Final Diary Entry for Team 74
20:33 GMT 8/05/06
So the whole Snoop Dogg party thing didn’t really happen for Team 74. Gavin went straight to bed after arriving from SLC, and I went to the party for a while but when I came up to get my bank card something happened, and two hours later I woke up on the couch. I think that was a message for me to go to bed!
Next morning (Sunday) was another scorcher. We had a goodie back breakfast in the car park, and headed off for Furnace Creek in Death Valley. Too hot to have the roof down, we put it up and stuck the A/C on full. The trip to Furnace Creek was fairly uneventful, passed a few Gumballers who had been pulled over by the Nevada highway patrol. Stopped to get a pic of the car at the entrance to Death Valley, and then at Furnace Creek for lunch. Met Graham Bolger at the lunch stop, who had hitched a lift in a Bently Flying Spur.
We headed on through Death Valley through some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen, across huge, flat valley floors, then up through the mountain passes to over 4000 ft. The temp in Death Valley hit 39 deg C at one point, but the car (and we) were fine. When we got out of the park it had cooled to about 30 deg, so we put the roof down and headed for LA. Gav got a speeding ticket (98 in a 65 zone), and a lecture from one very pissed-off California highway patrol cop. I think we must have been about the 20th Gumballer he pulled over that day, so he wasn’t too impressed with us.
So after that we crawled along at the speed limit for the rest of the journey, which, along with a stop in McDonald’s, meant that we were towards the back of the pack when we eventually crossed the finish line in Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills. Shane, Colly, and Clare were there to meet us, and amazingly, our American friends crossed the line just in front of us in their Bentley. After all we’d been through it was a teeny bit of an anticlimax at the finish line — it was one of the smallest crowds we’d seen — but it still felt amazing to have completed the whole thing.
We headed over to the hotel and after a very quick change into the tuxes that Shane and Colly hired for us, it was off to Heff’s gaff in the Playboy mansion. We had yet more finger food, lots to drink at the free bar, and had our own tour of the property (but not inside the mansion). One or two jumped into the pool fully clothed, but were swiftly ejected by security. Not very Gumball! Gavin ended up talking to Leonard Nemoy for ages, without realising who he was talking to (just told him now!). We had the awards ceremony, and we all got our Gumball souveniers — passport covers — before being bussed back to the hotel at 1 am.
The hotel bar closed at 2.00 (not before Gavin cut his hand on some glasses!), so we went up to Scott’s room for a party… the rest is a bit of a blur!
So here we are now in the hotel room. I’m packing and desperately trying to reach to bloke who has my camera (his phone is off!) before I have to get a plane back.