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Cannonball Stage 3

September 12, 2010

The Premier fired up after midnight last night.  After a few hours of sleep I was able to get finish everything, got off to a late start on Stage 3.   Patrick has been a great help, including bringing me food when I get so busy that I forget to eat.  In the last few days I’ve slept a couple hours each night and eaten about 1 meal per day.  This is hard work, even more than I expected.  Hopefully I’ll have no more broken cranks on the rest of the Cannonball.

Tailgate motor rebuild.  Crank truing using the old ‘straightedge’ method.


Bike ready to receive motor, hotel parking lot around 11pm…IMG_4885

Stages 3 and 4 are in hill country, and the Cannonball team has advised the single cylinder bikes and the 1 speed twins to truck their bikes for half days Sunday and Monday.  It isn’t ideal, but the steep hills are tough on those bikes, both uphill and the downhill sections.

Today I rode the Premier for about 100 miles or so, into the hill country and the Blue Ridge area of North Carolina.  The bike ran pretty well, but I had to stop to tighten a few things that didn’t get enough wrenching in my sleep deprived state.  The only real issue was overheating, with gas boiling in the float chamber.  Flooding the carb cools it down, so I rode for a short while with my right index finger on the tickler, and used my left hand to steer, adjust the throttle, timing and shifter until I made it into the lunch stop.  I’ll check the timing tomorrow and adjust as needed.  With the Cannonball Chase trailer right behind me, I had to quickly load the Premier and get on the X for the last 100 miles of the day.  What a change!  The X has twice the cylinders, twice the power and almost twice the speed.  I’ve always said that I’m doing this ride for the ride and for the fun, not for any award points or trophies.  So I didn’t hesitate to bring along the (non-Cannonball eligible) 1916 Excelsior to ride on some days.  I’ll continue to swap back and forth throughout the rally.  That isn’t the way to earn points & trophies, but it should be fun!



Damage to other bikes:


Several bikes have sustained some damage.  Another one broke a rod and cast iron piston on day 2 (I’ll leave his name out of my report), but he was also up and running for day 3.



At least a half dozen bikes are currently off the road being repaired, lots of little things, but a few big fixes too.   Too many to post here actually.  But things are moving forward and people are having some fun. 

More ride info and photos next time.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2010 8:32 pm

    Ouch! Twisty! And the skirt was drilled for balance or oil lube? Heck- I’d cut it…

    THanks fo rthe pics man.

  2. Bevars permalink
    September 12, 2010 8:45 pm

    Hi Pete – bad luck with the crankpin – should have mentioned you needed to carry a spare one of those as well as an exhaust valve 🙂

    Hope things go better for you from here on – & that you get some sleep and have some fun!!


  3. Jim Abbott permalink
    September 12, 2010 8:45 pm

    Pete: I promise to leave one comment per day just so you won’t feel neglected.

    Good choice to bring a spare. Same as I did for the Velo Summer Rally. Rode the Velo for the three challenging days and the Enfield for the two scenic putt, putt’s.

    Once again, see you in Victorville.

    Still gazing at the stars, Jim A.

  4. September 12, 2010 10:09 pm

    I’m dying for a breakdown of the breakdowns!!!! Congrats on being up and running again. Wid ya all da way, Paul PS What if your 1916 Excelsior was actually built in December 1915 for the 1916 year model?? I’ve been wondering about that. It is so similar to the so called 1915 model and the Harleys.

  5. John Jennings permalink
    September 12, 2010 10:20 pm

    I’m pleased to see you’re now ‘Persistent Pete’ who never gives up – what a grand adventure.


    PS: Amazed that you still find time to blog while doing this ride – many thanks from all of us stuck in the office…..

  6. September 13, 2010 1:16 pm

    I have a 1916 Excelsior bottom end I was going to flush out and use as is to make a runner with reconditioned top end components. I’m having second thoughts now. What if crap from years of cockroaches and webs and styrofoam bits has plugged the oil catch groove that feeds the main bearing? Oops. I also have a “rebuilt” 1914 Excelsior engine in a chassis that is almost ready to go. I can’t get any history of the rebuilt motor. Start wrenching? Enjoy that butter smooth Excelsior. Thanks, Paul/Preacher

  7. Jim Abbott permalink
    September 13, 2010 6:20 pm

    Pete: Great shot and very heartening to see you “Making Maggie Valley”! Really great to see you on the Premier! I really look forward to seeing the upward and onward attitude not just from you but from the entire zoo. Keep it up, i rmn & etc… Jim A.

  8. craig permalink
    October 20, 2010 9:12 am

    id like to do this run next year on my 1914 Humber ( 3 speed hub etc which i think would walk it ) im comeing over from England so would have to make plans in advance , can you let me know if its being run and what dates thanks


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