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  • Thomas Fishel

Conquering the Wind

Today’s ride was lesson in control…controlling the bikes in the wind gusts which ranged anywhere from 20-40 mph. Steve said it was a challenge in this flat country with no wind breaks to ride the wind and hang on, keeping it in the road.

The bike is running well between 45-50 mph, but it is pushing them to make times and Steve is thinking of changing up his sprockets. I told him not to ruin a good thing as it would soon no longer be flat country and those Big Horn Mountains are looming and he would just have to change sprockets again. We’ll see if “he leaves well enough alone” or not.

A shout out to the Kutter HD in Monroe, Wisconsin for a great hosted lunch and to the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamose, Iowa for a wonderful dinner and reception. Today’s hosted lunch at the HD of Monroe City found him meeting up with Lee & Kathy Strawn, my brother and sister in law. They were on hand to see them arrive and show their support. The dinner hosted by the new Indian Motorcyle Company was very nice this evening and included a live band during the evenings festivities.

Last night, Carl Temple, who races one of our 101’s in the antique hand shift race circuit, came up from Davenport to deliver a blown motor to Steve in case there were parts that could be used.

Steve sounds like he may finally be winning in the battle of the cold. Yay!

Today’s 101 repairs included a rear fender on Josh Wilson’s 101. It was hanging with 1 bolt left when they stopped for gas and 30-40 minutes later when they were through, they had to run hard to make up the 20 minutes they lost to get to the hosted lunch on time in case it was one of the scored checkpoints on today’s routes. As a side note, it was Josh’s 101 that got the hillbilly beer can repair, not Ian’s.

Ian’s bike apparently has been like riding a see saw as it has steering problems. They stop to tighten up the front end and then stop to loosen it when he can’t steer. Neck bearings and races have been ordered from Randy Walker and are being shipped to Sturgis where Steve hopes to replace them on their rest day.

Doug is looking for a rear cylinder as the wrist pin buttons came loose and tore it up today. He lost the front cylinder on his way to the Cannonball from Alabama and came to our shop on Sunday night before the start where Steve tore it apart, machined out the gouges in the cylinder and replaced with a new piston to get him on his way to make it to Newburg in time.

Marcin smiled for the first time today as Steve put him on the Kawasaki Drifter that he had brought along for his dad, Buck or Dick Jones to take turns riding with him. They decided since Marcin’s bike had bit the dust the first day to have him ride the Drifter which Steve had dressed up to look like an Indian (It is black and silver and has a black Indian headress tank decal and the front Indian headlamp installed and a luggage rack.) The 101 riders have made Marcin the official timekeeper for their gas and break stops to keep them on pace.

Their bikes would really love to run out at 40-45 mph, but the event is set up to make their pace 50-55 mph, so they’re afraid that it may take a toll on their bikes as the ride goes on.

I learned that Steve was not the only one to lose a saddlebag. Apparently, on the first day when Steve had the “extinguisher” mishap he should have been riding more closely with Josh, as his one saddle bag burnt up with his all his clothes. They could have helped one another out with their problems. Ha!

According to Buck, it seems the 101’s have been congregating together in the motel parking lots and it looks like they are “on the reservation” when looking at them all together in a corner away from the rest of the riders.

The Cannonballers are having the experience of a life time and after talking with Steve this evening, I can postively say he went to bed with a smile on his face and was looking forward to making South Dakota by tomorrow evening. Tomorrow’s ride will put them in Murdo, South Dakota after a 326 mile day. This will be the last over 300 mile day of the race, so I wish them luck in not having to push them to hard.

Remember, the old sales slogan — “You can’t wear out an Indian Scout!”


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