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Roadkill

It's about this time of the run that conversations come around to the various carcasses we've seen along the way and the support crew shared their sightings over lunch. Yeah, we're weird that way. Web guy Ken always thinks it's because we're all delirious from lack of sleep, and I'm not discounting that possibility, but the reality is that we see a lot of stuff at 35-50 miles an hour that you might not catch at higher speeds.

There are no pictures to go with this, and gee, why would anyone want them, but we've realized what critters are in particular areas. From the usual rodent and small mammals like squirrels, chipmunks and skunks, we were surprised when we were naming off sightings and heard Vicki had seen a small juvenile bear in Maryland. There have been porcupine, raccoon and even an otter in addition to the many deer. There was already an armadillo sighting too, and we're still in Missouri.

Fortunately we've also seen some alive stuff, like turtles, deer and turkeys. We're keeping an eye out for what's next, and hoping nobody hits any of them. We prefer to leave no footprint behind us. Other than that trail of fossil fuel, of course. These motorcycles were built as total oil loss machines, after all.....

 
Stage 6 Herd of Nomadic Gypsies

Thursday morning started off muggy and warm, but not just because of the weather. The Cannonball clan has turned that corner of getting acquainted and figuring it all out into the straightaways of becoming family and forging life-long friendships. This is when the run starts to morph into a more cohesive herd of nomadic gypsies. It's all smiles and best wishes as riders ready to putter off into the day of riding and cameras are clicking away as locals come out to wish the Motorcycle Cannonball well and to pose with the riders they are cheering for.

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Stage 6 Results
Written by Jim Feeney   

 

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Stage 5 Wide with Nice turns & The Wabash Bridge

The day started off on one of the most beautiful roads I've ever seen. Wide with nice turns through rural Indiana, there was a slight misty fog scented with woodsmoke from the cabin chimneys which lent a sort of mystical feel to the cool morning air and riders were lost in the magic of it all. The geriatric engines appreciate the cooler weather, but not moisture so there were a few roadside concerns over cloth covered plug wires once we got smacked with a little rain. Crossing the Wabash Bridge was an adrenalin rush, but that moment was quickly forgotten once the heavy rain drenched several of the riders just before the evening stop in Cape Girardeau where the entire town came out to watch the bikes roll in. Between the great hospitality, the car and bike show and the killer dinner they laid out for us, we were given a hero's welcome that served to remind us of why we love Cape Girardeau. Except for the internet. Which sucks and is why there won't be many photos with this late post.

Be sure to follow us on FaceBook at Motorcycle Cannonball Race of the Century.

 









 
Stage 5 Results
Written by Jim Feeney   

Due to weather and road conditions we extended the arrival window for Stages 1 and 3. We did not do that for Stage 2. Since we have permanently extended the arrival windows for all remaining stages we are retroactively extending the arrival window for Stage 2 by the same 30 minutes as we have done for stages 4-15 (Stage 4 was extended an additional 30 minutes because of road construction).

The resulting changes to the Stage 2 scores are reflected in the Stage 5 and all remaining stage results. I do not plan to go back and change the Stage 2, 3 and 4 reports.

Jim

 

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Motorcycle Cannonball - Stage 5 start
Written by Rebeccah Cunningham   
 
Stage 4 Sightseeing & Maintenance

At last the Motorcycle Cannonball has hit a leveling off day, and right on time. The anticipated three-day jinx is out of the way and we're on to the part where riders are talking about enjoying the cool sights and beautiful weather. Sweep trucks seem to have lost all their playmates while trailer tie-downs flapped around untethered as we left Ohio and moseyed out into the Indiana cornfields and roadside flea markets, of which there were many. Maybe now riders can shift their focus to sightseeing and maintenance rather than parts lists and damage control, but no one's trusting that thought just yet. For now, there's just a collective sigh for having made it this far.

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Motorcycle Cannonball: Steady Freddy
Written by Rebeccah Cunningham   
 
Stage 4 Results
Written by Jim Feeney   

Today we had to again make the arrival window longer due to a truck accident (not one of our riders) that blocked a bridge they had to cross. In addition we had about 10 miles of road with fresh tar and a temporary speed limit of 35 MPH. Because of this the finish window was extended by 30 minutes.

An additional extension of 30 minutes was added to the finish window for Stage 4 and all subsequent stages because the bikes have been unable to maintain the speeds originally used to set up the course.

Fred Wacker, bike #118, also reported to me that I scored him incorrectly for Stage 3. I gave him full miles and he only completed 50. I have corrected that in the Stage 4 report and I thank Fred for his honesty. Would any of you like me to send you a corrected version of my Stage 3 Report (again)?

Jim

 

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Stage 4 Midday Update

We've banded together to support each other and the riders, and maybe lie to each other a bit to convince ourselves that this isn't really that hard. Heh. I'm spreading sunshine this morning and Bill Woods calls me on my crap. Bill is our sweep guy and he spends the day picking up disabled bikes and delivers them to their frustrated riders at the hotels, then he retires to his room at night to do his real job: writing for the AMCA. He reports the daily activities and shares the news of the incredible experiences of crossing the U.S. with 100+year old motorcycles.

"Felicia, I've been here every single Cannonball, just like you, and you can't snow me. It doesn't get easier!" We laugh, but we know the truth, and that is it. This is an endurance run, in every sense of the word. It's hard, and that's not a concept anyone but the past survivors really get. We stand and watch the riders depart from the starting line. The excitement in their eyes is just as contagious as the frustration of those fellow Cannonballers who've taken time from wrenching on their disabled bikes to gather on the sidelines and wish their brethren well. By tomorrow, they hope to join everyone on the route, again. Be sure to follow us on FaceBook at Motorcycle Cannonball Race of the Century.

 



 
Stage 3 Grueling Exhausting Impossible

If history has taught the Motorcycle Cannonballers anything at all, it's that no two days are ever the same. And we relearned that fact just today. Over the course of each of the prior runs, we've come to expect the first three days of each event to be difficult and the 2016 took the word "difficult" and morphed it into something more resembling words like "grueling,"exhausting" and "impossible" as weather, machines and men fought to find a cohesive balance.

For Stage 3, however, things finally took a sight turn for the better. Mostly. It seems to take three days for valves as well as riders to get comfortably seated and settle down into an easy cadence. Things hit their stride by Monday morning as the first broken machine didn't hit the trailer until after 10a.m. Engine catastrophes were at an overall minimum by comparison, though the damp morning mist seemed to upset magnetos. Valve springs and carburation issues rounded out the list but a piston hole and a couple of flat tires added to rider's troubles over the course of the day. German rider Juergen Ulrich, however, was the exception when the engine of his 1914 H-D blew up. The Motorcycle Cannonball staff found out firsthand what breakdowns on the backroads feels like when the sweep vehicle broke down, despite its engine having been completely gone through prior to the start.

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