My Cannonball adventure

My Cannonball adventure
Meet "Effie" our 1915 Harley-Davidson Twin 3 speed

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 13. I Love Effie

Day 13 was a beautiful ride into AZ. My bike ran great. The weather was nice... this is what it's all about! Arrived safely into Flagstaff. Off this morning to Laughlin, NV. Route 66 here we come!

Rough start as we left and hour and a half late due to some chain adjustments issues. (Gotta be safe!)

Special thanks to my crew, who were out helping others all day too. After the lunch stop Effie spit out a pushrod! The rocker arm was so worn out, it broke right off. My team went right to work... it took a village to fix her so i could get back on the road. Thanks Laura, Athena, Pat and Buzz Kanter too. (They picked him up when his bike died after 25 miles)

Off to Laughlin this morning

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 12 Alburqueque MN to Gallup, NM

Today was a mixture of ups and downs. Truly. Got off to a nice start. My brother Mark drove down from Boulder and rented a bike for the day so he could ride along for a bit. How cool is that? Too bad it started raining as soon as we got out of the morning traffic.

As we rode along, the road turned into a postcard. Beautiful orange colored Mesas filled the landscape. We rode for quite a while on old Route 66. What a great ride! I love seeing the old motel signs and old gas pumps. Fun stuff. It made me wonder what it would have been like to drive this road when it was in it's heyday. I'm sure I did when I was a kid. Very cool part of the country and history of being "On the Road".

As the skies ahead of us darkened with rain clouds, the group I was riding with pulled over and donned rain gear. I was glad they did a few miles later as it started raining steadily. Normally I just get wet... but glad I had my Harley rain suit, as it rained ALL day.

My bike was running weird, mainly from the elevation... we are up around 6,000 feet. It was running very lean too. Starved for air up here!

We stopped for lunch as it continued to rain. And rain... and rain. I got separated from my group after lunch. We were told that the route we were supposed to take had a road washed out and they gave us directions for a new route to Gallup. Apparently, we were to jump back on Highway 40... WOW. 70 mph trsffic in the pouring rain! At the next gas stop I hooked up with my old riding buddy Jim Petty from SC. Jim had had some major engine repairs and had missed a few days of riding, so that's why I rode with the CA guys the past few days. Jim is such a cool guy. Very nice. We gassed up and went inside to look for some clear glasses. All we both had on were sunglasses, which aren't great in the rain... we needed to see better! While buying the glasses, I asked the women behind the counter if she thought the rain would let up. She said it would probably rain all day. I told Jim I thought I would just go for it. I was dry under my rain suit, but my feet and hands were wet and I was getting cold. (It was a COLD rain too!) He agreed, though there were at least 10 other riders hunkered down waiting out the rain. we didn't see any reason to stand there and freeze, so off we Jim and I went. We got on Highway 40 and of course there was road construction... plus lots of cars and semi trucks zipping by at 70 mph. Our friend Artist Scott Jacobs had been riding along with one of the sweeper "Side car Dudes" all day. They got behind us with their flashers on so people would see us better. I;m not sure why Jim was riding on the shoulder ( I was taught NOT to... can cause flat tires, due to all the junk that gathers on the side of the road. ) I was in the right lane plugging along at 40 mph... when I see Jim start to wobble and slide sideways. Looked a lot like I flat tire that I had the other day. To his credit, he held on to her and got his bike safely to the side of the road. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the Side Car Dude had pulled over to help him. I wasn't sure what to do... Should I pull over too? I only had a second to make a decision... then, I looked in my mirror and saw a truck behind me.. I guess I should just keep going. I couldn't help him change it and if I stopped I would never be able to get up enough steam to merge back into this traffic. I kept going and in a few miles the sidecar guy with Scott in the sidecar pulled in behind me and followed me the 25 miles left into Gallup and to the hotel.

I was a happy girl to make it! Yeah... a hot bath and a little laundry. Worked on the bike for tomorrow. My wonderful husband Pat adjusted my push rods again... the girls adjusted my chains and topped off my oil and gas. Ready for tomorrow's ride to Flagstaff!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 10... Lawton, Ok to Clovis, NM

The LONGEST day of the Cannonball! Effie ran great most of the day. The first 20 miles or so were on this REALLY bumpy road. It was not very well traveled. I could see grass growing up between the ruts and cracks. Ugh... I guess this is what it must have been like to ride 95 years ago. Wait! It was worse. I don't think many roads were even paved back then. It was bouncy. Sure gave my seat and Airhawk pad a workout today!

We rode across northern Texas. String crosswinds and head winds cut down on my uphill power and gas mileage. Even ran out of gas twice. Thank goodness for the extra gallon in my saddlebags! Carb ran weird for a bit. Glad I rode with Steve Huntzinger today. (He's the mechanic who rebuilt Effie for this ride) He helped me and adjusted the carb today. I guess we are going up in elevation. No wonder I lost power a few times today. Hope we can make her run good for tomorrow's ride to Albuquerque.

290 more miles done today! I even get to wash my hair! Hopefully I can get more than 5 or 6 hours sleep tonight.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 9 Flat Tire!

Fort Smith, AR to Lawton, OK... Day 9. A pretty darn good day. I think I'm in the groove. The way my day goes depends on how my bike runs. So... I had a pretty good day. That is, up until I got 258 miles under my belt. Only 12 more to the hotel when I got a flat tire on the rear of my bike! No biggies, but I had to get trucked to the hotel and we were up until 12:30 putting on a new tire and tube. Hope it goes good...

I also had to borrow some push rods and a rocker arm from my friend Dave. The ones on my bike are really old ( like 95 years!) and pretty worn out. Other riders have been great about loaning psrts to each other. I returned the favor yesterday when Dave needed a mag and I had a spare. I know... now I won't have one for myself if mine goes out. But, that's the spirit of the Cannonball. Lots of us help each other. One big traveling motorcycle circus!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 7 ... in Arkansas

Day 7... Lulu, MS to Hot Springs, AR. Great morning. Ready to roll. I'm riding alone except for Mongo one of the "Side Car Dudes" who trails us to make sure we aren't left out stranded in case of problems. My riding partner Jim Petty, from SC broke down again yesterday and limped in around midnight. He's still trying to fix his valve this morning and it looks like I'm alone today.

Bike seems to be running better than yesterday, as my crew adjusted my valves last night. Too much play in the pushrods again. Athena and Laura work so hard every evening getting Effie ready for the next morning. Plus, they have been running sweep in my van, helping other riders with mechanical issues. These are not motorcycles you can just run for a few hundred miles and park them like new bikes and ride again and again. They go over the chains, check tire pressures, fill oil and gas for the next morning's scheduled take off. Every nut and bolt must be checked to make sure it hasn't losened during the bumpy ride. There is very little suspension on these!

We must check in and show our numbers every morning 15 minutes before our set starting time. This morning I checked in at 8:30 and was on my bike heading out at 8:45.

Right after I left the hotel I crossed over the Mississippi River and headed in Arkansas. The bike was running good and it was still cool enough to feel good before the heat of the day set in.

About 15 minutes later, the bike started losing power. I looked down at the exposed rockers and noticed the rear rockers weren't moving. Oh, oh... running on one cylinder. I pull over and Mongo pulls in a few minutes behind me. We let her cool down and notice the rear push rod seems lose. Soon, my crew pulls in behind us and we take out the tools and see if we can tighten it up. The threads on the pushrod are old and worn, the rod looks a little bent. Hmmm.... a few other sweepers pull in and we try a few things, but can't get her tight. Oh well.... that's it for me for today. Not a horrible breakdown, just a pushrod, which we can probably find from someone who has a spare later tonight. I'm disappointed as we load the bike in van. It's 99 degrees and the air conditioning actually felt pretty darn good after sitting on the side of the road trying to fix the bike. Though I missed out on some miles today. I can get her going and ride again. Not too tough of a repair. We have a day off here in Hot Springs tomorrow. We will have all our bikes on display in the Convention Center here tomorrow all day. It's also laundry day tomorrow!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stage 6- seperated!

I need to try and do this every night, even though my crew is down working on my bike on the hotel parking lot. I feel guilty if I'm not helping, but am soooo tired when I get from riding. I guess it's the heat mostly for me, but this is grueling. These bikes are not easy to ride. Plus, the suspension is really not there.

Toast left us today. She's a big part of my crew... been filming since Day one in Kitty Hawk. But, she has a real life and a real job, so she had to leave us today. We hope she can drop in and join is before we hit Santa Monica. We miss her so!

My hubby Pat is here to help too.. He's enjoying hanging out with all his fellow crazy antique motorcycle crazy's! He also knows a lot about old bikes and can help out with the bike.

My riding buddy Jim and I left Alabama a 9:00 this morning. I knew it was going to be a hot one and it was. My bike was running a little rough, so I was playing with my carburator. I looked back and Jim had pulled over. Oh boy. I waited on the side of the road for quite a few minutes when a guy on a Honda pulled up next to me. He said Jim was fixing something on his bike and would be along soon. The sun was blazing and I was melting. Scrolling forward, I saw from my directions that there was a little park a few miles up ahead. There was even a bathroom there! I asked the guy if he would go back and tell Jim I would wait for him there. He was so nice... he even helped me put my bike up on the stand. Long story short. My crew was running as a sweeper to check on broken bikes. They had reached Jim and texted me that he wasn't running. I waited a while longer and then they told me he was STILL working on it. I felt bad, but I couldn't wait any longer. If he got picked up by the van I would be riding alone anyway the rest of the 120 some miles left. I took off, ending up 30 miles later in Tupelo, MS at the hosted lunch spot just in time to say thanks to the people who waited to meet us. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and let my bike cool down for a little while. One of the sweeper sidecar "Dudes" as we call them, Mondo said he would ride behind me to make sure I made it ok. We have several of these guys who will tail the last of the bikes in each day to make sure we are all accounted for at the end of the day. So... we rode and we rode and we rode, making to the hotel in Lulu, in plenty of time. Last I had heard Jim would NOT put his bike on the trailer. His crew had gone out to follow him in. I hopoe he made it ok.

Gotta get out to help mt crew and Kiss Effie good night. She's getting her chains adjusted and all fluids filled up for the mornign take off to Hot Springs. Arkansas.


Stage 6

A foot note to last night's post. My legs are sooo bruised from my kicker. My left leg got hit by the pedal while I was kicking on the right side of the bike... (Which, for some weight balance issue is easier for me to kick start it on that side) My right ankle is sore from kicking when the pedal fell through on the stroke.. also, called "ratchetting" I suppose.

Och. I can barely walk, I hope I can kick tomorrow. My legs and thighs am full of bruises. But.. I am having the time of my life!

I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.