#89 Cris Sommer-Simmons
Hey Cannonball Nation!
This will be my 4th time riding on the Cannonball and the 3rd time on the same bike, my 1915 HD “Effie”. I’ve had an incurable case of Cannonball Fever ever since riding on the first one in 2010. Effie and I came in 20th place out of the 45, mostly male riders and it was a truly epic learning experience that I will never forget. That small group has become family and it’s been amazing how bonded we still are.
While I didn’t ride in 2012, I opted to join the Support Staff in Milwaukee, staying on through the big finish in San Francisco and saw the other side of what hard work it takes to make this ride successful. Many long hours gave me an even greater appreciation for the staff.
In 2014, I rode and finished again, this time on my 1934 HD “Buddy”, from Daytona Beach to Tacoma. This was another incredible ride, even more special because I was riding alongside my husband Pat. I think I finished in the top half after having a few problem days at the start.
Pat and I decided to ride together again in 2016. I rode Effie again and I finished well again, this time in 22nd place.
I was retired for two weeks, then heard that 2018 was to be Portland to Portland. I’ve never ridden in Maine, so here we go again! Effie is a true champion and we are not ready to retire just yet! Pat is riding his 1928 HD and our good friend Dave Minerva is teaming up with us.
Our friend Lonnie Jr. sure changed a lot of lives with his dream of the Cannonball. I am so grateful I had time to get to know him and thank him for coming up with this crazy ride. Challenging myself to learn to ride vintage bikes after over 30 years of riding the “new” stuff has really been fulfilling. The people I have met and the friendships that have been forged on this ride have enriched my life more than there are words for. Jason and Lee Ann Sims are doing a wonderful job of keeping Lonnie’s dream alive and helping it grow even more. The great support staff takes good care of all of us and I love each of these guys (and girls too!).
I can’t wait to see what this new adventure will bring! Thanks to our sponsors and crew for all their hard work…. For without them it would be impossible. Sponsor, the Harley-Davidson Museum; Crew Chief and Driver: Plumber Dave Johnson, Mechanics: Rob Nussbaum and the amazing Steve Huntzinger, who has been the rock behind us for every Cannonball. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone in Portland, Maine!