Gonna hear those vintage motor(cycles) running . . .
. . . down the highways and backroads of America
Back on Maui after touring with The Doobie Brothers, cofounder Pat Simmons is preparing for an epic adventure in early September — setting out astride a vintage 1928 Harley-Davidson on the 2018 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run.
Around 100 riders will set off on the approximately 3,750-mile journey from Portland, Maine to Portland, Ore., which takes them on America’s back roads with fewer than a dozen on interstate highways.
“I’ll go a little more than halfway because I have to go back to work (playing with the Doobies), but Cris will finish it,” says Pat, who will ride alongside his wife, Cris Sommer-Simmons. “There are 16 days of riding with one day off. It will be my third time across country on the same bike. It’s an adventure all the way.”
The most difficult antique endurance run in the world, the Motorcycle Cannonball is a homage to long-distance pioneer, Erwin “Cannonball” Baker, and other historical figures that paved the way across the country in the early 1900s.
“It’s always an incredible route through the back roads of America,” explains Cris. “This will be my fourth time riding on the Cannonball, and the third time on the same bike, my 1915 Harley-Davidson, ‘Effie.’ I’ve had an incurable case of Cannonball Fever ever since riding on the first one in 2010.”
Her vintage bike is named after Effie Hotchkiss, the first woman to ride a motorcycle across the United States in 1916.
A co-founder of Harley Women, the first widely distributed magazine for women riders, Cris was the only American woman riding in the 2011 Cannonball. Inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in 2003, she has published the book, “The American Motorcycle Girls: A Photographic History of Early Women Motorcyclists.”
After first meeting up at a Harley-Davidson event in Sturgis, S.D., in 2016, the duo journeyed more than 3,300 miles on a Cannonball Run while raising money for Stand Up To Cancer in honor of their son, musician Pat Simmons Jr., who successfully battled cancer.
“I always do something for Stand Up To Cancer,” says Cris.
Riding the old bikes can be grueling on their bodies.
“The bikes have no suspension, just a couple of springs in the front end,” she explains. “They’re hard to ride. When you’re on a bad road you can’t really enjoy the scenery. If you hit a bump you could go flying. You have to kick-start these bikes, and my legs get all bruised.
“This year might be the hardest run because it’s a more northern route. It might be colder, and we might have snow on the mountains. The last one was really tough with four days of solid rain in Colorado.
One day they had to cancel the afternoon ride; it was raining so hard you couldn’t see in front of you. There were tornado warnings, and nowhere to pull over.”
The 2018 northern route will take the riders through nine states including South Dakota and Montana. The actual route is a bit of a mystery.
“The way it’s set up, you don’t know where you are going,” says Pat. “You know the town, but you don’t know how you will get there until the morning you leave. You have a roll chart, one marker at a time — you will pass this road or this railroad track, and it will tell you when to turn, one step at a time. People get lost.”
Riding with approximately 12 hours of daylight, they will average around 250 miles per day, maintaining a speed of at least 43 to 50 mph.
“Fifty is about max,” says Pat. “You have to be careful, the roads are bumpy, and there’s not much forgivable suspension.”
Having ridden motorcycles most of his life, he says, “I’ve been into these old, antique bikes for a long time. When this event came up, it was the first time anyone had put together a long ride. Nobody had ridden three or 4,000 miles. The concept really intrigued Cris and I.”
With minimal recovery time, Pat will head from the run to San Francisco for a show with the Doobie Brothers, opening for the Eagles on Sept. 20, followed by another major concert in San Diego.
“Then I’ll fly up to Portland where the bikes are coming in for the end,” he says. “Then I’ll fly for rehearsals in Nashville.”
In November, the band will deliver full-album performances at New York City’s historic Beacon Theatre, playing all the songs from “Toulouse Street” and “The Captain and Me.”
“We’ll play them all the way through,” he says. “We’ve never done it before.”
In between playing a bunch of shows, the Doobies are gathering material for a new release.
“We’ve already done some recording, some new songs,” he says.
Just one more question: On any of these epic rides has he ever hummed “Rockin’ Down the Highway?”
“Never,” he emphatically answers. “I’ve thought about ‘Broken Down on the Highway’.”
It’s a shame that Greta Van Fleet’s upcoming Hawaii concerts and a couple in Japan are canceled. It wasn’t connected with poor ticket sales as the Maui Arts & Cultural Center show had basically sold out.
Interviewed a while back, bassist Sam Kiszka reported they were eager to play Hawaii. But it looks like we’ll have to wait until some time in 2019. Greta recently made its debut on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.
Tickets will be refunded in full, applied to the same credit card used to purchase those tickets. If you paid for tickets by cash, they need to be brought to the MACC box office in Kahului to receive a refund.
The Maui Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, joined by the Cornell University Chamber Singers, will present Joseph Haydn’s “Harmoniemesse” at 3 p.m. Sunday in the MACC’s Castle Theater.
Haydn’s “Harmoniemesse” is a work of great grandeur and elaboration that projects a revolutionary sense of the musical sublime. It marked his last large-scale composition. As he had with all his recent masses, he wrote it for the name day of the Princess Maria, the wife of his employer, Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy.
The “Harmoniemesse” is scored for four soloists, full chorus, organ, strings, brass and two pairs of woodwinds — hence the name “Harmonie,” is from the German for the wind section.
The work sets the mass text in the standard sections: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei-Dona nobis pacem.
The Maui Chamber Orchestra and Chorus will be conducted by Robert E. Wills. Soloists with the Cornell University Chamber Singers are soprano Anna OConnell, alto Tracey Bloser, tenor Nathaniel McEwen and bass-baritone Levi Hernandez.
The Cornell University Chamber Singers, under the direction of Stephen Spinelli, will open the concert with a selection of works for a cappella choir.
* The Maui Chamber Orchestra presents Haydn’s “Harmoniemesse” at 3 p.m. Sunday in the MACC’s Castle Theater. A preshow talk-story with the artists will take place at 1:30 p.m. for all ticket holders. Tickets are $20, $30, $45 and $60 (plus applicable fees) and are available at the box office, by calling 242-7469, by visiting www.mauiarts.org or www.maui chamberorchestra.org.
Roots drummer/DJ Questlove will return to Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon in Paia for a unique night of dance music on Aug. 22. His DJ shows here always sell out. Tickets are $30 and are available at www.QLMaui2018.Eventbrite.com. You must be 21 or older to attend this event. For more information, call 579-8085.
The Wishing Well … for Maui Students program will host its inaugural fundraiser, “Wishes with Fishes,” from 6 to 9 p.m Saturday at the Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea. The event will feature music by acclaimed slack key guitarist Jeff Peterson, the Natalie Nicole Band and the award-winning ukulele-powered reggae rock band Kanekoa, along with a buffet dinner and auctions.
Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the aquarium after hours, interact with marine naturalists and enjoy a special diver presentation in the Open Ocean exhibit
Run by volunteer Realtors Association of Maui members, the Wishing Well program has collected and contributed more than $1.65 million in goods, services and cash donations to Maui County’s public schools since its inception in 2007.
“Because of our high cost of living, our teachers are the most underpaid in the nation, yet they are constantly reaching into their own pockets to purchase items for their classrooms,” said Sarah Sorenson, founder of the Wishing Well program.
“On average, our teachers spend $1,000 of their own money for educational material and supplies for their classrooms, as well as for their students. We help them get much-needed supplies, teaching materials and furniture, all to augment their instructional needs for themselves and their students.”
Tickets for the 21-and-older “Wishes with Fishes” fundraiser are $100 and can be purchased online at www.ilovemaui schools.com or in person at the RAM office, which is located at 441 Ala Makani St. in Kahului.