I was going to call this ride report, "Long way Around" but I felt that Ewan Macgregor and Charlie Boorman have pretty much beaten that title to death. Another idea was to call it, "Going East to Go West", since I riding from Tucson, Az to Redondo Beach, California, by way of a whole lotta points that are east of here. As you can see, I finally settled on "America....by Helix! By the time the ride is over, I think I'll have covered around 8000 miles over 45 days. My other half says I'm limited to 7 weeks for the trip so I've actually got 4 days to spare.
This trip actually started in a motel conference room, 18 months ago, in Barstow, California. A bunch of good folks, who'd just finished the first 3-lap scooter race around the Salton Sea, were polishing off way too many adult beverages. Amongst all those adult beverages, somebody suggested that we all get together in 2013 and recreate the original Brock Yates Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash or whatever it was called. Remember, there was more than ample alcohol in that motel conference room.
And so a race was born!
As a guy who'd rather ride 200 miles (one way!) to lunch than ride to a restaurant down the block, I was in. It didn't make a difference to me where we started from or how much it cost, I was in.
Just like the original, it was decided that the race would start at the Red Ball Garage in Manhattan and finish at the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California. The entry fee would be $99, of which 10% would be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
In the original there were no rules. It was one vehicle, at least two drivers per vehicle, see you in Redondo Beach. With scooters, there are a few minor rules. One scooter, one rider, no sidecars. Unlike the original which was run for pride and bragging rights, there will be prizes in this one. I think the prize for winning will be $1000. There are also prizes for winning your class. If you win your class, there are 5 classes, you get $200. So, the overall winner will walk/ride away with a cool $1200. It could be more because if there are no entries in a class, that prize money will be split between the other classes with entrants.
So, the date was set, the entry fee was established, now all I had to do was wait a year and half. Well, cut forward 17 months and here we are, I haven't even starting packing and this trip starts tomorrow!
Before I go on, I want everybody to know that I'm well aware that this Cannonball race, known as the Real Cannonball, has stirred up a lot of controversy in the scooter community by calling itself the Real Cannonball.
I know that there's another race, known as The Scooter Cannonball. I not writing this ride report to piss anybody off. I'm planning on entering The Scooter Cannonball when it's run next year. If you have feelings about one race or the other, let's leave those feelings out of the comments. I'm a rider/racer and I'd prefer to not to get bogged down with the politics of who's right or wrong. Who really cares, let's ride.......
It's a 2001 Honda Helix. This happens to be my trophies from the Salton Sea race. Second overall and first in class.
This was not my first choice for a ride. I also have a somewhat ratted out 2000 Honda Helix, which was my first choice. However, I took it to my local Honda dealer to get some work done and it took them two weeks to tell me that they didn't have a some specialized tool to work on a scooter that Honda started making in 1986! How does that happen? Anyway, they told me they'd ordered the tool but it would take 5 days to get here. They said the scooter would be ready around April 4/5. Great!...I'm leaving 3-31, tomorrow. This is the reason that a person needs two of whatever it is that their riding.
This was what I wanted to ride......
It's a somewhat ratted out 2000 Honda Helix. It's what you'd get if you put a little boy Helix in a room with a little girl Ruckus. I call it a Helkus.
Going east to go west. When I leave in the morning, I'm heading to Las Cruces, by the back roads, to see an aunt. She's told me that every time I pass through Las Cruces, I'd better stop or it'll be the last time I ever pass through Las Cruces. From there, it's on through El Paso to pickup Hwy 90 in Van Horn, TX. I'll be heading towards Brownsville.
One of the reasons that I need 35 days to get to New York is because I can always find a reason for a touristy type of detour. Most of those detours come from one of my favorite websites, RoadsideAmerica.com. It's a website that lists a bunch of stuff that the Chamber of Commerce won't tell you about. Also, on the south Texas portion of the ride is a short ride into Mexico. I'll figure that part out as I get there.
For all the dual sport/off road riders out there, that's not me. I have every intention of keeping the scooter on the pavement, with the exception of that mexico part. Now, this scooter is no stranger to dirt roads as Arizona has more than it's fair share but, hopefully, not on this trip.
For all of you that pack up all the camping gear that you own, that's not me either. I've never been much for sleeping on the ground, not since I got out of the Army anyway. I'll be looking for cheap motels or any couch that I can scare up and the dog will let share it with him.
As for the eating part of things, I'll be eating in as many mom and pop type cafes as I can find. However, knowing that I might get hungry somewhere out in the boonies, with no cafes in sight, I did pick up some things to snack on.....
Clif bars are $1.50 each at our local REI store. I found these at a local scratch and dent grocery store for .25 each. How could I pass that deal up. I do have one rule as I travel, no matter whether it's on two wheels or four wheels. I try to never eat in anyplace that I can eat in in Tucson. That pretty much rules out all the big chains. The one exception to that rule is Subway. I love those sandwiches and now that the prices are lower, I might just be eating in a few Subway's.
Ok, that's about it for now. This is my third try at getting this ride report written and posted. Here's hoping that 3's a charm.
I hope everyone sticks around as I think this trip is going to be quite the adventure as I head out into America.....by Helix!