Motorcycle Cannonball – Stage 2 – Sunday, September 11, 2016

by Spitfire

Today began with a flurry of activity, riders lined up by classes. Class 1 is the oldest machines with the smallest engines. They are allowed to leave first, Class 2 leaves 30 minutes later and class 3 leaves 60 minutes after class 1. Even with that advantage, the “newer” motorcycles will likely pass all of the class one motorcycles midway through the course. Day One had taken its toll on a number of the machines. Some of the 28 that had been brought in on a trailer the night before were able to be tweaked or fixed overnight while others were still being worked on. Today promised more rural riding but higher elevations (300 to 3000 ft) and an increase in distance. The riders were ready! Rider began leaving at 7:30 am and were all on the road by 8:45 am. Today we would travel in 3 states, Starting in York, Pennsylvania, traveling through parts of Maryland and end in Morgantown, West Virginia.

I watched as the motorcycles left and cheered some of them on, then took my luggage to my new awesome friends. The morning was beautiful with heavy dew but a starting temperature of 74 degrees. For the first 41 miles I had to check several times to be sure I was on the correct course! Today we had received 13 pages of written instructions. As we traveled across Eastern Pennsylvania the elevations began to increase. I was amused by street signs: Possom Hollow, Peepytown Rd. A sign caught my attention just before I had a spiritual encounter with some birds in Biglarsville that said “Love Unlimited”. I was jarred back to reality when I came upon a rider, #62, Scott Blaylock from Canada on his 1910 Indian, whose 1.75 HP motorcycle just did not want to climb the increasing hills. We pondered what to do when Joe Sparrow arrived with a rope and towed him to the top. Success! At MM #48 I smelled the exhaust of another rider before I saw him. Sure enough, there was #100 along side the road with support staff. Pat Simmons was having trouble with his bike but it looked like they had it handled. At MM #61, rider #16, Chris Knoop on his 1914 JAP, was working on the shifter and about ready to head out. The higher elevations were beginning to wear on the bikes.

I made it to one of the recommended gas stops with a written warning on our 13 pages of turn by turn instructions that said “ Next refueling stop 75 miles”. Many bikes were being worked on and I sat in the dirt next to my friend Ziggy as he wrenched sharing stories about crows when suddenly we heard an engine revved and a woman’s voice yelling. I turned to see Sharon Jacobs bouncing off the sidewalk of the gas station narrowly missing a van as she engaged her clutch and came to a stop. 5 guys surrounded her bike in seconds and helped her off of it. Doug Wothke made a few adjustments to her bike and after a quick bandage to her finger she rejoined her group. About 15 later I decided to head out. I saw Sharon and Scott just a little while later on a steep grade with support staff and continued on.

About 20 minutes later I got a call on my phone, I pulled over to see what was up and was told a bike was down 8 miles in back of me. I knew immediately which intersection it happened at since I too had noticed all the gravel coming downhill to that stop sign. I turned around and made my way back before the ambulance arrived. Scott Jacobs was on the shoulder of the road with his wife at his side, support staff, as well as Fire Dept. vehicles were at the intersection. Fortunately Scott was not critically wounded though he ended up in the hospital overnight.

Since I accompanied them my day on the course was done. From what I heard, the locally hosted lunch in Cumberland, MD was wonderful and the evening dinner hosted by Triple S Harley Davidson featured David Uh painting live on site in Morgantown, WV. Felicia Morgan, official photographer and media for the Cannonball, provided pictures to round out my own for Stage 2.

Stay tuned as tomorrow we travel to Chillicothe, OH.

Vicki Sanfelipo, RN/EMT
Executive Director ASM/Road Guardians (Bystander Assistance Programs)
Allstate Insurance Motorcycle Safety Columnist
Host of “The Inside Scoop by Spitfire”
(262) 706-3278 – office (262) 706-3281 – fax


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