On May 3, 1914, Erwin Baker, a motorcycle racer and enthusiast from Indianapolis, Indiana, left downtown San Diego, California on a twin-cylinder, 7 horsepower Indian motorcycle en route to New York City. Baker’s goal was to break the existing cross-country record of 20 days that was held at the time. The plan was to beat the record by three days. Amazingly, not only did Baker break the record, but he did it in even less time that he had envisioned. He arrived in New York City just 11 1/2 days later on May 14th! A New York journalist obviously impressed by his adventure tagged Baker with a nickname of “Cannon Ball,” which stuck with him the rest of his life.
The Cannon Ball Project retraced the route taken by Baker in 1914 and working from Baker’s actual written accounts, retold the story of his ride on a day-by-day basis.
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