge. It kept them humping just to make it in on time. However, the promise of a late morning start and the final 51 miles to Portland Oregon tomorrow was “the light at the end of the tunnel” for all of them.

The boys passed Doug today going up hill but he got by them on the downhill and they heard him recite “45 boys” and hand gesture the same every time they passed. Too funny! I don’t think they listened to him either.

All made it in with full miles and on time. Hurray! One more day to go!

Final routine maintenance and adjustments have been made and they are ready for tomorrow. Ziggy had to work on his kicker as he broke some of the rivets. Jared worked on his kicker and of course, polished Lexi up. There were discussions on the exact purpose of an adjustable crescent wrench and the lack thereof in any of Steve’s toolboxes. Plus the fact that someone had clearly used one on parts and it wasn’t Steve, had them laughing and playing the “well, it wasn’t me game.” Boys and their toys! 😁

Tomorrow’s day will take them from The Dalles, Oregon to Portland, Oregon for a total of 51 miles to the Grand Finale. Adrenaline, excitement and emotions are running high this evening.

Elephants 🐘 on Stools?

Ok! So maybe I wasn’t clearly understanding. Nope, I heard right, partially. Justin lost his elephant stool on his rear cylinder intake valve this morning and the valve cover kept slamming up and down. So, they were in search of a hardware store today on the route to get…. not an elephant on a stool (could you imagine if I was sent—crayons would have been a requirement), but just a simple hose clamp to fix it. 😃

Jared’s oil tank came apart at the bottom where it was soldered so he had to keep pumping oil in it and adding oil to it to get in to the finish tonight. He changed out oil tanks this evening.

They all completed routine maintenance and were set for the night. Steve helped a few others time some mags and a few other odds and ends.

Today’s scenery’s was amazing again for riders and support crew routes.

Hopefully there won’t be any more elephant incidents. 🐘🐘🐘

Tomorrow is a big day. Riders go from Spokane Valley, WA to The Dalles, OR. They have 120 miles between gas stops, so they’ll all need gas tomorrow. They will ride 314 miles in all.

Hold on Tight!

The guys went on the Going To The Sun road into Glacier National Park yesterday. They said it was amazing!!!!!

I couldn’t go since my ride was too tall and too wide. The guys said they had to watch to keep from hitting the rock face from overhanging rocks and there was no way I could have made it. Next time.

Jason and LeeAnn even saw a grizzly bear

Everyone made all their miles and were glad they went, but said it was one of those “hold on tight” rides. Between the narrow roads, the steep incline and descents, crazy tourists backing out and the sheer cliff drop offs, they were on edge and exhausted when they came in, but full of adrenaline that they had done it!

The nightly maintenance was completed. Justin’s crankcase vent tube vibrated loose and he had to JB weld it.

He took out his plugs, cleaned them, checked the gap and reinstalled them. Justin had to put on another rear exhaust header nut and lock tite it.

Ziggy’s rear exhaust came loose. He had to put a hose clamp and wire it up.

Steve checked over the Pride Runner and she was good to go.

Tomorrow they ride from Kalispell to Spokane Valley for Day 13.

I can’t explain this photo other than Kelly needed Steve. They were staying at different hotels, so Kelly came and picked him up. I’m told they made quite the impression in downtown Kalispell. “Hold on Tight!” 😜

Farmer’s Fix

The cold dampness kept them bundled up on what was one of the most scenic rides yet.

The fog hung on the mountains and looked like snow. The guys all made it in with full miles today. Hurray!

Jared’s bike was the only one with issues today. His tailpipe bracket broke and needed fixed before it fell off. So Steve told them to see if they could find a piece of barbed wire. Sure enough, they did and the repair was made. Thus, the farmers fix.😉

Steve gathered a little extra in case they had to wire anything else.

When the came in it was a short repair night. Jared made his bracket for the tailpipe and Steve had to take his carburetor apart and check the float bowl. It seemed to be sticking today. Then they all completed maintenance and called it a night. I put Steve to bed after a hot shower, a stiff drink and a dose of night quill cough medicine. Hopefully, that combo will ward off the cold he seems to be getting.

Tomorrow they go from Great Falls, MT to Kallispell, MT. It’s supposed to be cool and possibly some rain in the afternoon.

Today, the support crew’s drive was amazing as well.

Here are some pictures I took.

Ping, Ping, Ping

When riding down the road and you hear that sound, you should probably stop and look 👀 to see if you’ve lost anything. Steve and Ziggy were riding behind the boys and heard that sound. No one stopped. And…….when they stopped at the next gas stop, sure enough, parts were lost… of Justin’s bike. His kicker gear and nut were what came off. So, since Jared’s bike was easier to push start, they took those parts off of his and put them on Justin’s until mile 230 for the day when Justin’s bike went eerily quiet. Yep! Bosch magneto number two went out and Justin was on the sweep. His mag just got too hot and quit. So, they switched it out to a Morris magneto even though it doesn’t have any retard or advance.

Here is Jared coming in first followed by Steve for full miles.

Ziggy checked his neck bearings and the brakes. He did general maintenance as did Steve. Steve also put his shin guards on since it was going to get cold and rain. What else do you willing get up at 5:30 am in the morning for knowing you’re going to ride in the rain and be cold all day? Only the Cannonball!!

Here’s the scenery from Sturgis to Billings through Wyoming and into Montana.

The guys were up and ready to go dressed for the weather that awaited them on the mountain.

What’s The Hammer For?

The guys all have a tool roll with a hammer and I love to hear all the answers they give when asked that question. Mine is to be like Doug Wothke😉. Their most given explanation is, “you see there’s a lot of our buddies that ride Harleys, and when they break down we use the hammer to help them fix it!” 😆

In actuality, you would be amazed at how much those hammers are actually used by all the guys who carry them!

It was just like Christmas come early when Bartek gave Steve this polish version of a hammer. Look closely, it’s also a wrench!!!

The rest day was spent jamming to some AC/DC Pandora while completing general maintenance and other repairs.

Jared manufactured a new bracket to hold his rear fender together where the hinge had broke earlier on. Then he replaced his rear tire, a master link, tightened his chain, worked on his speedo, added some p-clamps.

Speaking of P-clamps, that was a trip in itself here in Sturgis yesterday when I stopped at a parts store and asked for an assortment of them in different sizes. You would have thought I had three heads. The three guys I talked to were clueless and I had to draw them a picture of one. I was afraid I was going have to break out the crayons as well😂. (I told Steve we should have run up to the airport before we left and got some out of the stash we have at the hangar where the plane is). Anyway, finally found some at a hardware store in town. WhooHoo!

Steve put the nut in his seat spring and put the bolt he needed in his rollup windshield. He completed general maintenance and checked his mag. Ziggy and Justin completed maintenance.

Justin replaced his spark plugs. Justin also reworked the gear shifter he made in Bowling Green to fit his hand better.

Riders and support crew stopped by all day looking for and sometimes finding something they needed, whether it was a part or to borrow a tool of some sort. It’s cool to see these guys all working together to help each other out.

And yes, the vise was used numerous times today.

Tomorrow they will ride out of Sturgis and arrive in Billings, MT after 294 miles.

The plan is to go into town tonight for a delicious hot meal and then a good night’s rest to begin the final stretch to the finish.

Thank Heavens He Ran Out of Quarters

Things are starting to get out of control so it’s lucky they’ll all have a rest day tomorrow in Sturgis.

The guys rolled into Sturgis this evening with full miles and on time. They went through the Badlands National Park, saw Mt Rushmore and came through the town of Deadwood.

Steve’s adventures today included a wild bronc ride. (I have the hidden camera video) Then, he apparently rode through some 🐝 bees while trying to take pictures. Yes, I said while riding his motorcycle 🏍. He first got stung on a finger of the hand he was holding his phone with and got it shook off. However, the two that got into his helmet, he had to come to an abrupt halt and get his helmet off!!! 🐝🐝🐝

The guys are working on diagnosing Kelly’s motor tonight and then have repairs to attend to tomorrow on theirs.

Here are some pictures of today’s ride

Tag—-You’re It!

Miles and miles and miles, 314 in all of nothing

So, what do you do to overcome boredom–selfies!

And, handlebar tag! Steve and Ziggy’s new challenge of tapping grips. Let’s all just pray they don’t end up having a yard sale along the road!

They made it to the halfway point today. They are all looking forward to the rest day in Sturgis. You can’t tell it from their enthusiasm or the pace they walk, but you can see the glimmer of hope in all their eyes of all day off WITHOUT having too many motorcycle repairs to get done that day.

The guys finished up in Steamboat Park along the Missouri River in Pierre, SD yesterday to an awesome prime rib sandwich meal. During the bike display, they noticed that Justin had a crack on his exhaust manifold on the front cylinder. Repairs were made and they are going to keep a close eye on it. They may half to switch out a cylinder in Sturgis. (That glimmer is fading)

Ziggy had to repair his taillight.

Jared polished on his and completed maintenance He also stretched out and made some calls.

The vise got used again

Tomorrow will take them through the Badlands National Park, Mt Rushmore, through the town of Deadwood and finishing in Sturgis. 294 miles in all and then a day off before the last half of the race.

A few pictures of them leaving yesterday morning.

Some of my scenery pictures

Feeling 🐸 Froggy

The guys had a long day. They had a fuel stop with no fuel and a food stop at lunch with no food by the time they got there

Riders were a little panicked. Chris Tibbey rolled in and was out of fuel. Steve saw guys along the road closeby from the Iowa DOH and he went and borrowed fuel from them and gave it to Chris to get him on his way.

This evening, about three miles out Steve’s fuel line broke and he borrowed a piece of hose from Ziggy to fix it. The guys all left him to get in on time themselves as they were cutting it close. Justin rolled in first, then Jared, followed by Ziggy. Then Steve arrived with minutes to spare. Full miles again.

Indian hosted dinner this evening, gave factory tours and all the Indian riders were given a bell.

This morning when Justin got his Ace sticker for completing all his miles he cut it in half and gave one half to Clint

However, when the guys were servicing their bikes this evening Jared caught a toad and snuck it into Steve’s saddle bags. A little while later when I was filling bottles with marvels, I asked Steve for his bottles. Sure enough, when he opened the bags, the toad jumped out and hit Steve in the face and he just about had a heart attack. He ran out in the parking lot fussing and cussing while the boys were all but on the ground laughing so hard 🤣🤣😂🤣😂. Everyone lived to ride another day!

Running on Fumes

The guys left Bourbonaise, IL and headed to Anamosa to the National Motorcycle Museum. Fingers were crossed that everything was up and in good shape for the day’s ride.

Riders are starting to run on fumes themselves. As I walked down the hallway, I heard Peter Arundel say to me, “too many hotels and too many room numbers, I can’t remember mine here!” I chuckled and agreed with him as I headed to mine. I walked down the hall and when I came to 328, I saw that I hadn’t even made sure it was shut earlier and headed in to hear the alarm clock going off. I stopped short…..we never set the alarm in our rooms, we just use our cellphones. I grabbed my room card out of my pocket and looked at the number.. …338! Oops! And I chuckled again as I remembered Peter’s remark.

That evening, we arrived at the finish line just as Class 3 bikes were starting to arrive. I hadn’t heard anything, so no news is good news on the Cannonball! Ziggy came in first followed by Jared, Doug and Kelly. They said that Justin’s bike had blown a dome nut and there was about 20 riders searching the sides of the roadway to help him try to find it. No luck, he was going to have to wait on the sweep truck. An officer stopped while they were searching and asked if he could help. Doug told him if he could get the DOH to mow the sides of the roadways that would be a big help for the guys that rode old motorcycles.😉

Then they realized that Clint’s power plus was already on the sweep, so dome nut crisis averted. He “borrowed” one of Clint’s when it arrived on the rolling NAPA store, (aka sweep truck) put it in before his repair time ran out and continued on his way. He was behind and went over his embedded “45 boys” limit and arrived in time on just fumes in his tank!!! Full miles today!

According to Bruce, when they come up on a rider, he gets out and lights a flare and tells the rider they have until the flare goes out to get their bike running or they get put on the sweep truck. He says you should see the panic in their eyes and the frantic pace they work. 😆

Steve was about a half mile out when he got a flat tire. He limped it into a Casey’s Fuel Mini Mart and put air in, to no avail. When Doug, Jared and Ziggy found out where he was about 2 blocks away they took off to push him across the finish!!! Before they could get there, he came in on the flat! WhooHoo! Another perfect day for the Pride Runner!

Since they were done for the day, I sweet talked Bruce to haul Steve and Justin’s bike from the finish to the motel. (Although it did cost me a beer AND a picture of Steve and his bike on the sweep trailer.) DONE!!!

He just looks too darn happy!

The guys completed maintenance, replaced Justin’s dome nut, and Steve repaired his flat tire and his license plate that broke in half. Justin also took his gas tank off and tightened it up.

Look at that tube or what’s left of it! Everyone came by and cut pieces off it to put in their saddlebags for shims. 😃

Here’s Justin making sure his tank is full last night.

Our friends from Davenport, Carl and Toni Temple came to see us. Carl helped Steve change his flat. Thanks Carl! Great to see you guys!

Tomorrow the guys will ride and end up at Spirit Lake at the new Indian Motorcycle Factory.