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Cannonball: would you believe?

2010 September 19
by Oz

It’s done.

And the last few days we haven’t had any time to update.

Passports were lost. Bikes broke down. Heinous terrain was traversed. In the end, we made it, though, under our own power, and nothing short of getting engaged and having a baby has felt so gratifying (note – Aaron and I both got engaged shortly before Cannonball – I have a kid, he does not).

Incrementing updates to follow shortly. Must make it back to SF, first, though.


Cannonball: what goes around…

2010 September 13
by Oz

Aaron had opined, while we dined at the end of Day 2, that “just [I] wait until we hit wide open road”, where Aaron’s bike excels.

Of course, yesterday involved the tail end of Montana, and the beginning of North Dakota.  There is very little but wide open on the roads we were at, and just as predicted, Aaron’s bike outpaced The Weapon by such a margin that he would often become a red speck of a tail light against an otherwise blue and tan horizon.

We covered around 380 miles or so in 13 hours, including some fairly long breaks, and of course: more dirt.  Nowhere near as epic of dirt as Day 3 – that dirt was the kind that makes people cry (or drop their bikes).   That actually wasn’t even dirt – I’m convinced we were not actually allowed to be on those roads (not a first), and it was actually a trail for burro riders and billy goat tamers (actually that’d be awesome).  Pashnit does not have a goat score for that road, it presumes your bike would shatter into a million pieces were you to ride it.  Rocks the size of your head.

Nonetheless, we have gotten quite good at sitting still for long periods of time (well, relatively still) and staring blankly at the road before us.  Miles slip under us now, albeit slowly, to the point that the last 130 or so miles of Day 4 seemed to vanish.  We got to the hotel comparably fresh to our Day 3 roll-in, where we had arrived after 15 hours of saddle time and felt bruised and punished for the folly of taking this trip.

Today is actually technically less miles than yesterday (we should be able to stay more on route today – we did probably 18 miles more than the original route as spec’d).  We might be able to get in at a reasonable time.

Of course, to jinx that, last night I did some work on The Weapon.  Swapped out rollers (discernible flat spot was getting on my nerves), changed belt (was feeling it slip, had too many miles on it), cleaned the air filter which had a white pitch thanks to 2 back to back days of 30+ miles of dirt. Hopefully my efforts will be useful.  My top speed has been slowly dropping probably due to belt wear and a plug heading south as a result of constant firing at high revs, and I want that speed back.  If anything to help cut down on the hours by a higher average speed.

Getting closer to doing more general maintenance: oil change, plug, etc.  Both our tires look good for the time being.  Gas tank is behaving like a champ.

6 more days, baby.


Cannonball: words – there are none

2010 September 12
by Oz

Except there are, and I’ll share a few, given Aaron and I have been on the road for some 15 hours today.

Firstly, hills: shameful.  Truly shameful.  I am shocked to discover that Aaron’s C3 really is that goddamned bad up hills, and whilst he seems to believe the work he did last night fixed a few issues, the GPS says otherwise (sorry Aaron), and crawling up a hill at 12.5mph as opposed to 12mph does not signify success.

Secondly, it occurs to me I’ve done some 1100 miles on a 50 CC scooter in 3 days over some incredibly inhospitable terrain.  Holy crap, this is insane.  The biggest lesson so far has been that I need to invest in more cold weather gear.  But it’s too late now, for the most part.

Thirdly, and this is where I’ll end for the evening:  today was epic.  The kind of epic that you literally cannot recount without processing, days later, after everything you’ve experienced has settled into your skull and lay dormant until its reached its maturity, and emerges from its chrysalis a thought of intricate color and detail.  This will definitely require percolation.

Rich Glass told me but a few days ago, “an adventure is great discomfort told leisurely after the fact.”  Truer words have never been spoken about today’s trials.

I’m sure it’ll come later.  For the mean time, focus must be on tomorrow.  Day 4.


Cannonball: it was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?

2010 September 11
by Oz

One of the many things that goes into Cannonball planning is the booking of hotels.  That might not be totally obvious at first, but remember, Cannonball is set up into stages that have a distinct start and end points.  These points might as well be your hotels since in all realism, it’s the first place you wake up to, and the place you want to end your day; decompress, strip down from your gear, and either find some beer or food or some combination there of.

So it stands to reason that if these items were determined in advance as part of route planning, that you should actually go ahead and book those as soon as they’re available to ensure you get a room with the rest of the group.

Aaron and I are about a mile or so from the rest of the team, which isn’t bad per se, but our support truck is at the designated hotel, and we are not.  Our steeds are not only our transport, but our pack mules now, shuttling bags of clothing and gear back and forth.

But enough about the end of the day, how’d did Day 2 go?

read more…

Cannonball: when it started to sink in

2010 September 9
by Oz

It’s occurred to me that, given the number of pictures I’ve been taking, there is actually no point in trying to update and show pictures on the road.  I also have no editing software on this computer (a tiny HP Mini whose soul has been replaced with… something decidedly non-Windows), so truly, there’s no point in pretending.  There will be massive photo updates later, for now you must accept prose.

read more…

Cannonball: the day before

2010 September 8
by Oz

So we’re here, sitting in the hotel room frantically deciding what goes on the bikes and what stays on the truck.  It’s grueling: weight is our enemy, and storage is at a premium.

Things that seem to be critical:  tools to dismantle transmission cases, to replace wheels, etc.

Clothing.  Things that will help us maintain a full day of dry riding.  Things to keep us warm in inclement weather.  Things we can take off and stow in our bikes, or stow in our bikes and put on later.

The usual crap.  Only each pound seems as if it adds hours to our days.

The first two days will really be killer.  Mountain rages we need to pass that will not show respect for our laughable displacement.

SPOT messenger is working.  Did a few test check-ins already.  Good times.  Enjoy those messages, you poor bastards on the notices.

We will leave earlier than anyone tomorrow.  That’s just the way these things are going to have to go.


Cannonball: what we did to prep

2010 September 6
by Oz

Some people have asked us, what sort of bike prep is involved in creating a Cannonball-ready 50 cc scoot.  Aside from significant amounts of insanity, a lot of thought and energy went into insuring that our bikes were ready for this apocalyptic journey.

Oz on the 2009 Honda Ruckus

  • Battlescooter windscreen
  • Battlescooter underseat basket
  • Daytona Drag speed variator
  • Battlescooter front disc brake kit (CNC forks, 190mm serrated rotor kit, CNC brakes, OEM Honda Japan DIO star rims)
  • Daytona rear shock
  • UNI air filter
  • Battlescooter CDI Boost Black Box
  • Key-on wiring for power for a Zumo 550
  • Michelin Boppys

Aaron on the 2009 Yamaha C3

  • Yamaha windscreen
  • Yamaha rack
  • milk crate basket
  • derestricted variator
  • Michelin tires


Cannonball: all loaded up

2010 September 5
by Oz

DSC_0301, originally uploaded by oz_lang.

Maroy’s MP3, Aaron’s C3, and my Ruckus all ready to go.

Cannonball: me and aaron, packing it up

2010 September 5
by Oz

me and aaron, packing it up, originally uploaded by oz_lang.

Aaron and I visited with Maroy to drop off our bikes and pack up. Maroy will be taking them to Vancouver via truck, and we’ll meet up on Wednesday. Ride starts Thursday.


Cannonball: the Picture Thread

2010 September 5
by Oz

As a note – all Scooter Cannonball pictures taken by myself will somehow end up on Flickr at,

Oz’s Amazing Flickr Stream For Cannonball Goodness.

Please enjoy muchly.