Scooter Cannonball 2006

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On the way home...

Looking at the Delaware Water Gap, on our way out of New Jersey into Pennsylvania.

Picking up random cash that dropped from the sky too...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

On the beach...


Beach to beach, it's official...

After munching a couple coney dogs at Nathan's, I walked down the block to the boardwalk at Coney Island. I took a couple pictures and went for a walk on the sand. Tah dah! Beach to beach...

Cannonballers at Brooklynbretta

On the tour of New York going to Coney Island...

Scooters O inside

Just a few scooters here...

Day ten (Coney Island, New York)

We didn't get out of Scooters O last night until after 10:30pm, but every single scooter finished to a crowd. Then a bit of decompression to rid ourselves of the champagne (I did mention I won the twist 'n go class, right?). And now off to Coney Island...

Monday, September 18, 2006


I won my class!

Half the riders in...

Half the riders have appeared at Scooters O.

The Finish Point

Empty at the moment, with 16 riders in... But a great reception by the Scooters O people for a group of thirsty, hungry riders.

Day nine complete (Bloomfield, NJ)

Done! Today was an amalgam of all the other days, twisties, fog and cold, getting lost, traffic traffic traffic... but the important thing is that I got here all in one piece and the scooter is hardly damaged at all (there was a scrape on the silly trim piece and there is that little dent from having a scooter dropped on it).

Much discussion this afternoon about the format of this ride and how it could be improved. I'm sure this topic will make it to the public forums, as it has been a popular topic for the last ten days. It has been quite an experience with this large a group of people, the diverse set of personalities and the sometimes conflicting set of goals and expectations people have had.

Time to finish today: nine hours, thirty nine minutes. That was two hours behind the first finisher, an hour behind Chris (first finisher in my class). Fifteenth overall, second in class.

I guess it's time to let the party begin!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Day eight complete (Warren, PA)

I am here! Two hundred thirty-seven stoplights later and minus one gas can (more on that later) I am done for the day. Overall though, a fast, fun ride with enough curves to make it not boring, but lots of traffic too (Sunday afternoon drivers...).

From the I've fallen and can't get up department:

The route through Cleveland went down Euclid, and they are apparently filming a movie set in Beirut there, as the road looks like it should be in a war zone. The road was so rough, it shook my extra gas can loose. I could feel it wiggling around behind me, so I grabbed it and put it between my feet. This worked well for a few miles, but at a stoplight someone pointed out that it had fallen on the ground. I made an attempt to grab it while still on the scooter. Oops. We (the scooter, gas can and me) all ended up in a pile on the ground in the middle of the road.

Of course I was in a weird position and the scooter had me pinned down, so I laid there helplessly. I did make sure all the expensive parts of the scooter were protected from the road though. Thankfully, eventually someone took pity on me and picked the scooter up off of me (Thanks, Chris!).


Lady Luck department:

As you may imagine, gentle reader, there were points during the ride that our speed might have momentarily exceeded the speed limits set. At one such time, I was out in front of the group, and what to our wondering eyes should appear but an officer of the law in the driveway up ahead. Of course I immediately made sure I was conformant with the local limits, but I was waiting to see the lights start flashing.

Obviously I was deliriois from just having a scooter fall on me. I had my defense all set.

Luckily not necessary.

Whew again.

Our environs for the evening:

Lovely Holiday Inn Express hotel, nice pool and such, and... a bar! Such amenities were missing from earlier places we stayed.

Stats for today:

Finished in four hours, forty-five minutes, just ten minutes behind the first finisher and good for first in class and fifth overall. Woo hoo!

Yes, yes... I said it was *not* a race.

Day eight starting out (Warren, PA)

Riders meeting to resolve routing disputes from yesterday. News at 11...

While I am not racing, there are others who do care about such things. I think the route *is* the route and should be followed.

Day seven complete (Cleveland, OH)

Beautiful weather and nice roads today (well yesterday). The last 20 miles were a bit sucky, lots of stop lights and traffic.

However, Phil and the people at Pride of Cleveland were awesome! Pizza, beverages, tons and tons of support. A huge wrenchfest took place out back, they even arranged a massage station. A huge thanks to Phil and everybody at Pride of Cleveland.

Rider up: Ashrat was back and speedy as usual today!

Hotel report: Days Inn, Lakewood, was probably the least comfortable and least friendly place we stayed out. Sigh.

Obligatory GPS gripe: I missed the TomTom Rider again yesterday, navigating by the seat of your pants is not nearly as fun. I hope the TomTom people can resolve the issue when I get home.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Scooter Mama

My wife, Bonnie, drove down from Ann Arbor to meet us at Pride of Cleveland and provide mmmmm... a bit of non-male companionship.

Thank you, darling!


Okay... how exciting is Ohio anyway? But I had to take a picture of something!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Day six complete (Merrillville, IN)

Ugh, day six done. Not an outstanding day for me... I left 45 minutes late due to a combination of scooter checkups and sleeping. Consequently, I spent most of the day playing catch up and then giving time back due to navigation screwups. The dead TomTom certainly was missed today, as I finished five places back on the overall signin sheet due to wrong turns, unsure turns, etc. There were a lot of turns today and I blew quite a few of them only going off the written turn by turn directions.

Rider down: AshRat lost it in a curve about 120 miles into today's run. A collection of ambulances, fire trucks and police cars secured the area and tended to the victim. She was taken off to the hospital in an ambulance, but no updates yet. The report was that her bike tumbled end over end. Waiting for the support vehicle to arrive to survey the damage to the scooter..

Rider out: Due to the shifter issues Scotty has been having, he is ditching the P200 with a plan to follow along to the end. Bad luck, it's too sad.

Peeve of the day: How can any self-respecting structure call itself a gas station these days, sell food and drink but NOT have any type of toilet? There must be some kind of (Iowa) law against it! What is a desperate guy to do in a civilized area? [We know what some riders from Texas do, but I did not feel moved to photograph that particular event.

Scenery? Not here: Due to a lack of interesting subjects and an avoidance of photographing an accident scene, there are no photos from today (hey... Iowa, Illinois and Indiana... I'll post the farm pictures from yesterday, just to keep you happy).

Finished 15th today, nine hours, two minutes from the start of the day eight hours, seventeen minutes from *my* start time :).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Day five complete (Ames, Iowa)

No mountains, no hairpin turns with 4000 foot drops, just a nice straightforward 400 mile day. I left a bit late after hanging out with Scotty, his scooter has issues (cruciform issues). He got in late last night and looks to be late tonight too.

Scariest moment: crossing the Burt County bridge over the Missouri River from Nebraska to Iowa. It's one of those metal deck bridges where the scooter tires fit between the metal tracks, it felt like the scooter was going to slide out of under me at any moment. I cursed the people who built the bridge the whole way across.

Biggest oops today: not turning around to get a picture of the big billboard that said 'Welcome to the middle of nowhere!'. Shoulda turned around for that.

The scooter ran much better today as we dropped to under a thousand feet of elevation. Whew. I was forced to run 89 octane gas for a tankful, who knew there were one gas station towns that don't sell premium? The premium in Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska and now Iowa has all been 91 octane. No one has any explanation other than (with a quizzical face) 'Farmers?'.

Time in today: 2:45CDT, eighth finisher as I recall (don't quote me).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

LiveStrong Reminder

First, a thank you to all of you wonderful people who have generously donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Livestrong, for which I am running this event as a fundraiser.

Now, for those of you coming in late, or who perhaps have had this slip your mind, I would like to point out that I am doing this to raise funds for Livestrong (see earlier blog entry for gushy words as to why). However, the Livestrong people deserve your money regardless of how good or bad my pitch is. Visit the link on the side of this page or to donate today!

And thank you for your support.

Editorial note 9/13/06

I will be working on editing/uploading pictures tonight. They will get moved into proper chronological order, be patient.

Thank you.

Day four completed (Valentine, NE)

Five hundred thirty-two miles completed today in about 10 hours. There were many stops today trying to figure out the cause of the extreme boggy-ness of the GT. It seemed excessive to me even given the fact that the route stayed between 5000 and 6000 feet all day (more or less). Also, I was worried about running full throttle all day, so we had to be nice to the poor GT and give it a few rest stops.

It does not make sense to me (the non-mechanic) but I discovered it was a bit low on oil so I threw in a few ounces. Poof! The extreme boggy-ness went away, so I was left with the usual 'no power on hills' altitude issue. That I can plan around.

I was the twelfth bike in at 6:08pm CDT. Scotty is still out as of this moment, though he has to be close since I talked with him over an hour ago and he was 75 miles out. The sheepskin was definitely a good idea, today's ride really was a killer.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another 500 mile day. Gotta pull out the directions and see... ugh.

Day Four: Heading for Valentine, NE

We're already enroute to Nebraska. Five hundred thirty-two miles today... but we're down to 5000 feet already (Riverton, WY right now).

More news later...

Day three done! (Dubois, WY)

We finished today in Dubois, Wyoming. The day was a combination of good things and bad things.

The good...

I smoked over the two high passes (Teton Pass at 9700+ and the pass through at the Continental Divide, 9658 feet). Other passes don't even matter much, there was one at 6764 feet of elevation, others at 4000 and 5000 feet.

I finished tenth today pulling into Dubois, WY, at 2:42pm MDT. Hurray! Much more reasonable time. Probably due to my saying good things about Idaho, so it let me leave.

The bad...

The @*+!?#*?! TomTom is dead. I pulled off to snap a picture of the bike in front of the Grand Tetons (and sign) and when I went back to power the GPS back on, nuthin. I have been playing with it since I got in and no life. Sigh. I do not understand what was going through those TomTom people's heads when they released this inferiorly packaged product.

Tires are wearing... the roads out here are like sandpaper. Kind of worrisome.

Oh, and the biggest bummer for some of you is that there is no Verizon service here. No calls, no blog updates until tomorrow.


Dubois is a nice little town, it should be a pleasant evening.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Tetons were gorgeous, this was a must-have photo.

Oh, and you can't see it, but the TomTom Rider GPS is turning into a brick right before the camera. It never turned on again.

Idaho mountains take 2

Here we go again...

Breakfast - Hailey ID (day 3)

Cannonball breakfast at the Wood River Inn in Hailey, ID.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Day two complete

The word for the day: mountains. One in particular, Mt. Galena, at over 8700 feet at the summit, kicked my butt. The poor little GT could only manage 40mph climbing that baby. I am not looking to see how tall the mountains are tomorrow in Wyoming.

Apparently I did not say enough good things about Oregon and it punished me today by not letting me leave for an hour. I spent that hour driving in circles in some town on the Oregon-Idaho border (name withheld). Lesson learned: always trust Bonnie (the voice of the TomTom). She might not always have the optimal route, but she never sends you in circles.

Cannonball gossip: DC Rob and Jim from Ptown Scooters are on the sidelines with non-working scooters. Work is in progress to resusitate them, I believe.

Day's end (Day Two)

Scooters parked at day's end in Hailey, Idaho.


Deer are tricky shit too, especially in the mountains. Apparently they breed well at 5000 feet.

Went through peaks of 5109 and 5039 feet so far today. On the way down for the moment.

Memories of Idaho

When I look back, what I will recall about Idaho will not be the wildflowers that grow everywhere by the side of the road, nor will it be Idahoans propensity to put narrow curving roads on the sides of mountains (well, maybe this... the sheer drops on the other side of the guard rail on those twisty curves traumatized this boy who is afraid of heights), but what I will remember is how the mountains were largely missing, eery silhouettes behind the haze and smoke from the fires that were burning just north of where we passed. The acrid smoke smell and taste were everywhere and at the end of the day it lingered, having embedded itself in our clothes. Firefighter camps abounded, I spotted one heliport and even one helicopter running off to the front.

I am thankful to not have to live in the middle of such a thing.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

First day complete

Day one is done for me and Scotty. Wow. Not a day for those squimish about curves. Mountain passes (5345 feet), lava fields, BFE desert...

At times it felt like I was a cowboy in an old Western, riding through the canyons waiting for the Indians to appear and ambush me. Eastern Oregon apparently is where they filmed all those movies.

Eight hours, fifty minutes or so...

Oh and pictures coming, must process them off the camera.

Day one complete!

The first Cannonballers back and wrenching for day two...

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Road construction in the middle of nowhere and the road is closed for the moment. Damn.

Cool sites so far today: Tombstone Pass (around 4000 feet)... lava fields (very cool)... more trees than you can shake a stick at.

We're on!

Okay, yesterday was a shitty day and we ended up sleeping in Lincoln City. We were late this morning too.

But... the ride so far is awesome.

Lesson for today: sand is tricky shit. Pay attention even while getting your picture taken on the first turn out.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Scotty's box has arrived

Scotty is finally packing up as FedEx answers his box prayers. We are on our way to the coast!

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Getting ready...

8/9/06 Saturday afternoon, preparing to leave for Pacific City.


Thanks for breakfast, Stephan!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Scooters retrieved!

Scotty and I successfully retrieved our scooters from Ptown Scooters and returned to Dawn's house.

Waiting for scooters....

My stuff is all here, Scotty is still waiting for boxes to arrive. Most of all, we are waiting to go claim our scooters from Ptown Scooters (thanks Jim!).

Tick... tick... tick...

Then this afternoon... Packing and last minute purchases (Portland beef jerky stores, anyone?).

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Twenty minutes from touchdown, the adventure will become reality very shortly. Did I forget anything? Can I really do this?

It is exciting and scary all at once.

But, me and the scooter and a pile of crap are in Portland, it comes down to the fact that I have to ride it back to Ann Arbor to get it all home.

Let's do it.

Dinner in Chicago

Pulled pork at Miller's Pub on the way to the run.

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We've left Detroit, flying off to Portland with a brief stop in Chicago. After a good night's sleep at my lovely sister's house, we will be reunited with our equipment and scooters and scooter keys Friday. Or so it is suppose to work.

Dinner tonight at Midway Airport, Miller's Pub. BBQ pork... yum!

The Adventure Begins...

At the airport, through security and on our way to the gate.

Lesson for the day: remember your scooter key.

Scooters arrived!

I am told the scooters are in Portland awaiting our arrival. Whew!

I was worried. Not that I didn't have faith in you, Andy, I am sure you are a wonderful forklift driver.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fedex Nightmare

Yesterday was 'shipping day', the last chance to send things off to Portland without it being horrifically expensive, as opposed to only nightmarishly expensive. Three trips to Fedex later, we managed to get all the random bike paraphenalia boxed and shipped for a bit over $200. Yow.

Maybe next time there will be a bit more planning (right).

Less than 24 hours before the plane leaves... are we really ready?