Portland, Maine, and Keene, N.H., Sept. 7-8—The first miles of the 2018 Cannnball consisted of a 10-mile ride to Bug Light Park in Portland to stage for the official group photo taken by Michael Lichter. Crowds gathered to watch the procession of 106 motorcycles squeezing in tight to pose for the Colorado photographer. Immediately afterwards, anxious riders lit out for some local sightseeing and the typical Cannonball chaos began. In the scant 10-miles of coastal cruising, 10 bikes broke down. Machines were trailered back to the hotel, wrenches broke out and the work to get the bikes road worthy got serious before the welcome banquet later in the evening when founder Lonnie Isam Jr. was celebrated.
Stage I of the Motorcycle Cannonball coast-to-coast endurance is but a happy memory as riders jockey for position on the starting line of the second full day of riding across the United States. Day one of the Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon journey to prove that antique motorcycles are capable of such an arduous challenge was a short and pleasurable 145-mile ride made up of sweeping turns, beautiful vistas and overcast skies that totaled up to be a first day experience never before enjoyed by Cannonballers. Typically, the first three days of the run are grueling as jockeys work to figure out how to read route sheets, get their machines dialed in and figure out how to comfortably position themselves for the 200-300 miles days of chugging along the backroads. As it was, the breakfast provided to anyone who showed up was graciously dished up with big smiles at Big Moose Harley-Davidson in Portland before riders charged out past the green flag into brisk morning temperatures that remained cool all day. Lunch consisted of tasty treats served up under a canopy amidst a packed house at Rochester Harley-Davidson in New Hampshire. Crowds there were all smiles while cruising among the proud iron that sat cooling off in the midday sun. Riders took the opportunity to make adjustments that would take the bikes through to Keene, New Hampshire for the night after an easy ride through the New England backwoods. Incredible was the fact that sweep vehicles arrived at the finish line with just three bikes on the trailer, another record breaking achievement. The 2016 run had all sweep vehicles and trailers loaded to the gills and calls went out to individual rider’s support crews to pick up the overflow of broken bikes mostly due to sweltering weather. The 2018 version had none of those first day jitters. All in all, it was a good day for a motorcycle ride.
Today’s schedule has the Cannonball caravan heading to Hemmings Motor News for a visit before arriving in Binghamton, New York after a 251-mile trek.
The standings at the end of Stage I can be found here: Stage1-Results-20180908
For complete information on the Motorcycle Cannonball, go to www.motorcyclecannonball.com