Monday, September 24, 2012

The Pacific Coast

Ginger took Steve to the Pacific Coast and then just couldn't go anymore.  She held together long enough for him to finish Day 14 and start Day 15 for a total of 61 miles before Steve decided to stop and not tear her completely to pieces.  He values the 101's too highly to intentionally tear one up.   With two motors with burnt valves, it made no sense to deliberately punish them even more.

So, the guys loaded Ginger up and headed for West Virginia.

You will see in the final results, that Jeff and The Beast finished 4th while Josh finished 5th, Doug 43rd, Steve in 51st, Ian in 59th and Marcin in 66th.  When Steve gets to talk to Josh, he'll give you a race wrap up next week.

Buck, Dick and Steve are headed back to West Virginia worn out, but already planning the 2014 Cannonball Endurance Race!

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Just putting down miles"

That was what I was told when I asked how everyone was getting along today....."Just putting down miles!"

Steve, Josh, Jeff and Doug - the Tribal Council, along with Brett continued down Oregon's coast today and into California.  WhooHoo!  Way to go guys - 2 more days to go!

Today's ride took them through Redwood Drive in California where they saw the giant sequoia trees and then along the pacific coastline right next to the beach which was loaded with parasailers today.  It was an awesome 285 mile day. 

Jeff and Brett are riding together again and were ahead of Josh and Steve, while Doug is getting along fine.

Ian will pull his rear cylinder off today and figure out what is wrong and try to get it running.  As a side note, they forgot to tell me that Ian's magneto fell off the day before yesterday when all the bolts backed out on it.  So, he's got a few issues to resolve.  Marcin, on the other hand, discovered that the reason his motor had seized up was that he had a hydraulic lock on oil as it had all drained down into the bottom of his engine.  He had solved this problem and got it running.  Then this morning he was ready to go when the inside of his tank broke and he got oil in his gas and gas in his oil.  So, he's out.  Steve couldn't even loan him his spare set of tanks as with Marcin's highly modified engine, he has special fittings on his gas tank and nothing would match up or hook up with a loaner set. 

The altitude changes kept the guys in a constant battle of adjusting their carbureators.  They were in the mountains this morning and all the way down to just 10 feet above sea level this evening.  It kept them on their toes keeping the bikes adjusted.  This morning Steve could only go 41 mph wide open and was thinking he would have to change out carbureators this evening, but by this afternoon it was running better and he was just aggrevated!  He also says that he thinks his carb is sucking air. 

Josh and Steve are also adding two stroke oil to their gas because of the ethanol which helps keep the carbon buildup cut back, but they've not ever measured it, they've just been adding it, so the way their bikes run constantly changes after each gas stop depending on how much was added.  (Never thought to send a measuring cup, but sounds like they could have used one! HA!)  It may have saved some aggrevation.

The bungee cords are stretching, so they're now full of extra knots to shorten them up to hold Steve's bike in gear.  (I can only imagine the mangled mess)

Steve says that Josh may be developing an issue with his front brake.  When they were coming down out of the canyon into a series of "S" turns, he was having some trouble.  When he lets off or uses it, it seems to grab.  Steve thinks it may be a broken or weak spring inside the brake drum. They're gonna have to check it out during service this evening when they get in.  They've been keeping an eye on it and are being extra careful.

Laying down 4000 miles in two weeks, going 10 mph above the "ideal" speed for these 101's day in and day out is really hammering the motors.  They will all need rebuilt after this torture!

Tomorrow's ride will take them from Fortuna, California to Cotati, California after a 240 mile ride continuing down the California coastline.  They will enjoy a hosted dinner provided by Michael's HD in Cotati. 

Let's keep putting down those miles guys!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oregon, Oregon, Oregon.....Will We Ever See California

Sorry for the down time yesterday, but with time difference now being 3 hours and the Wednesday night class I'm taking, Steve & I didn't connect in time for a blog report yesterday. So, here goes for two days, starting with Wednesday...

The guys started out the day with Jeff and Josh running strong, Steve thinking that he may have to change out to the original motor tonight, Doug still running and doing his own thing, Marcin's bike up and running again and Ian back to riding the Indian Drifter.

Now to explain,  Steve's bike started cracking and popping before lunch, but he continued to fool with it and thought it was running better, but said he might have to change out the motor that evening since he feels that a valve stuck open which could present a problem.  However, after lunch Ginger had straightened up and was running ok.  So, he's going to stick with it.

Doug kinda does his own thing throughout the day, exploring and enjoying his ride, trading up partners and taking side roads when the notion strikes.  For those of you who don't know, Doug holds the world record for riding an Indian around the world (and if I remember correctly, 3 times on a Chief).  Check out his website!

Onto Marcin....while he got his bike running after his early dropout the day before, the engine continues to make a noise, lose power and then shuts off.  He doesn't know what it is and can't explain it to the guys in order for any of them to understand what it may be, so they're dealing with it.

Ian is back on the Indian Drifter as he thinks that his pistons are hitting the bottom of the engine cases.
Thank heavens that Steve brought the Drifter.  It was originally intended for his dad, Buck and Dick Jones, who are his support crew, to take turns riding, but I think that Marcin and Ian are having a blast on it!  With Marcin from Poland and Ian from England, it's great that they get to ride and experience the run, even if it's not always on their own Indians.

Brett Johnson, who's been riding with the guys, recovered from a primary chain problem yesterday and continues to ride with the crew as well.    At the end of Wednesday's ride, which took them 251 miles to Burns, Oregon - Steve, Josh, Marcin, Doug, Brett and Jeff all secured a perfect 251 score for Wednesday.

Steve said that he thinks they discovered the problem with his original motor, it had a burnt exhaust valve and they have lapped the valves out and are putting it back together as time allows to have for a backup if the race motor goes down.

Today's ride - Thursday, which went from Burns, Oregon to Klamath Falls, Oregon for a total of 230 miles took the guys across the high desert country all the way to the Cascades, a forest of huge, reach to the sky pines.  The first part of today's ride was hot, dry and pretty boring, but ended with the awesome ride through the Cascades and the winding, mountainous roads.  Steve said it was some gorgeous country.

This ride also stretched the 101's to their limits....of fuel.  The longest distance of 115 miles between fuel stops had the guys carrying extra, extra fuel with them.  Doug, Steve and Josh had 2 gallons extra with each of them.  I know from the practice rides that Steve and I took before he left that he runs slap out of gas at 90 miles.  Steve said that Doug and Josh couldn't stretch their bikes that far, so they stopped and made sure that none of them ran out of gas.   Jeff and Brett rode together today.

Marcin and Ian didn't get to experience the ride today.  Last night during service and bike repair, when trying to figure out the knocking sound in Ian's bike they discovered that the front rod is loose and there is alot of play in the flywheels.  Tim had taken the front cylinder off to check the wrist pin and they discovered these other issues.  Ian has made the decision not to run it and tear it up completely.   Marcin, too, was out today as his bike this morning was locked up and seized tight.  One of his main issues is that he has a stoker motor in his 101 with chief flywheels and rods and Honda pistons and two different type of rings.  So, he's out as of today unless they can figure out and solve his issues, since it's not just a 101 "normal" motor.

Steve says that he and Josh continue to ride together.  Josh's bike is still smoking just as bad as the first day, but they are assuming that it's a good thing since he continues to ride every day.  They are not going to worry or work on that.  However, Josh's taillight broke off two days ago and they have wire tied the light and his license plate to the wooden box he is carrying with stuff on his luggage rack.  Steve's bike is running better this afternoon, but this morning they had to stop and goop the back cylinder with silicone along the road since it was sucking air.  I can only imagine what these two bikes look like with all the wired on, gooped up, burnt and fire extinguished parts, pieces and whipped riders aboard.   Are we having fun yet?   A BIG RESOUNDING, HELL YES!

Steve, Josh, Jeff, Doug and Brett made it in this evening, a total of 230 miles.  Tomorrow's ride will take them from Klamath Falls, Oregon down to Fortuna, Oregon for a total of 285 miles.  They are on the home stretch now! :) 

Good Luck Guys!  Let's take the 101's all the way in to San Francisco!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Patience Josh, Slow and Steady

While I haven't heard from Steve yet this evening, I can only assume that they are still busy servicing and repairing the 101's this evening.  While all 6 101's started out this morning, luck was not on Marcin's side.  About 4 miles into the ride at a stoplight, Marcin was seen pulling over to the side of the road and they haven't seen him as of lunch today when I last spoke with Steve.  He reported that they were 170 miles into today's run at that point and only had 129 more miles to go. 

However......Jeff, Ian and Brett Johnson had been riding together, while Steve and Josh were keeping pace just behind them, when they stopped for gas and Brett's bike was found to be making a real bad knocking sound.  Brett elected to stay behind to check out his bike and the others took off for the next stop up in Pute (I hope that's right).  Jazzy Jeff took off at 50 mph with Ian and Josh following him.  Steve elected to keep his 45-46 mph pace as he knows from experience and doing the mechanic work on his Indians that the 101 was never designed to run at those speeds, let alone day in and day out.  He also knows that George Yarocki and Tim have been working hard every night on Jeff's bike to have it in tip top shape and they are the best 101 mechanics to be found anywhere.  They too, have been cautioning the guys on their speed.  Anyway, Steve said Josh soon realized that he wasn't keeping up with them and dropped back to ride with Steve at his slow and steady pace.  Steve cautioned Josh that riding as fast as Jeff would take them out as their bikes would not withstand that pace.  Apparently then, when they arrived in Pute for their next gas stop they discovered that Ian had broke a lifter in his motor and would be out for the day, if not longer.  Upon finding that out, knowing Steve like I do, I know he told Josh, "patience Josh, slow and steady"  and that would be the mantra for the remainder of the day and, probably during the final days of the race!

Steve said that this morning Jeff's front tire had only 10 lbs of air in it and his carb had to be re-adjusted, even though it had been serviced the night before.  There are those that feel the Indians are being tampered with.  That being said, Ginger is holding her own and hanging in there.  Steve now has 2 bungee cords on his bike, one to hold it in second (instead of his knee) and one to hold it in third.  The screw keeps backing out of Josh's oil pump, so they had to stop and safety wire it on today.  Doug seems to be running ok and came over this morning to make sure that Steve got his bike started, which he did since it was actually 32 degrees this morning.  A little warmer than yesterday. :)    Steve said that the back side of the Tetons coming out of Jackson Hole into Idaho was absolutely breathtaking!  However, the further into Idaho he went, it was hazy and the only thing that they had seen was a lone crow, except for the one antelope while I was talking to him.

I'm assuming that Jeff, Josh, Doug and Steve completed today's ride.  Looking at the standings that are posted as of yesterday's ride Jeff has moved into 5th place and Josh is in 6th. SUPER - Slow and Steady Guys! Steve is in 45th and you will note that on Day 9 he only has 29 miles instead of the 229 miles he completed for the day.  He was penalized 200 points for changing out motors.  He's okay with that as at least he was honest and upfront with everyone about it.  Ian shows spot 53 and Doug 54.

Tomorrow's ride will take them 251 miles from Mountain Home, Idaho to Burns, Oregon.  I only wish that the guys could have ridden up to Crater Lake, as it is an awesome place with some spectacular views and water as blue as can be. 

The Tribe is truly having the experience of a lifetime.  I know that Steve has met some great guys and has gained a greater appreciation of the 101 Indian!


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Super Six Are All Up and Running

Today was the first day since Day 1 that ALL 6 of the 101's ran all day.  While they all have their share of issues, all are working to stay in it for the long haul.  All the bikes are now serviced this evening, put to bed and ready for tomorrow's 299 mile run from Jackson, Wyoming to Mountain Home, Idaho.  Let's keep our fingers crossed that they all arrive in Mountain Home running......

Steve says the backup motor doesn't have much power as it came out of one of our race bikes, so it's been run hard and has seen better days.  He's got a bungee on it to hold it in 3rd gear and his knee is holding it in second.  Josh is doing okay.  If Marcin can make it on tomorrow's 299 mile ride, he should be good for the remainder of the run.  Jeff, Doug and Ian are running fine.

The dew and mist from Lake Yellowstone today kept them covered in frost, so the pictures should be pretty cool of today's ride in more ways than one.  They had 5 hours of time to spend sightseeing along the way and stopped at Ole Faithful for a group photo - can't wait to see it.  They kept the sales of hot chocolate in the park on overload today to try to warm up from the inside out to defrost.

Steve said the riders got a letter that said if any of the pit crew or non-participant riders were caught with the participating riders that the rider would receive a warning and penalty points the first time, a higher number of penalty points the second time and the third time they would be disqualified.  Steve said this has been going on since Day 1 among some of the top placed riders and the tolerance level due to the tiredness level is starting to take its toll among the group.  Steve just hopes that his bike makes it the whole way. 

Onward to Idaho!

And This Is Why They Call It "The Cannonball Endurance Race"

Just happened to catch Steve at the one spot along Lake Yellowstone where there IS cell phone service this morning.  He had just pulled over to de-ice, yes I said ICE.  It is 28 degrees with a heavy dew this morning and the visor on his helmet had iced over so he flipped it up and then his glasses iced over.  So, he had to stop and thaw out.  He snapped on the curtains on the crash bars to help hold in some of the heat on the motor.  Josh thought it was funny that Steve was starting to look like an icicle.

He said he would talk as long as service held which was long enough to say that they all made it in yesterday and that he and Josh were riding together this morning. He hasn't seen Ian.  Doug is riding with some HD guys and Jazzy Jeff is put out with them for leaving him yesterday after the lunch stop in Cody.  Apparently, he was tinkering and they were ready and left without him thinking he would catch up.  Lonnie and the promoters have now stopped all extra bikes from riding with the participants and things are starting to unravel as there are those who are resorting to underhand means to stay in the race, make times, etc.  So, the last half could be interesting.

Steve said he just about threw in the towel this morning when he couldn't get his bike to start in the cold, damp weather.  The compression is weak on this power plant and he couldn't get it started.  After kicking til he was whipped, Doug stepped in and got it running for him.   Buck & Dick told him to get on and ride.  Today's ride is 160 miles on the loop road in Yellowstone, so they will head back out the east entrance (the way they came in yesterday) until they hit the loop road which will head them north and all around the loop road and then finally out the south entrance through the Grand Tetons and then to Jackson.  The support crews are just heading on to the south entrance from Lake Yellowstone Lodge, so they only will travel about 40 miles and then will wait on the riders to make it in this evening.

So, it sounds like endurance is now starting to come into play with the riders, bikes, weather, attitudes, tempers and fair play we can only hope that all will abide by.  It's starting to get interesting......

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Conquering the Rockies

Ginger is ready to go!  Steve called and talked me through this morning's start of Day 9 headed over the Big Horn Mountains and ending up at Lake Yellowstone.  Steve and Josh talked about taking the Rockies at a nice slow, steady pace while waiting on the signal for their class to start.   Steve said it's mass confusion as each group starts and it takes about 45 minutes to an hour each day for everyone to get sorted out and paired up with the crew they plan on riding with for the day.  So, it's kinda like a shuffle or better yet, musical chairs first thing every morning.

Today, Ian, Josh and Steve plan on riding together and Dick is joining them on the Indian Drifter.  Jazzy Jeff and Brett Johnson are paired up together.  Doug is up and running today as well and Marcin hopes to have his bike completed today to ride tomorrow.   As they start and the sorting begins to take place about 5 miles into the run, he sees Jazzy Jeff and Brett off on the side of the road and sees that they are working on Jazzy's electronic odometer, so it must need adjusting.  He says that the 101's are in Class II and Class III is always breathing down their neck and comes at them like a stampede, so you don't try to stop unless you absolutely have too and you definitely don't want to stop to check on the other guys.  They'll catch up.   As he says this, he tells me that Josh has now pulled off the road, but he continues the slow, steady pace he must maintain to take on the Big Horn!  Josh will catch up! 

Steve says that he will have to go easy on Ginger's clutches as he can tell it wouldn't take much for them to let go.  He has the spare motor in, so it's a learning process again today to coax her to respond like he wants.  As he starts up the first incline, he says she jumps out of second, so he's got to hold her in gear with his knee.  Also, the shifter is in a different position on this power plant than the original, so he's got to adjust. 

He says there are all kinds of turkeys along the road today and comments that he's seen 3 roadkill coyotes the last couple days. He thought about getting a coyote tail off one of them, but decided it was not worth becoming roadkill himself!  I reminded him not to hit a buffalo in Yellowstone!

As they climb to the higher altitudes, the motors get more gas than air, so the 101's have to work on keeping just the right blend for their bikes to perform. 

I got a text from Steve saying that he arrived in Cody for the hosted lunch at Hotel Irma, named after Buffalo Bill Cody's daughter and said that it was really great.  They left there about 1:15 this afternoon and headed to Lake Yellowstone, in Yellowstone National Park.  I am envious of them, as no matter how many times I've been there, it is always changing and you always have a different experience each time you go to the park.  We went through last May on our way to participate in The Great Race in California and had snow drifts  higher than the side mirrors on the motorhome and we got to see a grizzly bear near the lake. 

I tried Steve later this afternoon and then remembered that there is virtually no cell phone service in the interior of the park, so I haven't gotten to talk with him tonight either.   Tomorrow they will ride through the park and come out the south entrance through Grand Teton National Park and on to Jackson, Wyoming for their next overnight stop.  They will only travel 160 miles tomorrow compared to the 229 miles today, but it will be a slower pace in the park with speed limits due to the abundance of wildlife and tourists, plus the awesome views and breathtaking scenery they will take in.

Currently, Jazzy Jeff is holding 6th position and Josh is right behind him in 7th.  Both men have ridden every day for the full mileage, so they are doing GREAT!  Steve is ranked 43rd due to his partial Day 2 ride when he blew a head gasket and for not riding at all yesterday.  Doug holds 54th, Ian is 56th and Marcin ranks 69th.  The 101 Scouts are hanging together and the Tribal Council is holding strong and steady for the Cannonball!

Let's hope that Yellowstone is kind to all of them and that they can fully enjoy the beauty of that pristine wilderness.   A full 101 report will follow when they come back into the modern age of technology.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Repair, Tear Down, Repair, Tear Down.....

Well, the scheduled day of rest in Sturgis did not go at all as planned.  All the 101 bikes underwent major repairs and only three (Josh, Jeff, and Ian) of the six made it out of the starting block today headed to Sheridan, Wyoming.  Also today, Dick Jones rode the Indian drifter and Marcin left riding Tim's BMW to enjoy the beautiful weather in Wyoming.  Buck and Steve were racing in the excursion to Sheridan to begin the work to replace the engine in Steve's 101 as they couldn't get the original one to run because of the carbon buildup that apparently is hidden on the valves somewhere.

Yesterday, Steve's repairs consisted of  2 blown head gaskets and the mag seal which had went out two days ago, plus a carbureator to tear down and rebuild.  After completing this work, the bike wouldn't fire and run, so he traded mags and wouldn't run.  George Yarocki and Tim even helped him go through everything.... 6 times, yes 6..... and still the bike wouldn't fire and run, so at 10:30 pm they called it a night and made the decision to take off for Sheridan first thing this morning (Sat) and just replace the whole engine with the spare Steve took with them.   Steve, George and Tim have determined that there is a chunk of carbon stuck to the valve train somewhere that they can't see.  All the 101's are experiencing a great deal of carbon buildup that they are cleaning off on the valve stems or the valve seats.   Just talked with him this evening and as of 8:30 pm this evening, the work is completed and the bike is running.... ready to take on the Big Horn Mountains on the way to Cody, Wyoming.  WhooHoo!  Keep your fingers crossed for the start of a great second half of the Cannonball for Ginger! 

Josh's bike repairs consisted of a new float bowl for carbureator which Steve built him.  He installed new gas lines and he also had a great deal of carbon buildup to clean up.  His bike is running better and better each day as they are repairing and fixing all the problems that he accumulates throughout the day's rides.  Josh made it into Sheridan, WY after a successful day.  Way to go!   Also, I just watched the video they posted of today on and watched Josh's shorts go up in smoke.  Great interview, Josh!

Ian replaced his neck bearings and races.  He had the whole front end off and apart and also rebuilt the front wheel. It was up and running and he completed the 242 mile run today.  I'm sure Ian was glad to be on the road again!

Jeff's bike had 5 hours of service which included cleaning the carbon off his heads.  Tim has been working extensively each night until 2-3 am on the Beast to keep her going for Jeff.  Jeff completed Stage 8 just as he has completed all of the others.  George and Tim are doing an awesome job keeping The Beast going.

Marcin got his new piston and after tearing down his motor and during assembly he discovered that the rod didn't fit the piston, so at 8 pm last night he was headed back to the machine shop to get his head milled out to fit.  He realized that his has chief rods in his bike.  So, his bike didn't get completed and today he rode  Tim's BMW.

Doug worked until 4:30 am.  He got his new cylinders from New Zealand and when he went to install them, he found out that it wouldn't clear the toadstools in motor and he is going to have to cut out the side of cylinder to clear the guides.  He also had to make valve spring retainers by hand filing.  He didn't make it on today's ride either.

As of today the 101 crew is out of head gaskets AGAIN!

Steve hopes to work on the original motor during the evenings and have it for a spare.  He says they are working until they are too tired to continue, but are having a great time.   He said the ride is starting to take a toll on all the bikes, not just the 101's. 

Tomorrow's ride will take them through the Big Horn Mountains, which is gorgeous as I have been through there many times, but it's tough and they will climb close to 10,000 feet.  The coolness should help the bikes as they will be working hard during the ascent.  They will lunch at the famous Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming before they head on into Yellowstone National Park to the Lake Lodge for the night.

Hang Tough Tribal Council! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

All Smiles

Here's a picture that I found on Facebook today that someone took in the parking lot in Murdo, South Dakota last night of Steve and his dad, Buck during the evening service ritual.

The Tribal Council

.....that's what the 3 remaining 101's are calling themselves.... The Tribal Council.

The race started with 70 overall cannonball racers and 6 of them were the Indian 101 riders - Steve Rinker #7 of WV, Josh Wilson #89 of VA, Jeff Alperin #101 of FL, Ian Patton #22 from England, Marcin Grela #98 from Poland, and Doug Wothe #88 of Alabama.  Now, as of their arrival in Sturgis, they are down to just three.  Hopefully, after the rest day (aka Work Your Ass Off Day) in Sturgis, they will be back up to the starting 6.    Steve says they did allow Brent Johnson to ride his HD with them today only because he races Indians outside of the Cannonball.

I'm told they are all missing the smell of a home-cooked meal as whenever you walk into a hosted meal or especially at the hotel breakfast in the mornings, the only smell you recognize is bengay.  Someone should have taken stock out in it before the race began from the amount that's being used by these guys!!!!  Must be working or else the strong smell makes them think it is. :)

Today's ride through the badlands was pretty cool.  Steve and Jazzy Jeff (as Steve has now nicknamed him) left Josh along the route working on his carbureator.  They took pictures of each other and their bikes while they enjoyed the scenic overlooks and beauty of the badlands (and I'm sure if you look hard enough at the pictures when they get back,  you will find Josh off in the distance laying on the ground working on his carb!)  Needless to say, Josh caught up with them by early afternoon, and they rode into Sturgis with smiles on their faces!

They skipped the scenic Mt. Rushmore as they had all seen it before, except for Marcin and he wasn't too concerned to miss seeing  the US Presidents since he hails from Poland. I think they got him a postcard at one of the gas stops. Ha! 

Steve says at this point the bike is riding him as his neck and back are starting to wear out and yes, he's being coated in bengay as well.   During the gas stops today they decided to start putting high octane in their tanks in prep for the mountain riding.  I'm told that the higher octane creates a slower burn allowing their engines to run cooler which they'll need for the long uphill grades they are about to take on over the next few days.

The guys must be getting lonely at this point for female company as they are talking about  how the film crew in high heels ride backwards on bikes when they go by them filming.   Either there are women filming, or else they are starting to hallucinate.

Sturgis Day of Rest Schedule of Events is as follows:

Steve - Has to replace the seal behind the mag as it's blowing oil on the back of the front fender and all over his leg. He will have to pull the cam cover and everything to do this.  He's also going to replace the head gaskets on his bike with new ones that were made especially for this group of 101 riders by Tom Fickow when they stopped in Milwaukee. (hopefully, I correctly spelled his last name, if not I apologize)   Tom showed up in Milwaukee and after talking to the 101 riders and pit crews he learned of their head gaskets troubles. He then went home and stamped out 8 sets of head gaskets and brought them back at midnight, left them at George Yarocki's trailer and on Steve's bike, and then was worried whether or not they would still be there in the morning.  So, he handstamped more and came back the next morning to make sure they had them with the second batch.  AWESOME TOM!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Josh - Has to rebuild his carbureator and general overall maintenance.

Ian - Started tonight as his neck bearing were in Sturgis when he arrived and should be done by tomorrow evening.

Marcin - His piston was also in Sturgis and he is at a machine shop honing the front cylinder and hopes to install the piston tonight depending on how much he tore up the cylinder.  There's a good chance that he no longer will be a "Indian drifter" rider but a 101 rider by the time they leave Sturgis! Yay!

Doug - His pistons came in but I don't know anything about his cylinders, so I'm assuming he is still waiting on parts and won't leave until they come in and he gets repaired.

Jeff - Well, Jeff just rides, and then tells Tim (his mechanic)  and George what he thinks is wrong at the end of the day.  Tim takes it for a test ride and then starts repairing Jeff's bike no matter if it takes all night, all while Jeff is showering, eating and sleeping.  Steve did say that George and Tim are talking about doing a complete top end overhaul tomorrow as well.

So, hopefully after a good night's rest and a big breakfast in the morning, they will set about accomplishing all of the above. Good Luck! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keeping The Tribe Together

Rain, rain, rain, hot chocolate and more RAIN.  For about the first 6 hours of today's run, the riders took on water, lots of water!  The temperature at lunch was 57 degrees and with all the rain, they were chilled to the bone when the sun finally came out for the last leg of the trip into Murdo, South Dakota.  They ran 326 miles today, the longest of the event and about 200 of it was in the pouring down rain. They drank plenty of hot chocolate, but were wishing for some brandy to take the chill out!

Steve thanked me for the neoprene fishing gloves I made him take as his hands stayed DRY today.  He has orders for more out of the gun shop.  (Every now and then I do come up with a brilliant idea.)  He described Josh to me as looking like a "wet poodle" today.  He only has a half helmet and wasn't wearing waterproof boots, so his wet mustache curled up and his feet and hands were soaking wet.  Steve gave him a pair of his extra leather gloves.  Steve's only complaint was that the rain ran down the back his helmet and down his neck, so he apparently needs a duck tail on the back of his helmet. :)

Steve was also thankful for the curtains I sewed him to snap onto his crash bars.  He snapped them on and they helped keep his magneto dry and the wet road grime from the front tire from splashing up onto his legs and feet and the motor.  (Score 2 for Dee today)

The 101 tribe had a new game plan for today.  George Yarocki & Tim (haven't caught his last name yet) - which are Jeff Alperin's pit crew told Jeff he was running too hard at 50-55 mph and they feared the bike wouldn't hold up for the whole race, so he stepped it down to ride with the rest of the 101 crew.  Josh was made to step it up at pit stops today.  Steve says when they're stopped he can always find Josh flat out on the ground tinkering with his bike.   So, in summary, calm Jeff down, speed Josh up!  Actually, today it was Marcin's job.  He's still in charge of pace the 101 crew and keeping them moving.  Steve said when they would stop for gas, you could always hear Marcin telling them "Hurry, we must hurry" or "We've got to go, we've got to go now."  Marcin is still riding the "Indian drifter."  He hopes his parts will be in Sturgis that will work.

I felt like I was in charge of making a grocery list today when talking with Steve - actually it was a list of parts that he needed to remember to get when in the trailer tonight for Josh - a pitcock, a bolt for his fender, and a bolt for his exhaust.  He's actually needed these items for the last two days, so I was to send a text this evening reminding them to get them out. 

Ian didn't run yesterday as his steering was too unsafe to run and they hadn't seen him as of 2 pm today so they're assuming that he's not on the road again today.  Like I said yesterday, they've got neck bearings and races coming to Sturgis to fix his front end steering problem. 

Doug found the a set of cylinders and pistons from Kent Thompson in New Hampshire and Kent is shipping them to Sturgis. Way to go, Kent!

The pace today was between 45-47 mph during the rain, but they had to slow it down a little for the last third of the ride when the rain stopped due to being too hard on the bikes with the heat.

They were to enjoy a dinner hosted by the Pioneer Auto Show in Murdo, South Dakota this evening with a Parc Ferme' until 7 pm.  I called Steve at 9 pm EST so it was just 8 pm out there and he couldn't talk as they were servicing bikes.  But, I do know that Steve, Jeff, Josh & Marcin finished out the last 100 miles today with no problems.  I'm sure that magneto cleaning and drying out was at the top of the service list tonight!

Tomorrow's ride will finish in Sturgis, South Dakota after a run through the Badlands, a visit to Mt. Rushmore and a ride through the famous pioneer town of Deadwood for a total of 278 miles.  They will finish the day with a barbeque at Glencoe Campground followed by a day of much needed rest in Sturgis, SD.  However, with all the parts being sent to Sturgis, it will be a day of repairs.  Steve's talking about taking his heads off and replacing head gaskets and checking everything out before they start into the mountains for the last half of the trip.  We will see!

Go Indians!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Conquering the Wind

Today's ride was lesson in control...controlling the bikes in the wind gusts which ranged anywhere from 20-40 mph.  Steve said it was a challenge in this flat country with no wind breaks to ride the wind and hang on, keeping it in the road. 

The bike is running well between 45-50 mph, but it is pushing them to make times and Steve is thinking of changing up his sprockets.  I told him not to ruin a good thing as it would soon no longer be flat country and those Big Horn Mountains are looming and he would just have to change sprockets again.  We'll see if  "he leaves well enough alone" or not.
A shout out to the Kutter HD in Monroe, Wisconsin for a great hosted lunch and to the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamose, Iowa for a wonderful dinner and reception.   Today's hosted lunch at the HD of Monroe City found him meeting up with Lee & Kathy Strawn,  my brother and sister in law.  They were on hand to see them arrive and show their support.  The dinner hosted by the new Indian Motorcyle Company was very nice this evening and included a live band during the evenings festivities.

Last night, Carl Temple, who races one of our 101's in the antique hand shift race circuit, came up from Davenport to deliver a blown motor to Steve in case there were parts that could be used. 

Steve sounds like he may finally be winning in the battle of the cold. Yay!

Today's 101 repairs included a rear fender on Josh Wilson's 101.  It was hanging with 1 bolt left when they stopped for gas and 30-40 minutes later when they were through, they had to run hard to make up the 20 minutes they lost to get to the hosted lunch on time in case it was one of the scored checkpoints on today's routes.  As a side note, it was Josh's 101 that got the hillbilly beer can repair, not Ian's.

Ian's bike apparently has been like riding a see saw as it has steering problems.  They stop to tighten up the front end and then stop to loosen it when he can't steer.  Neck bearings and races have been ordered from Randy Walker and are being shipped to Sturgis where Steve hopes to replace them on their rest day.

Doug is looking for a rear cylinder as the wrist pin buttons came loose and tore it up today.  He lost the front cylinder on his way to the Cannonball from Alabama and came to our shop on Sunday night before the start where Steve tore it apart, machined out the gouges in the cylinder and replaced with a new piston to get him on his way to make it to Newburg in time.

Marcin smiled for the first time today as Steve put him on the Kawasaki Drifter that he had brought along for his dad, Buck or Dick Jones to take turns riding with him.  They decided since Marcin's bike had bit the dust the first day to have him ride the Drifter which Steve had dressed up to look like an Indian (It is black and silver and has a black Indian headress tank decal and the front Indian headlamp installed and a luggage rack.)  The 101 riders have made Marcin the official timekeeper for their gas and break stops to keep them on pace.  Their bikes would really love to run out at 40-45 mph, but the event is set up to make their pace 50-55 mph, so they're afraid that it may take a toll on their bikes as the ride goes on.

I learned that Steve was not the only one to lose a saddlebag.  Apparently, on the first day when Steve had the "extinguisher" mishap he should have been riding more closely with Josh, as his one saddle bag burnt up with his all his clothes.  They could have helped one another out with their problems.  Ha!

According to Buck, it seems the 101's have been congregating together in the motel parking lots and it looks like they are "on the reservation" when looking at them all together in a corner away from the rest of the riders. 

The Cannonballers are having the experience of a life time and after talking with Steve this evening, I can postively say he went to bed with a smile on his face and was looking forward to making South Dakota by tomorrow evening.  Tomorrow's ride will put them in Murdo, South Dakota after a 326 mile day.  This will be the last over 300 mile day of the race, so I wish them luck in not having to push them to hard.

Remember, the old sales slogan --- "You can't wear out an Indian Scout!" :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Dose of Bad Gas

Talked with Steve this morning and was relieved to hear that it WAS NOT another blown head gasket.  Several others experienced loss of power and trouble to keep their bikes going, but they feel it was a dose of bad gas at one of the pit stops they made. Thank goodness!!!

Since it's a relatively short day (214 miles) they were able to start late 9:00 a.m. instead of the normal 7:00 a.m.  and with the time difference of an hour that gave the riders even more rest.  Steve said his cold is about to "kick his ass" but I told him to continue taking cold medicine and hang in there.  It's turned out to be another beautiful day and they should be at their lunch stop at Kutter Harley-Davidson in Monroe, Wisconsin.

Steve said last night's experience was great - even if it was at the Harley-Davidson Museum, and Willie G forgot to mention anything about an Indian in his welcome.  The ferry arrived at Milwaukee and they were greeted by the Milwaukee Police Motorcycle Motorcade and escorted through town to the museum.  It was like a parade all through town.  He said there were at least 5000 people waiting to see them at the museum and Willie G was on hand to welcome them and they were treated to a first class dinner and reception.  Their bikes were on display in the Parc Ferme' and it turned out to be relaxing evening.

As far as an update on the Indian 101 riders - Steve & Jeff's bikes are doing well.  Ian from England's bike was treated to some hillbilly repairs by Steve which involved a beer can, but hey--it worked.  Doug from Alabama didn't dry out his magneto from the rain and has had trouble - I think that he cleaned and dried it out last night as it is going today. Josh from Virginia is running but is in need of a few repairs which Steve says he hopes to work on this evening at the motel. Marcin from Poland has been riding with Buck & Dick since Day 1 and Steve hopes to work on his to see what size piston they're gonna need shipped to Sturgis where they hope to get him running on their rest day.  He dropped a piston at the start of Day 1.

It's flat country now so the bikes should run well the next fews day without any stress or strain.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.  :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Not ANOTHER one!

Talked with Steve again this evening just as he was finishing the final 30 miles to the Lake Express Ferry which would take them to Milwaukee.  He said it had been a gorgeous day.  About an hour before I talked with him Ginger began to lose power again and he's been playing with the carbureator to keep her running.  He knows it is yet another blown head gasket!  So he will be taking the cylinder off again to replace it tonight after all the festivities at the Harley-Davidson museum.  I told him he needs a different batch of head gaskets.....but I know it's not that simple (sounds like I expect him to run to the nearest auto parts to get them - ha!)

The ferry was scheduled to leave at 4:00 pm and he arrived about 3:40, so he had time to spare.  All he had to do was get the bike to the museum to finish for the day.  He says several others are starting to need repairs after today's run.  He passed a Henderson that was done for the day with serious engine trouble.  All in all, despite the odometer issue, he remained on course throughout the day.

Tomorrow's run will be a relatively short day as it will only be 214 miles with a lunch stop in Monroe, Wisconsin hosted by Kutter Harley Davidson, followed up with a hosted dinner at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamose, Iowa.   It will also be a day where they don't have to start until 9:00 a.m.  Awesome!

I'll keep you posted........

She doesn't like the rain...

By 8:30 am the rain began and continued soaking the riders on Day 2 of the ride.  Steve had his ToadSkinz on and was completely dry on the outside, but hot and wet on the inside.  Ginger began to protest and lose power in the wet, rainy mess and finally just before lunch blew a head gasket.  She's been doing that recently in the prep for this race to lead Steve to question the head gaskets he's gotten recently. ??? So the new race was on to make to the motel in Sandusky, Ohio where he met up with his dad, Buck and Dick Jones and son, Justin Rinker.  Justin knew what to do, and amid the video camera, camera flashes and questioning, he and Steve tore into replacing the head gasket and check for any other damage.  They completed the repair, serviced the bike - which included cleaning out and drying out the magneto -- and Steve took a test ride around 10:30 pm ....only to have a flat tire.  Tires were swapped out and Ginger was put to bed with the promise of a better day.

Steve left WV with the start of a cold and talking to him on the phone includes "gentle" reminders to take his cold medicine that I packed as I can tell he's now got a full-blown cold.

Buck & Dick spent a big part of the day trying to track down parts  for Marcin Grela from Poland, to no avail.

Steve also told me that he and his dad sat down for an hour interview with reps from the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburg, NY before the race began, so it will fun to go up for  a visit after this is over to see their video of all the interviews, pictures and start of the race, when it's complete. 

Day 1, Steve received a perfect 210 scores along with 56 other riders.  However, 4 riders did not start, 3 received no score, and 8 others received only partial points.  Day 2 scores have not been posted.

I talked with Steve just after he blew his head gasket and didn't talk with him anymore until I was awakened this morning by a phone call from him singing "It's a beautiful morning", so I knew he got everything repaired and was on  the ride for Day 3.  He said everyone was pushing to get to the Lake Express ferry in time ... if not, they were done for the day.  He is currently riding with Josh Wilson (a fellow 101 rider) from Virginia this morning and expecting Jeff Alperin to catch them soon,  which will be a good thing as the new front tire is not close enough to the magnet for the odometer to read correctly.  He fears that it may be an interesting day to follow the route map and that he may be taking a few minor detours.  It's quite ironic that I'm always the one to blame when we're "LOST" when I'm with him regarding "my" map reading abilities, but he just calls them "minor detours" when I'm not.

He's promised to call when he's on the ferry as it will be a 2 hour ride across the lake to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Today's ride is a total of 300 miles and will include a hosted dinner at the Harley Davidson Museum with a Parc Ferme' for all the riders bikes which will close at 8 pm this evening.

Go #7!

Friday, September 7, 2012

And her name is Ginger....

Just got final text from Steve this evening.  He reports that Ginger has been serviced and put to bed. :)
The 1929 101 Scout was christened "Ginger" at the start of the Cannonball today, a far cry from "Damn-It" and she apparently has responded to the gentle touch and words of encouragement rather well on Day 1.
Today's ride was a gorgeous day and the bike ran really well ...... others weren't so lucky.

Earlier in the day, Steve reported that he is paired up with fellow Cannonball Rider Jeff Alperin and "the Beast" (his 101 Indian Scout) and they had a great ride from Newburg, NY to Wellsboro, PA for a total of 210 miles.   There were a couple minor malfunctions, the first being that Steve's antique doctor's bag on his luggage rack is quickly coming apart from the dry-rotting leather.  He had hoped it would hold up longer, but he's got a back up that he installed this evening during service.   The second, more comical, as the saddle bag came off on the one side of the bike which held tools, his spare gas can and one of two small fire extinquishers he is carrying.  Jeff was following at the time and thankfully was on the opposite side of the bike, so he got to see it all unfold....... and extinguish.   Yeah, the fire extinquisher was the only fatality.  Everything was gathered up, pictures were taken and the riders were on their way again.

Tomorrow's run will go a total of 320 miles from Wellsboro, PA to Sandusky, OH where he hopes to meet up with Justin and Jared and crew.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Still getting ready....

It is 10:00 pm the night before the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Race and I've just talked with Steve.   There are still riders and pit crews in the parking lot making repairs and getting bikes ready for tomorrow's start.  He's been helping out fellow 101 riders with their bikes.   However,  he has decided to call it a night, hoping that his excitement doesn't keep him up as he'll be up and out by 6:00 a.m.   His start time is just past 7 a.m.

Today's practice run and rider's meetings went well.

Tomorrow, Day 1 of the race will have the riders traveling 210 miles to Wellsboro, PA. 

And so it begins.....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bringing you up to speed!

Well......after the last post Steve decided that the blogspot must be jinxing him with his progress on getting his bike ready for the he decided NOT to post anything else until the race.   So, while I won't go into detail on his glitches or preparations, I will say that they guys left this morning and have arrived in Newburg, NY.  They are registered and have passed inspections and are ready for tomorrow's practice runs and rider's meetings.

Here's just a few things that I do know:
1 - He's decided to talk more softly to his girl and she has taken a liking to him.  While I don't know her
            name, it is no longer Damn-It.   :)
2 - That after riding many evenings following him on my bike over the last month, I know that he can go  
           90+miles before he runs slap out of gas.
3 - That he is determined that he will ride over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, no matter what it
           takes to get his girl there.
4 - That he was loaded and ready to go on Friday and then unloaded when fellow 101 rider Doug Wothke
            #88 called and needed a hand on some repairs on his bike on his way up from Alabama.
5 - That he's decided that his cannonball number #7 is his lucky number.

So, I hope to update with information about the day's runs as I get the info from him.

Go Motorcycle Cannonball Rider #7!!!