September 23, 2023
Today was another desert day as we rode very long stretches of the Mohave Desert through the remainder of our route in Arizona and into California. The first point of interest was Parker Dam, not nearly as well-known as its sister hydroelectric facility the Hoover Dam, but quite significant in its own right. Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world with 73 percent of its structural height of 320 feet below the original riverbed. The dam spans the Colorado River between Arizona and California, and recreation opportunities are endless, not to mention the gorgeous view seen while riding over the span.
After crossing over the dam and entering California, riders followed the Colorado River for some time, going across parts of the Mohave Desert and watching for burros, like the signs warned. I’m not sure the burros were out roaming around today; it was very hot again—probably at least 100 degrees, and there were long stretches without seeing any other vehicles, buildings, or anything else. One important note about the Cannonball course instructions: distance between gas stations is indicated, and gas stops are suggested at various locations several times each day. Running out of gas in the desert is no joke, so riders made sure they kept their fuel tanks and auxiliary tanks full to the extent possible.
Riders proceeded to the 792,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park where the many varieties of cactus plants were strange and beautiful and unique to those of us who haven’t spent much time in this part of the country. Of course, Joshua trees, a form of yucca plant, featured prominently in the landscape. And there was a pullout featuring a cholla cactus garden, plus another with an ocotillo patch.
There were three Do Not Starts today, nine motorcycles out of the competition, and one on the sweep truck. It’s the penultimate day for the Cannonball, and on each of the 15 days so far, #99 Todd Cameron and #1 Dave Currier have held onto the top positions. Will they both achieve a perfect score and maintain first and second place by the end of the competition? Also, #103 Andy Divine has held onto third place overall as well as maintaining the Class 2 lead. All other points leaders maintain their positions, and the number of riders still holding perfect scores holds at 32.
The 240-mile route ended in Palm Desert this afternoon, and riders are doing final preparations for the grand finale in Oceanside tomorrow. However, a few changes have occurred. The very definition of the Cannonball is how to improvise, overcome and adapt—to take the challenge, and complete the miles! Riders have been doing this for the entire event thus far, and they will be tasked to do so once again for the end of this Cannonball journey.
Because of circumstances at the city level that are beyond our control, we can no longer complete our original plans that had been arranged for the Grand Finale tomorrow. We will not be able to end at Oceanside Pier, but have come up with an alternative place for the finish so that friends and spectators can witness the conclusion of this epic Cannonball journey. We will still make the trek to the coastline, and then take a slight detour to end at Josh’s Boars Nest, 3207 Roymar Road (Suite A), Oceanside, California 92058. Come and celebrate the finish with us between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. tomorrow! Although this is not what was planned, we will not let this hiccup deter one of the most epic trips in history.