This blog began when I road in the 2008 Scooter Cannonball Run, a coast to coast endurance event held every two years. I will be riding again in 2010! New Blog Coming Soon!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Final GPS Track Log & Google Earth File for Cannonball Run

I finally got around to combining all of my daily track logs from the GPS into one export file for Google Earth/Google Maps. The Garmin 2820 logged my position, speed & altitude the entire way.

I also uploaded my GPS Track Log to EveryTrail.Com. Pretty neat animations and graphs.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 10 & Race Recap - Home Safe

I rolled into Ocean City on Saturday in one piece. The last 30 miles were nerve racking - I had convinced myself that the scooter would break down. Once I got within 15 miles, I knew I could atleast walk the thing to the ocean, if it took all night.

The DC Scooter Folks were all very nice. They welcomed us across the Potomac River at Whites Ferry. My brother Tim was there to take photos and hold up the tail end of the ride. It was great to see him and also have someone else take pictures! Thank you to the couple who paid Mark & I's Ferry Toll! DC Vespa organized a very scenic 45 mile ride into downtown. Pizza and drinks waiting for us at Vespa of DC. Thanks "Bobo", Jerry and everyone who organized that. The race resumed from the National Arboretum around 4 o'clock.

The finish was fun! Lots of beer waiting for us and supporters of other riders and some locals. The first thing I did was ride my scooter right up onto the boardwalk and take a photo. I had dinner with NASA Mark and Rocket at the steakhouse. Thank you to Mark for picking up dinner! There was an "after party" at the Grand Hotel - it was a bummer to say bye to everyone - what a fun 10 days. Quite an adventure.

I enjoyed my cheese steak at the Buckeye. Mom, Lisa, Matt, T/A, Craig the Buckeye crew were there! After that we gave the Vespa a bath (I've been promising her an ice cream cone if she gets me home for 2500 miles - I suppose a bath will do).

I'm looking forward to getting back to work. Very relaxed, rested and looking forward to working on some new projects that have been set aside for the return. All of my customers were very patient with me being out for essentially three weeks when you add in the wedding (Special thank you to PK, Jon Hinshaw & all of my "daily needs" folks).

Lots of photos and some video somewhere that still needs to be sorted through. I am looking forward to seeing everyone elses shots. I'll repost some of them to mine as well.

I learned that Jerry Reed died while I was gone this morning. Sad! I heard East Bound & Down atleast a few times a day in my 164 song MP3 mix from the GPS. Smokey & The Bandit was/is one of my all time favorite movies as a kid. I was actually forbidden to watch it after awhile. I actually started the race with that song. Sing me out snowman. (cliche I know)

Scooters are definitely not meant to go across the country. It was as much of rider endurance challenge as it was for the scooter. I am looking forward to doing it again in 2010. Hopefully I can convenience a few other friends to come along.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Made It!

Made It!
Originally uploaded by ewebs


Friday, September 19, 2008

One More Day to Go (Sad)

Put the scooter in the hotel room last night. Lost prevention measures.

I road the entire day with the vintage guys, i.e. Rocket and Roy. I had a blast. They were both great guys to ride with. 40 MPH up hill, 50 in the flats, 60 down hill. It only took an hour longer.

If I do 2010 - unless Patrick/Craig/Tim/someone else, comes along and insists I do it on a modern Vespa, I will do it on a vintage. It was actually an enjoyable ride.

We ran into Mark about 70 miles out of the destination. His scooter wasn't running right. A few shots of WD-40 into the carburetor got it moving enough for him to nurse it into Oakland. I made a trip to ACE Hardware and bought him a few inches of ice machine coper tubing - Rolf made a D-Tool out of it to manually adjust the mixture. He is hopefully running smooth for the final day.

I had an excellent dinner tonight with Rob Taylor, his father and Reno Bob. Fillet Oscar, rare, sweet potato, dewers/water, wine and McCallen 12 yr neat for desert. First good steak dinner on this entire trip.

Tomorrow is the last day. Sadly. Not that I am not looking forward to getting home - but it is has been a really interesting and fun adventure. I road with the vintage guys today to stretch it out as long as I could. I know tomorrow will be exciting to be the last day. Tim (brother) is meeting me half way for the picnic in DC at Whites Ferry! We have a break there for lunch from the DC Scooter Club. A ride through DC, the the race starts again to the finish. Tim's brining me a few cigars, couple cans/bottles of Coors Light, so I have them to enjoy once I arrive (knock of wood).

Not alot of photos today. Boring day of riding photo wise. The ride (roads) were fun for the second half of the day. Tomorrow morning is going to be very f*cking cold.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Moving East

Two more days remain. Actually three if you count the ride back home on Sunday - 184 miles.

Getting out of St. Louis was pretty easy. Lots of fog on the east side of the Mississippi River. After that, it warmed up quickly. I rode off & on with "Reno Bob" today. He is a funny dude, retired.

The Cincinnati vintage guys road westward and met up with the vintage guys and gave them a proper escort into town tonight. That was really great of them. I know Rocket, Roy and Kieran probably appreciated the company.

Not sure if we have internet tomorrow night at the hotel. We're staying in a small West Virginia/Maryland town - middle of no where. If not I will post after arriving in Ocean City.

All the states today where jumping on the Lincoln thing. Welcome to Illinois said "Welcome to the Land of Lincoln" - then Indiana said something like "Lincoln Went to School Here" - then Kentucky said "Birth Place of Lincoln".

I got slightly lost trying to avoid road construction, the leg was totally a waste so I stopped for a Root Beer and Hamburger. A really nice old lady bought me lunch at Mason's Root Beer stand. I told her I would keep the the Coke-A-Cola cup in my front rack for good luck for the rest of the ride. We'll see how long it lasts. She said she would pray for me.

I rolled the Vespa into the room tonight again - so no one takes it. Not the best of neighborhoods. Someone drove their car into a gas pump. I got drunk at dinner and was spouting off political rants. Should keep my mouth shut.

Joel is in second place now. I am really cheering for him. Go East Coast!

Tomorrow is 320 Miles. Saturday 310 Miles.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Show Me State

Another night of awful hotel internet. The only place I can get any internet is in the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet posting pictures.

Today was the shortest day, 270 miles. About 5 1/2 hours of riding. Tomorrow is a pretty long day, St. Louis to Cincinnati - total of 390 miles. We cross the Mississippi, Illinois and Indiana.

Fun riding today. The roads were great - windy, hilly... twisty through the Ozark Mountains. I road along with the vintage guys (Rocket & Roy) for about 50 miles. That was fun. Another boring day for photos. Looking forward to tomorrow. I enjoy Illinois.

A very big thanks for Vespa of St. Louis! They opened up the store, shop, tools, mechanical talents, pizza and a couple cases of Bud. I was able to finally get a new tire, oil change, battery replaced (terminal broke since San Fran), filters cleaned out, plus a new Prima bag for the back!

Rolf was able to do some surgery on Rob Taylor's Buddy. Hopefully it is running good for him tomorrow. I want to see him finish. Its nice having Rolf driving the truck as support. He works for Vespa/Piaggio - he personally trains all of the certified service techs in the US on the scooters. Couldn't have a better person along for the trip.

I moved the milk crate to the front. Not sure what to do with my homemade Opie & Anthony XM 202 WOW sign. It's been on the scooter for 2400 miles. It has to make it across the country.

Speaking of XM Radio. The GPS/XM Weather, Traffic, Radio Satellite uplink is great. Really helps pass the day.

Not sure where I am in the points. I forgot to turn in my score card last night. So my stats havent been updated.

Had dinner tonight with Mark and the guy from NASA riding the MP3.

Fort Scott!

I will post more when I get to St. Louis tonight. The ride across Kansas was really nice. I tried to get service a few places along the way for the tire. No luck.

We had a really great surprise for us in Fort Scott, Kansas. The folks here really rolled out the welcome mat. A letter welcoming us, a live local blue grass band last night, everyone in town was really nice. The bank even had their sign welcome us! I am staying at the Courtland Hotel - its 102 years old, always been a hotel. The husband/wife who own it are super nice. They hosted the life band and event last evening.

It was a nice way to relax and unwind after a few days of stressing over parking lot maintenance, lonely riding and hotel boredom.

More to come from St. Louis.

Monday, September 15, 2008

...a lonesome area that other Kansans call 'out there.'

Today was a good day. Pretty uneventful ride - all down hill. It was freezing cold leaving Salida. In the 20's when I got out to scooter - warmed up to the 30s, low 40s for the first hour or so.

Vespa Canon City was able to sell me a tire, liter of oil, new riding gloves (replace ones I lost in Utah) - and a new pair of winter gloves.

I did manage to lose my rain/touring jacket today. The nasty winds of Kansas worked my side bag open... and out it flew like a kite. I'll get a new one in Wichita tomorrow (hopefully). If I am lucky they can put the tire on - otherwise... I'll be doing it myself in the hotel parking lot tomorrow night. One of the guys has a bead breaker, makes it easier.

Today was 331 miles. Tomorrow is 360 miles. It looks a hell of alot longer on the map - because its completely straight.

The winds are really strong. I am going to shift my clothing bag back over the seat for tomorrow and see if that helps any.

I made a detour on my way into Garden City to see Holcomb and the farm house made famous by Truman Capote in his book "In Cold Blood". I also snapped a photo of the Finney County Courthouse (also described in the book). I was shocked at how small Holcomb was. One or two paved roads at best, the rest dirt. I'd imagine an entire family being killed today would rock that community - much less what happened in 1959.

Tomorrow will be light on the photos. Not alot to take a picture of. Plains, corn... flat lands... few silos.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Cold Activated Bottle Has Turned White

My hatred for Cruise America Rental RV's has now been replaced by Duallys and Horse Trailers. I didn't think anything could beat lost foreigners in rental RVs... but horse shit and hay flying in your face sure does.

People pulling their Jeeps behind an RV is a close second.

I was glad to put Utah in the mirror. Colorado was an easy ride. All things considered. Granted we went through a southern/middle stretch. The first 150 miles it was in the 30's. My hands were numb. I am able to warm my left hand on the radiator and then ride cross handed and lean over the windshield and warm my right. Not safe but, it gets the job done. It was a fun ride once it warmed up. I left right after the morning meeting - got a head start on the day. 331 miles, almost 7 hours of riding. The last 30 miles included a climb up to over 11,800 feet.

I never thought I'd say I am looking forward to riding across Kansas. But, after 4 days of mountains, I am ready for a change.

My rear tire is wearing pretty good - bald after 1500 miles. The dealer at home assured me it would last alittle longer. I am going to try to get a new tire in Canon City tomorrow. Change in the hotel parking lot tomorrow night. Lisa's working on getting me into a dealer in Wichita or St. Louis.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"That's Just Erosion... We Got That In Florida."

Utah kicked our asses today. Immediately leaving Cedar City, we had a straight climb to 10,000 feet. I had some temperatures into the 20s. Then a cold ride into Bryce Canyon. Then 75 miles of dirt and partially paved roads that lead to a ferry that took you across Lake Powell every other hour. After making that, 110 miles in high winds and desolate highway to Blanding. A town that is dry. Had to use the flask tonight.

About 6 or so guys crashed during the 45 mile dirt road segment. Jim T, 69 years old - went down in the switch backs (photo above). Broke 4 ribs, collar bone, dislocated his shoulder. Blacked out after the crash. Woke, managed to get the bike off him and back up, continued to ride about 30 miles, through awful, dirt, deep sand, washboard ruts/regular ruts, mud/water. To the ferry. They took him off the ferry onto an emergency boat. They confirmed the aforementioned injuries --- he then proceeded to ride the remaining 110 miles to Blanding. He insists on continuing.

A few of the other guys wiped out pretty good. Busted up Vespa's tonight in the hotel parking lot maintenance happy hour, bruises, broken parts. I am not sure how I made it out without crashing. I almost lost it a few times - took it slow and steady. Barely made it through a bad mud wash out.

I did manage to take lots of photos today. I am disappointed in them... I wish they really captured how big, vast... some of these views are. But, they dont.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Extraterrestrial Highway

Day 2 started off rough. My Denver Omelet was filled with egg shells. I under estimated how cold 55 degrees in the desert really is. Had to stop and put on a full face balaclava thingy. Then I was toasty.

The first 20-30 miles out of Lee Vining was great. The road was like a roller coaster. Subtle turns, lots of dips, up and down. Fun to ride on... could keep the throttle wide open, no on coming traffic so you had both lanes to lazily ride in. Then... I noticed a big dust cloud ahead around a turn. Mr. Brooklyn Ace, took the turn too quick (or something busted) - he wrecked pretty bad. He is OK. Vespa is not.

20 miles later, I had an oncoming car spin out of control in a sharp turn. Almost took me out - I swerved into the shoulder as he spun by into the ditch behind me.

After that... smooth sailing all the way to Cedar City. No gas for 211 miles. We took the entire Extraterrestrial Highway which also snakes through Area 51. And for almost all of the highway, not a sign of life in every direction. I rubber banded the thumb lock on the throttle and laid back into the clothing bag, one hand on the controls - could have taken a nap all day.

All of today was open range... cows/bulls/horses all over the place, running around... a few on the road.

Any nervousness I may have had left about riding 70+ MPH on a scooter... is gone. After awhile, like a car... it doesn't even seem like your moving anymore. Just wind noise and a few adjustments now and then.

Caught up one some news, thanks to the XM Radio Uplink in the GPS. It didnt work out too well yesterday in the mountains, signal blocked too much. It was a nice change up from the music.

Tomorrow looks like pretty challenging terrain through the mountains... then 70 miles of dirt road, a ferry across Lake Powell then onward to Blanding.

I took a ride to Walmart tonight, bought a six pack of coors light (was pulled over to inspect the bottles, no open containers) - ordered a pizza and doing some laundry. Glad I upgraded hotels tonight to the new Marriott after a long day of riding.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 1 actually went off pretty good! No issues with the Vespa, GPS worked flawlessly... had good tunes in my ear, water to drink.

I took lots of video! I'll have to edit through all of it once the trip is over and make a few YouTube Clip Videos.

I had to be picky on when to stop to take photos - or I would have never made it to the hotel tonight. Yosemite was beautiful to ride through. All of the switchbacks up and then back down Mt. Hamilton were alot of fun. Lee Vining is nice, very small, town along a highway, 2 restaurants and a Shell station. It was a really fun day. If the rest of the trip rains, today made it the entire thing worth while.

Random event of the day. I came up on some road construction. The guy said it would be a 25 minute wait for the traffic coming towards us to pass by. Then two girls and a few more scooters pulled up... and decided if they were going to wait - we should all drink. So, we had a half hour of drinking on the side of the road with the stop sign man. Sort of random.

Tomorrow is the longest day of riding. 420 miles to Cedar City, UT. All of it across the desert.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Rock - Alcatraz Tour

Alcatraz was my only planned tour/excursion for the brief stay here. I'd like to come back and go up into Napa, etc... The tour was neat. I personally thought Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was alot more impressive - as far as prison tours go. But a nice boat ride out - the island itself is really cool. Much more so than the actual prison.

Other than that - spent the rest of the day catching up on emails and final preparations for tomorrows departure. Tonight there is a BBQ for all the riders in the race.

Dinner @ In-N-Out Burger

Dinner, originally uploaded by ewebs.

I had a tasty burger, "double double animal style".

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sightseeing in San Francisco

I walked 19.7 miles today (according to the GPS thing). I spent some time at Fishermans Wharf (near my hotel) - followed the shore to the Golden Gate Bridge, hiked several miles to Baker Beach, down and across Golden Gate Park, into downtown, up a huge hill and to a bar for some scotch.

I enjoyed a nice Double Double Animal Style Burger from In-N-Out for dinner, 4 more Scotches here at the Hyatt Hotel Bar and passed out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Getting to San Francisco

Matt and I loaded up the Vespa on the truck and took it to ForwardAir in Philadelphia for shipping a week/half before the event. It took them 3-4 days to move it to San Francisco. The cost to ship a motorcycle/scooter across country is $500-$700 (depending on fuel costs at time of booking).

I flew to San Fran on Virgin America out of Washington Dulles. First class was definitely worth the upgrade! The scooter was being shipped to a warehouse a few miles from the airport. It took about 2 hours for them to find my container and another 2-3 hours for me to reassemble the Vespa (mirrors, windshield, battery, fluids, etc).

The ride from the warehouse to the hotel in downtown/Fishermans Wharf was about 40 minutes with the scenic route. I have two full days to sightsee and complete some final preparations. My only planned excursion is the Alcatraz tour on Wednesday.

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