The Cannonball Crawl

Posted January 7, 2020 – Narrated by Carmen
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The legendary 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.”

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.

Now, 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.

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.

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.

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

Cycling along the Erie Canal

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

Goodrich, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Pontiac, Illinois

Nauvoo, Illinois

Princeton, Missouri

Glenwood, Iowa

Lexington, Nebraska

North Platte, Nebraska

Lyons, Colorado

Morrison, Colorado

Cañon City, Colorado

Taos, New Mexico!

Angel Fire, New Mexico

Earthships, New Mexico

The Taos Pueblo

Ojo Caliente, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Grants, New Mexico

Mesa, Arizona

Casa Grande, Arizona

Felicity, California

Agua Caliente, Borrego Desert, California

San Diego, California

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.

24 thoughts on “The Cannonball Crawl

  1. 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


    1. Hey Deborah!

      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!


  2. Excellent post, Carmen❣️ Getting your email notifications is better than getting my favorite magazine. We need to find some of those hot springs too.

    1. 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!


      1. 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.

        1. Hey Kathy,

          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.



  3. 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.

    1. Hey Jan!

      Thank you for watching our backs (and heads, and shoulders and …)

      Safe and Happy Travels



      Thank you for being us.

      Safe and Happy Travels,


    1. 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

  4. 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.

    1. 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!


  5. You guys are doing a fascinating travel blog! How did you manage the photo over the Royal Gorge?

    1. 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.



  6. 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.

    1. 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 😉



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