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click day 9 updated
3711 miles in 11 days
It Is Not A Race
 but you damn will better hurry
Click followride to see the positions of all the riders as they travel across the U.S.
Well, it is that time again that comes around every two years, The Scooter Cannonball.  A group of liked mindless, emphasis on mind less, get together and ride across America.  It is not a race, but speed counts. Figure it out. We will start in Amelia Island, Florida on the 5th of July and hopefully we will all finish on the 15th of July in Mukilteo, Washington between Seattle and Everett. 3,711 miles in eleven days.
This year there are 41 registered riders and the exciting part is there are 6 classic scooters.  These are the real riders.  They ride all day and work on the scooter all night.

The Planning

Planning begins as soon as we get the daily route info. I start looking for short cuts, planning fuel stops, and reserving hotels.  The first night will be in Amelia Island Florida with the start being July 5th and the overnight in Anderson, South Carolina.  Each day has four checkpoints.  The starting and ending hotels are recorded points.  The others are at miscellaneous spots along the way. There is a recommended hotel at the end of each day that almost everyone stays in.  You have to closely look at these as there have been some less the 3 star choices.  Like the one last year where the police raided the hookers while we were there.  I missed it as research showed the hotel to be a little shady and I stayed at the Hampton across the street.
This is a example of what we are given for planning.  There is one for each day.
Cannonball Date: Tuesday July 5th.
Milage: ~335
Riding Time: 6hr: 31min (Google estimate)
Average Spd: 51mph (Google estimate)

The Map: ... .53575!3e0

Checkpoint 1: Road intersection, Byrd Rd and Hwy 15 (Blackshear Hwy). 103 Miles
 Checkpoint 2: Road intersection, Coyote and Rte 1. 188 Miles (+85 from CP 1)
Checkpoint 3: Georgia, South Carolina Border. Safest place for a picture is before you cross the bridge, the border is in the middle of the river. 276 miles (+88 from CP 2)
Checkpoint 4: Hotel to be determined ~335 miles (+59 from CP3)
Armed with this info the planning begins.

The Scooter

Usually I start scooter prep about thirty days early, but this year because of a busted exhaust stud it started a lot earlier.  I turned Big Red over to trusted Vespa expert Darren who begin the big inspection.  He found several major discrepancies that would have ended my ride.

GPS Hell

Ok, so it all started because my old GPS’s that has done three cannonballs and untold miles around the world but the screen got really scratched up and was getting hard to see.  So, I ordered a new GPS and a 7” was the same price as a 6” and so I got one.  Let me tell you 7” is way to big so I got a 6”.  This seemed prefect and worked well on several trips.  Then it rained.  I got the same results as Bill in the screen started thinking the rain is a finger and jump around and zip lock gives the same results.  So, I found a new old stock like my old just a little bigger screen. The old one worked great in the rain, after I put silicon on the screen edges, for many miles.  The new one was the same but a little bigger.  I ordered it but there was no ram cradle available since it is old.  I solved that problem with a universal mount I had in stock and ordered one of those rubber bandy thingy’s to hold it on.  Problem solved. Not hardly. I had not even checked but the 1690, my old one, and the 1695, a little bigger one has a different power plug.  F@#$K!!!!!  So, chuck all and ordered maps. Oh yea, then the hard wired power cable on the scooter quit. Repair requires disassembly of the scooter. Fortunately Walt was there with small fingers to help.


Groups of people, usually from the same geographical area, but together a support team. The support team carries all the gear, luggage, spares, etc. and a trailer to pick you up when you breakdown or worse.  This year I am putting together the support team.  My Rava4 will pull a 5x8 trailer.  I have put the operation under the Squadra Lumaca, or "team snail" in Italian
Members of the team:
Cheryl Wise #56
This will be Cheryl's second Cannonball.  She is a rider.  A resident of Houston and Breckenridge she thinks nothing of getting on one of her two wheel vehicles, be it scooter or motorcycle, and riding across country for a business meeting. Between the last Cannonball in 2014 and now she has ridden 27,000 miles on two wheels and most of that was solo. She is a mother, a lawyer, and computer something that keeps her busy and I know has a lot to do with design work and stuff. Last Cannonball her husband Steve was her support and we will miss him this year.  She is waiting to decide which of her scooters she is going to ride, her Vespa 250 GTS or her Sportcity.  The GTS is the number one of choice but it has gremlins that at this time no one can find.  Cheryl will not only be riding the Cannonball, but will ride to the start and home at the end on her scooter.

Walt Driggers III  #1
Walt picked up a couple of Vespa's a few years ago and unfortunately met me.  He now has been bitten with the bug. We have ridden locally but also in the South of France last year with the Mediterranean Vespa Club and will again this year in Italy.  A lot of people say they want to do the Cannonball but only in their dreams. They don't want or can't devout the time or money not to mention the endurance factor of it all.  Walt decided he wanted to do it and I was not to sure how devoted he was to it until he sold the Vespa and bought a brand new Yamaha Smax 155cc scooter.  This is the best modern scooter for the Cannonball. It is really fast and has a great handicap. He has been designing and equipping for the run.  He has serious thoughts of winning this thing and I think he might. Walt is in the real estate auction business and a avid aviator having built his on fly in community. He has a wonderful wife and a son that my wife thinks is the nicest in the world and he is pretty close. Of course his parents see him a little different and more often so they have a different opinion. Walt is a resident of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Bill Leuthold #41

This will be Bill's second Cannonball. Bill is another rider.  He has the highest mileage Vespa that I have seen at over 75,000 all put on by him since 2009. That is a lot considering he as several others that he rides regularly. As I have written before about Bill his perfect day is get on the scooter, ride until there are two drops of gas in the tank and repeat that all day. That makes the Cannonball a perfect ride for him.  He was in the running to win last year when his scooter failed. Then he had little or no mechanical knowledge and that contributed to his downfall.  He has put a lot of effort into fixing that and has learned a lot since the last run at the Cannonball. He claims "I just want to finish" but we all know that is not true. Bill is a resident of Jacksonville, Florida and his daughter designed the decal in a competition for this year. Bill has a fleet of Vespa 200's and he waiting to see which one is being the nicest at the time of the start before he decides to ride. His first choice is Rocket, his high mileage one.

Capt.Gary Kinney #99 (on followride)

Capt. Gary is a veteran of the 2012 Cannonball and has volunteered to be our support driver. A retired police office and professional boat Captain from sailing charter boats to the island's to running go fast boats for the Navy research center.  My only concern with Gary is he is a horse trader of the first degree and I am not sure he might not do some horse trading with my Rav on his way across America.
He lives in Dothan, Alabama with his wife of many years Evelyn, my friend Banjo, and a cranky old big parrot.  

Me #59 

This will be my fourth Cannonball. Now, some of the purest, of which there are not many left, would say "no this is your third".  It is all a matter of interpretation.  My first one was in 2010. I did not like the timing or the route of the Cannonball, late Sept along the Canadian border and the weather chances were high on the uncomfortable side.  I live in Florida for a reason so I designed my own Cannonball.  I left Florida in the spring on my Vespa LX 150cc and took off for the west coast in the Scooter Cannonball for One.  It was a close call when I arrived in Morro Bay California days later, but I won.  I was going to ship it back, but woke one morning and it was sunny and warm so I pointed the Vespa east and came home.  That has led to many, many long distance rides, but unlike go fast Bill, I like to stop and talk to the roses.

The Swag

Each race Vicki and Melisa, at The Big Fish, clandestinely work on surprise shirts for the event. They did a great job and produced two great t-shirts this year. One just for Vicki, Deb and I and one for the whole race team. Though usually held as a surprise for race day the big reveal was a month early this year and the shirts are spectacular.

each t-shirt has a tag for the individual owner. top is Deb's. middle is Vicki's. and the bottom is mine.
 These are the team shirts:

the route 
 the team members number on the left
Amazing stuff
We are each working on getting our scooter in the best shape with the best gear to compete in this adventure.  We have worked maps, ended up with multiple GPS's after we found the latest Garmin's screens are to sensitive to operate in the rain, and spare parts.
Walt is having a custom gas can holder built and invited me to go with him to the shop that was building it. It is made of aluminum so I thought we were going to a sheet metal shop.  Boy was I surprised. When they raised the door for us to ride in I was shocked. It is a custom muscle car shop.  Not just some old car shop.  They build MUSCLE cars from the ground up and they are amazing.  The smallest engine in any of the cars 800 HP derated from 1000 HP. There is a old Willis jeep setting on a custom built frame with 1000 HP.  There is a old Chevy truck with 800 HP.  There is a 4 wheel drive, 1200 HP Camaro. Lee, the owner spent over an hour with us just telling us about the cars, the engines, and the owners.  These things are amazing.  Lee is very excited about the Scooter Cannonball and is threatening to build us a muscle scooter to compete with in 2018.

From the 2010 movie


Ok, so we are off to the races.  Remember you have to bookmark this page to as there are no auto updates. Hopefully I will be able to do updates everyday, but that is not a promise.  The days will be long and cumulative in the fatigue factor, but I will do the best I can.
Look for pages across the header above for the different days.  Don't want you to have to scroll to much.