The troupes’ overnight in Laughlin was quite the adventure. We arrived in the scorching river town hot and parched, but happy for the miles and great ride. Whatever tinkering needed to be done was handled quickly and everyone headed into the Edgewater for some R&R until about 4a.m. when some fool decided to liven things up by pulling the fire alarm on 6 floors, which included the floors most of the Cannonball riders and crew were on. Made for a less then peaceful night.
For this day, the 221 miles included some bad roads that strained patience and steel. Metal fatigue has set in and motor mounts have broken off, as well as kick stands and fender tabs. It seems engines are running better than ever, however.
In 1915 Harley-Davidson boasted that their motorcycle could reach a top seed of 68 mph, so Steve Barber wanted to beat that number, which he did nicely by topping out at 70 mph on his 1915 H-D. Twice.
Vince Martinico is having problems with his oil tank, again. For the third time he will address the reoccurring problem and will ride across the finish line on Sunday. Hell or high water.
Dieter’s bike will not, however, see the checkered flag. He spent the day on the back of Jerry Wieland’s side car rig, following his wife along as Katrin piloted her 1907 JAP across the rough sections of Route 66. After 30 miles of bumping along grueling road surfaces, Katrin arrived at the Victorville H-D with a smile saying, “Nice ride”.
Dave Thompson’s 1914 Indian surprised its owner by bursting into flames. Dave calmly pulled off the road and leaned the bike over, extinguished the fire, and set to work getting the bike road worthy. As he filled the oil tank, a seam split and oil gushed everywhere, a predicament that was not repairable roadside, so rider and machine were delivered to check in via transport. By evening the Thompson Brothers were working on the crispy Indian and I congratulated Dave on his quick thinking and great fireman skills. He plans to cross the finish line alongside his brother, Kris.
Pete Gagan, the Canadian rider who had to withdraw from the rally before it began due to his wife’s health, just couldn’t stand it anymore and has flown in to meet up with his brethren riders via a rental car. We’re all glad for his enthusiasm and happy for his support.
Buddy Stubbs, the Arizona H-D dealership owner, shipped his 1915 Excelsior home due to the extensive engine repairs needed. Buddy will be joining the Cannonball riders for the awards dinner, however.
The Grand Finish at the Santa Monica Pier is scheduled for 1 p.m. this afternoon. The route has been a hotly debated topic since riders will be navigating some tough traffic issues and have some 55 (possibly more) traffic lights to go through. The rider’s meeting last night was tense but it was voted to stick with the original route and riders will stay in groups of 2-3 with the thought that “safety in numbers” is the best plan.
Side hack sweep rider, British Tim, says he hates to see this ride come to an end. A sentiment most of us share.