Tomorrow I start the ride, 100 years to the day after Charles k. Findlay did.
Today, let me share with you what totally captured me when I read Findlay’s diary from 1916.
These are Charles K. Findlay’s diary entries from 1916.
1. OH yes, I forgot to say before I set a schedule time of 23.3mph for all the way Into Montgomery Ala. Now lets see if I can keep it.
2. I asked him what was the price for a car, and he said ” 20 cents” We landed on the other side. I gave him 50 cents and told him I didn’t have time to wait for change.
3. Gee! I did run! If I could have kept that up, I would either have killed myself or been in Montgomery, Ala. that night! I got my tanks filled in Morristown (forgot to pay for it). The road was bad for a while and I lost time again, but as soon as I hit the good hard pike I made it up.
4. I arrived in Knoxville,Tenn ON TIME!!! It was just 11 o’clock and I had come 145 miles ! How’s that? I went into a restaurant to get something to eat. The waiter asked me where I came from. I told him -Abington,Va. He said, “when did you leave? Yesterday morning?” I said , “No I left this morning”. “OH go on” he said, “you can’t stuff me with that bull”.
5. It made a big dive for the embankment and the only way I saved myself was to cut the handlebars around straight in opposite direction to make the motor, fall flat , and we did slide!!! But I didn’t go over the embankment. I had made up the lost time I had before but it took me 15 minutes to fix the chain so I was that much latter again. Of course I set out to make that up as soon so I got started.
6. The road was good so I was hitting it up and right on the dot 6:55 P.M. I arrived in Chattanooga. The sun was just going down over the hills I had come 325 miles and my riding time was 13hr 55min. I made one stop! That was a 45 min stay in Knoxville,Tenn. Of course I made several stops for gas and oil but that don’t give any rest so I don’t count them.
7. I timed myself for one mile just to see what I was making (which I very often do) I made a mile in three minutes even (20mph) How’s that for a bad road riding and on such a bad road as that?
8. I almost ran into a cow! She tried to cross the road in front of me and didn’t quit calculate my speed. I was making up time which was lost on the road and in the fog. I was running fast but believe me I was watching those turns like a hawk!
9. The good road lasted for about 25 miles (which I covered in about 40 min.) Then I came into FT. Payne , Ala. I got gas and oil, then left. From then on the road was not so good, but it was plenty good enough for me to run faster than schedule time, so I was still making up lost time. I had enough to make up alright for I was 1 hr and 10 min late as I came into Ala. Then I made up 20 min. of it on the 25 miles of good Ala. road I have now 50 min. more to make up.
10. At 2:00 P.M. I arrived in Birmingham ,Ala. ON TIME. I went to a restaurant and had a bite to eat, then filled my gas and oil tanks,
11. Strassburg business section was a station, hotel, four stores and a drug store. I looked at my watch and was very much surprised to find that I was still 15 minutes AHEAD OF TIME! Even after havning been tied up in the rain.
12. I passed thru Clanton Ala. and kept on going. I was 15 minutes ahead of time when I got into Strassburg yesterday but today after a little ways out of Clanton I got mixed up in a bad piece of road and mud so I lost that fifteen minutes which put me on time.
13. I got back to the forks in the road in good health. I was then 40 min. late. I took the left road, it was good along here and I just about kept my word about going a mile-a-minute! Just about then I saw a woman come running out of a farm by the road. She was screaming at the top of her voice and held something in her hand, she was having a regular duck fit! I thought sure someone was being murdered! I slammed on the brakes and slid to a stop! I jumped off and with my hand on my gun I went running over to her !!! She was all out of breath and couldn’t say a word! When I DID get her to speak, she said,-“oh excuse me, I thought you were the MAIL MAN!” I didn’t faint and I didn’t say anything, but you can imagine how I felt. I was now 50 min. Late!
14. 10:05 a.m. I crossed the toll bridge over the ala . river I was still three minutes late. I was nearly in Montgomery and the end of the trip. Just after I left the bridge I had a little streach of good road for about 1/2 a mile which I covered like a streak then I was on the edge of Montgomery Ala. 10:15 a.m. I arrived on court square Montgomery Ala ON TIME to the second!
Then I went out to the Woman’s College to let my dad know I was here. I had run 625 miles in 26hrs .25 minutes. I used 9 gal gas which makes an average of 69 1/2 miles to a gallon.
As a Long Distance rider who has made a few Iron Butt rides, I strongly related to his riding against the clock!