April 30, 2002

Gumball 3000: Update #4
Article and Photos by: Jeremy Master and Johannes Erdfelt

Departing from Albuquerque this morning the APR crew rode out with the Texas Viper, English Porsche Turbo, Saleen Mustang, and New Beetle Turbo S. After the requisite stop at the gas station down the block (it seems that somebody would forget to fill up every morning), we were back on the road. The New Mexico state police were out in full force right from the beginning. It wasn't long before a cruiser turned around, drove through the median with lights blaring and gave our crew a bit of anxiety at the prospect of yet another stop. All was well, however, when he passed up and nabbed an 18-wheeler just in front of us.

Most Gumballers are carrying two-way radios (tuned to channel 1) in order to stay in close communication. Upon announcing that APR had avoided a stop, cheers of joy went out from other drivers.

After passing the pulled-over 18-wheeler a Ferrari 550 and 360 came up on a cop running the same way. At this point everyone decided to play it cool and just follow the cop at the posted 75 mph speed limit through the rest of the state.

Nearing the end of New Mexico a large group of drivers decided to take a more direct route to their mid-way stop via various back roads. A short t 30 miles off the main highway we were met by a roadblock that was letting local traffic though and redirecting Gumball 3000 traffic. Every car sporting Gumball stickers was directed down a road that led directly back to the main highway.

Back on the highway we headed toward Grand Canyon National Park where teams would pick up directions to the day's final destination. The stop was very quick for the APR team because they felt that they were towards the back of the pack. We literally got out of our cars and took less than five minutes to take in the scenery and snap a few pictures (think National Lampoon's European Vacation).

The cops within the park were extremely strict and we heard that one of the red Vipers was pulled over and searched while in the park. This same Viper had experience some bad luck earlier on the road when it hit, together with another red Viper, some road debris. The first car lost a fog light and the second ended up with a badly cracked windshield.

Just outside of the park our group passed a red Ferrari 360 just being pulled over. The cop walked up to talk to the driver, but soon realized that it was in fact a right hand drive car. He corrected himself, but didn't look all that amused by the traffic stop.

We have been constantly amazed at the ongoing support of local folks throughout this rally. It seems like every gas or food stop turns into a crowd of well-wishers. Sometimes we would also see people on the side of the road in lawn chairs!

The terrain following the Grand Canyon stop became dramatically more hilly and fun to drive. On one open stretch we noticed a silver car exit from the opposite direction and pull a U-turn over the highway in order come up to ride with the S4's. It turned out to be a local Audi A4 that just wanted to drive for a stretch with some Gumballers. We exchanged a friendly wave as he passed.

The sun was getting much lower on the horizon as we reached the open stretch of desert leading up to the Hoover Dam. It was just getting dark as we crossed the dam and then headed into Las Vegas in the early evening. After a "we-have-arrived" drive down the Las Vegas strip, cars pulled into the Mandalay Bay to the usual Gumball greeting.

Consistent with previous days, the group of three Porsches from Dallas was lined up in the first couple of spots (meaning they had arrived the first). From what we know these Porsche guys have taken the Gumball 3000 so seriously that they actually hired an aerial crew to provide them overhead views for the drive.

The party tonight was at the RA Nightclub in the Luxor.

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