My Cannonball adventure

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

We're on the way!

Effie and I are on the road... in the van, but making it happen!

With loads of help from our good friend Mark Allen, who was nice enough to help me find the vans ( both the trashed one and the one we have now). He also helped me put the rear seat in, which meant lots of time under the van... drilling holes and attaching brackets in 100 degree heat. Thanks Mark! You are awesome. He also picked up my bike from Steve, my wonderful mechanic and fellow Cannonball rider. Thanks Steve!

Then, my big brother Mark flew into CA from Denver to drive back with me to Denver so I wouldn't have to drive by my lonesome. He's a pretty nice guy to do that. He also helped us with the van too. I couldn't do this without lots of help. Thanks guys.

Mark and I took a side trip down to Moab, Utah and the Arches National Park after leaving Ontario, CA. We stayed on the other side of Vegas and left pretty early.

Hanging out in CO for a few more days while I finish pimping out my van to make it my home away from home for the next month.

Effie is cozy in here spot in the van... she's my girl!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm in Califoirnia!

I'm in California! Gonna go see my bike Effie tomorrow and work on getting my van ready for the road trip to Kitty Hawk to start the Cannonball. Stopping in Davenport, Iowa on the way out for the BIG antique meet there this coming weekend. Signing books all weekend too!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


It's almost 10pm... I'm packing for the Cannonball! Almost 9 months ago to the day I decided to take on the Cannonball. It's been a long road already with many bumps and turns. I look so forward to actually getting out there on my little "Effie" and making some miles!

Wish me luck! I'm off to CA tomorrow to check on my van and do some last minute things to it. Need to get a ramp, some extra tools, things I can;t bring from Hawaii. Living out on the middle of the Pacific is beautiful, but tough when you have to pull something like this together.

It's all good. I'm ready and hopefully, will have some new pictures and videos to share soon.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Back in Buisness!

Ok... it's all good. Got a new van. Everyone was fine.
Ins. totaled the other van and I am back on track!

I am so lucky to have such good friends helping me out on this journey of mine. Thanks Mark!

Getting ready to leave in a few days. Packing all the stuff I will need for a month on the road with my favorite motorcycle. Gotta talk nice about her and to her and she'll take care of me.

Got my Gumby on the bike for good luck too. I've had a "Gumby" figurine on my bikes for the past 25 years. Why stop now?


Saturday, August 21, 2010

My van is totaled!

Ok... rough day, but I will keep going.

My friend Mark, who lives in CA and has been helping me with my chase van for the past few months called me with the BAD news this morning. The GOOD news is no one got hurt. The BAD news is that my chase van, which I saw once and never even got to drive, was totaled today by a kid who ran a red light and broadsided my van. Unreal! Mark was on his way to get a cd player installed for me. Last thing on the list for the van until I picked it up next week for my cross-country trip to Kitty Hawk for the start of the Cannonball. Just glad Mark or the dumb ass who ruined my van were not hurt.

So.... now I need to find a van asap! Can she do it? Will she end up riding her beloved "Effie" all the way to Kitty Hawk and back without the van? Stay tuned... lol :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A longer ride!

Steve got his rear brake working again after rebuilding the whole backing plate. So off we went on another ride. This time Pat stayed behind us as we headed out on a 60 mile loop.

I really must hand it to Steve once again. The route he took me on put me though all my paces. We went up in the hills... long fast curves, then slow twisties. Through town and TRAFFIC! Yes! Traffic. Stop sings and traffic lights. I was nervous, but did pretty good.

We even went on some really bumpy roads. My seat springs work! I floated up and down just like I thought I would. Cool.

The bike ran great. It got a little easier, but I'll admit, it's a lot of work to ride this bike. I will admit, I was a bit mentally exhausted, but also had some confidence after this!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Finally Ride!

August 6th... D-day! Ride Day. I finally get to see and ride my Cannonball bike. I'll admit it, I was SOOO nervous. I had been shifting this bike in my dreams for months and finally the day was here I would actually get to ride her! Yipee!

Thanks to my hubby and Steve Huntzinger for the ORIGINAL 1915 HD speedomoter that works like a charm!

At first it was hard. The motor only has about 130 miles on her (Thanks Steve!). So, it's not that easy to kick start. I get it after a few tries. Steve has a route planned out. He still needs to break in the motor on his Cannonball Excelsior bike he's riding. We take off... whoa! This is interesting. Foot clutch, tank shift. I make it out the driveway... around the first curve. (Thank goodness Steve lives in the country!) First stop sign... Yes. I kill it. Okay, got THAT out of the way!

16 miles of beautiful sweeping countryside Steve's rear brake locks up. Not a good thing. But, not his fault either. Bad design flaw for the Excelsior. Pat and my friend Toast, who is filming my first ride ( Oh, joy... ) were supposed to be following us, but took a wring turn weren't with us. No cell phones worked out here. Flag down a rancher who drives me up to his ranch house where I call Pat (who is actually only a few miles away). We get back to Steve's with his bike in the truck and me following. 33 miles for me today! It got easier and I actually enjoyed myself!

Pat took it out too, so we got some miles on her. Yeah!!!

More Riding!

Day two... up at Steve's. We decide to take the day and get the bike registered with the dreaded DMV. We load Effie into Steve's truck and Pat and I take off for the police station to get the VIN numbers "verified" so we can then go wait for a few hours at the DMV to try and get her titled and registered. Many of these old bikes float around without titles. It's 95 years old, who the heck knows where it is?

So... we get the nice policeman to come out and look at the numbers. They were closed when we got there, (CA DMV offices are often closed on Fridays due to budget cuts.) but I talked nice and they said they would find an officer to come out and look.

That being done, we headed over to the DMV with hope in our hearts. Would they accept the officers signature on the form? We were told that only a special "authorized CHP officer" could verify the numbers. Jeez... how hard is it to look at the numbers stamped on the case to make sure they match the numbers on the form? After a few hour wait, the nice man at the DMV (who likes vinyl old records and music) told us he couldn't give us a regular title and registration because of course the friendly police officer wasn't authorized. It's all good. He gave us a temporary one good until Oct 31st!! I was finally able to ride legally! Yeah!! I even got insurance that same day!
We may still end up with real plates and a title but need to make an appointment with the special CHP officer. Of course the appointments may take weeks... but, we still have that beautiful red temporary registration.

Oh yeah, the bike fell on my in the truck while we were loading it on a hill. Ouch. I am totally bruised up now! But still happy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Some changes to my bike...

Along the way, these past few months Steve, Pat and I talked about things to change on the bike to make it not only road worthy for the 3,300 mile trip ahead, but to make it safer.

Steve changed out the old clincher rims for new wheels and tires. This made a big difference in the way the bike handles. Steve rebuilt the entire motor and transmission. We are running the stock Shebler carb, rebuilt by Steve. He also, (at my begging request) added a front brake. Special thanks to Dale Walksler for the pan for my new seat. which is really surprisingly comfy. When I add the new Airhawk inflatable seat cover I will be styling! My old gas tanks wouldn't have made it out of North Carolina, so the most talented Mr. Huntzinger made me a new set with his own hands. His excellent painter Larry did the old paint job on them and I think they look great! We also decided to remove the original electric headlight and horn. Too valuable and irreplacable to use on this long trip. Pat found me a cool old JD type that Steve made work on the bike. He also got me a tail light at a swap meet that works good. Even has a brake light! Pat even found me an old hand push horn, though I'm not sure how loud it will be. He's been great at helping me find spare parts. What a husband! I'm one lucky girl!


Would also like to thank my crew... Mark Allen, my chase van "wrangler" for finding me a great Ford E350 and helping to make it what I need for the trip.

Athena "Chickie" Ransom, my friend and mechanic/chase van driver for offering to come with me. Athena, for those of you who don't know, is a great custom bike builder and owner of Vagabond Choppers in Fort Lauderdale FL, along with her most awesome husband Don.

Laura Klock... my good friend, who is there to help Athena and keep me on the path. Laura also holds the Land Speed Record at the Bonneville Salt Flats for her bagger. Also races on team Klock with her two daughters, Karlee and Erica, who both hold records on the salt. They are the first mother, daughter, daughter to ever hold records at the same time. Plus, they are nice people too! Thanks to Laura's ever supportive and talented husband Brian, who is also a world famous custom builder.

My husband Pat... biggest supporter who has so much faith in my Cannonball ride. I'm sooo glad he will make most of the Cannonball with me. Don;t know where I'd be without him.

My kids won't be able to attend the Cannonball. but will be with me all the way in spirit. Thanks Lindsey, Josh and Patrick. You always let your mom be who she is and that's pretty cool. Thanks for helping me grow up!