Scooter Cannonball 2006

Thirty scooters... 3293 miles cross-country... Everything will be fine.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Crated and off to P'town...

The scooters were crated and sent off to Portland today. What was supposed to take just an hour or so turned into an all day extravaganza. Anything that could go wrong, did... but they are on their way.

Now to pack and ship off the accompanying clothes and other stuff and I'll be ready.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

TomTom Rider sadness

I got a TomTom Rider earlier this year. It is a cool little GPS. Quite rugged, it has already survived falling out of the mount at 60+ mph (the sight of it tumbling down the side of the road like a little rock is etched in my memory).

However, that is the issue. The top clasp is not very effective at holding the GPS in the cradle. Then, this weekend on our shakedown ride to Lake Michigan, the top clasp completely broke off the cradle base, exposing the thin plastic that was supposed to hold the whole thing together.

I'll be calling TomTom in the morning to see what they can do, as I'm sure they won't want pictures of my TomTom double rubber-banded to the base floating around the Internet. However, as an engineer I don't see how they solve the problem by just replacing my cradle/clasp, it seems like that one will fail too.

Perhaps Garmin will have a trade-in for their new motorcycle GPS that is coming out in the fall. Too late for this trip and sad for me, as I've finally got a decent stable mounting mechanism (using the RAM Mount hardware for the Rider) and have the Rider powered from the scooter as well.

(My apologies to those who might have seen this previously as a comment, I think this needs more prominent display.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

In Kalamazoo... Drinking Bell's beer...

In Kalamazoo... Drinking Bell's beer... Being good, be home soon...

Issues so far: GPS mount is self-destructing...

How does this thing work?

Scotty discussing the use of technology on the Cannonball at Bell's Beer Eccentric Cafe on our shakedown cruise.

At the lake, more or less...

At the lake, more or less, had lunch and now off to Kalamazoo. Bell's Beer, here we come...

Nice shakedown cruise, eh?

On our way to the lake...

Ready for the shakedown cruise...



Going for a little ride across Michigan today, to the big lake (Lake Michigan) and back. News as it happens...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Have Scooter, Will Travel!

The scooter is back! Exhaust exhausting, brakes braking, GPS powered inline and all lights lighting! Very very happy...

And.. almost as cool... my new Aerostich jacket and pants came in. Wow. I should have just bought this stuff to begin with. I can see how awesome this will be summer and winter.

Sorry for the short note, I have to go riding. Be back ummm later.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Breaking news... Maintenance complete!

I got a call this morning to report that my scooter is all ready to go. Tires, exhaust and everything. Thank goodness, I was beginning to worry.

Now to pick it up, work out the exact shipping details and test pack it for the trip. I am hoping to not overlook too many things prior to shipping the scooter and the accompanying stuff out next week.

Oh, guess I should ride it a little bit too. It has been a while!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How to... generate interest

I have to admit I am a bit disappointed in how the fundraising effort is going. I imagine it is due to the fact that people are deluged with requests for their money for any number of good causes and I can appreciate how every one of those requests is from people who think THEIR cause is the best (goodness knows I think that!).

So how to reach people who think like I do? Obviously the answer is to present the opportunity to more people. How to do that? Well, geeze, ask a professional! I have to admit I (with a little style help from my friend Melanie Rembrandt) wrote the press release but Melanie very generously helped point me in the right direction to find those people. We will see how that effort pays off over the next couple weeks.

(And, for those interested... no scooter yet.)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Press release done!

Another item off the to do list... I have written the press release for the local groups highlighting the trip and the fundraising aspects relating to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. For your reading pleasure (or late night put you to sleep reading material) try the pdf or text versions of the release. Hopefully this will help the fundraising efforts.

No news on the scooter front... I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won't be walking home.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Moving forward...

Okay, so hotels are taken care of and it looks like getting the scooters out to Portland is almost setup. Now if I only had a scooter to ship. I am hoping to hear from the shop when the repairs will be done (they are borrowing an exhaust since Italy is closed for August and Piaggio doesn't stock spare parts in the US).

Two weeks and six days before we get on the plane to Portland. Wanna make bets on whether I beat the scooter out there?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lance Armstrong Foundation fundraising

Better late than never, you know. Some of you already know that I've committed to use this ride as a charity event for the LiveStrong/Lance Armstrong Foundation. So many people around me have been touched by cancer I identify quite strongly with this cause and I am proud to raise money to support them.

I would appreciate your contribution which you can make by visiting

Thank you for your generosity.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


In early July, the scooter I am riding in the Cannonball developed a loud exhaust noise. Now, the bike did have almost 7,000 miles put on it in one year, so we assumed the exhaust had just rusted through. If only that was the case...

It turns out that the exhaust on newer Vespas has a small issue where a gasket can fail, causing the loud noise, but also venting really hot air into the engine compartment. In my case, that hot air melted the rear brake line. A real mess... and there are not piles of spare exhausts lying around.

Today we went to visit the sad scooter at Vespa Detroit, where it is waiting for parts. Very soon it needs to be prepped and ready to ship to Portland for the ride. I need to make sure it is running well before that. It is entirely possible I will be making that checkout ride in Portland.

Everything will be fine.