Before the advent of railroads it took six months to traverse the continent from the east coast to the west. Whether you went by land, or by ship around the Straits of Magellan (the tip of South America), or by ship to Panama and over the mountains there -- no matter what route you took, there were good odds that you might not even survive the journey.
Then came the railroads. Eventually, the nation's trails became roads, and in the post-World War Two era the interstate highway system was established, a grid of highways connecting north and south, east and west.
It was during the in-between era though that the first "Cannonball" run took place. Or rather, a fellow named Erwin "Cannonball" Baker set out to establish a cross-country record for motorcycles on his Indian. It took him eleven days. Keep in mind that this was a half century before the highway system Eisenhower built. There were roads, but they weren't really good roads.
To this day we find motorcycle enthusiasts emulating Baker in an event that bears his name, Cannonball.
This year, Buzz Kanter -- editor-in-chief and publisher of American Iron magazine -- is preparing his vintage 1936 Harley flathead for the 2014 Cannonball Run. The plan is for Buzz to ride this motorcycle over 4,000 miles across the U.S. in September. Here's some recently posted video footage of Buzz discussing the ins and outs of his machine named Dirty Betty. In 2002 Kanter was inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame.
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