Monday, June 25, 2012

Back in the Saddle- The Texan Returns Home

3,859.5 miles of Cannonball Training in the books
  Well folks, I'm finally back in Texas, and more focused than ever on the Motorcycle Cannonball Run that is quickly approaching. It was nice to be away for a few weeks, and I got some really good seat time in. My trip tallied up to be 3,859 miles and took me through 11 states over the course of 17 days. I still didn't hit the mileage that is to be expected with the Cannonball run in September. It's amazing to believe that I'll be turning around in just a few months and making an even longer trip at extra slow speeds!

  Being on two wheels for all that time really made me think a lot about how to prepare myself and the bike for this long haul ahead. I think I'm up to the challenge physically and mentally, and I have faith in my machine. I'll admit, the unknown awaits, and it makes me nervous at times. Sometimes I wonder why I decided to do this- but I would never back out of it. As much as it makes me nervous, I'm infinitely more excited.

Found one of my flyers in Deals Gap, North Carolina
  Something that has helped my confidence is all of the new friends that I'm making in the motorcycle world. More and more great people are coming forward all the time wanting to offer advice and help. I've also been in touch with many of the previous Cannonballers. As a matter of fact, I spent last weekend in Maggie Valley, North Carolina at the world famous Wheels Through Time Museum owned by Dale and Matt Walksler. Dale entered the first Cannonball on his 1915 Harley and had a perfect score with the exception of two miles. Dale also entered the 2012 Barber Vintage Festival Race of the Century and raced against me (well, a better way to describe it would be that he flew by me on his 1907 Indian). I knew that if anyone could give me some advice and guidance, it would be Dale.

  After sending out a short email to the crew at Wheels Through Time to see if Dale would be there to chat (Afterall, it was going to be Father's Day when I went), my dad and I packed up our bikes in Nashville and headed towards North Carolina. We spent Saturday riding through the Smoky Mountains and the Tail of the Dragon (318 curves in an 11 mile stretch of mountain road- very cool!) A surprise awaited me when we finished the Dragon and stopped in at the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort. Two of my Motorcycle Cannonball flyers were already posted in the building. And, there was plenty of attention around them. Sunday morning we had breakfast in Maggie Valley, and headed to the museum.

Hanging out with Dale and Matt Walksler and
the WTT Raffle Bike!
  To say the least, I was completely blown away by the hospitality that everyone showed us at the museum. We were treated as if we were honored guests by Dale, Matt, and everyone who worked there. Dale spent a huge amount of time in a one-on-one Cannonball Q&A session. He let me closely examine his Cannonball machine and the Harley ridden by Wayne Stanfield for ideas. Dale's machine actually used an auxillary fuel tank on the rear carrier- a 1960s Harley Super Glide tank. I really appreciated all of the time the crew spent with me. Dale even gave us a private "behind the scenes" tour into the museum workshop. All in all, I picked up an amazing amount of information, advice and tips. Before leaving WTT, I was also able to leave behind a thick stack of Cannonball flyers. A huge thanks once again to everyone on the staff there for their kindness and generosity. I will definitely come back soon.

Cris Sommer Simmons' new book
  While at Wheels Through Time, I also picked up a copy of Cris Sommer Simmons' new book, "The American Motorcycle Girls Cannonball Diary." If you get the chance, I heartily recommend this book to anyone. Cris crossed the United States in the Pre-1916 Motorcycle Cannonball aboard her 1915 Harley Davidson, "Effie." This book had excellent reviews, and I was excited to read it. Once I opened it up, I simply could not put it down. Many of my friends have encouraged me to write about this journey, and I've been back and forth in my mind on whether it would be worth it to write a book. After finishing Cris's Cannonball Diary and thinking heavily on it, I'm pleased to announce that I have decided to write a book myself. If nothing else, I would really love to document everything and share it with my friends and family, as well as anyone else who might be interested in this journey. Cris, if you read this, you were the inspiration for it!

  I'd also like to take the time to welcome a new sponsor for our Cannonball Team. The Indiana Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors very graciously gave the team a $2,000 sponsorship. Their sponsorship is greatly appreciated, and I hope to see some of the members along the route.

Until Next Time,

Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer #3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team

1 comment:

  1. Buck, it's good to hear you're getting prepped for the Run and you're pysched for it. Will be looking forward to following t as you go.

    If you do write it up, I'll put it on my to read list!