It starts in Manhattan at the Red Ball Garage. Rosalie thought them batshit crazy but she was in, it wasn’t a hard sell at all. They were going to try to break the record, make the trip in under a day. Manhattan to Redondo in half the time it would take a normal, law abiding citizen. Twenty one hours (or at least under 26, the current record) or bust.
The Cannonball Race is the coast to coast illegal street race, a long standing record but the time at around 27 hours but with the empty freeways of Corona, every single title was being smashed but not any category had done it in under a day one-way.
It was a spur of the moment decision to compete. Emmett had approached Jasper with it the same day they went to buy the car. They had to traverse to a state where dealerships weren’t shut down but that wasn’t an issue. Deciding on a car without Rosalie’s input was however, a challenge. After a lot of bickering they had settled on an Audi A8 to be fair to the last team to set the record.
The race is really all about the logistics of maintaining velocity, maximizing route potential, and staying clear of police. Two thirds of those things just happen to be things that Emmett is good at. Jasper would be in charge of the technical aspects of the drive and Emmett would be their advance guard, pulling the state troopers and highway patrol away from the main event.
Rosalie got involved when they pulled into the garage with a shiny new Audi and she got suspicious. Emmett could never lie to her and after a very thorough stare down she opened up her tool kit, volunteering her mechanic skills. She was very helpful with ripping out all the extra weight, installing the extra gas tanks, and modding the shit out of the engine to keep it from blowing up in their faces at ultra-high speeds.
And so with a souped up Audi the three of them set out to drive the plains to the starting line in New York. They made good time, arriving in the early morning. They pulled into the garage and let the car cool. They made contact with the official scorekeepers and swapped out the oil. They’d leave by nightfall when the City emptied.
As the light waned and the city fell into the uneasy silence, an engine purred to life and headlights switched on. Jasper eased out of the parking spot, adjusted the rear view mirror to his liking, and pulled out of the spot. On the exit to the street he gave Aurelio his ticket to be stamped with the time. Aurelio handed it back and Rosalie started the timer and with her nod Jasper gave the dash a pat and pulled into the street.
Rose would make sure they had green lights all the way out of the city and would jam the toll readers going into Jersey. The East coast would be the worst hit by traffic and after the outer shell of the megalopolis was breached, smooth sailing until the Californian coast. The 70 and the 40 would carry them most of the way. The 15 would welcome them to California and the final stretch to the coast.
Through the Appalachian mountains, down through the Midwest, barrelling through Texas, ramming straight through New Mexico and Arizona and the final sprint to the Pacific.
Regrettably it’s a visually boring drive. The interior of America is farmland and empty. However it was not a boring experience. Jasper was driving, minding the average Joe; Rosalie was listening to the radio chatter and diverting negative interest and having Emmett jump through the sunroof when needed to politely incapacitate the unlucky highway patrolman.
Through the flat of America they made great time, averaging 200 mph through arrow straight swaths of corn fields and roads so flat the curvature of the earth was visible.
Jasper had always been a fan of fast cars and fast horses and if it wouldn’t have fucked up their fuel efficiency and aerodynamics, he would have left the windows down and sunroof open. As it was the simple pleasure of the wide open road sang in him.
Crossing the border from Oklahoma into Texas certainly felt like some sort of homecoming. The low plains were different then his home, drier but all the same the air just smelled fresher, the sun shone brighter, and the day stretched like a lazy cat in front of him. This was only a short leg of the trip, 170 miles that they would cover in an hour. Nonetheless, the simple pleasure of burning rubber across his home state elicited the spark of joy he so often chased.
Crossing into New Mexico was uneventful as was Arizona, a desolate landscape and towns that are testament to human arrogance. The blazing afternoon sun baked them to the road as they stole across the desert.
They chased the sun over the mountains, descending through the pass between Death Valley and the Mojave Preserve. Through the Inland Empire and to the coast a race against the sun. The traffic of the 405 never truly stopped and as the stopwatch ticked closer to the 21 hour mark an odd sensation of anxiety wormed its way across his brain. Rose reassured him that the CHP was otherwise occupied as he floored it through the rest of Los Angeles county. Emmett was one for the contest but Jasper was one for winning .
He smelt the salt strung in the air before the ocean came into view, the cloying tang cutting through the haze of air pollution that sits across the valley. He pulled into the parking lot with fifteen minutes to spare and the punch card with the time handed to him by Aurelio’s brother Fiorello confirmed the new record. They had made it in 20 hours and 48 minutes, beating the previous record by nearly 6 hours.
Shutting the car off and hearing the hiss of the overworked engine had Rosalie wincing as Emmett jumped out to pick her up and spin her in circles, barely mindful of the human audience. They did it. Jasper basked in the tightly coiled satisfaction of the win, savoring the taste.
After they had checked in at the front desk and called up the offiator to be met with great congratulations, they settled into their room. Rose was critical of the way the car performed, brainstorming ideas to improve it and Emmett looked smitten as she talked shop.
All Emmett could say was that there were other street races they could partake in. Jasper could hardly disagree.