Prologue

Team Norton came through the mandatory Prologue which is basically a dress rehearsal for Stage 1 tomorrow. But very importantly – you can lose points by not participating, failing to follow/complete the route. And sadly some have already done that (we hear).

Aune Park – behind is Canada

It was a very short ride to get there – and the crew could join us (not allowed on regular stages) and it was confirmed that we have 88 riders taking part. Slightly smaller field than 2018 but not surprising and really good considering everything going on.

After, we had a 13-14 mile complicated little route to follow to practice navigation and bed in. All good. Bikes have now been gone through and we are ready for tomorrow!

We are here!

Some of us flew into Sault St Marie (locally known as Soo) last night and some arrive tonight. The trucks and trailers arrived this morning and are set up in the Kewadin Hotel car park – which is filling up as more participants arrive . Tech inspection and registration will be tomorrow.

Coolest van ever……

And inside….

We went into Soo this evening for a bite to eat – excellent local whitefish and walleye at the Lockview – within a stones throw of the locks where the huge ore carriers move between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. By chance one came through as we arrived.

It’s that time again…..

Cannonball 2021

Hello again to everyone who followed Team Norton in 2018 as we rode from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon – official distance 3,674 miles. Hello and Welcome to those who are visiting here for the first time!

This event was supposed to run a year ago but covid intervened as it did with so many events and plans. But Jason and Lee Ann and their crew at Motorcycle Cannonball have strived valiantly to replan, re-work and re-do the Cannonball in 2021. Much kudos to them!

Team Norton has a new rider this time – Stewart Garrison – a long time friend to Keith and accomplished vintage bike builder with numerous awards and accolades. So there will be four Silver Nortons on the stages as we ride from Sault St Marie on the Canadian border to the East Coast and then back inland and down to South Padre Island. I confess that I do not know the mileage right now – but I think it is greater than 2018!

We are a month away from Registration and Tech, and only 32 days from Stage 1 – Friday 10th September.

I’ll be adding fresh content over the coming days of our preparations – please check back and if you like – scroll down to the bottom and subscriber to get notifications of updates to the site.

See you on the road and ride safe

Best wishes, Chris

Note: numbers are Stage Numbers – not dates

Postscript to 2018

Well – we are back in Dallas, jonesing for porridge, granola bars and another stage……. the road goes ever on (to quote LOTR).

Anyway – I’ve added a few more of the most recent pics and a couple of vids – some onboard – to the Cannonball album.  You’ll see a lot of them if you scroll to the bottom.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZMmrDXvrYySCAVHy9

I’ve got a LOT of GoPro footage to process…..  but that will be another time.

 

 

Stage 15 – last day

The morning ritual of the maps…. feels weird to be collecting them as late as 1030am. Why do I feel nervous?

UPDATE. A fabulous 46 mile ride to the staging area. Out of The Dalles on a beautiful road called the Rowena Crest Highway with incredible views of the Columbia River. Simply amazing.

Then we crossed over the Columbia on the confusingly named Hood River bridge – and then travelled on the WA side to the Bridge of the Gods – and crossed back over to OR.

We are now parked in a staging area waiting the go – to ride back over to WA side and then to the Finish Line.

Stage 14 – harder than….

A really big bag of hard things.

300+ miles and everyone of them into the teeth of a savage headwind or even worse a gusting side wind. Bikes as light as these – 250lbs maybe 300 with all spares and fuel – are blown around like leaves.

Better yet, grinding long hills – sometimes several miles long – where I could not sustain third and had to drop to second. The trick is not to fight it – settle for sitting upright (have a good stretch) and not having to lie prone on the tank – and set the throttle at 25-27mph and plod up. Don’t even try for a change up until after the crest. In second gear these bikes can tackle anything.

My uninformed perception of WA was sequoias and redwoods. So it was with considerable surprise to see high rolling hills and downs – brown and treeless – but always with that incessant wind. Occasional granite outcrops made it feel wild and lonely.

As we progressed – it became apparent that WA is an industrial agricultural powerhouse of colossal size. Thousands of square miles of rolling croplands, treeless and never ending – it felt almost alien. The bikes were taking a pounding, slogging up long ascents and then a fast descent to build up speed for next inevitable uphill.

We then descended to a wide farmed plain and it became a parody of Mad Max – dust storms and high winds. They were harvesting the onion fields – and the dust and onionskins blew across the road – reducing visibility and bringing thoughts of spaghetti bolognaise recipes. I kicked a loose onion as I passed then wished I hadn’t. Like kicking a half brick.

We had a mandatory lunch time stop at a Harley Davidson dealership and I had to ask someone where we were as I genuinely had no clue. The turn by turn directions don’t give you place names. Anyway the really cool thing was some guys turned up from SoCal Norton – David Belleville (Agent Orange), Greg McBride and Norm Michaud.

It was after lunch that we had approx. 130 miles to go and the hard grind really started. I’ve already alluded to the hills and wind but suffice to say – there were times when I would have been nervous but I was too tired to worry.

We rode down the Columbia river – under other circumstances I would have been entranced by the scenery but I was too worried about the beating I was giving the bike. The finish line couldn’t come soon enough.

Did you read this far? Then you should know we made it.

We arrived a little past the scheduled time – but well within our cushion. I said half jokingly that if this had been the first stage then I might have changed my mind about doing the whole thing.

The SoCal guys were there and also Richard Bowman and his son James. Richard flew in from Dallas. It’s really cool that we’ve seen so many friends along the way.

One more stage…… very mixed feelings about tomorrow being the last one.

pics to follow……

Stage 13 – unlucky for some….

But not the Silver Nortons. Glorious weather and amazing scenery and roads.

We saw a black bear – Richard said it wanted a piece of him – last seen desperately trying to find a way through the fence to get away.

More later…..

Update!  To be clear, it was the bear trying to get through the fence, not Richard……

PS – we broke 3,000 miles today….

Results

Stage 12 – Epic ride thru Glacier NP

Probably the scenic highlight of the trip so far. Incredible sights and great fun – the three of us made it to Kalispell with time to spare.

We dressed for the cold and wet – lots of layers and technical gear. We were off under a leaden overcast in mid-forty temps (5-7C) and it was nearly two hours – beyond Choteau – when we were on a high plateau that the sun finally hit us among huge fields of hay. In the distance we could see a wall of mountains – the Rockies and the Great Continental Divide.

We spent our morning flying down great slopes and then lying prone as we climbed the opposite side. We ate a quick lunch in Browning and then set off on the rising road across the Glacier National Park called the Going to the Sun Road. We pushed against a heavy head wind – with occasional drops to second gear and then found it easier as we got between the mountains and alongside the lakes.

The scenery was magnificent – and as we steadily gained altitude towards Logan Pass – it became breathtaking. But no time to stop – we needed to maintain a safety margin of time in case of problems.

The west side of the pass is even more incredible than the east – and now we switched to engine braking as we descended a few thousand feet in golden sunshine but with light rain from high clouds. This is definitely a bucket list road to take.

As we came off the mountains, rain set in for sure – even becoming heavy at times. As we neared Kalispell the sun came out and we rode into town in the dry. Of all the stages – this one has tired me the most – probably because of the focus needed over the mountains and then the wet ride at the end. But we made it comfortably and all is good.

DCIM100GOPRO

Website Built with WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started