The above is from the official Scooter Cannonball website. When I finished the last Cannonball in 2012 (it is run every two years) I told myself, "ok, been there, done that, lets look for something else". Little was I to know that "something else" would come in the form of another Cannonball. In all fairness, Scooter Cannonball 2012, compared to all past Cannonballs, was really a Cannonball "lite". The days were not as long and the route not as challenging as the past Cannonballs.

team snail

So, when they announced the Scooter Cannonball 2014 was to be from Alaska to New Orleans, with long days, dirt trails, two countries, tall mountains and great scenery, I was in! It is not going to be a easy or cheap ride and that is part of the challenge. There are lots of old hands and new ones to meet on the ride and at the end of the ride will be my crew: Vicki, my wife, Deb, my future divorce attorney and the Acme Oyster Bar waiting in New Orleans.


June 3 Hyder,AK to Vanderhoof, BC 375 miles 
Of the 39 registered riders only 29 showed up which was about what we all guessed.  We met on the pier in Hyder for the start. After the rider's briefing at 7 AM, Mark, the man in charge this year, suggested we let the 50cc rider go first and then leave in 3 minute slots so as not to get backed up at customs.  That idea lasted about 2 seconds as Dave/Feb31st ripped out with me right on his tail. I was not sure how competitive the group was going to be this year, but they are all very competitive. It was a great day riding and weather wise and I finished in 10th position, which ain't too bad considering my handicap is one of the highest and I do not use an auxiliary tank, meaning that some riders stop only once for fuel and I had to stop 4 times, even to fuel from a gas can, which adds at least 20 minutes to my time.


June 4 Vanderhoff, BC to Jasper, BC 322 miles

What a day! It was cold and wet, but that was not it. Two legs today were on dirt roads from hell. I chose to double back and miss the first as officially it was closed and it would not save me that much time. Others did not. The next road you had no choice or it would cost big time on points. I tried to keep up with Doug/Old-as-Dirt who turned in the quickest time yesterday, but I am not that good of a rider. So when I noticed that the rough ride had my extra fuel can dangling in the wind I used that as a good excuse to back down.
My time was good until about 10 miles from Jasper when my spark plug wire fell off.....again. This damn thing is getting to be a real pain in the butt. I got it fixed and rolled on in to Jasper, but it added at least 30 minutes to my time.  I found there scooters with all kinds of parts that had fallen off from the rough going today. Dave/Feb31st saved  me with a  new spark plug and did most of the work replacing it.

Despite my problems today I only lost one spot and dropped down to 10th. You can see all the scores here

Internet service has been severally lacking here in Canada and I don't go chase the signal. So, when it gets better I will post some pictures.
t shirts captain gary got for the team

another fine cannonball hotel

frank tabor rolling along on the stella. we have blind bets on when it quits.

ben/dabenche on his 110cc fly

we hate to see these

check point 3. the rr tracks not doug

June 5 Jasper, BC to Fernie, BC 363 miles

There are a few words that will describe today, fantastic, spectacular, magical.  The ride through the two national forests in the mountains, even though the temperatures were in the 30's all morning, were worth every mile. A few pictures that I took do nothing justice. I did not stop to take pictures of the black and grizzly bears. If this had been a normal ride it would have taken at least three days to do it.

As for the Cannonball, everyone rode a great ride. Matt/4in6isCool  busted a variator but finished. There were other small problems but that was the only serious one.  He thinks he has it banded together until we get to Helena where he is having parts sent over night from Scooterwest.

As for my comments on the aux tanks, I guess I have to take back what I said as Bill/ Wleuthold  is leading with only a 1.5 jerry can for spare fuel.


she was nice and let the scooters go after we sweet talked her

matt praying to the variator gods


June 6 Fernie, BC to Helena, MT 356 miles

The day started great and I felt confident I could move back into the top 10 using a better fuel strategy. First amazing sighting was a mountain goat in the middle of the road in the Crowsnest. He stared at me and I stared at him and then a big truck came and he left by going straight up a rock cliff. Amazing. The weather remained cold until early afternoon. I hit the three checkpoint easily and was on the down hill run to town.  Then I took a big delay.  In the corner labeled in Dave/Feb31st video as “kens corner, almost Daves corner” a “grizzly bear” ran out in front me and Big Red and I went ass over tea kettle in the gravel on the side of the road.  That is my story and I am sticking to it!  Big Red and I had ding and bings. He got the worst of it, but stood tall and took me on in to town.
But that is not the story here.  The story is the camaraderie that you experience in the Scooter Cannonball. Mark had stopped to check on me and headed on in to town. When I rolled into the parking lot he, Matt and later Old as Dirt took over the care of Big Red. Teacherquinn handed me a 800 mg ibuprofen and they all said go get cleaned up and rest and we will take care of everything.  In short order they had all the broken parts off, the steering realigned and torqued, had road tested Big Red, made minor tweaks and had it ready to get on the road again.  
I am ok, just a few bruises and aching muscles.  But I do miss the riding, but I ain’t young no more.
Dave's video of "Kens curve..."

mark and matt jump on big red to straighten him out

though big red was ridable I knew that I would not be able to ride tomorrow so we put big red in the trailer

as quick as big red was in the trailer bagel asked if he could ride him as he was out of the race. his scooter was unrepairable in a reasonable time. I told him that it would be a honor to let him ride big red.  It would not help me in the race but bagel would be able to ride through some beautiful country.

June 7 Helena, MT to Pinedale, WY 355 miles

Since I spent the day in luxury in the truck, this is what it would have looked like from Dave's scooter

June 8 Pinedale, WY to Dillion, CO 380 miles

Today was probably one of the worst in the Cannonball history. We had to turn the heat up twice in the truck. The riders on the other hand, had dirt roads, rain, sleet, snow, wind and cold, cold, cold. Most found out that "waterproof" doesn't necessarily mean it keeps the water out and especially not the cold. Our rider from Hawaii said the hell with this and with the help of some bikers put her scooter on the truck.

Dave video of the day......


June 9, Dillion, CO to Ulyssess, KS 368 miles

The weather forecast was so cold that Bagel did not even want to ride. However, after we crossed over the pass and down the other side we found out that the weather guessers were wrong.  Will encouraged me to get out and ride and I had been worried about slowing him to down to get Big Red out and ready to go, but he said that was not a worry. So we rolled him out and away we went. It was a great day. Moderate temperatures, but the usual strong winds in Kansas, gusting to 52 mph.  I rolled into Ulyssess with a big smile on my face. 

This and 22 degrees and snow in the pass is the reason neither bagel or me were interested in riding this morning

This was one of the rare mornings when everyone showed for the 7am riders briefing.  The below freezing timeperature probably had something to do with the late start by everyone but dave, of course.

Here is Dave/Feb31st's view.......

June 10, Ulyssess, KS to Norman, OK 355 miles

Today was another spectacular day. The weather was great and the navigation straight forward and everyone turned in good times. With a early arrival there seemed to be more than normal scooter repairs.  Here are a few.

Here is Dave's video of the day....


June 11, Norman, OK to El Dorado, AK 361 miles

I finally got bored today riding the long straight rolling roads of Oklahoma and Arkansas. So much so that I sang "99 bottles of beer on the wall" two and a half times. Weather was not bad. A little warm in the afternoon but I rolled into El Dorado by 1 pm.  

Lots of bikes had problems today including Bill's, the leader. We all went to a final night on the road dinner and some came back to work on their scooters until 3 am. It was a effort of many people to try to have every scooter that they could on the road for the last day.

trying to save bill's scooter

the supervisors

whatever it takes

ben and mike discuss last day plans

still trying to save bill's scooter

maybe tequila will help

June 12, El Dorado, AK to New Orleans, LA

This is it.  It is all over. The end of a great, great, great ride. We all met in Abida Springs and rode as a group with a escort of Amerivespa scooters across lake on the last leg. Well, everybody but me. I  had no desire to ride with a large group and neither did anyone else after it was over. Vicki and Deb were at the official end point, the Vespa Dealer in New Orleans, with Champagne and posters. I love those girls.  They  are almost as much fun as I used to be.  

my pit crew met me with champagne 

there is the damn bear!!!!!!

It is over!!!!!!!!

Dave's day 10....

1 comment:

  1. So far so good. Except we're waiting for the next entry to this blog...In any case, what a great life you lead where you do this every year and see so many beautiful parts of the country! Thank you for sharing it with us. Guess I'll go help the lemurs. ;-)