Eleven insolent men, three decrepit machines, and one handsome bachelor stood between 450 miles of hardened opposition and a triumph of human spirit. Some will call it the greatest race on Earth. Most, however, will call it the Scumball 3000.
The most ambitious bachelor party ever machinated sounded innocent enough: Three teams of four mechanically uninclined racers pilot vehicles purchased for less than $1000 across state lines for a chance to win nothing. Brilliant in theory, but the nonfiction version of events would probably have been best relegated to a twenty minute segment on Top Gear. Of course, hindsight being the demon spawn of retrospect, I was previously numb to the reality of such an endeavor. Consequently, the Scumball 3000 rally heel-and-toed the line between the conqueror and the conquered.
Day one, minute zero, and team Mustachio Bashio was already in over its head. Imagine the quiet contempt percolating amongst a crowd gathered to observe four mustached dirtbags desperately beating the sliding door of a white 1992 Chevrolet Astro into submission. We hadn't yet left LAX, and our $600 crack pipe wouldn't function without a judicious application of Kung Fu. Our racecar, once a valiant representative of middleclass conveyance, lacked many modern conveniences like heat, air conditioning, radio, headlights, gauges, doors, and windows. Sure, it had those amenities, but none of them were operational. If you have the means, I highly recommend not picking one up. But comfort does not a racecar make, so we pinned the go pedal to the firewall and never looked in the mirror it probably once had.
The next morning, after a peaceful night which involved absolutely no shenanigans whatsoever, we recovered our rally monster from Happy Ending's impound. The van had been relieved of its nonfunctioning headlamp and most of the interior trim. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever how that happened, but Colin Chapman would have been proud. Since we managed to find a hotel willing to accept check-in at 4:00am, we were well rested and enthusiastic about meeting team Trojan Condoms and team Trey Anastasio for the scheduled Le Mans start in Hollywood. It began with a demonstration of Newton's third law of physics. It may surprise you to learn that the structural rigidity of a landau topped Cadillac Seville far exceeds that of a Chevrolet Astro.
Following Trojan's gracious exhibition, all three parties embarked for classy San Diego. Charting untested waters, we cautiously accelerated beyond the registrability of the Chevy's only functioning needle. Maybe it was the hole in the exhaust or the buffeting from the open slider, but we were thrilled by its contempt for safe speeds. That old street walker had one last John, and she was going to rock his socks off. Evidently, the ‘90s was a banner decade for rally cars, the stalwart bastion of which carried team Anastasio in cool comfort and style. Equipped with the only functioning HVAC system among us the humble Toyota Camry excelled where all others failed. At the end of the proverbial day, they may have come in dead last, but the "A" team was way ahead of the curve.
Day three, stage two started off expeditiously until the above-mentioned hooker Supermanned us. First, you have to understand that at our dubious pace, a little vibration can easily be misinterpreted as uneven asphalt. And so despite reaching Mel Gibson levels of violence, we were optimistically unalarmed about shaking that literally separated the dash from its underpinnings. Our delusion disintegrated when the thinkable happened: Apparently, the body of the tire cheated on the tread with a younger spare and the two divorced. So, too, became our team. The less sobriety burdened among us postulated tire tread a luxury item we could successfully forgo. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and we pursued rational options like changing the tire. Lacking blinkers, we stealthily waded through forgotten treasures littering the shoulder en route to the nearest exit. In a truly remarkable stroke of luck, our very own eight pound six ounce newborn baby Jesus beckoned proudly in the form of Express Tire, and we were soon back on the road to success. Donning fresh rubbers, we limped accordingly on to Peaches, perhaps the only gentleman's club fit to accommodate our demands at 3:00pm Saturday afternoon. Although our admittedly warranted pit stop held us back, we were not the last team to arrive at waypoint two. Team Anastasio, a lethargic posse of potheads, accomplished that task. This part of the story gets a little weird, so let's just say we left with more laundry and less headlights.
The final stage of the rally proved to be the ultimate crucible. En route to Las Vegas, the Mojave Desert dispatched scorching heat which exposed a critical flaw in the van's design. No, it didn't overheat (huzzah!); the Caddy did resulting in an ego shattering second place finish. Rather, the Astro's metal exoskeleton done got really hot. Thus when team Trojan demonstrated Newton's first law of physics, the eggs literally cooked on the surface of the van. As darkness fell like panties on prom night, we were riding dirty in more ways than one. Desperately in need of headlights and Tabasco, our mustached mix of miscreants eased off the beaten path in search of a quick fix. In a moment of Zen, the hands down most productive member of the crew affixed cheap flashlights in the sockets once home to "legal" headlamps. Nevertheless, our new police deterrents set the highway ablaze and guided us to the promise land.
Remember boys and girls, every good story has a moral: Burning a rally car to the ground sounds easy, reality dictates otherwise, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department will track you down via information traded for a pair of Goodyears- on your wedding day. Suffice it to say, we're officially making the Scumball 3000 an annual event.
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