Monday, March 19, 2012

Cannonball Ferry Crossing

Cannonballers will be treated to a hi-speed ferry trip across Lake Michigan, avoiding Chicago traffic

  Another big update came to the Cannonball route recently. For a while now, the idea has been tossed back and forth across the CB forums to somehow incorporate a ferry crossing into the route. After figuring out logistics, all Cannonballers were sent the following email regarding the change to the route. (Note that this email is the abridged version- I removed contact information and ferry prices)

"Hello Cannonballers,
The northern route of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball will be a fantastic journey as we will ride some of the most scenic roads in America. There are however some obstacles we must overcome in the east, namely the big metropolis' of Cleveland, OH and Chicago, ILL. While we may have to utilize a short stretch of interstate to get through Cleveland, the interstate is not an option in Chicago. We have decided that on Stage 3, Sunday, September 9, we will travel from Sandusky, OH. to Muskegon, MI. where we will cross Lake Michigan via high speed ferry. The Lake Express will depart Muskegon at 4:45 p.m. and carry us and our motorcycles on a 2 1/2 hour voyage across the lake to our overnight destination in Milwaukee. Once in Milwaukee we will be treated to a lavious dinner and reception at the Harley Davidson Museum.

In order to accommodate this many motorcycles the Lake Express Ferry has graciously agreed to convert the deck of their ship in order for us to properly secure our bikes. In dealing with the ferry this far in advance we have been able to insure that our group would not only get a good rate, but also be allowed to book our passage before March 10, when the ferry opens up reservations for the general public. Space on the Lake Express is limited and fills up rather fast, so they have given us a small window of time to get all our bikes and riders reserved. Starting on Monday March 5 through Friday March 9 the Lake Express will take reservations for motorcycles only for the Motorcycle Cannonball group. Only the participating motorcycles and riders will be allowed to book passage on the ferry for our time slot. There will not be enough room for team support vehicles on the ferry. All support vehicles will have to go through Chicago on the interstate in order to get to Milwaukee, with the exception of official Cannonball staffed sweep vehicles."
Lake Express in action
 The ferry we will take is the first of its kind to operate in the Contintental US. The Lake Express was launched in 2004 in Mobile, Alabama. Her four 3,000 horsepower MTU diesel engines power four Rolls Royce water jets capable of pushing the shop along at 35 knots (40 miles an hour). As mentioned in the above email message, the journey will take 2.5 hours. If not for this ferry, riders would have to push our veteran machines 275 miles around Lake Michigan and through rush hour traffic in Chicago. This way we can arrive easily to Milwaukee and experience an undoubtedly wonderful reception at the Harley Davidson Museum that evening.
Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer #3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team

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