A cross-country road trip can serve up the ultimate adventure, all the more if it’s done in a vehicle not really meant for the job. But it’s possible that even Steinbeck (travelling with Charley, of course) couldn’t hold a candle to what Tom Stanniland from the United Kingdom tried. The man attempted to cross the U.S. by mobility scooter, and I’m impressed that he actually made it 805 km.
Stanniland, from Nottinghamshire, U.K., runs a YouTube channel that for the most part consists of silly stunts and memes. For his latest lark, he went for a wild one. He would take a mobility scooter from Los Angeles to New York, a distance of roughly 4,828 km.
The mobility scooter chosen for the trip is equipped with four batteries, good for roughly 64 km. He loaded an additional 16 batteries into a small trailer behind the scooter. The plan was that after each set of batteries expired, he would swap in the next set. The scooter should, in theory, travel 322 km before he’d have to stop to charge the 20 batteries.
The scooter also has turn indicators, headlights and brake lights. I could think of worse ways to do a challenge like this.
Theory, meet reality: Due to the weight of the batteries in the trailer, the mobility scooter drove only 16 km per set of batteries. The scooter would go only 80 km before all the batteries needed a charge.
To solve the problem, Stanniland bought a portable generator, planning to charge the set of batteries in use in the scooter. He hoped the generator would mean the scooter never ran out of range (until it ran out of gas, of course). Amazingly, it worked!
This is a crazy way to travel the country. In his video, Stanniland comments that there’s absolutely nothing in the desert. No traffic, no cell signal and no cities. He isn’t wrong. I’ve driven a similar trip a few times and I’m still blown away by how vast the desert is.
Stanniland made it a good distance, and even conquered some rough terrain. I’m stunned by how well the scooter held up — it certainly wasn’t built for this challenge. Eventually the eastbound trek found him riding along Route 66 in Arizona. Where the police began pulling him over.
Unfortunately, he fell well short of his goal, a result of getting the mobility scooter impounded during a traffic stop. Still, he made it 805 km, no small feat for a vehicle like this.
The journey came to an end, but Stanniland is undeterred. He wants to try it again, the next time with a vehicle that’s more highway-legal. I’d suggest a 150cc scooter.
These are highway-legal and in my experience, hold up surprisingly well to this kind of abuse. I’m curious to see what Stanniland comes up with for his next attempt. Check out his video for the whole crazy journey.