Monday, May 08, 2006
Gumball Rally – days 7/8 (THE END)
The flight to SLC was LONG. We stopped in Sapporo, Japan and Anchorage, Alaska to refuel for a total flight time of 20 hours. Thankfully, all of the usually-drunk Euro dudes slept most of the way. Evidently, their one night in Bangkok was more than they could handle. We rolled into our SLC hotel and made a plan to hit one of the local parks while the rest of the Gumballers got dolled up to go see the Mission Impossible 3 premiere. Im not sure how anybody thought that this was going to be a real Hollywood premiere since it was opening night and we were in Salt Lake City after all. It was more like a bunch of foreigners in tuxedos going to see a movie at the local theatre, but I wasnt about to burst their bubble. We happened to see them as they returned to the hotel and my wife asked how it was. One of them said it was more like a screening than a premiere! to which she responded (in her amazing sarcasm): you mean Tom Cruise, Katie and their new baby werent there to greet you? He walked away in bitter disdain, as our snide comments haven’t been going over well with this crew.
While everyone else was at the MI3 formal, we went to Layton skatepark to get some legit skate footage for our Gumball DVD project. There were about 20 kids there when we arrived at 10pm and nearly 300 when we left at midnight. My legs were barely working after being stuck on the uberflight for so long, but I managed to bang out a couple tricks including a 5 in the 10 bowl that nearly broke my back. I missed the grab and my board came down between my shoulders like a giant tomahawk. It only made me angry enough to finally make one. Rooftop instantly killed every part of the park and I was shocked to hear that he hadnt been riding much due to injuries. He even pulled a flair on one of the smallest quarterpipes imaginable. Mike V is also on the mend, having just recovered from a broken ankle. His boneless ones were as big as ever though. The kids at Layton were very cool and the cops came by just to watch and help with crowd control as we signed autographs before heading back to SLC.
The next morning was spent re-packing our car so that L could join us. Her car was quickly becoming a bad all-girl reality show, but her co-passengers were willingly leaving before getting voted out of the car. We headed straight to Vegas, skipping all checkpoints, in order to make it in time for a last-minute demo I scheduled right at the Hard Rock Hotel finish line. Mat Hoffman, Bob Burnquist, Jesse Fritsch and Kevin Staab all came out for it and we had a blast skating while all of the other Gumballers arrived. I was deliriously tired though, so I dont remember trying anything too hard or strenuous. I was incredibly dizzy after landing a 7 and called it quits after 45 min of skating. I managed to walk away with only a scraped shin from landing on my [new] grip tape. Our crew left wand stayed at Red Rocks hotel, away from the Snoop Dogg concert madness of HRH. L and I passed out after dinner for the longest sleep weve had the entire trip a full 7 hours.
The next morning we bypassed the traditional starting line at HRH and bee-lined straight towards the checkered flag: Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. At this point, we were getting so close to home that we could taste it and nothing sounded more appealing not even a party at the Playboy Mansion, which was the finale of the 2006 Gumball Rally. We made it to LA without incident, and without ever getting pulled over during our USA drive. We pulled into the Rodeo Drive finish area, did a few TV and radio interviews, signed autographs and took pictures, all while sitting in the car. We then drove out of the barricades and pinned it for home, never once regretting missing out on the last blast party. We dropped off Mike V on the way down to 760, and finally made it home with amazing memories and a new sense of accomplishment. A huge thanks to Max and Julie for inviting us along, to Jeep for providing an awesome vehicle, and to our tireless crew: Mike, Rooftop, Bam, Dunn, Jared, Ryan, Rich and Bo. Look for our Gumball DVD in the near future It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you not want to drive through Bangkok.
–Tony (with a newfound respect for pay-at-pump gas and all American fast food)