Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Madness Returns: Back in the saddle for 2014

It's been a while.

To those out there who have followed along with this blog, I owe you an apology. I have taken a sabbatical from writing the last few months; the book I'm working on about my experiences on the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball hasn't been touched, nor has this blog. My life has been pretty busy since this spring.

For starters, in May I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Sam Houston State University. Had I not ridden across the United States with the Cannonball, I would have earned my degree in December 2012. Following graduation, I've actually spent the whole summer doing antique motorcycle-related events and work. In May, my dad and I participated in the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic, sponsored by American Iron Magazine and Spectro Oils. Over two days, we rode from Charleston, South Carolina to San Augustine, Florida. While all types of motorcycles were welcome, bikes with electric starters had to ride in the back of the pack (to pick up the parts that fell off of the kickstart bikes, of course). He was riding a 1924 Harley Davidson J bobber, and I was on a 1929 BSA Sloper. We covered about 370 miles over the two days, without a problem from either bike.

Flash forward to June; my friend Dale Walksler, owner and curator of the world-famous Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, had been on the Kickstart Classic with us. During the ride, I had mentioned to Dale that I would be interested in coming up to volunteer at the museum for a few weeks if he would have me. "I don't care if I'm sweeping floors, or cleaning toilets- I'd just like to offer a hand." A few days after I returned home, my friend called and we set up a time for me to come volunteer. On the second week of June I loaded up my Harley Sportster and rode the 1,100 miles to Maggie Valley, where I worked for two weeks doing a variety of things from wrenching to construction. I had a blast, even though it was a ton of work. What I thought would be a short stint of volunteering turned into something else- I made some great friendships with the folks at the museum and found myself planning my next trip. Sure enough, two weeks after returning from North Carolina I was loading up to go again. This time, however, I hauled our mobile machine shop with six bikes up to Wauseon, Ohio for the annual Antique Motorcycle Club of America's swap meet, bike show, and vintage races. From there I followed the Wheels Through Time crew back to North Carolina. I have only just returned over the weekend, from volunteering a whole month. All in all, I spent 33 days on the road and covered 4,110 miles through seven states.

One of the reasons I am restarting this blog, and getting back to work on my book came while I was on the road. Rumors have been flying for months that there would indeed be a follow up to the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball, but no one could get an official response. That all changed on August 6th, when my "New Email" chime went off at close to midnight. Needless to say, after reading the following, I couldn't really sleep.

"Welcome to the 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball

 110 years ago one man set out to become the first person to cross the North American continent on a motorized vehicle.  George Wyman's bold sense of adventure took him and his small motorcycle from one ocean to the other, forever setting the standard of endurance for rider and machine.  The perfect measure of worth for two-wheeled contraptions and the people who built them.   
We would like to invite you to join us for an adventure across America.  On September 5, 2014, one hundred Motorcycle Cannonball riders will start a two-week journey across the United States on motorcycles built before 1937.  This run will be coast-to-coast.  The route will start in Daytona BeachFlorida, and end in Tacoma,Washington.  While planning a relatively direct route, we also made sure to take in some of the best scenery this country has to offer. This route will be scenic, yet more challenging than any that has come before.  Averaging 300 miles per day and topping out at 11,990 feet, this will be a true endurance run.  This route will not be easy by any means.
The run will start at the world’s most famous beach on the east coast of Florida.  Daytona Beach is rich in motorcycle racing history and will be a fitting Official Start.  The route will then take us through the lakes and forests of northern Florida and into Georgia and the Great Smoky Mountains.  In ChattanoogaTennessee, we will be treated to a fantastic hosted reception at Coker Tire World Headquarters and Museum.  Traveling through the heart of Tennessee we will visit the Cyclemos Museum in Red Boiling Springs.  After riding through the "Land Between The Lakes" region in Kentucky, we will cross the Mississippi River at Cape GirardeauMissouri. Crossing the Ozarks in Missouri will bring us to the wide-open plains of Kansas, where we will have our one rest day.  Our riders will meet the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains at Colorado Springs where we will be stopping at the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum.  Famed motorcycle artist David Uhl will be hosting a big event for us at his studio in Golden, Colorado, the night before we climb 12,000-foot Loveland pass to cross the Continental Divide the first of three times. The entire route through Colorado promises to be spectacular.                   Entering Utah through Arches National Park in the Moab region, we will make our way to SpringvilleUtah, where riders will be treated to a private tour of Jeff Decker's personal studio where he creates his motorcycle masterpieces in bronze. The newly opened Legends Motorcycle Museum of Springville will also be hosting a reception for our riders.  As we leave the shores of the Great Salt Lake we will travel out into the desert with a brief stop at the world famous Bonneville Salt Flats.  The High Desert of Utah and Nevada will give way to the mountains and forests of western Idaho as we follow the Little Salmon River all the way to the Washington border.  From the Columbia River Basin we will enter the Cascade Mountain Range and Mount Rainer National Park.  The Grand Finish of the Run on the shores of the Puget Sound in Tacoma will be at the world-class LeMay Museum
Our preliminary schedule will be 17 days, with 16 days on the road and one day off in Junction CityKansas. The event will start on Friday, September 5, 2014, with registration, motorcycle inspection, and an optional Practice Run on Wednesday and Thursday, September 3 and 4 in Daytona Beach.  The day off will be September 12, a Friday when shops are open.  The Grand Finish will be in Tacoma on Sunday, September 21. There will be a Welcome Dinner in Daytona Beach on Thursday, September 4 and an Awards Banquet in Tacoma on Sunday, September 21.  There will be a hosted event and reception at many lunch stops and nearly all of our overnight stops.
This diagonal route across the country could certainly include all types of weather, from tropical storms and 90-degree temperatures in the South to freezing temperatures and snow in the mountains and the North.  With 12 hours of daylight, we will average around 300 miles per day, culminating in approximately 4100 miles.  All bikes will run the same route in an allotted time schedule.  Motorcycles will need to maintain at least 50 mph on straight, flat roads.  We estimate less than 300 miles will be run on interstate highways, and less than 10 of those miles are urban interstates.
The 2014 Cannonball will be a competition endurance run.  The competition will involve correctly navigating the route using each day’s Course Instructions.  The winners will be the motorcycle/rider teams that cover the most on-route mileage over the 16-day run, within each day’s specified time schedule and in compliance with the Event Regulations. Their will be three classes of competing motorcycles:  Class 1, motorcycles 700 cc. and smaller; Class 2, motorcycles 701 cc. to 1000 cc.; and Class 3, motorcycles over 1000 cc.  The winner will be chosen based on miles traveled within an established time schedule.  Ties will be broken by class of motorcycles, then age of motorcycle, then age of rider. 
The entry fee will be $2500.  This year with the help of our travel agent we hope to keep hotel cost under $2000 for 18 nights.  Hotels are chosen based on the proximity to the route as well as number of rooms and parking available.  With a group our size we are able to negotiate a fairly decent rate at some of the better hotels in each city.  Breakfast is often included at the hotels and most nights will include a dinner at our hosted stops.
Currently the 2014 event has more interested riders than we can accommodate.  If you are receiving this e-mail then you are being offered a spot in the event.  To better help us in our planning, we would ask that you please respond to this e-mail within 48 hours and answer the following questions.
1.         Please confirm whether or not you will be entering the event and that you would like an entry form to be sent to you.
2.         How many people will be on your team including the rider?
3.         How many hotel rooms will your team require during the event?  Two beds or one?
4.         Will you have a support vehicle?  With or without a trailer?  The length of the trailer?
This information, though tentative and subject to change, will help us ensure that our entire group be accommodated. 
Once you have confirmed your entry we will send you the Official Motorcycle Cannonball Entry Form.  The completed entry form and entry fee must be returned before January 15, 2014

 A detailed route and riders list will be added to our website within the next week. 

Lonnie Isam Jr.
Motorcycle Cannonball promoter "
With that, stay tuned as the developments continue in the coming days. I've got a lot of information to relay, so I'll be updating this blog quite often.
Buck Carson
Cannonball Rider #3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team


  1. About Time you get off your tail and get Busy!!
    Ha Ha - Lets Ride 4100 miles together!! Looking forward to it - If you need anything, Call - David

  2. Thanks for the update. Sounds like a great summer too me, I'm a little envious! Glad to learn there will be another cannonball. Even those of us that must participate through the writings of someone else enjoy the ride.

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