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Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 10 & Recap

Our Day 10 route into Vermont, New Hampshire and finally into Maine was a great finish.  Very peaceful, the last 50 miles into Maine was awesome riding, aside from the Moose signs warning you of death.  I had no idea if they jump at you... stand in the road or what.

Day 10 PhotosThe scooter made it!  Like 2008 I was paranoid it would breakdown in the final stretch.  I arrived at the finish around 3:30pm, 3-4 riders were already there celebrating.  Took my official photo at the water front and joined the rest to welcome the other riders who trickled in one-by-one.  Several local scooterist came out - lots of random on lookers.  We took several group shots, camera crew did their "exit interviews" and road as a group to the hotel.

I had dinner with Matt, Geoff, Brian and Jim.  The four of us (less Matt) "started" this together in Seattle and so it was really nice to end it that way.

I finished 5th place, blah.  The 3 days of mechanical issues and having to nurse the bike along until parts arrived really stunk up my score.  I was 11 minutes behind 4th place.

Day 10 PhotosJim's bike finally gave out on the last leg of day 9.  Mike Smith's Helix also ran into mechanical problems that day and left him stranded in Ottawa - I was really bummed out not to see him at the finish but really glad I got to know him this year - he gets the 2010 "Rob Taylor Award".  Bad year for the Honda riders.  Cynthia (bodacious) finally killed her bike - no one really ever washes a rental car.  Pete only ended up riding 3 days - I hope his Scoot! magazine coverage of 2010 is better than 2008 - I threw that copy away.

Mark Anderson (2008 vet) took 1st.  Like last time, he road a fast, solid 10 days with no screw ups.  I was glad to see him win and the 'brand' win.  2nd place was Dewey, 77 years old, awesome rider, 61 years of riding experience gets you on the proverbial podium.

With Jim's bike no longer running he and Geoff would continue to DC to catch the auto-train to Florida by way of U-Haul.  I packed up and hit the road early Sunday morning, 430 miles later I was home in time for lunch!

I can only come to the same conclusion as last time.  Scooters are not meant to go across the country - not like this.  This year was more of a rider endurance challenge than last time but I am looking forward to doing it again - hopefully next time the weather is warmer and I can convenience a few other friends to come along.

Male Copywriter

Not sure how I missed this, but MaleCopywrite kept one helluva blog and twitter account during the Cannonball.

Check it out:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Made It!!!

Day 10 Photos

- Posted using iPad

Day 10 - Lake Placid to Portland, ME

Day 9 - Welcome to America!

Not much internet here, 2 bars of AT&T (not enough for photos) and can't get the WiFi to work. Full update when I get to Portland (hopefully).

Yesterday started out cold, low 30s, inside of visor kept freezing over. We road through alot of fog and construction on HWY 17 across Canada. It never really warmed up, at least while riding.

No issues crossing the border. A nice 100 mile ride into New York State.

Went to dinner with Marc, Bagel, Marc's parents (Clint + Julie) and Brian in downtown Lake Placid. OK town. Jim called during dinner, broke down with electrical problems. Dispatched the support truck. Had a nice steak dinner, finally!!!! Back to the hotel. Marc hooked his computer up to my scooter, determined the check engine light is the result of an intermitten signal from my lamda (spelling) probe. Which makes sense, I've only had the exhaust on/off a dozent times this week.

Had a night cap at bar next store, scotch, sambuca, with Alice and Karen. Nice folks. By that time Jim rolled in. He and Geoff started doing some surgery on his bike. Not sure what the outcome was, I passed out in their room watching. Eventually made it back to mine.

Frost on the bikes, 28 degrees out. Just want to get to Portland!

Day 9 - North Bay to Lake Placid, NY Photos

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 8 - Wet Ride to North Bay

Hello from North Bay, Ontario... where the internet is wireless and the room is clean, finally.

Today's ride was wet and cold. It was a steady down pour the entire way here. To my surprise my rain gear did a nice job (frogg toggs) - only slowly damp around the shirt collar. I felt like I was soaked and was freezing cold. The Garmin XM/Weather showed North Bay reporting winds out of the north-ish, 17 MPH gusting to 35 at arrival. It just cuts through the riding gear and makes sitting there miserable.

Slowly other riders are pulling in. The usual guys on the 250s + Matt/4n6iscool are here. Maroy road a great ride today. Hoping he and the scooter hold out to take the win in Portland. Go Piaggio (Vespa)!!!

We've managed to settle into odd travel routines (as a group) at this point. I've been eating with the "east coast" team + mike smith, each night. Evenings usually include some sorta excursion into town for a random item/part. Parking lot maintenance, drinking, turning in your score card, etc. Everyone is used to the film crew guys being flys on the wall and randomly jamming a camera in your face at this point. I can see how those reality shows worked (before they became mass production things and scripted). Those guys work all hours. I have no idea what the hell they will get out of this to assemble into a documentary. Tom has done a great job in his role as organizer.

Hopefully all the riders make it in safely. Maybe we can find some trouble in town tonight - we haven't all gone out as a group and partied since Harlowton.

Day 8 - Sault Ste. Marie to North Bay, ON Photos

Day 7 - Hello Canada (again)

I screwed up the post yesterday. Day 6 photos should now be with day 6.

Day 7 was through the upper peninsula of Michigan. The checkpoints were interesting, 1st was a curvy road sign, 13.8 miles down a tiny forest road. Second was a particular Beef-A-Roo fast food joint in Marquette, 3rd a hiking trail that intersected shoreline road, finally the boarder crossing.

3 guys went down on the back road trail, including Geoff. His bike is banged up some and a few tears on his jacket but other than that he is OK. He wore a hole in his tire, nice! There was a good 100 miles yesterday of... at any moment a deer is going to jump out and I will die. Only had 2 deer jump, still alive.

I got pulled over by the po-lease into the 3rd leg. Reports of "scooters" aggressively passing and one gray scooter in particular flashing his lights at motorist to make them pull off the road. That would be me - but I have a headlight modulator, which is legal. He also clocked me doing 72.1 in a 55, oops. Got a verbal warning. =)

Shortly after my scooter started studdering and cutting out. Great. Before we entered the 60 mile no mans land I pulled into a service station (just in case I need to bum a tool) - cleaned my clutch bell + pads, and replaced the spark plug. Plug was pretty cooked, all black. Ran smooth the rest of the day. Still no resolution on the engine light.

Ride into the hotel was boring, no issues at the border crossing. The hotel is a complete dump. If we didn't have nice hotels the next 3 nights I would have, but, its leaf peeper season here and everything is expensive, whatever. Check out the photos towards the end of today.

Had dinner with the usual crew at an italian place, food was actually very good!

It is raining today (day 8), we have 270 miles into North Bay. Its in the 40s and just a down pour right now. Going to be miserable. The end is near, 2 more days after this, 1.5 days home.

Day 7 - Ironton to Sault Ste. Marie, ON Photos

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 6 - Brrrrr, Cold.

I fell asleep last night trying to update this. Yesterday was a cold, wet, damp day, it felt really long and never ending. Minnesota was not too bad to ride across. Lots of logging trucks to pass.

Had a "technical" malfunction with the scooter. On the second leg my coolant temp gauge started flashing. Pulled over, coolant levels perfect, let it idle, fan kicks on. Posted my issue on the form (modern vespa) - Jess sent me a text message with the fix - loose sensor cap. Fixed.

Check engine light still comes on, but only when I am riding slow or slow down from riding "fast".

We had an un-timed stop in Duluth yesterday (i.e., get to the checkpoint, clock in, do whatever, then clock out when done). It is the only one on the trip, a lot of guys used it for maintenance at the local shops. Brian and I did some shopping at the Aerostich world headquarters. I bought a seat bag, which, I was thinking about doing before I left but ran out of time. It fits nicely on my seat. I've been using a rigged up system with my under-seat bag. I did not plan on putting anything on the seat (why I didn't bring one) - but my early on maintenance problems have filled up my under-seat storage with oil, tools, etc.

Today is a 370 day to Sault Ste. Marie, we cross the upper peninsula of michigan.

Day 6 - Ortonville to Ironton, MI Photos

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 5 - Welcome to Central Time

Today was miserable riding, highway 12... all day, no turns, lots of wind, as fast as you can go. 370 miles later we are in Minnesota! Everyone talks like the movie Fargo - a favorite movie.

My goal was to make the first three legs without a single stop, 260 miles. No fluids with breakfast. I left early. I made it to the checkpoint in Aberdeen (260 miles) and coasted in on fumes. The wind was brutal, I can usually get 320 miles on my aux+main fuel tank (6.2 gallons), I had less than a 1/10th of gas left when I got there. I cut the engine when I saw the gas station and coasted in. Made it! Hopefully I scored well.

Rest of the ride was uneventful. Got into town about 1:30. Found a Napa auto parts place, local hardware store, bought some things for my maintenance. Today I changed out rear tire, engine oil, filters, exhaust gasket, cleaned air filter and checked my variator (transmission).

Simon (scooter me) had the same problem I did on day 1 - seized/spun the bearing on the rear wheel axel. His luck that mine broke on day 1 and I had extra parts!!! He picked up my scotch at dinner!

Lots of parking lot maintenance tonight. Very resourceful. Maroy managed to turn a motorcycle lift into a bearing press using that + 2x4 and a bottle jack. Worked well.

Jim is back to his "normal" self (ha!) - story telling and carrying on in the parking lot. After his 2008 wreck, the last three days had to be nerve racking with all of the terrain we covered. He should have a smooth ride from here on out, challenging navigation but not at all threatening.

Scooter ran great today now that I've worked through 4 days if problems.

Tomorrow is going to be a challenging day of riding. 400+ miles, we zig zag all the way across the state of Minnesota. Checkpoints are going to be hard to find, the roads all very backroads, going to have to be on top of my navigation. There is a break at Aerostich in Duluth! Shopping time!

The official hotel was a dump. For $33 a night, or $16 for 6 hours, what do you expect. Brian and I are staying with the rich people down the road at the econolodge, $65/night.

Day 5 - Bowman to Ortonville, MN Photos

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 4 - Goodbye Montana

I was really glad to be out of Montana. That state was rough.

I am so tired right now I am falling asleep typing. Today was another challenging day. We had a total of 3 off road sections. I started the day behind, repaired my exhaust first thing. Then I road with Murry, Simon, Brian and Geoff most of the time. The first 30 miles was a lot of rock/dirt. Not bad but the damn cattle kept wanting to charge at us. I got some good video of this with the flip cam.

Continued on through some flat lands to the next off road section - another 30 miles of gravel+dirt+washboards. This section beat up Murry's exhaust pretty good, we stopped and did some repairs and he is running again.

Long 80+ mile stretch out of Montana. North Dakota is... repaving the highway, but at the moment, they've just tore it up and left it dirt. WTF. Normal highway... ohh, sorry travelers, 15 miles of dirt.

Got to the hotel, my exhaust was very loud. Took it apart again - the down pipe from the head has a "doughnut" on the end to seal it off. That was completely tore apart. Maroy suggested we JB Weld it and give it a try tomorrow. Murry happened to be walking by and informed me he had the parts I needed in the truck. Bought them off him for $100 + 69 he owed me for the GPS. Installed, running very quite. Hopefully tomorrow is a MUCH better day in terms of maintenance.

Ordered a cheese burger with blucheese and bacon... got cheese burger with blucheese salad dressing and bacon bits. Oh well.

Tomorrow will be a big wrenching day at the hotel. I have air filter, tires, oil, belts to do. About 3-4 hours of work at a careful pace. I am leaving around 6AM to get there early. The scooter is in the room tonight again, easier to pack up.

Hotel has internet but only if you plug in... dumb iPad.

Day 4 - Harlowton to Bowman, ND Photos

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 3 - Going to the Sun

Today was a wild day of riding. Started immediately with Glacier National Park and a climb up the Going to the Sun Road to Logan pass. Unbelievable. Down the other side and out of the park.... long twisty ride on the Montana plains.

I saw Oz & Aaron parked outside some... dive bar in a... tiny town, decided to pull in. Had a grilled cheese sandwich for $2 dollars. The celing was covered with $1 bills with town names written on them. I found a $1 and wrote "Mertztown, 19539" and stapled it up. I should have tore a $100 bill in half and wrote it on that... Mertztown would be real famous then. But... I didn't.

The next check point was off some gravel road south of Great Falls. I met up with Brian along the way and we headed for it. Inbetween we met up with Jim & Geoff and from the gravel road checkpoint ended the Lewis & Clark National Forest and onto the ATV trails for the dirt section for the day. WOOHOO. We all went down or got stuck. The trail was pretty bad, major wash outs, deep ruts, mud pits, etc. What a blast.

After that 86 miles to the hotel. My scooter was running really bad with my exhaust issue. Along the way... 56 miles from the hotel we "lost" Jim. We waited 40 minutes at an intersection, Geoff determined he probably ran out of gas... Geoff was also out of gas, but was able to get enough to make it 3 miles into the next town, buy gas, and return to Jim and fill up his scooter.

Brian and I road the 56 miles in together. Tons of deer. Jumping all over the road, my scooter engine cut out 3 times on me, I think its bad gas.

Got to Harlowton, checked in. Laid scooter on its side to get into up close with my exhaust at the header. Determined that one of the exhaust studs is unthreading itself. Perfect. I have a bunch of studs and nuts... get it fixed in the morning.

"UK Dave" and I walked a mile or so to this dive, wagon wheel bar and "casino" (which means they had 5 video poker machines) -- to meet the rest of the riders and exchange stories. 9 riders in total did the dirt section, all of them went down as well or got stuck!!! Lots of drinks and toasts to the mud trail. What a great time. I caught a ride back to the hotel on 4n6iscool's scooter.

Many of us rolled our scooters into the rooms tonight, a truck has been driving by slowly all night checking out the inventory.

I took 300+ photos today. I am using my Verizon MIFI card again, so can only upload a few, and at the smallest quality. Better than nothing.

Hopefully tomorrow brings a better running scooter and safe travels. Dirt section in the middle of the day, praying for no mud.

Day 3 - West Glacier to Harlowton, MT Photos

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 2... Still Roll'n

Today started off nice.  I will miss the Canadian highways, good roads, curves were just right.  I made good time on the first leg, pushed the scooter fairly hard.  The second leg was a planned sacrificial leg - USA border crossing, had to also call in part order to Scooters West for my exhaust issue.  Met up with Jim and Geoff, left with them.  

The Yaak River Forest Road was next major stretch.  Lots of curves, switch backs, tons of deer, logging trucks, very beat up.  I was riding with Jim, backed off as road conditions got worst - later to crest a hill and see his scooter laying in ditch, immediately think the worst.  We drag his scoot out and get him running, we road together for the last 150 miles to hotel.  We got in around 6pm, long day.  I am beat.

My parts don't arrive until Monday which seems close but that's three full days of riding, hopefully can nurse the exhaust till then.

Tomorrow will be our hardest day I think.  Glacier National park going to the sun road, dirt section through Lewis Clark national forest, long miles into Harlowton. Freezing temperatures in the morning.

Hotel here stinks.  No wifi. My verizon MiFi card is kinda working. 2 outlets, they also lost my package I sent myself, the lady was rude about it.  Ready to get out of West Glacier.  Going to try get on the road early tomorrow and stop often to inspect the exhaust.

Bill Luinetti's F350 support truck was stolen from the hotel last night. His son was following him in it. They are both in Grand Forks indefiniately working to recover it and get home. Best of luck to them. I am bummed out to see them drop from the race, he was a nice guy. The adventure either way is about getting home, I am sure they have one ahead of them.

Good night.
Day 2 - Grand Forks to West Glacier, MT Photos

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 1 - Vancouver to Grand Forks, BC

60 is the new 40. (km joke, get it.)

Sorry for spelling errors, using iPad tonight and no blutooth keyboard.

I am alive. This will be short. The riding today was great, in and out of rain, light traffic, nice mountains. That would all normally fill an entire update...

During the ride the clicking sound I've been hearing got louder, I could hear it at cruising speed. I've hear it for last few weeks but always passed it off as new weights.

Got to hotel, also noticed my exhaust was much louder. Great. It wasn't a stud this time but graphite gasket, "no big deal".

Clicking sound turns out that the (pardon if I don't call things the correct things, its late) the bearing in the rear wheel/shaft/swing arm/assembly had seized/spun, completely toast. Walked to tire/repair shop, got number for local parts place, turned out try had. 47x17x14 bearing, got another rider to go get it (thanks 4n6iscool) - not out of the woods, what was left of the old bearing seized to the aluminum plate that goes over the wheel/exhaust mount, tire place tells me there is a guy named "Vizzer" across town and to goto his house, ride on back of maroys MP3, to Visser, find him, he is drinking in his yard, but offers to help, go into his shop, he is drunk, but continues to weld a ring inside what's left of the bearing, cools/shrinks, pound it out, wild having to hold a chisel while some drunk Canadian hammers at it, don't miss. Great. Visser gets that fixed, no charge, back to hotel. Maroy and I work forever to get the inside bearing race thats stuck/seized off the rear wheel shaft, eventually get it. Next, carefully work the new bearing into place with a contraption we rigged out of tire irons (sic/sp) and champs, eventually get it. More reassembly. Jess and local scooter rider and I work in to the night to get the exhaust remounted to fix issues with the graphite gasket, but get it done. Still sounds throaty but I am riding it. All done.

I can't believe I am riding tomorrow, thought for sure I would be stuck here I'm grand forks, British Columbia for awhile. Brian was a huge help as well, thank you! Jess, Rich and Maroy thank you for scooter surgery.

Long day of riding tomorrow. I think I am in second place, really pushed it today for me, will take it easy tomorrow.

Good night.

Day 1 - Vancouver to Grand Forks, BC Photos

Getting to the Vancouver

arriving in vancouverVancouver is one weird place. All the windows are sea-blue and look the same, tons of pan handlers... and lots of Asians, millions of them, which makes driving in a new place really nerve racking (sorry).

Ride up from Seattle started out wet in the rain and cleared up into a very nice day 100 miles into the ride. No issues at all.

No issues at the border crossing, asked a lot of random questions, ever been finger printed, guns, ammo, asked about other riders I was with, etc.

we made it to Canada!

The riders meeting and 'registration' was from 4 to 5 and them a send off dinner/party of sorts at a local place. Nice to see old riders and meet new ones.

Today the official event starts, we end tonight in Grand Forks, BC. Been up since 3am local, timezone still no better. I think today is 360 or so miles.

Getting to Vancouver Photos

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Seattle Staging Day

picking up scooter at forward air SeattleGeoff, Jim, Brian & I caught the hotel shuttle to ForwardAir to get the scooters yesterday. All four shipping containers were there, short wait, no mishaps during shipping. Took about an hour or so to get them unloaded, reassembled and ready to make the 1 mile ride to the hotel.

We road to lunch at a near by outdoor mall (promenade shop place) and had some Chipolte Mexican Grill food. Brian had to mail stuff home at nearby post office, etc. Killing time.

Trailer full of scootersDid some light maintenance on the scooters. Hotel (residence inn of sorts) has a free dinner + beer + wine thing at night. I had something that was similar to Chilli mac and boozed up on the cheap wine, whatever, free makes it taste better. The hotel is in an industrial area, no much near by.

I am not at all adjusted to this damn timezone change. Waking up at 3AM local and killing time until breakfast at 6.

Team Northeast guys made it to the hotel last night. 4 guys, Simon, Murry, UK Dave, 4n6iscool (which learned is "forensics is cool") drove the truck and scooters from Maine, they left Saturday afternoon. They recounted some some good bits from the road.

Today the 8 of us are riding up to Vancouver to meet with the rest of the riders. About 3 hour ride, hopefully no issues.

Team Northeast + Space Coast

- Posted using iPad

Monday, September 6, 2010

Inflight WiFi

Greetings from 35,000ft! Alaska Airlines inflight wireless works pretty good - $13, but what the hell! So far I've had a cheese tray, plastic bottle of cheapo red wine, nasty chicken sandwich and working on my second scotch+water. Watched a movie on the iPad about growing big pumpkins, per suggestion of my friend/neighbor Jim.

No one is in the middle seat, also a bulkhead, tons of leg room, really glad didn't upgrade to first class.

Uneventful drive to DC today. Had a nice lunch + drinks with my brother Tim at a bar in Capitol Hill(?) area.

Meeting up with another rider, Bklwashere, at the airport, his flight gets in about the same time as mine, same hotel tonight. Get the scooter from shipping place tomorrow morning, ride to Vancouver on Wednesday with JimT and HelixGeoff.

Photos from today: click here

- Posted using iPad

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shipping Day

I took the scooter to Forward Air on Monday evening for shipping. No issues. It was much easier the "third" time around. The shipping container was in decent shape. No spilled oil on the floor but the doors needed a good kick to get open and closed. With some luck the straps wont slip and it will be standing upright in Seattle.

The rest of the preparations are going OK. Lots of things to finish for work and around the house this week. Lisa & I are going away somewhere on Friday night. I leave for Seattle Monday evening, via Washington, DC.

This post is also a 'dry run' for the iPad. The 17" MacBook Pro won't fit in anything I own that I can reasonably tie to the scooter for 14 days. It's going to be a real challenge.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Welcome to Dave's 2010 Scooter Cannonball Run Blog

I am going to try and maintain a blog for the 2010 Cannonball (similar to 2008)!  The scooter ships Monday August 30th from Allentown on ForwardAir.  My preparations are *almost* done - clothing & riding gear remain.  I leave labor day weekend for Seattle, via Washington DC - I am overnighting at my brother's place in DC before flying to Seattle on Labor Day evening.  The Cannonball starts Thursday, September 9th in Vancouver.

I think I have all the bugs worked out of the 'Real Time GPS Tracking' system for this year!  It should auto update as the trip progresses.  Also going to try out 'Twitter' for the trip for micro updates.

2010 Overnight Locations:
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Grand Forks, BC
  • West Glacier, MT
  • Harlowton, MT
  • Bowman, ND
  • Ortonville, MN
  • Ironton, MI
  • Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  • North Bay, ON
  • Lake Placid, NY
  • Portland, ME

There appear to be 25-30 riders participating this year, a few "veterans" and a lot of "rookies."

More updates/photos to come when I ship & the trip starts.