Thursday, May 04, 2006

Gumball – days 3 & 4 (Hungary/Serbia/Thailand)

We got stuck in the worst city traffic I have witnessed while trying to leave Budapest. Sitting so long in gridlock that Rooftop had time to hop out of the car and film a full street line along the city block. We finally got on the fwy (with me driving) and made up for lost time. I was doing 140mph for so long that the engine cut out to prevent itself from blowing up.

It was obvious we were in the Eastern Bloc as soon as we crossed the Serbian border. It was also obvious that someone had paid off the local authorities to let us barge through. As we neared the city of center of Belgrade (our next checkpoint), someone crashed trying to take a turn too fast. The victim? A Rolls Royce Phantom, $500,000 worth of automobile gone in an instant – totaled. Every passenger walked away without a scratch.

Our CoPilot guided us to to the airport instead of the downtown checkpoint, which turned out to be pure luck because mayhem broke out there when the cars arrived. The newspaper mistakenly wrote that many celebrities would be there, including Nicolas Cage and Pam Anderson. Bam was the only recognizable celeb that showed up, so they surrounded his car. We are talking about THOUSANDS of people clamoring his Lambourghini to get a picture/autograph/glimpse. The cops were no help according to him and Lhotse got caught behind him in her all-girl Range Rover.

We decided to do some skating near the airport and wait for the horsepower parade to arrive. We finally made it to the loading zone, unpacked our overstuffed Jeep, and checked in for our flight. The cars were loaded onto 3 Russian Antonov cargo airplanes. They are the biggest flying machines I have ever seen and it is a wonder that there is enough gasoline in this world to keep them in the air. Our passenger flight was a chartered jet from Icelandic Air and we quickly realized that this was not going to be a luxury trip. It was more like a 14 hour Southwest flight (no seat assignments) with a bunch of drunken Euros. One of them was so wasted that he started picking a fight – unprovoked – with Mike V. Thankfully, Mike just put his headphones on and ignored him. Otherwise, we would have had to endure another 6 hours with one broken-faced Euro and a bunch of his unruly friends. He got his payback not long after that in the form of puking outside the bathroom while the flight attendants held him up, covering his clothes in vomit and his face in embarrasment. The flight finally ended in Phuket and we went straight to the serenity of Amanpuri Hotel – the exact place L and I honeymooned in March. We finally relaxed, ate amazing Thai food, rode some [very small] surf, and even got some skating footage around the hotel property. We drive to Bangkok tomorrow, straight through the rain forest while keeping on the other side of the road. stay tuned… More speed and sleepless summaries to come.

-Tony (via Sidekick)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Gumball – day one (or two or three, depending on how you measure time)

we have been driving for two days. Just got to Budapest last night and promptly passed out.

Here is an email update from Lhotse (at the front of the pack) and me (trailing behind because of French customs drama):

In germany. He got me this morning going 140km in a 100…which is only like 75mph or something, I had slowed down for him. I tried to explain that in many states in the US the speed is 75, he told me he’d been to california. Martine sang for him, I apologized and Julie wanted to sticker his car with gumball rally stickers. None of that worked, they “had to give me a ticket”, after a stren lecture, he told me I needed to give him $50 on the spot. We told him we only had dollars…he figured that was probably about, “how much do you have?” $87 dollars. Done deal. “Now you must go slowly in Italy and Austria they charge maybe $300 for tickets” …ha! I have been retired to the back seat. Just as well, I haven’t slept yet.
Nightie night. 7:45 here. Our time is no longer top 10…though we were 8th when we gased in the night.
Tony and the boys stopped to skate, they are 150 miles behind us.
On we go, to Vienna.
-Lhotse Hawk (from my T-mobile Sidekick)

…And here is a brief update from the tail end of the Gumball cruise:

– no sleep for anyone in this car. Don’t even try.
– white tape on the front bumper with numbers drawn in Sharpie will pass as a legal license plate in France, even after they’ve held you for two hours because of the infraction.
– Bam and Ryan Dunn were as far ahead as Lhotse, but couldn’t figure out their GPS system and drove around Brussels for 3 hours. So now we are traveling together (insert automotive Brokeback joke here): a purple Lambo and a [badass] black Jeep.
– The Jeep SRT8’s top speed seems to be 150mph, as Mike V found out somewhere in Germany around 5am.
– We all suck at skating after sitting in a car for 12 straight hours. Rooftop is pretty good at riding his bike in our condidtion, but he dry heaved from putting out so much effort (a total riding time of 10 min)
– Lhotse only has to pay $87 for a speeding ticket, but Ryan’s fine is $150 (cash) and Mike V’s is 150 Euros ($300).
– an Egg McMuffin is still the best breakfast across the globe

Catching up,

Tony (and Mike V, Rooftop, Bam, Ryan Y and Ryan D)

We’re off to Thailand this afternoon. Sleep? What is that?

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