The first of two of route master John Classen’s trips across the country to arrange the course and itinerary for our riders has been completed and we’ll be sharing a rough draft of the anticipated schedule with you here. The groundwork has been laid for a great ride, but the practical application of what looks good on paper is not always as smooth as anticipated.
When a seasoned traveler like John, who has racked up over 240,00 miles across the United States, Mexico and Canada during his 30-year tenure with the Great Race, says a route will be “very challenging,” you tend to believe him. As Director of Competition for that race since 1990, John has been laying out routes and riding the back roads in search of the best driving courses our country has to offer. For this trip he was met with road closures, difficult conditions and long days. He has determined that even the fittest of the fit will find this ride demanding.
We can be certain that as Erwin George “Cannonball” Baker mapped out his travels during the early 1900’s, he was just as exhilarated by the magnitude of his undertaking as our riders are now. There will be long days with dawn starts and dusk finishes. Riders will navigate less than 100-miles of Interstate, but there will be freeways, heavy traffic and, as we enter the western states, long stretches with infrequent fuel opportunities.
Scheduled entertainment will include four museums; the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh, New York, the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, and the Pioneer Auto Show in Murdo, South Dakota. Participants will be awed as they pilot their ancient machines through national parks, monuments, memorials and forests. The scenery will be breathtaking.
Competitors from around the world will arrive in Newburgh, New York to spend the first two days readying themselves for this ardent adventure. We will meet up with old friends and new, get registered, conduct safety meetings and set out on practice rides.
A history rich 45-mile scenic practice run is laid out in American author, Washington Irving, country through the Hudson River Valley into the backcountry of the federal military reservation that was established in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson. That 16,000-acre reservation currently houses the U.S. Military Academy campus, which is also known as West Point. Riders will take in the bluff views of the Hudson River before returning to our host hotel to prepare for the Grand Start.