Posted January 7, 2020 – Narrated by Carmen
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Cannonball Run is an illegal competitive cross-country American road trip from New York to California. The tradition started when Erwin “Cannonball” Baker (1882-1960) said, “ I dare ya.”
Cannon Ball Baker – stock photo
And because enough folks took him up on it, the
“Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash” was established in the 1970’s.
why I do not know but, the official route for the competition is between Red Ball Garage in New York City and the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, California.
Just weeks ago a new record was set at
27 hours and 25 minutes with an overall average of 103 mph. The team of three drove a 2015 Mercedes Benz and broke the 2013 record.
Tabbut/Toman/Chadwick team – stock photo
Honestly, all of this
smoke and steel is news to me. I’d never even heard of the Cannonball Run until last month when I read the news report. We’re always learning, aren’t we? And now, the next time a car full of young people pass us on the highway at 180 mph we will have something to consider other than bank robber, drug runner, Uber and Amazon.
We certainly do not endorse risky highway competitions, but it’s tough to keep our excitement under the radar because we completed our first Sea-To-Shining-Sea on the
same day (December 3rd) as the amazing Tabbut/Toman/Chadwick team achieved their stunning new record.
FYI: Not stealing any thunder here – just basking in the glory a bit.
We live on the road, so anything that happens on the road kind of feels like our neighborhood.
So, congratulations Cannonballers. Research and wise planning paid off. We are honored to breathe the dust of your historic achievement.
Fun coincidence, you say? Nay.
Coincidence is for cowards. Destiny is reserved for the brave.
It’s certainly no coincidence that our old neighbor, Rafe Cannonball McMillan’s dad is
Mojo Nixon, host of a NASCAR themed radio show, Manifold Destiny.
Mojo Nixon on Sirius Radio – stock photo
And if that’s not oogly-boogly enough, then there’s that whole
Skid Roper connection. Jim was born just a few days before Mojo’s partner, Skid. They attended school together from elementary to college, and both Skid and Jim became professional entertainers in completely separate fields.
But the weirdest hoodoo was inviting Mojo to play the role of a preacher who thought he was Jesus in my two-act comedy,
The Perfect Daisy. At the time, I had no idea that divine role-reversal was Mojo’s specialty. I must have been dozing at the wheel-house. But, missing out on stuff is the price of achievement.
Glory belongs to the undistracted – the determined – those who do not obsess on the rear view mirror. But if
the past is only a bucket of ashes, then why does history repeat itself? Every time Jim and I come home, full-circle, back to San Diego, our Experiencing Selves must reckon with our Remembering Selves.
This is our fourth return to our old neighborhood since we pulled out and began LIB in July 2016. It’s remarkable how, each time we return it still feels like home – like we’ve returned from a two-week vacation.
But as we retrace our steps, the deep-remembering kicks in and we can focus on features of the landscape that we lost in the blur of life. Good friends and neighbors. Great times. Excellent fish tacos.
The Brigantine’s fish tacos are the BEST
We finally remembered to use our $20 Brig gift certificate from 1995. Stellar service.
Perhaps old people appear befuddled and distracted because
they are. It’s difficult to maintain a victorious stature when you’re puttering through your past searching for things that should be right there which clearly are no longer there – and, funny thing, you realize they were never actually over there because they were . always right here
Our LIB Cannonball Crawl record won’t appear in any auto magazines. For, there is no ballyhoo around a pair of RV seniors who pull a rig 3,000 miles from Niagara Falls to San Diego in 42 ½ days and 60 driving hours with an overall average of 50 mph without missing a single brewery, winery or distillery. But this is still America, so the challenge bears repeating,
Go ahead. Beat
that. Niagara Falls, NY
It was kinda cute how Jim thought he was surprising me with Niagara Falls for my birthday. Actually, he could have pulled it off if not for all of those pesky signs …
View from the USA
View from Canada
Wonderful staff at The Hornblower! Thank you!!!
We should have put a change of clothes and a hair dryer in the truck
Toasting my birthday at The Skylon
Birthday celebration on top of the Skylon Tower Revolving Restaurant
Cycling along the Erie Canal
The Albany to Buffalo NY cycling trip is now on the bucket list! Here’s an inspiring video from Love Cycles – Don’t miss the part about retirees, Hank and Cathy Greer.
Don’t know where we picked up this hitchhiker on the trailer tire … but at least it was in a sweet spot for repair without having to hitch up the rig.
La Salette, Ontario
Thanks to Harvest Hosts and Ramblin’ Road for the awesome digs
Pizza and beer with my boyfriend on my actual birthday!
Porters Orchard Farm – We will order apples from Porters every year! A great Harvest Host, overnight location! Kalamazoo, Michigan
Jim kept looking for the power source for this maple tree at Markin Glen Campground
Thanks to Chapter 3 Travels for the tip about Markin Glen
We were the last rig to pull out of this gorgeous campground before it closed for the season
Kalamazoo has many wonderful breweries – here, Jim plays “the Market” at The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange
sell Sell SELL!!! Pontiac, Illinois
The City of Pontiac rolls out the orange cone for Harvest Hosts guests. The entire city is a living museum along with the Route 66 Museum and Hall of Fame
That night, we received a weather alert about a polar vortex moving in before Halloween …
so we stocked up on survival rations at Pfaff’s Bakery
All the region’s campgrounds with full hookups had closed. Where to find shelter from the storm? We had a good lead, but could we make it there in time? Nauvoo, Illinois
We pulled out of Pontiac and drove west toward the Mississippi River in Illinois …
to a church camp which was closed for the season …
but is managed by my sweet cousin, Marie, who put us up for the night in a lovely space with full hook-ups. We were ensconced with close family throughout the arctic blast. Whew!!!
Aunt Carol was there, visiting from American Fork, Utah. She gave us a tour of the camp which is open to the public. This is Carl Sandburg and Mark Twain country – and only a short walk to the banks of the Mississippi. The stunning oak tree in the background is over 300 years old.
Overnight, the atmosphere came down cold and heavy as an anvil. But there was much to see in Nauvoo and we only had a couple of hours before the storm to take in the sights.
Some people travel America to take in the big cities and natural wonders. I get that. But I also travel to explore the culture. Religion is especially fascinating for me. Most Americans and foreign tourists have little knowledge of the Reformation and The Great Awakening and the myriad ways religion informs institutions, national philosophy, architecture, etc.
All of the historic homes in Nauvoo were built with brick made from local clay. Here at the brick house docents demonstrate how the pioneers manufactured enough brick to build a city on short order.
The restored home of gun-maker, J. Browning
A docent demonstrates the history and genius behind the Browning rifle
Oh dear. Looks like the storm’s a comin’…
My cousin’s family has mad decorating skills
Trick or Treat!
Hookups, and plenty of propane made the difference – fortunately, we found a propane supply …
… in Keokuk, Iowa. A fifteen-minute drive…
along the Mississippi River.
After two snowy nights, the polar vortex finally moved east. The sky turned blue and …
… the icicles melted. We would have stayed a while longer in Nauvoo, but Jim’s sister called with some bad news. A family member had passed away in Nebraska. We needed to be there…
So, next day, we pulled out of lovely Nauvoo …
stopping for the night in … Princeton, Missouri
Lake Paho Conservation Area – a free public campground
Most of the campers were bow hunters and anglers
The next morning, we set out early for … Glenwood, Iowa
where we stopped for the night at Bodega Victoriana Winery and Wedding Barn
Feels so good to arrive before dark and stroll though the vines. This is one of the best reasons to overnight at wineries.
And the delicacies are another good reason. So Jim made plans to do it again the next night in … Lexington, Nebraska
We took respite for the night at Mac’s Creek Winery. The following day required only a short drive to … North Platte, Nebraska
Saddle up and visit North Platte famous for the Buffalo Bill Historic Park, the world’s largest railroad yard, the springtime Sandhill Crane Migration and, BEST of ALL …
Jim’s Aunt Lillian! Our ninety-six year old party girl.
Grieving the sudden loss of her wonderful daughter-in-law and care-giver, Jerri Weldon, Lillian needed some cheering up. So we coaxed her out of the house for pizza and beer – which, in our experience, no one does better than Pal’s Brewing Company.
These lovely and highly-gifted musicians serenaded Lillian with tunes from the 30’s and 40’s. Even if you must drive out of your way, please do yourself a favor and attend a Marbin performance.
Lillian with all of her children: Lee, Jay, Donna, Lynnell and Crystal Kay Lyons, Colorado
After the funeral and a wonderful day with Jim’s cousins, we crossed into Colorado. Spirit Hound Distillers – a mecca for malt whisky enthusiasts – put us up for the night. We were delighted with the tasting. Now, the Colorado Distillery Trail is on our To-Do List Morrison, Colorado
This Bloody Mary at The Blue Cow has a story …
Driving into Morrison for a bite of breakfast, Jim took a wrong turn and drove us past the amphitheater through Red Rock territory … big mistake
After my Bloody Mary breakfast and a soothing walk along the river, we drove to our next destination … Cañon City, Colorado
The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey
Beautiful grounds, excellent wines, an adorable gift shop and a lovely place to spend the night
After some Christmas shopping we settled in for the night and woke to good driving weather.
Next stop … Taos, New Mexico!
We almost dropped to our knees when we entered Taos.
Every thing is sacred here. Chokola Bean to Bar
“To really say you love chocolate, you have to understand its beating heart — specifically, the nature, flavor and personality of the heart-shaped cacao pod that is chocolate in its purest state. For this, you should turn to husband-and-wife team Javi Abad and Debi Vincent of Taos-based chocolatier Chokola.” – The Santa Fe New Mexican”
Saint Francis of Asis Mission Church
A visit with friend and artist, Elizabeth Jose and…
her husband Raymon and their vintage Airstream which takes her to the places and people that inspire her work
In Taos, the air is thin and the beer is high.
We lunched beside the firepit at Red River Brewing and watched deer graze under the ski lift Angel Fire, New Mexico
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire is a set on a hill overlooking the valley below – a sacred place. Regardless of one’s opinions about war – every American should experience this memorial.
Earthships, New Mexico
This bucket-list destination fulfilled my expectations and more.
Now, I have a dream to live in an Earthship for at least a year.
The film, The Garbage Warrior introduced me to sustainable off-grid housing and to architect Michael Reynolds, the designer of Earthships and his global housing movement
I can totally see myself living in one of these houses.
Taos has an impressive history of off-grid housing. The best example is … The Taos Pueblo
Our guide invited us into her community and took us on a tour …
Indigenous people have been living in this off-grid, hand-crafted community for over 1,ooo years
the ancient village is lovingly maintained
and every object has an old, old story Ojo Caliente, New Mexico
This is our second visit to Ojo and our favorite natural, private hot springs
No chlorine … just ahhhhsome water
Each pool has different mineral qualities and therapeutic values.
Mud. So good for the skin. And drying in the winter sun like a cormorant, so relaxing. Albuquerque, New Mexico
After two nights at Ojo Caliente, we set out to visit a friend and Christian author, Latayne C. Scott. Over a delightful Mexican buffet at Garduno’s, we caught up on a couple of decades of life. Now, I’m devouring her latest novel, A Conspiracy of Breath, and can’t wait for her next book. It is good to restore old friendships – especially in Albuquerque – a place we pass through often. Grants, New Mexico
After lunch, storm clouds were gathering. We drove about a hundred miles to the spectacular . Coyote Del Malpais Golf Course to exercise and stay overnight
It rained all night in Grants and we drove in heavy rain and sleet. In Gallup we ducked into Sandra’s Place for brunch and then set out for … Mesa, Arizona
Throughout the day, warnings about flash flooding and icy roads kept us cautiously on the move. During a momentary lull we pulled off to let Pico have a potty break and when I looked up, the sun broke through and the desert smiled…
But the storm resumed, so we pulled into Superstition Farm for the night. Heavy rainfall continued into the late morning hours. Flooding was so heavy the farm store had to close. But the owners gifted us with seven fresh eggs. Thank you, Superstition Farm!
That afternoon, we had a reunion with two of our oldest and dearest friends, Cherie Koss and Doug Waldo. Later, the same day, we had another (surprise) reunion with two of our newest friends … Casa Grande, Arizona
Jack Bailey and Elizabeth Lumpkin, founder of Airstream Addicts! And, we got to hob-nob with them for eleven days through the Thanksgiving season at the luxurious Palm Creek RV Resort.
Casa Grande doesn’t have much of a beer scene, but Jim satisfied his craft brew cravings at The Thirsty Donkey – an innovative, self-service, pay-by- the-ounce beer house. Felicity, California
The biggest and juiciest roadside attraction of them all. We have passed this place dozens of times, but this time we planned ahead. Wow! It’s everything it promised and more. We could have spent an entire day – but at least we had a fascinating two hour pit-stop and we left wanting moreMoreMORE CENTER OF THE WORLD!
The gnomon of the 15 ft. Sundial at Felicity is a three-dimensional bronze of Michelangelo’s Arm of God painted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
The Center of the World Disk
Our tour guide issued Jim a certificate authenticating the date of his presence at THE CENTER OF THE WORLD
This place is dense with history and philosophy and granite and … just massive. THE CENTER OF THE WORLD will make you feel very small and will outlive us all.
View from the Chapel – more a work of art than a place of worship – on the highest point of the town of Felicity – a popular venue for weddings.
The Stairway to Nowhere is a metal 25-ft. spiral staircase salvaged from the Eiffel Tower
Recalibrated, LIB departed from THE CENTER OF THE WORLD and drove toward our last stop before San Diego – my personal center of the world – the most peaceful place on the planet … Agua Caliente, Borrego Desert, California
The campground was empty, quiet and rainy. Frogs serenaded us by day and coyotes by night.
A two day soak in the hot springs prepared us for a busy schedule of holiday activities, doctor and dentist visits, and rig repairs in … San Diego, California
The finish line for the LIB Cannonball Crawl – A tribute to Penelope, wife of Odysseus. by Michael Shultz. “Weaving by day, all the while she waited, unraveling her work by night, steadfastly sure of Odysseus’ return.”
If you want to see our exact route,
*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.
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24 thoughts on “The Cannonball Crawl”
Wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I miss the open road and my Bambi small as she is 16.’ Your photos, comments and stats are beautiful and so interesting. I hope our paths cross as I head back west for my 4th summer exploring the parks
Wonderful to hear from you. Unless something distracts us, we’re planning to stay west a bit. We would love to meet up. Email us anytime for our precise whereabouts. Let’s get together!
Safe and Happy Travels!
Thank you, Beth! So wonderful to have you with us.
Safe and Happy Travels
Excellent post, Carmen❣️ Getting your email notifications is better than getting my favorite magazine. We need to find some of those hot springs too.
Kathy and Steve! So great to hear from you!!! Your encouragement has been a blessing since we started LIB. Thank you so much. You know, we can’t drive by a good hot springs without stopping for a soak. Feel free to email us for hot springs info.
Safe and Happy Travels!
Thanks, Carmen. We are headed south mid February for a few weeks. We were both saying we would love to run into you one of these day. In the meantime … safe travels and happy trails.
PS … Steve bought me the same camera you were using two years ago. Are you still using that camera to take the photos we see? I dislike that camera beyond words.
So sorry the camera is a disappointment to you. We are not photographers. We’re RV’ers trying to document our travels as best we can. The first year I just used the iPhone 5. Then about a year later, the production team for the Best Buy project gifted us with the Nikon Coolpix B-500. I have really enjoyed that camera, and I as I learn more about photography I realize that it’s a great entry-level camera. No, it’s not for everyone, but I am so grateful for it. It really improved the quality of my photos and it’s certainly better than the iPhone – and I LOVE the zoom feature. But, funny you should mention the Nikon Coolpix now because this week I am buying a Sony RX100 Mark 7. Our friend, Tom Gehring, let me borrow his for a few days to try it out and I love it. It’s lightweight, has the view screen which I need because I like to hold it way up and take drone-like shots (my over-long arms help to get that effect) but it costs like 7 times as much as the Nikon – which I will always keep with me because it’s my buddy and I have a hard time letting go.
Let’s meet up, Kathy so you can try my Sony.
Wonderful! You really did the Brew and Vine Run! Beautiful places and photos. Great to see you back home. Look forward to the next segment.
Thank you for watching our backs (and heads, and shoulders and …)
Safe and Happy Travels
I know that fickle finger of fate! What a crazy place!
Yes, Susan – THE CENTER OF THE WORLD is the MOTHER OF ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS.
Thank you for being us.
Safe and Happy Travels,
Loved this post – hope to see you both again soon!
Hello Amy! Wonderful to hear from you. We hope to stay west of the Rockies this year. We hope to see you, too. For details of our whereabouts, email us anytime.
Safe and Happy Travels!
Carmen & Jim
What an amazing trip!!! The only time I had heard about the Cannonball Run was a movie with Burt Reynolds – but I haven’t seen the movie. Hope to see you both again soon. As always, we enjoy reading about your travels.
Hey Mrs. J.
We haven’t seen the movie either – but I embedded the link somewhere in there. From what I understand there have been few accidents and only minor injuries in the actual competition. But a stuntwoman suffered a horrible accident in the movie resulting in paralysis. Also, I believe there are some documentaries, but haven’t had a chance to view them.
Thank you so much for being with us.
Safe and Happy Travels!
Love you blog and nice work with the camera.
It’s a pleasure to have you with us. Thank you.
Safe and Happy Travels!
Oh yeah!! my kinda adventure trip!!
Hey Kelly. Thank you for being with us. Check out Harvest Hosts!
Safe and Happy Travels!
You guys are doing a fascinating travel blog! How did you manage the photo over the Royal Gorge?
Hey, K.K. So lovely to hear from you. I took the photo from the top of the rotating restaurant on the Canada side. If you look closely enough you can see the panels of glass. The sun was setting as a storm was coming in – the water just lit up! Lucky catch.
Happy 2020 to you and the family. You are always in our thoughts and prayers. We just might be able to stop and give you a hug on our way through this year. I will let you know.
So, I have spent the last several weeks wallowing in the frustrations of RV living and full-time travel, convincing myself that it’s time to do something else, only to read this gorgeous article and be reminded of all the magic of life on the road.
You are not helping!!!
Seriously – this post is a marvelous representation not just of the beauty of this country, but the stunning variety of scenery, the memorable hole in the wall spots, and the kindnesses we encounter along the way. Your photos capture so much and make me want to visit all these towns I’ve never even heard of.
Oh, and speaking of which, I’m glad you enjoyed Markin Glen. It was beautiful when we were there and, apparently, downright stunning when you visited. Glad it worked out.
Laura, we are so tickled you read LIB.
We understand if you guys stop full-timing (and why), but when you do stop we Chapter 3 followers will miss your gift of nailing the humor of the RV lifestyle.
Our passion for LIB is intentional and most days it all plays out like a dream. Of course there are those moments you describe when it all just seems so crappy. On those days we remind ourselves of the times when we were living in a house with busted plumbing, then the two months with an infestation of roof rats, and plowing through extensive remodels that went on for months, oh, and the horrible litigious neighbors next door who served supeonas over the fence … and, within moments we’re back in the LIB State of Mind. It truly is better than anything else we can think of doing right now and when we can think of something else better, then we’ll do just that. We have a pact. If one of us wants to quit, then we find a storage facility or rent a furnished place with a driveway, stop, and reevaluate a year later.
You’re young. So, stop and take a break. Do something else. You can always pick RVing up again in the future as your needs change.
If you stop, please keep blogging though. I have a suggestion for a new career. Start a boxed wine company called FULL-TIMER and name the wines after favorite locations, rigs and RV disasters. We’ll work out a sponsorship deal with you 😉