The Cannonball is the ultimate road trip, even as it jettisons the usual conventions of the road trip: There are no stops for photos, no detours to sample the World’s Greatest Pancakes, no putting the top down to shout along to the radio as the wind whips by. These trips are thrillingly tactical, planned down to the minute—built, for instance, around traffic light cycles in Manhattan and peak usage times at rural gas stations.
This is such a fun article to read as it seems to satisfy that travel itch we all probably have right now and gives you a solid dose of nostalgic Americana at the same time.
It follows Fred Ashmore, a fairly obsessed and gifted driver, who recently attempted the time record…solo. Along the way, the author gives you the amazing history of how this race was created in the 1970’s by Brock Yates. A journalist if you can believe it.
Yates wanted to show that it was possible for Americans to drive safely at high speeds on the interstate, just as Germans did on the Autobahn.
The nonstop drive was a test run for an audacious plan that Yates had hatched: a multicar race across America that would prove, once and for all, that capable drivers in capable cars could cross the country faster and more safely than anyone imagined. Or, as Yates put it: “a balls-out, shoot-the-moon, fuck-the-establishment rumble from New York to Los Angeles.” The starting point of the race would be the Red Ball Garage, on East 31st Street in Manhattan, where Yates’s employer, Car and Driver magazine, kept a test fleet of cars. The destination, the Portofino Inn, in Redondo Beach, California, was owned by a friend of Yates’s.
Highly recommend reading this if you, like me, have missed your regular travels over these past few months.