When we pull into town we fill most hotel lots . People brought all kinds of trucks in order to haul and maintain their bikes. We brought a van and have a 10×10 tent. There are large RVs pulling long trailers with full shops. The Carsons from Texas brought a long trailer with a machine shop in it. Most people have at least a trailer. Many people have brought lots of tools and extra parts and there are lots of extra motors that were built and brought as a back up. A few nights ago Oz pulled the motor out of his JD and replaced it with his back up motor.

A few years ago I restored a 1949 HD Servicar. I collected parts for 10+ years and finally made the time to restore it. When it was done I had it judged at an AMCA meet. The standards to have a bike judged is the bike must be the same as what it was when it was new. This means every nut and bolt needs to be correct and any parts that are rebuilt or replaced must look new. Also many parts that are being made today are not exact duplicates of the original parts and will not pass judging. The restoration was tough and the bike did well in judging. When I planned to buy a Henderson I had to sell the Servi to finance the Henderson.

A person from Germany, Juergen, called and he was in the country on business so he and his wife came by and looked at the Servi. He did not buy the bike but we became friends and he brokered the sale of the bike to someone in Germany.

Juergen is a fanatic about bikes and old bikes. He has several bikes stored around the USA so when he is here on business he can get one of his bikes and go for a ride. His bikes in Germany are at his home and are set up as a museum for people to look at and learn from.

So Juergen got the Cannonball bug and decided he would come and ride along with us for a few days. His schedule would not allow but at the last minute he flew into Milwaukee and met his friend Peter and they came down in Peter’s airplane and we got to spend time together one night. The next day they followed us in the plane and met us at lunch

Saturday, the day after our rest day. It was 37 degr in the morning and very foggy. The fog stayed with us for 1.5+ hours. It was hard to see. I hung behind a group and the guy in front of me had an orange helmet and it was like a beacon for me. We had a hosted lunch by a town. We rode 311 miles . I was concerned but pushed my speed and made it in time

Today was a day off. I slept until 730 and was outside working by 9. It was cool and raining all owning. I put up the tent and cleaned the van organized my supplies and did my laundry. Then worked on the bike. Adjusted the clutche linkage, I had 2 rubber pads and put them on the clutch pedals. Adjusted the rear break , checked the chain, and adjusted the front brake. The front brake made a scraping sound. I took it apart and spun it in my hand and it was smooth and quiet. While working on the brake I happened to look at the right side and the bracket that Terry made in Daytona had moved and the speedo pick up was scraping the wheel. Got lucky on that. Dumped the oil and added 3 quarts. I should be adding 1.5 quarts a day of 50 weight. I opened the battery and added distilled water, adjusted the clutch pedal tension. Then placed decals on the rear box for two of my sponsors, Heidenau tires and Spectro oil.

What a day. The weather report said the day would be cooler but dry. We walked outside and it was raining. It rained most of the day and was 55-60 degr. Ran with our rain gear all day.

At 38 miles out I had no brakes. The rear brake rod broke. A farmer stopped and asked if he could help. I thought about running with only the front brake but knew it was not that good. My front brake is a ” front wheel speed reducing apparatus” and not much else. So we went to his shop and he cleaned the brake rod and welded it. Then we installed and adjusted the rear chain. Bill was a great guy, he took the time to help me. He has a 500 acre farm and grows corn and soy beans. Once repaired he lead me out to the road and I was on my way. I figure about 1 hour behind. The rules are you gotta get in by a certain time or loose points. In order to make your miles and time you have to ride all the posted speed limits. On the main roads that are posted above 50 mph you need to maintain 50. I have been running at 45 mph. Today I opened it up to 50 because I had to get in. I road for 2-3 hours and only saw 2 or 3 other bikes and knew I was behind. I caught Bob on his Nera-Car once and then later passed him again. Finally at the lunch stop I was with a few bikes. At mile 167 the roll said 75 miles to the next gas station. The VL has two tanks. The main tank is 2 gallons. The auxiliary is 1 gallon. We cleaned up the fitting on the aux tank and installed the fuel line in Daytona but have not had any time to test it. I have been stopping once an hour in order to refuel. I carry a 1 gallon tank in my saddlebag. So last night I tested the aux tank by pouring a quart in it and the soldered fitting on the bottom of the tank that the petcock fits into leaked. Not much to do at this time so I gotta run with only my main tank. At mile 165 I filled my main tank, my 1 gallon plastic tank and emptied the water from my Gator aid bottle and filled that also. I made it in just fine but ran into someone who was empty and I had nothing to help him with.

The cool weather was great today. The motor ran fine and was running below 200 deg all day. The local HD dealer hosted and fed us tonight.

At the end of the day we were riding thru the rolling hills of Kansas, beautiful.


MY bike is a Harley Davidson 1936 VLH. HD made the VL series from 1930-1936. They are a flathead 74 cu in. In late 1935 they came out with an 80 cu in. The bike is a 3 speed foot clutch, hand shift. My bike was found by Brian Keating. It was an old privateer race from the Conn area. He offered the bike to Mike and Rat from Harbor Vintage with a load of parts. Mike looked the bike over and it was a mess but was very complete and many hard to find parts on it. Mike had Tony rebuild the motor and trans and replaced the fenders. The 1st day out he was stopped for going to fast on it. At the same time I had a 1936 VL but it was not correct. When Mike retired and agreed to sell me the bike so mine went to Ebay and I bought Mike’s bike. I bought the bike in the fall of 2003.┬áSad to say but Mike passed away last summer. Brian and I rode to the memorial service in Jericho .

I have ridden the bike around town and on only a few longer rides in the area. It has been dependable and fun. It fits me well. I have never spent the time to go thru the bike and have repaired it as needed. This is certainly not a formula for Cannonball success.