The Scooter Cannonball Run is a coast to coast endurance event for scooters. It is a time/distance/regularity rally where points are awarded based on miles completed and the ability to maintain the standard pace. This year it will begin in Savannah, GA and end eight days later in San Diego, CA covering 2633 miles. There are over 50 entrants riding all types of scooters. From a 1946 Salibury to a modern 3 wheel Piaggo MP3. I have decided join the fun this year. We will leave Savannah on April 22 and head west. I will be riding to raise money for KIDS and LEMUR'S charities. Please help us by purchasing some miles for one of these charities. Don't worry, I will be covering close to 6,000 miles out to California and back to Florida, so there are plenty of miles to go around. ALL monies go directly to the charity.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Saturday June 9

I arrived in Wichita just before noon and took a taxi over to Big Red's hanger. I rolled him out and he looked clean and shiny, just like I left him. After rearranging gear and strapping it on we headed east on US 400. Once clearing Wichita we tried to move off the main road with little or no success.  I think there are only 3 paved roads in Kansas and I have been on two of them.  Every time we tried to get off of 400 the road either turned into dirt or a dead end. I still slowed down to "smell the roses" or the wheat fields at least.

out of the hanger

 lonely Kansas

 oh yea, and the wind was still blowing 25-30

 trying to find a paved back road

an exciting downtown in Kansas

 a busy main street

hooking up the horses to go home

The break in the trip had been to go home to bury my Dad.  He was a member of the silent generation. He served as a career soldier, entering the Army in 1937 as a horse soldier and serving in several wars.  He never talked about it until recently. I was able to spend extended periods of time with him over the last couple of years and he began to tell me stories of his past. We had a few days together before he left us. It was some of the most treasured times of my life.

One story was not completed until after his death.  Going through his papers I found out that his birth certificate was forged to make him two years older than he was.  He had told me that his mother had signed papers to get him in the Army younger, but I did not realize that it was the birth certificate.  He actually had gone in the Army at the age of 14.  I try now to imagine what it must have been like to leave home and go in the Army at that age.  It must have exciting and scary at the same time.

When someone asked in the hospital how he was doing, he always replied "great" up to the last day.  He passed quietly in Hospice after a long productive life.  He will be missed by many, but I now think of Mom who has lost her partner of 70 years.  Though she is still active and playing in her garden and a real trooper, I know she is broken hearted and must fight her way through the loneliness that this has brought.

I fought back tears the last week but today as I ride along tears are rolling down my cheeks.  They are for him and for Mom and they feel good on my windblown face.

Outside Piedmont, Ks, Big Red came to a stop and would not start.  Not a very comforting feeling in the middle of "nowhere" Kansas.  Investigation found the spark plug wire was off.  A simple fix I figured. The problem is that my big ham fist would barely fit, but after much maneuvering I got the cable back in.  Off we roared again for a couple of hours and he came to halt again.  After the engine cooled I re-installed the wire and decided to call it a day to further investigate the problem, so we rolled into Parsons and checked into an old motel.

Sunday June 10

Last night I used good old duct tape to put the wires back together and off we roared.   Not much to say about Kansas other than I never need to come back again.  I said that last time but this time I really, really mean it.

In Springfield, Mo, I stopped to have breakfast and rolled to a stop in front of The Avery, a small gucci restaurant. They had mainly crepes and though there were things on the menu I really wanted to try,  being a southern boy I had to order the egg, sausage and cheese crepes with pepper gravy and grits.  It was great.

Saving turtles is one requirement Vicki says I must meet to go on these trips.  I passed one on the Cannonball, but I tried to make it up today.  The first one I rode by, but my conscience made me turn around.  I took a photo of what looked like a healthy turtle.  Even when I picked him up he looked good but some how he had been hit and was dead.

We roared along to just outside Mountain Grove and Big Red shut down again.  I got the wire back on and rolled into Mountain Grove to O'Rielly Auto Parts.  After discussing my problem with everyone in the store I settled on good old JB Weld.  I did the repair in the parking lot, said goodbye to the boys and rolled on down the road to Poplar Bluff where we called it a day.

this sign I plan to never, ever see again 

Monday June 11

We were on the road early. We are headed for Vespa Nashville to repair the problem and I wanted to beat the predicted heavy rain in the afternoon.

We made 14.5 miles.  Off to the side of the road we went.  This time I threw in the towel and called for a tow.  Pete showed up with his big truck and took me back to Poplar Bluff.  We stopped at several places and no one would work on Big Red.

 the towing company is also a scrap yard and Big Red got a little nervous

Red was transferred to a pick up for the long ride to St. louis as Pete does the paper work

Then the battle with the towing service began.  Not the local one, but the clearing house that Progressive uses.  When I told them no one would work on it, they said that was my problem.  They would only tow me 15 miles. I was stunned to find this out as last time they had towed me 150+ miles with no problem.  I called Progressive.  This took several attempts to get to the right person.  Finally a supervisor said "yes, the policy states to the nearest qualified repair facility and we will take you to St. Louis."  That is 155 miles away. Then the next problem.  Vespa St. Louis is not open on Monday and the tow company cannot leave Big Red if the facility is not open.

So, we discussed it and decided that I will stay in Poplar Bluff overnight and take it  to Honda Motorsports tomorrow.  If they cannot fix it we will be off to St. Louis.