We’ve returned to the helmet states. After experiencing the luxury of having a choice of headwear, or lack of, we’ve strapped our noggins back into the required protection. The carefree, hair-tangling experience heightened the senses while cruising through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and gave us all the feel of the days when riders were allowed to make their own decisions as to whether to wear the obnoxious helmet or not. For some of us, those choices have been made for us for years.
Our evening in Flagstaff was a beautiful thing. Cool, clear skies and crisp pine scents punctuated the community feel when several of our group visited the grand opening of the local Eagleriders shop. Peter, Mickey, Thomas, and Hans served up cold beer and grilled burgers as we hung out under the stars in their parking lot and shared our experiences over the last 15 days. The team rents motorcycles from the Northern Arizona location and were thrilled to see the vintage bikes and meet the riders.
Rolling out the next morning was a bit nippy. It was “see your breath” cold, actually. Riders shook off the cold and hit the historic Route 66, then headed west across the Arizona Divide and enjoyed the Grand Canyon state’s great scenery.
We’ve noticed fewer bikes on the side of the road that need rescuing. Apparently riders and their crews have worked the kinks out of their machines and are able to focus more on the ride. Everyone reports having a great time riding the route and a more competitive atmosphere seems to be taking shape. Every rider is concentrating on making the finish line.
The notorious Sitgreaves Pass, considered the most dangerous part of Route 66, was tackled by the Cannonball crew after lunch at the Mother lode H-D shop in Kingman, AZ. Riders were offered the opportunity to opt out and be trailered to the flat lands, but none did. The big concern was for the bikes with little braking power, since the pass is both twisty and steep. Vince Martinico, who confesses to having “about 1% brakes”, just chose to deal with the lack of stopping power by dragging his right foot to slow him down as he zoomed down the hill. Otherwise, no issues with the route and all participants reported having a great time.
Stage 13: Hone Away From Home
Written by Felicia Morgan
Friday, 24 September 2010 13:27
Today was the perfect weather we could have ever asked for. It was foggy and cool as riders left Gallup, and New Mexico, in the background. Northern Arizona is cool and scenic, and Flagstaff boasts of being in the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the nation, so you can imagine the beauty we were engulfed by.
As usual, there were riders wrenching and adjusting at the end of the day. Dieter has yet to find anyone capable of repairing his broken fork so the BSA will be off the road for at least another day. Last I saw the German couple, Katrin was keeping her husband company under a tall pine as he worked to get her JAP in tip top condition for Friday’s route, which will include steep inclines, rough surfaces, and what was considered the most dangerous section of Route 66 when the famous route was still contiguous from Chicago to California.
The day started out with heavy fog just outside Gallup. Beautiful. The ride across the Navajo Reservation was interesting. Several low spots had wash outs where the flash floods loaded the road with red mucky mud. Staffers put out a warning sign for riders then scurried on ahead to check for other road concerns. Besides some rutted, bumpy pavement, the majority of the surfaces were great. Flagstaff is sunny and gorgeous. Riders are just starting to roll in so i'm heading out to catch them and give 'em all a hug!! Great day for a ride... no rain!
Michael Lichter Goes All Out For A Shot
Written by Felicia Morgan
Thursday, 23 September 2010 12:23
As we travel the route of our archaic peregrination we are being followed and photographed by famed photographer, Michael Lichter, as he rides along on the back of a Panhead H-D. Sitting backwards. Carl Olsen is the pilot of this two man team and the pair get quite the looks. Imagine for yourself the sight, Mike and all his camera gear strapped in to an odd looking sort of highchair with padded braces designed to keep Mike safe as he struggles to get those amazing images he's so famous for.
Michael has been kind enough to share some of those captured moments with us. Go to www.lichterphoto.com to see more of Michael's amazing work.
Stage 12: Wet Wednesday
Written by Felicia Morgan
Thursday, 23 September 2010 02:04
“Red sky at morning, sailors take warning”….ever heard that old saw? Well, that was rattling around my brain this morning in Albuquerque as I shot the glowing sunrise from the parking lot of the Motorcycle Cannonball hotel. Actually, “holy crap” is what I said out loud. It was a beautiful sight.
The day started out wonderful and slowly melted into a soggy mess that had riders soaked to the bone, cold, and worried about their physical being as well as their motorcycle’s longevity. There were plastic wrapped magnetos and garbage bag garbed riders. By day’s end, everyone was congratulating each other for a good day’s ride. All came home safe.