On Sunday, the 18th of April, Ed and four other riders from Texas and Louisiana will embark on the first-ever Texas Senior Cannonball (T.S.C.) The following is a phone interview conducted today between SCGT and Ed:
1. Whose idea was it; and why do it now?
Ed: It was my idea. Why now? Springtime, bluebonnets, and (next week) free admissions to national parks, including Big Bend!
2. How many, who (first names and locations) are going, and the age range of participants on this ride?
Ed: There will be five riders from Texas and Louisiana–myself, [SIC] Larry (Sulphur, Suzuki Burgman 400), Ray (Lake Charles, Honda Silver Wing), a friend of Ray’s (unnamed, riding a Harley), and David (Houston USR on a motorcycle). All have chosen Japanese-made rides with the exception of the Harley rider. I would say the ages are between 55 and 78, basically the “turtles”. We didn’t get any youngsters to come along this time.
3. How many days would it take you to complete the entire trip?
Ed: The goal is to finish in 5 days. We will split and go our separate ways after reaching destination (Rosewell, NM). Each rider will plan his own return trip.
4. What is the (approximate) total distance in miles?
Ed: 1,126 miles to get there, and return trip is about 800+ miles. So we’re talking about 2,000+ miles in total (for me).
5. What did your wife say when you told her you were gonna do it?
Ed: She didn’t say anything one way or another. “Neutral” may be a good description for her.
6. What is your personal motivation for completing this ride?
Ed: You didn’t know? Well, the Scooter Cannonball Run 2010, in which I was planning on participating, voted to take a decidedly northern route, from Vancouver, BC to Portland ME. I was disappointed; but not discouraged. It actually gave me the idea to begin planning and organizing for the Texas Senior Cannonball.
7. Are you packed and mentally ready to go?
Ed: I have some last-minute shopping then I should be packed and ready to go the day after tomorrow.
8. How would you arrange for lodging along the way?
Ed: We will make motel reservations day-to-day. Basically, pull up and get a room. We all have cell phones.
9. How is the winner determined, using what system?
Ed: The turtle wins! The rider with the longest cumulative hours spent in saddle (riding) is the winner. That is to say, the riders are encouraged to enjoy the scenery rather than to compete. Racing or pushing too hard may lead to injuries or accidents, and that’s not what we’re about.
10. In the event of a total mechanical failure with one of the scooters, how would you get back, and is there a support car/van/truck?
Ed: Every man for himself. We do not have a SAG wagon. We will have a list of emergency call numbers just in case.
11. How’s the outlook on weather for the trip, and are you prepared for extreme weather?
Ed: I am expecting some rain on Monday. The daily temps will be between high-50’s and the mid-70’s. Every rider will pack his own rain gear.
12. How’s the dining arrangement?
Ed: Crackers and cheese? Just kidding. You take care of your own lunch, and we will eat out as a group in the evenings. Local fare only, no chains!
13. Which scooter will you take, and have you done any special modifications or preparations for this ride?
Ed: The Honda Reflex 250, for its dependability, of course. I have replaced the front tire with a new Michelin City Grip and I will install a special luggage rack designed and built by me.
14. Are you packing an extra gas container, if so how many extra gallons?
Ed: Not me. I have a 150-mile cruising range with the Reflex, and the farthest distance between two gas stations along the route is only around 80 miles, so it won’t be necessary. Maybe the Harley will need one.
15. Would there be a trophy for the winner, or just bragging rights?
Ed: (Chuckles) The winner will get a cup of coffee, the record, and of course, the bragging rights.
16. If successful, would you repeat this event every year, or every so many years?
Ed: I imagine if all goes well, I would like to do another one, different route, but not as the organizer, more as a supporting role. Hopefully we will not have it on the same year as the Scooter Cannonball Run since I am still thinking about doing that one.
17. Upon reaching Roswell, NM, would you likely be abducted by aliens on an UFO?
Ed: First we must cross the Texas border, then spend the night. So Roswell, NM, became a natural choice especially with its close proximity to Carlsbad Caverns. Basically, all unidentified flying objects are called UFO’s. I have seen some flying objects which were neither planes, nor birds, so I believe in UFO’s. Aliens on flying saucers? I’ve never met one. Chances of being abducted by aliens? None.
18. Talk about your fascination with Big Bend, and are you excited about going there?
Ed: Actually, Big Bend was suggested to me by a participant. Fort Davis, the McDonald Observatory, stargazing… it will be great! Plus, it just wouldn’t be right to make it all the way west and not visit Big Bend.
19. Are you gonna have a good time on this trip, Ed?
Ed: Does the sun come up tomorrow?!
20. Do you have a Cannonball Ride message for all your adoring fans who will be cheering you on back home?
Ed: This is the ride that separates men from boys. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (Confucius). There is no failure except in no longer trying (Elbert Hubbard). Come one, come all! If you can’t make this one, be patient, you will retire one day.
Thank you, Ed, for sharing your thoughts just three days before your Cannonball ride across Texas! There will be a pre-ride meeting for the participants to iron out final details at Pitt Grill in Sulphur on Saturday morning at 10 am. I would strongly encourage everyone to come out and give the riders a hero’s send-off on Sunday morning at 7:30 am (ksu 8 am) at the Texas Visitors Center. Ed welcomes anyone who cannot otherwise make the entire ride to join them for any portion of it as the group of five thunders and rolls across our great state of Texas. Have a great trip and come home safe, guys!–Lorenzo