Interesting article regarding a group of three people who broke the “Cannonball” record for driving (illegally) cross country, from New York to Los Angeles:
A small part of me admires the thought put into their escapade, from considering the best time and conditions (weekend, full moon) to the modifications made to their car (extra gas tanks and bedpans so they wouldn’t have to make as many pit stops) to having spotters look out for police (naturally).
It’s a very small part, however. The part that as a younger person enjoyed the whole “car chase/crash” movie genre that was quite popular from the mid to later half of the 1970’s and into the early 1980’s (it probably died around the time Cannonball Run 2 and Stroker Ace, both Burt Reynolds -ahem- vehicles, flopped). I loved Ron Howard’s directorial debut, Grand Theft Auto and the mayhem it featured (saw the film recently aaaaaannnd….it doesn’t hold up). Loved -and still love- the original Smokey and the Bandit. Loved both The Gumball Rally and Cannonball (1976) though the later film had a pretty brutal climax that really twisted the movie away from being a “comedy”. As for the first Cannonball Run movie, apart from a couple of chuckles it didn’t do all that much for me.
A larger part of me finds the fantasy versus the reality of what the gentlemen above accomplishing…scary. In the article, Ed Bolian, one of the trio driving the Mercedes cross country, mention the following:
“Apart from a FedEx truck not checking his mirrors before he tried to merge on top of me, we didn’t really have any issues.”
Oh, really? The FedEx driver, at least in the quote above, was in the wrong even when you’re traveling at an average rate of 90 mph while at times moving as fast 158 mph (their top speed)?! Though the quote doesn’t give details of this merging vehicle, one can’t help but wonder just how fast the trio were driving at that time. If they were doing high speeds (70+), one can hardly blame the FedEx driver for not noticing a car barreling down on him/her.
Regardless, the story worries me more than anything else. Now that these three have a speed record in this illegal activity that surely put others on the road at risk (not to mention the drivers themselves), how long before others try to break that record? Will they be as “cautious” and well planned as this trio were, or will they be even more reckless?
And even if they are as cautious as can be, accidents can -and sadly do– happen.
Watching those old car race/crash movies as a kid was fun. But it was also fantasy. Even then I knew this wasn’t something that should happen in real life. Having people driving around this recklessly for such a long distance in the real world makes me more than a little nervous.