Two words that aptly describe the Cannonball are epic and unforgettable. It’s two days after the event and I’m still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It doesn’t seem right to not get up at dawn, suit up, and head out on the scooter. On Monday it was strange and sad to see the scooters being loaded up to head back to their homes. Not at all like the previous parking lot action.
Also the news on Bill Dog is that he came down with a severe staph infection and is doing much better after a brief stay in the hospital. The brown recluse spider has been found innocent of charges.
Overall I was happy with how the scooter performed with the exception of the seize on day two. I’m not sure if the soft seize on day three was mechanical, or just a wind gust faking me out. The engine response over the altitude changes was fine without much tinkering to the carburetter jetting (basically only once). It’s one of the few “kitted” classic scooters to ever finish the entire ride.
In no particular order I’ll offer some observations:
It’s easier to blog on a computer than an iPhone.
I packed too much clothing, but omitted some tools I should have taken. I only took wrench sizes for repairs I thought I would need, and of course the size I actually needed for the minor clutch issue was not one of them. I also left my tire pressure gauge at home. It was a little embarrassing to borrow those.
The Cannonball was more mentally challenging than I anticipated, despite the warnings beforehand from experienced participants.
It’s hard to find veggies on the road at meal time.
The energy level of the riders was amazing, as was the extent of the nightly maintenance performed in the motel parking lots.
Non-chain motels might be a little funky, but were OK and the price was right. Most hotels had the toilet paper coming off the back side of the roll instead of the front (where it should).
Harley riders are the friendliest on the road, followed by cruiser riders, adventure tourer riders, and finally the sport bike riders.
Scooterists of all ages are different but genuinely nice people.
Turkeys are aptly named.
I’m surprised at the efforts non participant took to see the event in person, either at the start, finish, or along the route, even to the extent of providing refreshments. The welcome and BBQ in Abilene was very welcomed at the end of a hot day.
The old scooter and its rider did not do well in hot, gusty headwinds.
Old grips and new riding gloves make a slippery combination when it comes to holding the throttle in position.
I didn’t post much in the way of on the road photos because I was too busy riding and trying not to loose time. There was a lot of interesting stuff out there though.
Full throttle riding leads to poor gas mileage (duh).
There are a lot of bugs out there (fewer now), but not as many as expected in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
A big thanks needs to go out to Rally Master Patrick Owens and those that helped him. The planning, preparation, and attention to detail made the event seem to run effortlessly. That is not easy to do. As a rookie rider it was easy to understand what was going on. Dave Bednarski and Jesse Devine for their web sites respectively also deserve thanks. Those sites provided the ability for non-participants to become involved with and better enjoy and experience the Cannonball. Thanks to all of the other riders and support crew for making an enjoyable event (and providing the aforementioned tools) and to TheDandee and Redrocket for transporting my luggage and oil.
I’d also like the thank my wife and friends for their support, even when they said I was crazy to do this. Jimmy Buffett’s lyrics “If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane” certainly apply. I have no regrets for having ridden.