Wednesday, August 11, 2021

2021 Scooter Cannonball Run - The Real Deal - Part Three - July 19 through July 21 - The Finale!

 Monday - July 19 - Rock Springs, WY to Delta, UT

Following our now standard Cannonball routine, we were up and packed early, ready to ride out at the break of day.  The weather was perfect as we snapped our start hotel photo in Rock Springs, WY.

Our route took us to Flaming Gorge Dam Overlook for the first CP.  Flaming Gorge in Utah is spectacular, especially in the early morning light.  We had no problem finding the lookout pull off.

Several scooters pulled in behind us as we left the overlook.  Just down the road we stopped at the Flaming Gorge Dam Visitor Center.  Eric wanted to check his air filter since the day before had a lot of gravel and dirt miles.


While Eric was busy with that, I took the opportunity to snap a photo or two and used the spotless facilities.  Needless to say as we were stopped at the Visitor Center about a dozen Cannonballers passed us, hahahah!  So much for an early start😏.

Our ride through Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area was superb!  Very minimal traffic and glorious mountain sweepers.  I wished we could just ride that type of terrain and roads all day long.  But, alas, that was not to be!  Our next stop would be CP 2 at Nine Mile Ranch.  Our route to this CP took us down a very, very rural little, rarely used lane that changed to some pretty wicked dirt, rocks and gravel with lots of washboard and erosion washes.  Although that unpaved route was only about 8 miles - it was 8 miles of brutal, cheek clenching, helmet cussing riding.  It felt like 80 miles!  The views were fantastic if you could take the time to look around!  And, it was a fairly steep downhill.  Good thing my scooter doesn't go fast, hahaha.

Well, we made it to CP 2 - A sign of Nine Mile Ranch.  But, this wasn't the checkpoint!  Rut Roh!  We rolled on down the road about a quarter mile and found the proper CP 2 sign, sigh of relief.  Also sigh of relief for NoraBeth who was behind us on her scooter with her sons following her in her support truck.

We had been playing leap frog with NoraBeth all morning and on the very busy Highway 6 in Utah we were glad of her support truck giving us a buffer from the traffic.

This is what we took a photo of......not the right thing.

Further down the road we found the proper sign and scored CP 2 (so did NoraBeth)!

Leaving the CP we meandered along Nine Mile Canyon Road which is truly a motorcyclist's dream!  A lot of the road was like a roller coaster with dips for flash floods.  The pavement was fairly smooth and the scenery was perfect.  Lots of grins and giggles riding this section.  And then .... we came upon this!  An abandoned scooter with a very broken windscreen, keys hanging in the ignition and a puffy vest thrown over the handlebar.

NoraBeth and her sons had stopped and were scouring the surrounding area looking for the rider.  It was obvious the rider had left the pavement, ran over the steel reflector post and biffed on the desert floor.  No signs of blood.  The scooter had been picked up.  Hmmmm...

We knew the rider was a SCBR participant but nobody in sight.  We all just climbed back on our scooters and headed down the road.  After about two miles we came to a major intersection and I saw the aide car, Police vehicles, Fire Dept. vehicles and others at the gas station parking lot.  I scooted over and saw that the rider was basically okay and had been treated for some road rash on his arm and hand.  Later he showed me the rash on his side - ugly business!  He refused treatment and got a lift back to his scooter.

Apparently, he had looked down at his GPS a moment too long and when he looked up his wheel was already off the pavement and had no time to recover as he plowed over the reflective marker.  You know that had to hurt!  OUCH!!!!  Also, this rider was not wearing protective gear.  He had a helmet and that was it.  Tennis shoes, jeans, shirt with puffy vest.  No gloves, no armored pants or jacket, no boots.  He is very, very, very lucky!!

So, I posted the above scooter accident photos on Facebook and friend, Nancy Lefcourt, made what I thought was a very profound suggestion.  If this happens to you, leave a note on the bike so people know where you've gone and that you're okay or if you need additional help.  Brilliant!  Had the rider left a note, we wouldn't have used up our precious time and we would have known that he got a ride into town with a rancher and was seeking help.  Oh well, it all turned out okay in the end.

Whew, that was a bit upsetting.  Now we were back on track and grabbed BP 1, Big John Coal Black Muffler Man.

After the muffler man we were routed on more small roads.  This time a long climb to the top of a steep mountain to grab the Canyon Fuel Skyline Mines for CP 3.  This was another section where going about 28 mph was the norm as we neared the summit, hahahaha πŸ˜†.  It was a long, long, long slog up to the summit and almost as long for the descent.  Beautiful scenery and we debated putting on our rain gear as the afternoon clouds began to gather.

While we had zero problems, another rider had a pretty big crash when leaving this CP.  A bit of a whisky throttle was all it took for her scooter to spin around resulting in a low side crash with the rider sliding across the road.  OUCH!  Stop that people!  Enough with the crashes!

Way up in the mountains of Utah somewhere we stopped at a little, tiny convenience store that had a gas pump and make your own burgers!  Yup, make your own!  Hahahah.  We hadn't had any lunch so we decided to give it a go.  The owner hands you a styrofoam box with hamburger patty, cheese and bun.  You put the burger patty into a machine and the buns in the lower part of the machine and then you wait a bit.  Your burger comes out of the machine perfectly grilled and the buns nicely toasted.  Then, you use the condiment bar to dress your burger however you like.   Hahahaha, that was kind of fun and delicious.  Sorry no photos 😒.

After lunch we headed to the Skyline Mountain Resort for a BP.

I think it was shortly after this BP that we put on rain gear as we could see the storm building and our route was going to take us directly into it.  Good call, as it started to sprinkle as we finished getting the gear on.  Darn, though, it was also very WARM!

Our next BP was the Little Sahara Recreation Entrance Sign.  Guess what?  The sign was gone, lololololol.  Eric and I looked around as did a few other riders and the sign was gone.  So, we took a photo where the sign was supposed to be and were given full points for the BP.  Yippee!

From here we just needed to reach the finish hotel in Delta, UT.  It was an easy ride and the hotel was easy to find.  We topped off our gas tanks and headed to the hotel to finish the day with our end hotel photo.


It was really nice to get to the hotel early enough to have some chill time after a rather short day of riding approximately 385 miles.  We ended up having dinner next door at a Mexican restaurant with about 8 other people.  Although the food was not even mediocre and orders were wrong, we still enjoyed the company and stories.  Bonus, we got to bed at a reasonable hour and had a good rest.

Tuesday - July 20 - Delta, UT to Fernley, NV

Only two more days to the finish!  Today and tomorrow.  Wow, we're almost done.  It seems like this has become our job.  Get up early, head out at dawn on the scooters and find the CP's and BP's and ride all day long!  Today was the same, hahahahaha.  Up very early, scooters packed up, host hotel start photo taken and on the road to the next stop.

The Loneliest Road in America was our route today.   Starting in Delta, UT we just pointed the scooters west and headed down that long, lonely stretch of highway.  It's the perfect example of "Ranges and Basins" that Nevada has to offer.  Eric and I have both been on this highway countless times and it holds many dear memories.  I remember riding east on Highway 50 into Ely, NV where I encountered a freak storm that covered the road in hail and slush.  I was about 5 miles out of Ely when it started and there is absolutely no place to seek shelter - none, nada, nope.  I remember thinking what was hitting my boot when I looked down and saw slush covering my foot!  YIKES!  I'd better slow down, hahahaha.  (this was on my big bike).  I pulled into the Four Seven's Motel for the evening just as Bob Higdon rolled in.  We both had saucer sized eyes and exclaimed about the severe weather and the challenge of getting to Ely.  Good memories 😡😲

No such weather problems today.  Our only concern would be to stay plenty hydrated because it was going to get HOT as the day progressed.  Fortunately, we both have a really nice hydration systems set up on the scooters and our water stayed cold all day.  That was nice!

Not far from Delta was our first CP, The Border Inn appropriately located at the border of Utah and Nevada.  There were quite a few Cannonballers here getting fuel for the scooter and themselves.  It was a nice place to take a break.  

Here is a sample of the scenery along Highway 50.  There is not a lot out there but hills, sagebrush and dirt.

As we rode down Highway 50, Steve (one of the organizers) captured this photo of Eric and me blasting down the highway πŸ˜‰.  I don't recall the speed limit on Highway 50 but we just held the throttle WFO the entire time (except when entering towns when we obeyed posted speed limit signs).  We pretty much wrung everything we could out of the little Honda ADV150 scooters.  Mostly we cruised along at 55 to 60 mph except on the hills where we would gradually slow down to a laughable 30-35 or so mph.  Then after crossing the summit, we would scream into the rev limiter zone at 64 mph.  What good fun, hahahaha!

Our next CP was in Eureka, NV, the Eureka Red Train Car which also serves as a Visitor Center.  Having been through here many times we had no problem finding it.  We also topped of our gas tanks and took a quick break here.

More slogging along Highway 50, our next CP took us off the beaten path onto Highway 722 which is a little used but fairly well maintained road. Climbing, climbing, climbing slowly up the hills!  Our goal was the Campbell Creek Ranch.


The Campbell Creek Ranch is really sweet, located in a valley with a creek, several outbuildings, home, cabin, nice yard, tractors and sheds, etc.  Someone's nirvana!

Nevada is open range meaning cows can be anywhere.  Well, Highway 722 didn't disappoint.  Although we didn't stop for photos we did encounter cows on the highway in several places.  Fortunately, they were more interested in water and grass than they were of us!  Highway 722 was a delight to ride with lots of ups and downs and twists and turns.  Such an opposite of Highway 50!  So glad the organizers threw this in the mix 😊.

Moving along, the Sand Mountain Historic Marker was our first and only BP of the day.  This is located along Highway 50 and an easy grab.

Not far from the BP, Eric's scooter had a hiccup and started to miss a beat, the engine cutting out and then coming back to life, causing him to slow down considerably.  Oh, and it was HOT by now, late afternoon with the temperature over 100 degrees.  OH NO!  We pulled over at a service station as we entered Fallon, NV.  Eric checked the spark plug and it was fine.  He added some gas from the Rotopax jug and we motored on to a more reputable service station and topped off the gas tanks and then his scooter seemed to be fine.  Hmmmmm.......this would haunt us. 

We arrived at the end motel in Fernley, NV and took the required stop photo.


We went to the scoring table and took care of business.  No points lost!  Yippee!

I took the opportunity of a fairly early arrival at the hotel to do a load of laundry that was desperately needed 😏.  The hotel had a nice laundry area with two each washer and dryer.  I wasn't the only one looking to get their clothes clean, hahaha.  Today we logged about 450 miles and the temperatures got into the 100 plus degrees!!  We ordered Domino's delivery of Chicken Caesar Salad, garlic bread knots and a Philly Sandwich.  Immediately after eating we were in bed at 7:00 pm, lol.  Oh, and sound asleep by 7:05 pm.  The long days and today's heat did us in 😡.

Tomorrow will be the final push to Eureka, CA only 416 miles according to our route book.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday - July 21 - Fernley, NV to Eureka, CA

We awoke at the appropriate, ridiculous early time of 4:30 or so, (Sunrise in Fernley was 5:46), packed our scooters, took a photo of the start hotel and headed out for what would be our last day on the Scooter Cannonball Run.

Here is where we changed things up!  So far we avoided any major interstates or highways (although we did ride Hwy 6 in Utah which is fast and a few others for short periods of time).  Hmmmmmm......if we stay on small roads we need to take a significant detour that would probably cost us more than an hour of time.  We made the critical decision to get on Interstate 80 at Fernley.  We were legal because we could hold at least 45 mph.  Actually, from Fernley, it's all downhill (take that however you want, lol).  So we figured we could maybe hold 50 plus mph.  And, it was way early so hopefully not a lot of traffic.  Decision made we hopped on I-80 and trundled down the interstate.  Mostly, okay but we did turn on our flashers when we slowed down.  Traffic was exceptionally considerate and didn't tailgate us.  They all just moved nicely around us.  What a relief!

Our first BP was the Welcome to California sign.  We easily found this and pulled over for the photo op.


Super duper bonus, our friend, Pete Bansen met us at the BP!!! How fun is that?  We would meet up again with Pete and his beautiful bride, Cindy after the Cannonball.

After grabbing BP1 we motored on to the Quincy Dupont Power Tool which was CP1.  I dunno, what is this?  Looks like a Country Store with Liquors and Ice.  Apparently, this was the correct photo to get the BP1 points!  We saw other Cannonballers here.  Hahaha.  Oh no, look at the air, smoky... Lots of fires in California right now and the smoke was heavy.

So nice to be on smaller roads again.  The Interstate and the big highways were behind us and we were happily scootering along on slower, two lane roads.

Our next CP was the Mineral County Store & Motel.  We easily found this CP and stopped for a bit of a rest.  The smoke was getting thick and hurt my eyes if I lifted my face shield.  Prior to getting here, at the bottom of the hill, maybe 10 miles behind us we spotted quite a number of LOE vehicles, like maybe eight or ten vehicles just parked.  Well, when we got to Mineral Lodge both our phones gave us alerts that the road was closed and a mandatory evacuation order was in place.  We were probably the last few peeps they let through!  Wowza!!!

We then located the Cone & Kimball Tower for a BP.

Next target was the Wild Horse Ranch for a BP.  This was a ginormous "ranch" that was really more of a planned community with all the amenities including golf course, equestrian center, campground area and much more.  It went on for miles.  All controlled access, as you can see from the gate picture below.

Now we were riding in the High Sierra Nevada mountains.  Several times we were stopped for road construction so I snapped a few photos.  The air was much more clear here, the sky was blue and the temperatures were just right!

Before our next CP we decided it was time for some lunch and stopped at a convenience store/gas station.  The only gas station in town, and one that didn't show up on any of the mapping programs.  Eric only found it with a diligent street view search of the town when planning the route. Topped off the gas tanks and went in to see what could be had for lunch.  Imagine our surprise when we found a diner inside the store!  Hooray πŸ˜‹.  

They had a surprisingly varied menu.  Eric ordered a breakfast burrito and I ordered a grilled bacon and cheese on sourdough.  Although the sandwich I wanted wasn't on the menu they were happy to accommodate me.  Score!!!

Nothing fancy but the food was good and we were hungry.


Our bellies and gas tanks full, it was time to find the Hyampom Community Hall for CP3.

Located in a tiny community, the CP was easy to find.  It was what happened afterward that is the stuff of which legends are made!

Unknown to us, the Hyampom Road is VERY TINY and TWISTY and a major 22 mile time suck, lol.  The connecting road was Underwood Mountain Road.  Just when you thought things couldn't get worse, they did!!!  Too bad we didn't take any photos because this was just unbelievable.  Backtracking didn't make sense both time wise and mileage.

So, on to Underwood Mountain Road.  Barely a one laner this road was packed full of pot holes.  I mean, bath tub size pot holes!  If your scooter wasn't broken before, it would be after riding this road!!!  And, it was sunny so the road was dappled with sunlight between the trees making it extremely difficult to see what the road surface was like.  Oh, also throw in some flood debris on various sections of the Goat Path From Hell 🐐😈

This was the type of road that had you swearing out loud in your helmet between grunts and groans as you smacked yet another pothole.  Now, realize its going to be about 30 miles of non-stop pot holes, debris, rocks and slow going.  GACK!!!  The finish line for the SCBR was in sight but we first had to conquer this obstacle!

Typical Rallybastard (or in this case Bastard Organizer) hijinks!  Tempt you with the finish line in sight and then force you to traverse the nasty Goat Path From Hell to get there!  It was truly an epic effort and we didn't break anything, hahahahaha!

Whew!  With that finally behind us we made a beeline to our next BP, a Giant Bigfoot Wood Carving.


We had a very pleasant surprise awaiting us at this BP.  A small group of scooter paparazzi were waiting for riders with ice cold beverages and lots of good cheer!  Nice time to take a much needed break.




Again, we topped off our gas tanks.  Hung out and had a nice cold drink and remounted our steeds for the final push to the finish at Eureka, CA.  The balance of the ride was relatively uneventful and on bigger roads.  For the most part we just held the throttle wide open and pointed the scooters west.

And then - WE FINISHED!!!!!!!!!  Yup, we made it to the Pacific Ocean in Eureka, CA.  Our quest completed πŸ’—πŸ˜‚



A few photos of scooters at the beach.


We quickly checked in at scoring to stop our clock.  The finish party was just getting going so we decided to check in at the nearby hotel, clean up a bit and rejoin the celebration. 

Jim Boone, me, Eric, and Greg Partridge all finished on stock Honda ADV150 scooters!

NoraBeth jumped in for a photo!  Although she had crashed earlier in the SCBR and broken the fender off her Vespa and probably broke a finger or two, she wasn't about to call it quits and made it to the finish!


Group photo!  Not everyone was an "Official Finisher" but everyone here made it to Eureka!

A few party photos.




After 10 days and approximately 4,580 miles the 2021 Scooter Cannonball Run from Bar Harbor, Maine to Eureka, California was over.  We had an incredible adventure encountering all types of terrain, weather and obstacles.  Our Honda ADV150 scooters held up to the grueling endurance challenge.  Our only rewards for completing the SCBR were bragging rights and this fabulous medal πŸ’œπŸ˜›!



Not just a pretty medal but a functional one as well.  It doubles as a bottle opener, hahahaπŸ˜‚.  

I want to shout out to the SCBR organizers, David Bednarski, Stephen Creedon and Craig Leidheiser.  They made the whole event easy and fun.  Obviously a lot of time went into putting the SCBR together.  We had very detailed route booklets that provided all the information we needed to have a successful SCBR.  End day hotels/motels were conveniently located near food and fuel.  They had even developed a fantastic App for our phones that we used to send photos for scoring!  Yep, they had their act together!  A big THANK YOU!

A great photo of Eric and me by Dave Bednarski.

Don't panic, the fun isn't over yet.  Just the SCBR is over.  We have more adventure ahead on our trek back to Mississippi so you will want to stay tuned to hear about the trials, tribulations, elations and other events.

As always, thanks for following along!

Cheers,

Cletha & Eric

P.S.  I will also blog about some things that happened during the SCBR that I can't attribute to any specific day because I didn't take notes, hahaha!




26 comments:

  1. Thanks for the blog! it was tremendous to be able to follow your adventures.

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    1. Oh, my pleasure. Thank you for following along!

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  2. What an outstanding accomplishment for you two! Truly amazing, really. What in the world could you ever do to top that?

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    1. Hahahaha, thanks, Bob. I don't know. Have any suggestions?

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  3. Thanks for the ride along. I did an overnight in Fernley in 2014 (rode US50 E-W). Went up to the IBA Circle of Honor the next morning. Which coincided with the first day of Burning Man. Gerlach was a somewhat surreal scene and the traffic north out of Fernley resembled DC rush hour traffic. Memories.

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    1. Yup, BTDT many times. Gerlach is a special place for sure!

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  4. Great Adventure, thanks for letting us tag along!

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    1. Thanks Bob, I've been enjoying your adventure as well!

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  5. Great Story and write up. My war story for Hwy 50 is I had to pee bad, I have not seen a car for miles, I pulled over at an intersection and about a dozen cars came whizzing by as I was whizzing.

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    1. Hahahahaha, isn't that the way it always happens? Glad you are enjoying the adventure.

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  6. Nothing overly chaotic in Delta,Ut?? :)

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  7. Awesome job guys! Any number of riders from the 2019 IBR could have happily warned you about Hyampom...go out the SAME way you came in (assuming that was from the east). :D Glad you had fun as always.

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    1. Hahahaha, Steve, now some of the comments I received about Hyampom make sense. That connecting road - OMG! So glad it was daylight, couldn't imagine it in the dark!!!!

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  8. I was following the event online for a few days but then got distracted. I missed parts 1 and 2. How can I see those before I read part 3? Thanks.

    Joe T.

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    1. Sure you can! Look on the right side of my blog and click on the posts you want to read. If that doesn't work just google Cletha's Adventures and the main blog page should pop up.

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  9. Many thanks for sharing this amazing ride! So happy nothing seriously happened and the scooters stayed in 1 piece....well mostly anyway....I cannot imagine myself doing a ride like this on my scooter but hey I´m an old fart now officially and need a comfortable ride! Hope to see you soon somewhere on this globe!Cheers and once again congratulations on a great achievement!

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    1. Thanks! We're having a blast with the scooters! Would so love to see you soon.

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  10. Congratulations on an epic ride and a great scooter adventure - you've done a terrific job of capturing the ups and downs of the SCBR in your blog. It was great seeing you at the "Welcome to California" bonus location and then in Ely - glad you finally made it back to Tupelo safely and more or less sane...

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  11. A great story, thanx! I appreciate the details and am so stoked to hear that you had zero machanical issues! I just purchased an ADV 150 two weeks ago and am enjoying it. It seems like a high quality machine, it's a Honda after all.

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  12. Thanks for "taking us along". It was a great read about a great trip.

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  13. Great write up! I wish I had taken more photos but every day was just ride ride ride.
    I dont know how we all did this!
    It seems like those 10 days went fast except I know they were really long days(14hrs I believe was our longest one). I miss all the riders too.

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