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September 17, 2023

Today’s ride from Garden City, Kansas, to Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a challenging one, but not in the way most would expect. It was a test of fuel management, as gas stations were spread out further than any other day of the Cannonball so far. The great majority, if not all, of the riders carry auxiliary fuel containers because the tiny gas tanks in some of the bikes will sometimes not allow riders to reach the next gas station. In fact, most of the riders that stopped on the side of the road were refilling their tanks rather than doing any serious repairs. Riders can expect fuel management to be of ever-increasing importance as we progress westward, and gas stations will be fewer and farther between.

The first hundred miles this morning were chilly ones, with temperatures in the low 50s. Out came the jackets and gloves, not to be packed away until later this afternoon. Our first stop was at the welcome center in Lamar, Colorado, where the City of Lamar, in conjunction with members of the local Christian Motorcyclists Association, hosted riders as well as their crews for lunch and respite before heading farther west. Lamar has a fascinating history, beginning with the theft of a train station from private property three miles east of the city. The station was moved to Lamar, which was fortuitous for the city which began to prosper with the addition of the depot and a train stop, eventually becoming the county seat of Prowers County.

Most of the afternoon consisted of long stretches of straight, and rather isolated, highway, with ranches and crop fields stretching as far as the eye could see. We passed through Kit Carson, a town of only 255 residents, which houses the Kit Carson Historic Depot Museum, all named after the famous frontiersman who lived and died in the 19th century.

Later in the day, riders began arriving in Colorado Springs where Jim and Pam Wear, owners of the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum, hosted a block party on Tejon Street in front of the museum. The event had been planned to coincide with the museum’s 30th Anniversary Open House and Hall of Fame Museum Induction Ceremony. The museum has a fabulous collection of antique motorcycles, and better yet, entry was free to the public. The street was packed all afternoon! Riders and crew also enjoyed a meal at Cowboys on Tejon Street.

There were two Do Not Starts today, and six bikes ended up on the trailer, one of which was #52 Doc Hopkins whose 1916 Harley-Davidson J with sidecar. Doc’s misfortune dropped him out of the top three points leaders, and he lost the class 2 lead as well. #92 Brian Pease and his 1917 Henderson G moved up to third place, which also gave him the lead in class 2. For the ninth day in a row, #99 Todd Cameron and #1 Dave Currier held onto the top positions, and all other class leaders remained the same. Riders with perfect scores dropped from 41 to 38.

Tomorrow will be a challenging hike through the Rockies, with riders seeing elevation changes from 6,500 feet to 11,500 feet. Will the single cylinder machines be able to make the climb? Everyone is invited to Centennial Plaza in Montrose, Colorado, where the Cannonball bikes will be on display until 6:30 p.m.