Motorcycle Cannonball Update Day 10: From Yellowstone to Jackson Hole

All accounts of Stage 10 were that it was cold.  Brutally cold.  Our rider Matt Olsen informed us that most bikes had trouble starting today, the JD needing to be bump started.  That starting trouble wasn’t limited to just the vintage bikes as even modern rides had some issues – even Joe Sparrow on his Goldwing that travels cross country non-stop had some issues with getting up and going in the morning.

After an hour on the road Matt informed us that he needed to stop to get himself warmed up and that his gloves had frozen on the handlebars.  Most riders said that these were the coldest conditions they’d ever ridden in – a wicked 26 degrees farenheit.  With that Matt stopped off at Old faithful and let the bike and himself take a little break.

Unfortunately continued spark issues meant a coil replacement for the Museum’s JD – a Shovelhead coil made a handy replacement and with help from his wife Brittney and museum representative George he was back on the road today.

“After riding in some of the coldest weather I have EVER ridden in and getting through it fine, the coil failed on the JD. Some say the original JD coil is best, but maybe not. I got transported in, and luckily got my hands on an old state-by-state Antique Motorcycle Club of America Directory. A local guy named Adrian suggested Jackson Hole Cycle. They had a Shovelhead coil I put on. I also gave up on the generator and have things set up as total loss, which has pretty much been the case since Day Three anyway. The bike is running as good as ever, idles fine. My thanks to George and Brittney who stayed up late to help.”

Matt also reported that Buck Carson seized his bottom end, but his team got the bike rebuilt overnight. Steve Simpson on his JD threw a rod and that one of the BMWs was having some serious problems.

“We ride 299 miles to Mountain Home, Idaho today. I’m ready and the bike feels great.1398 miles to San Francisco, I am hearing.”


1 comment

  1. Wayne Melberg

    Greetings to all the intrepid motorcyclists!
    I rode from North Dakota to view the festivities in Gillette. I had read a number of articles about the rally and decided that it was a nice easy ride to Wyoming meet the caravan! When the bikes began to show up at Deluxe H-D I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. What a fabulous event! I thoroughly was enjoying myself. I got the oil changed in my Road King and looked forward to the ride to Sheridan. I tagged along at a descreet distance to take in the essence of what this was all about. A test of rider and machine, and more importantly a chance to ride with like-minded enthusiasts come what may. I had a chance to meet Matt at his first break down. I was hesitant to stop but just couldn’t ride by with a fellow biker afoot on the side of the rode. I certainlt was in no position to help, but Matt was friendly but pre-occupied and understandably so! Then Chris on the J.A.P. pulled up. Repairs were made and off you went. I certainly was not going to try to become part of the expedition and would choose to be an interested observer from a respectful distance. I decided extend my stay a day and ride to Yellowstone. I became increasingly enthralled by the sounds, smells, and camradery I observed. What a great time! So I enjoyed the trip to Yellowstone very much and stayed in West Yellowstone. I rode every month this year in North Dakota bhe cold I experienced was incredible! We parted ways the day before but I so wanted to continue the journey but alas I had to head for home. I certainly thought about Matt and the rest and quietly hoped for safe travels for all the riders and their crews.
    All the way home, some 500 + miles in one day, a fair amount, gave me plenty of time to think. And I think I’d like to do what you all did, or as I’m writting this, are doing! So I am investigating and gathering info and seriously considering being ready for the next Cannonball….for my 60th year! Hope it comes to fruition….
    But I shall close by saying it was a pleasure meeting some of you. I have so much respect an quite a bit of riders envy for what you all have accomplished. God Speed, stay safe and thank you for allowing me to tag along just a little bit…it was a blast! Peace

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