The great Cannonball Run's second day stop brought them to Binghamton, NY which is only minutes away from Metro's world HQ which meant a trip to the Doubletree Hotel.
There is not much parking in town, so I expected mayhem and was pleasantly surprised to see amazing organization, happy people and no horns blowing. And what a great time, the more you looked around, the better it got. Major props to the organizers and participants of this event! They had it going on. To get that many bikes and support vehicles in and out in an orderly fashion is no easy task. Especially when they were spread out in five different parking lots close by.
To a mechanical junkie, it was a symphony of beautiful sights and sounds and smells. All of those machines making their own beautiful sound, and then the crowd cheering and clapping as each one rolled in to their destination. Each bike usually has their own aroma due to whatever chemical they are burning for fuel which sparks memories. And the visual of some of the truly amazing restorations of 100 point machines that had all of the necessary pieces bolted on for their journey along with that perfect patina, like they made this trip 100 times before and have the battle scars to prove it.
The passion from the riders and support teams was amazing. This isn't a Sunday afternoon ride up the road with little or no preparation. The amount of time and effort that goes in to building an 80+ year old motorcycle to travel that distance is staggering to say the least. Then add on a support vehicle to drag along help and all of the necessary parts is a whole other undertaking. Nothing lasts forever, better make sure you have five of them in the van or trailer.
The support teams were just as much a variation as the bikes. There were 20 year old vans with mis-matched tires and there were bus sized motor homes with huge enclosed trailers attached. The true spirit of the event is evident when the guy in the huge hauler is covered in sweat and grease as he happily helps the guy in the old van do what it takes to get him back on the road in the morning. It's just one big happy family, all in it together, making priceless memories doing something that not many can do.
It was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon with my wife, who was just as excited to see all the old machinery, hear the sounds, listen to the stories and capture some to make the memories last forever. If this event comes anywhere close to you, make sure you check it out.
Ride fast, take chance, Don.